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FM Interview, Hit Parade Magazine, April 1980 < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

FM Interview, Hit Parade Magazine, April 1980

Fleetwood Mac Tell New York About Tusk

Hit Parader Magazine, No. 189, April, 1980


“It certainly makes It easier for us to have you all at once rather than individually, and now you can tear us apart."


With these humorous words, a cheerful Mick Fleetwood welcomed the press to Fleetwood Mac's New York press conference, one of a series of such events the group has hosted In the major cities on their tour.


It had been almost three years since the release of their last album and now that the somewhat controversial Tusk was In the stores (and at the top of the charts). It was obvious that everyone had a few questions in mind.


Arriving a half-hour late ("Remixing the album covers?," one Journalist quipped), each in separate limousines— not on elephants as some had feared — four members of the group entered the plush St. Regis Hotel. (Christine was recovering from the flu, but set her apologies). Stevie purposely didn't wear black, she said, to dispel those 'witch' rumors.


What follows Is a transcript of what went on between the press and Fleetwood Mac.


Q: Did Warner Bros, pressure you to hurry up with the recording of Tusk?

Mick: They didn't call us everyday, there was no pressure from the 'corporate side' of the music industry. The only thing we were concerned with was completing the record and satisfying ourselves. Although we were certainly aware of everyone panicking in the record industry I don't think we should be preoccupied with such things, really.


Q: Llndsey, you've been quoted as saying you're more concerned with the artistic aspect of the album than the commercial. Can you elaborate?


Lindsey: I don't remember the specific interview, I'm sure that's been said more than once, but that was our motivation for doing a double album or taking perhaps as long as we took. We were very concerned with living up to more of the potential that the group has and, you know. It's been three years since the last album so we have a certain amount of input and we've grown quite a bit and we wanted to express that. That's always been the motivation, even in the first album that Stevie and I were involved in — we never made a conscious effort to come up with a commercial formula. It's just the way we felt that we needed to be and that's always the way we've gone about doing things.


Q: Lindsey, It seems your songs on Tusk are a bit more experimental and more adventurous than a lot of standard commercial hits.

Lindsey: Well, that's true. That was just something that has been a long time coming, some of the different approaches, doing some of the recording at home, a lot of things that have been sort of brewing up for the last few years in terms of things we wanted to try doing.


Q: What are you doing about the $15.50 list price of the album?

Mick: In actual fact, you take a look at what the record basically sells for — I've seen It for $9.50,10 dollars20 songs in what I think is a really nice package, and then compare it to a double Donna Summer album or a Bob Dylan Live At Budokan, it's only a matter of pennies difference. That's what records cost, that's about all I can say.


Lindsey: Also, it seems to me that the escalation of price is a constant thing. This is one of the first double albums that's really been in the limelight so it's going to be one of the first things that people are going to jump on as far as there being that high a list price.

Mick: It's not just us.

Q: Could you explain a little about how digital mixing affected the album?

Lindsey: As opposed to the Ry Cooder album, which was the first all digital album (it was done on a digital 24 track machine, mixed down to a digital 2 track), we used a standard analog 24 track tape recorder for the master recording and then, when it came time to mix down to a 2 track, we simply mixed down to a digital 2 track. So In essence the 2 track version sounds almost exactly like the 24 track. There's no degradation of quality from the master to the 2 track.  Any step along the way in the chain from a master to what finally gets on vinyl, any degradation of quality that you can  eliminate, is going to help how the disc ends up sounding.  Basically digital means instead of storing information on magnetic patterns on a tape which is scanned across tape heads, it's stored as a computer stores information – with sets of numbers and it samples signals about 100,000 times a second or something ridiculously fast. 


Digital is just getting started in terms of how it's used.  We chose to go to the man who invented it and he provides the machines as well as the service as opposed to Pre-amp who've come out with a 24 track machine that you just buy.  So far there are many problems and bugs that haven't been ironed out – we've heard all sorts of comments as to how effective the use of digital can be at this point.  How successful the end result is depends on how you use it. 


Q:  Lindsey, did you experiment in your 'home' studio only on the songs you wrote, or on others as well?

Llndsey: No, I don't think there was any real work done on other people's songs — there are really only three songs that were done at home but I did a lot of the groundwork for other material there. That was probably as important as what went on in the studio: the studio has become a real sort of over-technical place to be...


Q: Do you have any plans to participate In any of the MUSE, anti-nuclear efforts?

Mick: No, mainly because sitting here, right now, I'm not really that more aware and I don't have more than I presume a very average opinion about it. I'm sure that one could become involved in it. Just so happens that I'm not involved in it. We were asked to do that thing at Madison Square Garden but we were rehearsing.

Stevie: We couldn't do it, we haven't played in years...

Mick: There was no way I was doing it and the band is not actively involved in it, it's certainly a point of great interest I would imagine, to people who would want to channel their energies there, but that's about it..


Q: Are you concerned about the album sales because of the high price?

Mick: No, the album seems to be being received very well, it's certainly selling extremely well. We couldn't be happier with the results as far as what people have said, both generally and in reviews ... it's exactly what one would hope for. It stimulates a reaction to what we're doing so we're really pleased about it.


Q: Any future plans for any members of Fleetwood Mac to go their own way?

Mick: I'm sure there are definite possibilities of other projects but certainly not for quite a while, and the other projects do not mean that the band Is breaking up at all. I know that Stevie has some ideas of things she wants to do and at some point I'm sure she'll do those things but it doesn't entail a band breaking up. There's no reason for that.


Q: Why was "Tusk" picked as the first single and who picked it? It doesn't sound like the string of Fleetwood Mac hits we've all heard over the past few years.

Lindsey: That's the point really. I don't know if we would have picked It ourselves either but we enjoyed It very much and I think when you hear it In the context of the rest of the album it's a little bit more understandable In terms of a reason for releasing it.


Q: They certainly could have come up with some of the ones that are really killer singles... Lindsey: AM type songs? Yes, but the point is that the album is different and it's gotten a lot of people's curiosity up. Warner Bros, felt very strongly i about releasing "Tusk" and in a way it's good because it's gotten a lot of talk going about the fact that It is so different. There are a lot of different things on the album as well so people are wondering what the hell we're up to.

Q: Some of the critics have suggested that in a purely commercial sense,' Tusk" might have been better off if it had been pared down to one album. Do you think there's any truth to that?

Mick: It can't really be answered because we didn't want to do a single album and we're very pleased with the album as it Is, as a band, all the input that went Into it. So there are definitely no regrets at all. I would say that probably any one is right in saying that the safer thing would be to have put out a single album but that Is not really the prime motivation for us...


Q: How radical do you think you are In the pop marketplace? Are you trying to really steer clear from mainstream things?

Lindsey: All those labels are very hard to define, things are not as clear cut as they once were. I don't know exactly what 'mainstream' is anymore. There are so many influences towards the end of this decade that are probably going to end up being a part of the musical fabric of the next decade, but nothing has really been defined yet. We just do what we do, each album is the result of many influences coming in and things coming back out and hopefully you keep growing and perfecting your craft. You never get to the ultimate point of anything, this Is just where things are right now.


Q: There's a lot of new wave drive In your music, Lindsey. Have you been listening to a lot of new wave music?

Lindsey: I've been listening to some. "Go Your Own Way" had a lot of drive as well It's just a result of something that's been there for a long time. I think I got a chance to do a lot of things on this album that I've been wanting to try for quite awhile. I don't think new wave is as much an influence as much as a reaffirmation maybe, of feelings that I've had for quite awhile.


Q: What were some cf the things that delayed the production of "Tusk"?


Mick: I think the only things that can be constructed as delays were in other people's minds. In actual fact,Rumours took probably a continuous year to pull together and this album really went very smoothly considering that we were probably actively In the studio for 8 months solid, I would think, and we did 20 songs... It really went very well. There was maybe one delay in the studio we used, which was a very fine studio, very expensive, but it caused maybe a 2 month delay, and us starting a little bit later than we thought. That was about it


Q: Stevie, would you care to comment on the rumors that your voice is not as strong as It used to be.

Stevie: It's wonderful to read that your voice is disintegrating. I would like to comment on that, actually. If you care to take the time to read the reviews from the last shows that we've done you might notice that I am. as my mother says to me, 'singing like a little bird'. And because I'm taking real good care of myself, my voice is not disintegrating. When I die, 'disintegration' will be one of the words that'll pass in front of me. I think it's very cruel for people to say 'disintegration' It's like, well, God, might as well just give up. Does anybody have any faith in me at all? My voice is fine.


Q: John, a while ago you said some kind of breakup Is Inevitable... Is the time closer or

because of all your success, are you content to keep things going?

John: I don't see Fleetwood Mac in wheelchairs playing "Rhiannon". Somewhere along the line it's going to stop.


Q: Are we going to see a 2nd decade of Fleetwood Mac?

Mick: As long as we're enjoying what we're doing.

John: It's when the enjoyment stops, then you stop doing what you're doing.


Thank you to ejb1969 for this article 


Date: 1980-04-01         Number of views: 1771

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