With their surprise appearance at President Clinton's
farewell party on January 6th,
started a wave of rumours about the band's future. Following their White House
performance -- which marked their first concert together in three years -- the
band members began talking about a possible reunion. But at least one member of
the band's most famous line-up, Christine McVie, has already decided to go her
own way. The singer/pianist balked at the opportunity to play for the President
and seems to have no interest in performing with the band again. So who's on
board at the moment, and exactly how much faith can Fleetwood fans have in the
possibility in a new album and/or tour?
, and he doesn't sound entirely sure himself. But as we found out when we caught
up with him after the Clinton send-off, the singer/guitarist is convinced his
options are vast. It's just a matter of deciding whether to throw his latest
batch of songs into the pot for a new Fleetwood Mac project or put them all
towards a new solo album, something he hasn't done since issuing 1992's Out
of the Cradle. A new Buckingham/
album is also a possibility. Anything goes, and for the moment, it seems, we'll
all just have to wait for him to make up his mind.
So did you have plenty of prep time for the Clinton farewell show?
No, anything but. We got a call maybe two weeks before the event and I talked
to Stevie. I said, "Jeez, do you think we can pull this off? We need to
rehearse, right?" They wanted an hour, so we figured we could rehearse for
three days and put together just the workhorses for the set, which we did.
Christine's lack of presence wasn't really felt too much. We have some singers
who filled in those parts and it went very smoothly. We were involved in a small
way in ushering in his administration, so it was nice to kind of complete that
Is playing before the President tougher than other gigs?
It didn't make me too nervous. I think it did make Stevie a little more
nervous because she doesn't have a guitar to hide behind. I can kind of jump
around and make an idiot of myself and that gets me a certain ways down the line
of loosening up.
Did he have any favorite songs?
I didn't ask him and we only talked very briefly afterwards before he was
whisked off to something else. But I was really surprised, there was a song
called "So Afraid," which was never a single, it's always been part of
the stage show, because it has a long drawn-out guitar solo at the end, and he
was sitting there singing all the words to that.
There's this sense in the entertainment industry that the good days are
numbered. Does it feel like the end of an era to you?
Looking at what George W. seems to be about, it's questionable what he will
actually be able to get done, but what he wants to get done is a little scary.
And just as a person, at least from my perspective, obviously the media does
pigeonhole you, it's not necessarily fair to judge anyone on how they come
across on the tube, but he's kind of scary. He seems to be totally scripted and
a little blank behind the script, more than a little blank behind the script and
can't really put a sentence together, and he just doesn't seem qualified. Not
that he doesn't have qualified people behind him, but that has implications of
its own. Hopefully at the worst, he'll be around for awhile and we'll just get
over that cycle. He won't make abortion illegal or anything that bad, but I
guess he could try. Most stuff he can't push through, and looking at it in a
more amusing light, it might be an entertaining four years, in the Gerry Ford
sense . . . times ten I guess.
So what is the status of Fleetwood Mac?
You know it's interesting, I made a joke at the show about us having worked
through our own partisan politics. And I really think there is a pretty potent
future for the band. In a way, Christine has really checked herself out of the
situation. She sold her house in L.A. and is just residing in England. God knows
what she's doing. But it kind of frees the Fleetwood Mac situation to be looked
at in a fresh light and in some ways in the dynamic that Stevie and I had going
before we joined the band. I think everyone's pretty up for the possibility of
that and of approaching a second phase of a group much differently than just the
whole epidemic of bands that were getting back together and touring and making
the quick buck and then that's it. I think that would be very intriguing to try
and do that. I have a whole mess of material that I've been calling a solo
album. And it may still be. The other option would be to spend the next eight
months or so working on material with Stevie and doing some sort of epic FM
album. So I don't know. There are some options out there, and we're still
looking at them. But the music I have right now, is the best that I've ever done
on my own, or with Fleetwood Mac, tapping into some new areas. It becomes a
little less important what you call it, the older you get. I can't tell you
whether that will come out as a solo album or not. We have some options and
they're all pretty good.
Is there a timeframe for the material to be produced?
I have to decide this week whether this is a solo album or not. And if you
talk to the critics they'll say, put it out, what are you doing, why wouldn't
you want to put it out? And if you talk to people at the record company, it
depends on what your priorities are, so it's kind of scary. Not that I put solo
albums out there to fail, they're for the people who want to hear that sort of
thing. But the climate out there now is, God love people like
, who are really doing something great. But the pop side of things, the
sound and all of that, even though it's well-crafted, it's just a tough climate
to try and think that you could really get through to a lot of people as a solo
artist at age fifty. In that sense the Fleetwood Mac idea enables you to get
through to a lot more people so I have to just weigh just how important or
unimportant this is yet.
Is that "week" a stringent deadline?
Well it's not a stringent deadline, it's just that I've been working on my
own running order and it's just something I'm so proud of. And again the people
who appreciate the artistic side of things, say, "Well why would you want
to put it together with a bunch of Stevie songs, it sounds like a Frankenstein
project or something at that point." But then the challenge would be to
make it not that. It's getting down to the wire though. You have any advice?
Could there be a Buckingham/Nicks reunion?
Well that's something else we've talked about . . . very briefly I must say.
But it's interesting because Stevie and I have, that's kinda what I meant by
working through partisan politics. After all of this time, we've managed to get
to a point where we're comfortable. There's nothing we can't talk about. We've
all been down our own particular roads that have gotten us to that point and so
it's nice after all this time for both of us to have a good portion of the child
remaining within us. I talked to
one time about the
, and it seemed like there was so little love or idealism left in that group of
people and perhaps that's more the norm for people our age. But we seem to be
slightly more arrested and I think there's some potential for some good stuff
because of that.
For Buckingham/Nicks that would be a pretty lengthy hiatus from which to
Oh yeah, but still, all of that stuff is a possibility. If I have to guess
I'd say this is going to come out as a solo album. But it is a little more
daunting than it was a few years ago. The older you get hopefully you work and
getting less and less selfish. And that's one of the things that drives people,
in order to do things that are outside the mainstream, you have to have a large
ego and that you have something to offer. It's sort of a Catch 22 that part of
being mature, part of growing up is letting go of certain rashness. So I don't
know where that falls now.
So can we expect some sort of formal announcement when you decide?
I don't know.
Like the Bat sign.
Yeah, something like that. [Laughs].
(January 20, 2001)