Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie spill well-seasoned beans on the Mac's new four-CD retrospective, The Chain


IT'S JUST OVER 23 years since Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac made its official debut at the Windsor Blue's And Jazz Festival. Since then, as founder member Mick Fleetwood rightly claims, Nothing ordinary has ever happens to the Mac. Green, 'The Green God" to his fans, dropped acid and dropped out, and guitarist Jeremy Spencer took a walk during an American tour and became a Children of God. A third, Danny Kirwan, eventually refused to play , he went berserk while the band was tuning up, ran into a bathroom and smashed his head against a wall before destroying his Les Paul. Additionally, the loves and lives of the remaining members would fuel a T V Soap for a long run. Yet despite an array of setbacks that includes the refusal of Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks to tour again, the band that took its name from a Peter Green instrumental seemingly still exists. At the end of November Warner Bros. released The Chain, A four-CD set detailing the bands history; a cohesive affair that features the various Mac line-ups and includes the hits, various album cuts and some previously unreleased material. Here, Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie, the Mac's long-serving singer-song-writer-keyboardist, talk about a few of the 72 tracks that may come to be regarded as Fleetwood Mac's swan song; future plans are hazy.


Oh Well-Part 1 (1969)

Peter Green was responsible for forming Fleetwood Mac, which was very much a blues band, but 'Oh Well' demonstrates how strong a songwriter he was. We did the track around the time we did And Then Play On, but it didn't go on the album at first, though they put it on later. Apart from the songwriting, Peter was a great guitar player. He had been influenced by some wonderful players and made no bones about it but he also wanted to attempt different things within the framework of what the Mac was doing. 'Oh Well-Part 2' showed another side of him, illustrating his classical aspirations as a writer, his love of Vaughan Williams and stuff like that. Peter played the cello on the track and also played the flute. It was all very different to a blues shuffle and is a very good way of explaining what was going on at the time. I'm glad Peter saw light at the end of the tunnel.


Hypnotised (1974)

Bob Welch wrote this for Dave Walker to sing. Dave didn't join, so we had to do a complete revamp, though in the end the Mystery To Me album turned out to be a fine one. Bob and I collaborated more at that time and I think some of the vocal blends were pretty good.

: Bob was a major player. When we first went to America he helped us become a healthy underground band that not only had a audience but could also sell 250,000 albums every release.


Rhiannon (1975)

It's Stevie's signature tune, along with "Dreams" probably.

People always remember it as the Welsh Witch thing, the image of Stevie in the hat. Stevie wrote the song before she joined Fleetwood Mac. She writes verses in her journal and she'd written that one and turned into a demo before she and Lindsey joined the band.

MF: It's a prime example of a song that developed over the years, well, almost immediately, really. There's a version on the live album that so different. 'Rhiannon" really became something of a party piece for Stevie. It became amped-up, vocally and instrumentally, until it became a real ball-buster. A highlight of the shows of the period.


Silver Springs (1976)

One that was left off Rumours. Stevie wrote it and I was the one who had the joy of telling her that we had to delete 'Silver Springs' because it didn't fit. So it came out only as the B-side of 'Go Your Own Way", has been in much demand by fans. By accident we found a 30 ips master tape that had never been played, so we've been able to come up with something that sounds marvellous. At one point, Stevie wanted put the song on her solo album but it was a Fleetwood Mac track and we wouldn't let her, which made her unhappy for a time.


Dreams (1977)

Our first US Number One. It was one of those songs that developed in a bizarre way. When Stevie first played it for me on the piano it was just three chords and one note in the left hand. I thought, "This is really boring". But the Lindsey genius came into play, and he fashioned three sections out of identical chords, making each section sound completely different. He created the impression that there's a thread running through the whole thing. In fact, the chords are still the same, but you don't realise that because so much else is going on.

CM: Lindsey was a clever lad, and when he left it was like when Peter Green left, but he was happier not being in the band and we've happier, because there's nothing worse then someone being miserable when they're trying to do something creative. It was a wonderful period when he was in the band, which is why the Buckingham-Nicks period is so heavily featured on the boxed set. It was our most successful time.


Don't Stop (1977)

CM: Bill Clinton really liked this one. We might be playing it at his inaugural ball.

MF: Yes, he used it in his Democratic campaign and it literally became the party's signature tune."Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" ,it was very opportune for what they were trying to say.

CM: I always think that an insurance company should use it. But I'm quite pleased Clinton picked it up. I'm not really a politically minded person. I've been tending towards the Republicans, but I think it's time for a change and Clinton could be very good, as long as he doesn't raise the taxes too much.


The Chain (1977)

CM: A hotch-potch, really. Everybody contributed to this one, it was just thrown together. "The Chain" started as the tail end of a jam and we did it all the wrong way round, we kept the end bit and added a new beginning. We used Stevie's lyrics, I created choruses, Lindsey did the verses. I really don't know how it all came together. It was just one of those extravaganzas that worked.

MF: It's another song that nearly didn't make it onto Rumours, it was fighting right up to the end of the day.


Tusk (1979)

CM: This started off as being a jam, the sort of thing we did at warm-ups. Originally it was a lot slower then the recorded version, about half that tempo. But somehow it became a signature that was played everytime we did a soundcheck and it seemed logical to turn it into something. The brass band was Mick's folly!

MF: Yeah, it was. The song was something we stated working on in the studio but was placed on the backburner for a while. It wasn't until we were well into the project that produced the double album that Lindsey pulled it out and attempted to come up with something. I�d had an idea which wasn�t meant for any song in particular, I'd been in France where I saw a band marching around a village where I was staying and it produced a great reaction that brought people together. All I had to do was find the right song.

CM: We did the song at the forum fort a couple of nights and had a band marching through the audience and all that sort of stuff.

MF: The original idea was that we should do it in every town we played, bringing some energy from the local town from the fact that their marching band would be involved. It was a kooky idea that didn't quite get off the ground but the song did really well and you still the single on the jukeboxes for some reason or another. It still gets played at various college events throughout the states.


Little Lies (1987)

I co-wrote 'Little Lies' with my husband , Eddie Quintela. It was one of those times where we'd written the music but couldn't decide on a hook. I said to Ed, 'See if you can come up with something" and he came up with 'tell me lies, tell me lies' line. There's not much to say about the song except that it sold very well both here and in the States and ended up on Tango In the Night which sold ten million. I know it's always quoted that I've written more hits than anyone else but it's only because I've been in the band longer, 23 years in fact.


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