Fleetwood Mac Interview Sunday Mail (SA)
HEADLINE: Fleetwood Mac back on track
In 1975, when Fleetwood Mac entered the studio to begin recording
a new studio album, no one could have predicted the massive
success this veteran English band would soon achieve.
Following a 10-year, chequered history of changing personnel,
which frequently left the band minus key members and a musical
direction, founding fathers Mick Fleetwood and John McVie recruited
a little known singer-songwriting duo, Lindsey Buckingham and
Nicks' musical persona and Buckingham's guitar and arrangement
talents, coupled with the earlier addition of Christine Perfect
(later Mrs McVie), gave this band all the chemistry and direction
The resulting album, simply titled Fleetwood Mac, catapulted
a band with a limited sales base into a multi-platinum hit machine.
In the years that followed, the band solidified its superstar
status with 1977's Rumours LP (an incredible 20 million copies
sold worldwide); survived the traumatic break-up of two romances
within the band - Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, and John
and Christine McVie - dabbled in experimentation with the ambitious
1979 two-record set Tusk; and recorded the lacklustre 1982
LP Mirage that had critics and fans wondering if the band had
finally run out of creative steam.
But rumors of the band's demise proved premature. In 1987,
after a five-year layoff, Fleetwood Mac released the excellent
Tango in the Night, an album that re-established the band both
commercially and artistically. That was the good news.
The bad news was Lindsey Buckingham, whose production and instrumental
skills had so greatly contributed to their success, would be
leaving the fold. Undaunted, the band recruited two musicians,
guitarist/vocalists Rick Vito and Billy Burnette, to fill the
Now, with the release of their current Greatest Hits album,
Fleetwood Mac appears to be taking stock of its platinum past
and looking forward to its future.
The album is a reminder of past glories - Rhiannon, Don't
Stop, Dreams and Go Your Own Way - and a harbinger of things
to come, with two new tracks, As Long as You Follow and No
Questions Asked, featuring the band's new guitar line-up.
We recently spoke to the two first ladies of Fleetwood Mac,
Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie, about the band's past, present
Question: Tell me about the new Fleetwood Mac. What's different
and unique about Fleetwood Mac as we're seeing you now?
Nicks: That it's still together.
Q: Why release a greatest hits album now?
McVie: Well, we've thought about doing a greatest hits album
in the past, but we've never actually got around to making the
decision. Because Lindsey left the band, it seemed like a very
appropriate time to do a collection of stuff from the past,
along with a couple of songs from right now.
Q: So, along with the old hits, you've given your fans an indication
of the future. Why choose to debut your new line-up on a collection
of songs from the past?
Nicks: After playing on the road for 4 months, we felt that
we needed to go in and spend a little time in the studio. We
were going in to do two specific songs, and we were under the
pressure of time. It was disciplined, and we had a lot of fun
doing it. You walk out of the studio feeling like you've done
something besides just giving people the old songs that they
love. You've given them something new from your heart.
Q: Greatest hits collections not only give the record-buying
public a nice overview of an artist's career, it also gives
the artist a chance to look back on his or her own career and
assess it. Are there any songs that you "rediscovered" when
assembling the tracks?
McVie: Well, hearing them back-to-back like that is very refreshing.
Q: "As Long As You Follow is the first single. It was written
by you, Christine and
McVie: And my husband, Eddy. It's yet another love song. It's
just something which I related to, have always related to -
telling different stories about relationships.
Q: You're not known as a collaborator; that's something which
has happened more in the last few years. How is it writing with your
McVie: It's fun. We like it. I go through phases where I like
writing with people, then I can't stand to be around someone when trying to
work out a song. But at the moment it's fun collaborating- because you get
bonus of two heads instead of one.
Q: Lindsey Buckingham was often credited as the architect of
Fleetwood Mac's sound, by the band itself as well as critics.
While recording the new tracks, I wonder if his role in the
studio - his arrangement and production touches - were missed?
McVie: Not yet. Lindsey was probably the prominent architect,
if you want to use that word, but we all tried our hand at production
as well. And I think it's forcing us to come out of ourselves
a bit now that Lindsey's not there anymore. And so far, we haven't
missed Lindsey in that way. I'm hoping that it'll go on like
Q: Lindsey's layered guitar was an integral part of the band's
recordings. Rick Vito's playing is very different from Lindsey's
style. How will that affect that band's sound?
McVie: I think that Rick's an incredibly versatile guitar player,
and I think we've missed that in the last 12 years. Lindsey
is brilliant at what he does, but Rick brings us back a little
bit more to the blue days. With Rick, we can cover practically
any musical field.
Q: Fleetwood Mac has this interesting way of taking in new
members. On your last tour in support of the Tango in the NightLP, you had two new guitarists going out for months and months
on the road. How did you get along, and how did you develop
together on the road?
McVie: Even in the rehearsal stage, we got on really well.
As far as Billy (Burnette) goes, we've known him for years,
and when we met Rick, it seemed like we'd known him for years,
too. So we didn't have to really work anything out. We had a
very warm, wonderful tour - both in America and Europe.
Q: What about solo projects?
McVie: Stevie's already in the middle of doing a solo album
while working with us. And I'm sure at some point or other,
Mick Fleetwood's Zoo will do another album. I know I'll do a
solo record, too. But the prime goal at the moment is the next
Fleetwood Mac album. I'm not thinking beyond the record and touring with the
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