Los Angeles Times (02/26/84), Getting A Hold On Mac's McVie
Los Angeles Times
Sunday, February 26, 1984
Getting A Hold On Mac's McVie
by Dennis Hunt
the word around the music business is that Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie is blessed with a party personality. They say she's witty, lively, vivacious and uninhibited. Well, the party-time McVie didn't show up at the interview in her hillside home in Beverly Hills.
That afternoon, the singer-songwriter was subdued, aloof and polite in a businesslike way. She walked into her living room looking as though she'd rather be somewhere else. Armed with a glass of white wine and cigarettes, she sat down on one of the two enormous couches in the center of a room that reeked of luxury.
McVie, who's nearly 40, is a trim, handsome woman. Her attire wasn't just casual chic - it was expensive casual chic. She was wearing jeans and reddish silk blouse adorned with an intricately embroidered flower. She seemed right at home amid all those elegant furnishings.
Small talk didn't agree with her. We dispensed with it quickly and zeroed in on the purpose of the interview - a discussion of her new solo album.
Since "Christine McVie" - featuring the hot single, "Got a Hold on Me" - was released, McVie has been doing a lot of interviews. She looked as if she had been trying to rev herself to do yet another but had only been partly successful. Her enthusiasm increased as the interview progressed, but not by much.
"Christine McVie" is an impressive effort, more like a typical Fleetwood Mac album than any of the solo albums by the other band members. As a composer, she's responsible for the best Mac songs, including "Over My Head," "Say You Love Me," "You Make Lovin' Fun," "Don't Stop" and "Hold Me." McVie's bluesy voice and Fats Domino-influenced piano style exemplify the sound of Fleetwood Mac.
Considering that McVie has producing experience - working with English singer Robbie Patton - it's surprising that she didn't produce her album. Instead, she hired Russ Titelman. "It was too much responsibility for me to do the producing," she explained. "I didn't trust my skills to that degree. I felt I needed someone to lean on."
Unlike other members of successful bands who record solo albums, McVie wasn't interested in radical experimentation. Her album is straight-ahead, no-frills pop-rock. "I didn't feel the inclination to put myself out on a limb that much on my first solo album" she said. "I stayed with songs that are simple and unpretentious. That's what I do best."
McVie did do one thing different on this album. With Fleetwood Mac, she had always performed songs that she either wrote or co-wrote. This time, she sang three songs by other composers. "Since there's only room for me to write a few songs on each band album I really have to use my songs," she said. "But on my own album I had room to use songs I wanted."
She kept referring to "Christine McVie" as her first solo album, but it isn't. As England's No. 1 female blues singer, she recorded a solo album in 1969, "Christine Perfect" which was her maiden name.
Born in Birmingham, England, she moved to London to study sculpting but was sidetracked by her passion for blues, eventually scoring with a British blues band called Chicken Shack. In 1970 she joined Fleetwood Mac, partly to be able to spend more time with her new husband, John McVie. By the time the marriage ended in 1979, Fleetwood Mac had graduated from cult favorite to an exalted position as one of the world's most popular pop-rock bands.
McVie lamented losing touch with the blues. It's possible, she said, that her next solo album may be a blues project: "I wouldn't think a blues album would be that commercially successful, but I don't really care. I'd do it for the love of blues, not for the money. I've got plenty of money."
McVie isn't one of those stars who feels embarrassed by being wealthy. "I enjoy my money and I'm not ashamed to admit it," she said. "I'd certainly rather be rich than poor."
Wealth, she announced proudly, hasn't corrupted her: "I haven't turned into some rich monster. I've kept my perspective. But I am a bit spoiled. It's hard not to be a little spoiled by having a lot of money.
"I wasn't raised with money, so I had to get used to having it. I think I've adjusted to it pretty well."
McVie is equally proud of the fact that, in her opinion, she has escaped the corruption of fame. "I don't have a star-type attitude," she insisted. "I'm down-to-earth. I tend to laugh at my success. I don't take myself all that seriously. If you take yourself too seriously in this business, you'll get hurt badly."
McVie even admitted relishing stardom: "It's fun and relatively harmless." But at one point, she was aggravated by it. That was in the late '70s, when Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" album was a phenomenon, much like Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is now.
"I couldn't go anywhere unless there was a security guard with me," she recalled. "That spoiled my life. It was like being in captivity. Those days are gone and I don't ever want to see that happen to me again. Now I can wander around the streets of Los Angeles on my own. I like it that way."
McVie concluded her commentary on the effects of stardom with a brief discussion of another nagging consequence -- it's negative effect on romantic relationships.
"It's particularly hard on women in my position," she explained. "Men to [sic] tend to look at you differently. I don't want that kind of man. I don't want to be involved with somebody who's going to be gawking at me and treating me like some goddess. Lord knows I'm not a goddess. I want to be treated like a real person.
"I was without a boyfriend for along time. I wouldn't settle for going out on a date just for the sake of going out. I was perfectly content. I'd rather have that than a string of non-meaningful relationships.
"I've been with a guy since August. He's an engineer-musician. He's level-headed. This star business doesn't affect him in the slightest."
McVie then asked if there were any more questions.
She put out her cigarette in the ash tray and settled back on the couch looking very relieved.
1984-02-26 Number of views: