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Rocky Mountain News (09/22/2004), Going her own way < Christine McVie < Main Page

Rocky Mountain News (09/22/2004), Going her own way

Rocky Mountain News, September 22, 2004

Going her own way
Former Fleetwood Mac star Christine McVie relishes breaking away from music's 'massive machine'
by Mark Brown

When Fleetwood Mac's new studio album, Say You Will, came out last year, there was one great glaring thing missing Christine McVie's harmonies and her songs.

Yet here she is with a new solo album, In the Meantime, sounding much more Fleetwood Mac than nearly anything on the Say You Will album.

In fact, that album would have been greatly helped by a few of the songs here. Why didn't anyone take the initiative, to get the two groups together, and make one great album?

"In principle, that would have been a great idea," McVie says. "I'm quite sure they would have liked it, and I think I probably would have quite liked it.

"But I didn't want to end up being beholden or committed to this massive machine anymore," she continues via phone from New York City. "I'm quite aware that it's probably not going to be a commercial success, but that isn't the reason I did it, really."

She notes "I'm better off doing it in my own little way. I kinda get trapped by those guys. I'd feel beholden and guilty if I didn't tour . . . and I didn't want that. You get sucked in and it's difficult to get out. It's like being in the army, Fleetwood Mac."

It's that notion of touring that was the deal-breaker for McVie and Fleetwood Mac, and it's the reason you won't see her on the road on her own.

"It's too grueling. There's just too much pressure. I do feel I've been doing this all my adult life. This record has happened as a result of several months of pleasure and enjoyment. I just can't even imagine" touring, she says. "I'm exhausted just getting from London to New York. I can't picture myself living out of a suitcase, buses and planes. The travel just doesn't appeal to me. But making songs, that's a pleasure. That's wonderful."

So the plan, she says, is "I'm just doing press and radio, of my own choice. It'll just fall where it may. I just hope there'll be a few people out there who might listen to it."

In fact, "there wasn't really a plan. This started off about three years ago as just having a little fun with my nephew," McVie says. "No one is more surprised than me, really, to end up with an album. There was no deadline, no plan for a record. It was us goofing off and having some fun."

She had a song called You Are that had been kicking around on a demo tape, and one day she asked her nephew Dan Perfect to come to her studio in a converted barn and put a bit of guitar on it.

"He's never done anything like this in his life. He's an artist and does some very fine paintings and successful exhibitions," she says. Once the songs started to flesh out a bit, "you sort of eventually get a bit addicted. It was pretty rough stuff. I thought 'Let's try and polish up the edges and make them a bit nicer.' I don't think even then I was thinking about putting a record out," she says. "When I finally made the decision to have someone overdub the drums, that's when it got serious."

It's easy to see that it's an album chronicling a failed love affair. The song titles alone give it away: Bad Journey, Liar, Sweet Revenge, Forgiveness. It ends with the redemption of Givin' It Back.

"You've hit the nail right on the head. That's precisely what it is. One or two songs aren't in that loop. But they're all songs about one particular fellow who I met and fell in love with. It goes through the story of how that relationship basically fell apart," McVie says.

Fans might be tempted to think those songs are a trip back through time to the famous break-up with John McVie that was part of the Rumours lore, but she assures that it's not.

"It isn't anybody who's well known. It's someone I've met in London. I doubt he even knows I have a record out. He has nothing to do with music," she says.

Writing about such things can be cathartic, and "in this particular case it was very therapeutic for me. It's great to get all the angst out," she says. "By the time I'd actually put the music down in song form, I'd well-forgiven this guy. It wasn't sort of pain and depression. It was just bloody good fun. It gets it out and leaves you with less of a headache."

As for any follow-up, "I don't really see myself making another one," she says. "I've never been that prolific. I always seem to cough up an album every 20-odd years. If I have to wait that long again I'll probably be dead. If I'm gonna do another one, I better make it in the next 10 rather than 20 years. Better get on the fast track."

Still, her Fleetwood Mac past will forever loom over her solo work. Rumours was such a phenomenon that it transcended the mere music on that disc and made the members icons. Does the time since then bring perspective?

"In those days, we were doing quite a lot of illegal things. I always say to my ex-husband John that I'm surprised we remember anything of the '80s at all. I suppose we must have had our finger on some kind of pulse, but we were living in such a microclimate of our own, I don't know if we did or not. I think people perceive that we did. But it's hard to be objective when you're inside all that.

"I still don't know how it quite blew up out of all proportion. It's still a total mystery."


Christine McVie
In the Meantime, Koch Records
Grade: B-

When Fleetwood Mac released Say You Will last year, it immediately became obvious exactly what it was that Christine McVie previously contributed to the band. Lindsey Buckingham's and Stevie Nicks' songs are compelling and emotional - and often harsh and jarring. McVie's harmonies and keyboard touches made them much easier on the ear, and her own compositions slipped in between helped temper the tone of the albums.

With her gone, Say You Will wasn't nearly the album it could have been.

But her own solo album, In the Meantime, slips too far the other way. A little McVie is a very good thing. Twelve songs of her distinctive but fey voice tends to get a little repetitive.

What's surprising is how guitar-heavy In the Meantime is; anyone expecting a slew of Songbird- like piano ballads won't find them here.

On the best cuts, however - You Are, So Sincere, Givin' It Back - she recalls the best of her Fleetwood Mac work. Fans might be best served by taking the best songs from Say You Will, salting them liberally with the best songs from In the Meantime and getting the Mac album we probably should have had all along.

Date: 2004-09-22         Number of views: 2202

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