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NO GOIN' BACK TO MAC


By Dan Aquilante
New York Post
September 14, 2004



It was one of the most guarded mysteries of rock 'n' roll. Why did Christine McVie, the first lady of Fleetwood Mac, quit one of the most successful groups in modern music six years ago? When Mick Fleetwood spoke to The Post in 2002, all he'd say was, "Christine could come back anytime she wants to." But, he added, "She won't."

"I know how Mick feels and I love him and the band for that, but he's right, it's not going to happen," McVie told The Post. "I'm 61 and settled into a life of leisure in the English country and I love it."

But the bucolic countryside wasn't quite enough to quench her thirst to make music. Since she parted ways with her bandmates - Fleetwood, ex-husband John McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham - McVie wrote and recorded the new bittersweet album "In the Meantime."

"Many of these new songs are caustic - there's an acidity to it, and there's also a sadness," said McVie. "The record starts with falling in love, then there's all the bad stuff that goes on in the middle, and you have forgiveness in the end. When I wrote these songs, it wasn't about something that happened to me. I felt like stepping into another person's shoes and writing from their perspective."

She's done that many times for her former band, having penned many of the Mac's biggest hits, including "You Make Loving Fun," "Over My Head" and "Don't Stop."



Post: When you quit Fleetwood Mac, were you afraid to be on your own?

McVie: Oh, I had no fear; I'd already planned to quit the band years prior to that. I bought a house in England in 1990, shortly after my father died, hoping to come home to England and spend time with my family.

Post: But it took another eight years for you to quit.

McVie: If you remember, we disbanded in 1995 and it was the choice of Bill Clinton to use "Don't Stop" as his campaign song that brought us all back together again when we played his inaugural ball.

Post: You got back together after playing one song at the inaugural?

McVie: The chemistry was so good, but all that said, my departure didn't come as a surprise to anyone.

Post: Then why get involved in the music business with a new album?

McVie: It was really an accident. I had no intention to ever do anything in professional music again. I was just having a bit of a laugh with my nephew [Dan Perfect]. The two of us were just fiddling about.

Post: Lots of people play music together for fun, but you made an album.

McVie: As we played, the songs arrived.

Post: What happens if this disc is a success? Will you tour in support of it?

McVie: I should never say never, but I doubt that will happen. Schlepping around from city to city is nothing I want to do. I don't think I have to worry, though. In all honesty, I doubt this record will be a commercial success.

Post: So this record isn't about a star who wonders if she still has it.

McVie: I don't want to be in the limelight again, but I did want to release this record because I think there are some pretty good songs on it.

Post: You wrote many of Fleetwood Mac's best songs, but your contribution to the band is often underrated.

McVie: I know what you're getting at. I sang and played keyboard, so I was virtually a statue at the back of the stage. I'm not complaining about that; I enjoyed that role. I could never have done what Stevie (Nicks) did. That wasn't my desire. I don't have the ability to be a diva. I can't flaunt. I don't have that kind of stage presence. I think of myself as just a band member.

Post: When you saw Stevie working the fans up front, did it bother you?

McVie: In the early days, she didn't realize her own power. Her image matured over the years, and one day I did think to myself, "What on earth is going on?" There were girls in the front rows dressed just like her.

Post: Earlier, you spoke of being a band member first and foremost. Is that why, when you and John McVie divorced, you both remained in the band?

McVie: We stayed because of the magic in this band. The five of us were committed to each other. Leaving was completely out of the question.

Post: So you two agreed to get along?

McVie: Provided we weren't left alone in the same room. As the years went on, we managed to iron out our differences and we became good friends again.

Post: I understand Mick helped you both get through those times.

McVie: He was big daddy. The song "Oh Daddy" is loosely based on Mick. He is Fleetwood Mac. He's the one who managed to keep it all together all these years.

Post: What do you miss about Fleetwood Mac?

McVie: I miss the people, but I don't miss the life. Touring, traveling and living out of suitcases - I've grown out of that.

Post: That said, why wouldn't you work with your old bandmates on an album? Mick said he'd love it if you did.

McVie: I know that, but if I did, they'd trap me and wouldn't let me leave the room until I signed a contract saying I'd tour with them for the next 10 years. They're all very persuasive.


 

 

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