It really should be a Fleetwood Mac album. The debut duo album from Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie sounds like a Fleetwood Mac album but is missing one essential voice: Stevie Nicks.
30 minutes with…
Thurs 1st June 2017
The guitarist talks about how Christine McVie – with whom he has recorded a duet album – rejoined the band
Hello Lindsey. Where are you? I’m in London and it’s quite hot.
I’m in Los Angeles and you’d think it would be hotter, but it’s actually quite cool.
What have you done so far today?
I’ve got three kids who are all in the last couple of weeks of school so my wife and I got up, had coffee and breakfast, and got the kids off to school. I went out and took my morning walk up a hill and down to get the blood going, then had a shower, and immediately got on the phone to do interviews.
Now here we are.
Here we are. A little bit later, I’m off to rehearsals. We’ve got a couple of Fleetwood Mac festival shows, but they’re interspersed with Christine and I doing a few dates – we’re starting off by doing 20 or so shows.
Let’s talk a bit about your new album with Christine  before I subtly manoeuvre the conversation on to demanding information about the new Fleetwood Mac album. A lot of it was done remotely, is that right?
Well, only initially. It was done in stages – before Christine decided to rejoin Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and I had gone into the studio, just the three of us, to cut some of my songs. We put that material on the shelf. A year after that, Christine phoned up Mick and was nosing around about wanting to rejoin the band.
Yes! I don’t think she assumed we’d necessarily be OK with it — we had been doing quite well as a four-piece. I think she was trying to nose around to see if there was any openness to it before she got too assertive or specific about it.  I had to have a conversation with Christine and say: “Well, we’d love you to come back, but you can’t leave again.” She told me she’d been reconnecting with her creative muse and had some rough ideas she sent to me – I, of course, took great liberties with them in my studio. And she was interested in these songs I’d been working on, and Mick and John thought it would be good to bring her over early and cut tracks on some of these things. It was unbelievable. We only expected to do it for a couple of weeks but we stayed for a month. Nobody was saying it was a duet album – we didn’t care what it was!
So riddle-me-ree: given that this album has involvement from so many members of the band, how many songs could have been Fleetwood Mac songs?
That’s sort of a question you can’t answer …
Have a go.
Well, defining something being a Fleetwood Mac song is calling it a Fleetwood Mac song, you know? Nothing becomes Fleetwood Mac until that’s what you call it. The thing that defines this duet album as being a duet album is that it has elements of what I’ve learned over the last 15 years and brought to my own work, which is away from the palette of Fleetwood Mac. But there’s also a heart that exists by the symmetry of being only the two of us.
June 2nd, 2017
It’s a Monday after noon on the Sony Pictures Lot when I drive on to meet Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie as the two iconic singer/songwriters rehearse for their upcoming tour in celebration of Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie, their first album as the duo of Buckingham and McVie.
When I tell the guard who I am there to see, he replies, “Really? I love them both.” In hindsight, it is no surprise. Maybe more than any other band, Fleetwood Mac defined the marriage of pop and rock, crafting some of the most beloved and iconic songs of the rock era. Between the two of them, Buckingham and McVie wrote or played a part in “Go Your Own Way,” “Never Going Back Again,” “Over My Head” and the sublime “Songbird,” among countless more rock era standards.
Given the beauty, majesty and universality they have conveyed so many times before it’s not surprising that in rediscovering their musical connection after almost two decades apart the pair of Buckingham and McVie have crafted arguably the perfect album for 2017. While most of music understandably tries to make sense of and protest the current administration and the continued global atrocities happening on a daily basis, Buckingham and McVie have delivered an album of hope and optimism, one that brings a much-needed sweetness back to the world of music for a sublime 45 minutes of near perfect pop.
I was fortunate to speak with the two greats about the superb new album.
Steve Baltin: This is day six of rehearsals?
Lindsey Buckingham: Yes, we came in and basically did a lot of prep, which we thought was only gonna take a couple of days and someone had given us a lot of stuff that was not usable and we had to start over. Took most of the first week, so there wasn’t a lot of getting up and playing the first week.
Fleetwood Mac’s guitarist and keyboardist team up for a new album
Pre-Order the CD and Vinyl below
People often think of Fleetwood Mac as a band propelled to artistic eminence by interpersonal turmoil. Who could forget that Rumours, the band’s defining album, was the product of a period of libertine excess and relational meltdowns? Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were on the rocks, Christine McVie and John McVie were divorcing and Mick Fleetwood’s civilian marriage was disintegrating, too. Long before bloggers began parsing insinuating lyrics from Taylor Swift and others who’ve passed through her orbit, there was perverse sport in scrutinizing the wistful, wounded or prickly lines in Fleetwood Mac songs, not to mention group members’ on-the-record comments and on-stage interactions, for evidence of unresolved conflict.
No such history hangs over the pairing of Buckingham and Christine McVie, he a famously exacting guitarist and producer, she a blues-schooled keyboardist, and each of them singers and songwriters responsible for significant chunks of their band’s discography. Over the decades they’ve ventured into a handful of direct collaborations, but they haven’t truly explored the potential of their partnership until now. Their album features most of the band’s classic lineup (notably, minus Nicks), but gets its identity from ideas generated within the closed circuit of the duo; all of the songs are credited to Buckingham, McVie or both. Continue reading
Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie ****
Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie
EAST WEST. CD/DL
Fleetwood Mac’s new not-quite Fleetwood Mac album
The party line is that Stevie Nicks’ solo commitments have forced Fleetwood Mac to put their next album on hold. But as the recent Tango In The Night reissue proved, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie were often the band’s great unsung partnership.
Confusingly, this duets album also includes bass guitarist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood, making it essentially Fleetwood Mac, minus Nicks.
McVie brings the sing-song pop (Feel About You, Red Sun) and the slightly cloying Game Of Pretend; Buckingham, the whispered vocals and fingernail-splitting guitar solos on Sleeping Around The Corner and Love Is Here To Stay, plus the album’s best song: the nagging and melancholy In My World.
Does it miss Stevie Nicks? Yes, just as the last Fleetwood Mac album, 2003’s Say You Will, missed Christine McVie. But until all parties can sync their calen-dars, this will do nicely.
A graduate of Birmingham’s blues clubs, her songwriting and harmonic joy helped make Fleetwood Mac one of the biggest acts in the world. Then, she withdrew. “I just shut myself off,” admits a fully returned Christine McVie.
Interview by ANDREW MALE
Portrait by TOM SHEEHAN
June 2017, MOJO Magazine
I’M SORRY,” SHOUTS CHRISTINE McVIE FROM the kitchen, as she rummages for mugs under the I sink, “it’s a rented flat, and everything’s still in storage.” They’re words that conjure up a cheerless one-bedroom studio with wipe-clean beige walls and collapsed sofa bed, but for Christine McVie, 73-year-old singer-songwriter and on-off veteran of Fleetwood Mac, one of the biggest-selling bands of all time, the flat is a penthouse in Belgravia, decorated with antique Turkish carpets, giant African drums and, hanging in the drawing room, Edward Reginald Frampton’s 1898 Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece, – Saint Cecilia With Angels. “It looks like she’s playing a Hammond B3, doesn’t it?” smiles McVie, pointing at the spinet in the painting, a nod to her own early years, when as art student Christine Perfect she played keyboards in late-’60s Brummie blues outfits Sounds Of Blue and Chicken Shack.
Today, McVie’s look is a designer variant on Brumbeat beatnik; grown-out blonde bob, blue jeans, white T-shirt and black leather jacket, and her Smethwick drawl is still audible beneath a warm, measured voice with the same low blue tones that have coloured such soulful Mac belters down the years as Say You Love Me, Don’t Stop and Little Lies.
Indeed, Mac history is all around us, McVie’s walls bedecked with early photos of herself with band founder and drummer Mick Fleetwood, and bassist and one-time husband John McVie. There’s tour posters from the early-’70s Bob Welch years, and a plethora of platinum record updates on the 30-million-plus sales of the band’s 1977 LP Rumours. Recorded with LA conscripts Lindsey Bucking-ham and Stevie Nicks, the album set in motion 20 years of infra-band dance, dalliance and excess, and finally ended for McVie when she walked away from the group in 1998, exhausted and disillusioned, with a dream of living quietly in the Kent countryside.
Today she positively beams when discussing the band, especially her surprise return to the fold at the 02 Arena in September 2013 that led to the On With The Show world tour (“There was nothing bad about that tour. Everything was a joy!”) and the resultant reunion sessions with Buckingham, Fleetwood and McVie that have resulted in a buoyant new “duets” album, Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie, recorded in Studio D at Village Recorders in Los Angeles, the same custom-designed annex the Mac had built, at ludicrous expense, for the recording of Tusk, some 39 years ago. “Lindsey gets me,” says McVie, happily, “and I love working with him. As with everything in Fleetwood Mac, it’s chemistry. I feel like I’ve come home. The prodigal daughter returns.”
So, how did Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie come about?
I’d rejoined the band, after being retired for 16 years, and I had a phone call from Lindsey saying, “If you’re going to do that Chris you gotta commit.” He’s very hardline. I said, “I’m committing!” And I did. I worked out, I started writing songs, I sent Lindsey some demos, and he did his magic on them. It never occurred to us anything would happen in terms of an album. Then we thought it was a good way of getting me back into the swing of things for the upcoming Fleetwood Mac tour. We got some studio time, Lindsey brought in some songs he’d recorded with John and Mick a few years back, and before we knew it we had, like, six or seven songs. We shelved them, because we had to rehearse to go on the road, then we just pulled them back out a few months ago and decided to make it a proper duets album.
The soundtrack to the Yuppie era in all its designer-suited finery.
There’s a reason that 1980s nostalgia has never really taken hold, and that’s because the 1980s generally sucked. Sure, interesting things were happening on the fringes, but mainstream culture was taking the express elevator all the way down to Yuppie Hell. And playing through the speakers in that elevator was Tango In The Night.
With 1977’s Rumours, Fleetwood Mac had accidentally invented the 80s in all its self-absorbed cocaine glory three years early. A decade on, the pharmaceutical vitality which gave that album its spirit had given way to the hollow-souled, million-dollar chintz of Tango In The Night. That it sold by the truckload tells you all you need to know about 1987.
This 30th-anniversary ‘deluxe’ edition is the musical equivalent of digging up a Blue Peter time capsule and finding the films of Sylvester Stallone on VHS. In both cases, you can’t help thinking: “Did people really like that shit?” As with Rocky IV and Rambo, Fleetwood Mac’s 14th album has not aged well. The twinkling keyboards and electronic drums that cling to Everywhere and Little Lies like an Exxon Valdez oil slick may have been state of the art in 1987, but then so was the Sinclair C5.
But the production isn’t the biggest problem here — the songs are. Whatever magic Mac once possessed had long since been dispelled by time and internal psychodramas. Lindsey Buckingham would once have dismissed Family Man and You And I, Part II for being too trite, Christine McVie’s Mystified is barely a breath away from lift music, while Stevie Nicks’ increasingly strangulated warbling has the emotional resonance of a goat being strangled by a goose.
Entitled simply Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie, the 10-track album will come out on 9 June and will be followed by a US tour.
Members of rock group Fleetwood Mac have announced a new album that will bring together all of the classic lineup – minus Stevie Nicks.
Entitled simply Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie, the 10-track album will be the first for the band’s guitarist and keyboardist as a duo.
Christine McVie, who stayed out of the spotlight for years, rejoined Fleetwood Mac for a 2014-15 global tour alongside Buckingham.
The pair said in a statement that the two started working on new material when McVie joined rehearsals for the tour and “their natural creative chemistry was reignited”.
Drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, two of the founding members of the group, joined their bandmates in the studio in Los Angeles – but not Nicks. Continue reading
March 31 2017, 12:01am,
Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 masterpiece, Rumours, is remembered as the ultimate cocaine album, but the warring superstar rockers saved the real excesses for ten years later. Tango in the Night is the last word in sophisticated, expensively produced soft rock, with such FM radio classics as Christine McVie’s Everywhere and Lindsey Buckingham’s Big Love sounding as if they were made for driving your Ferrari down Sunset Strip to.
The songs were, however, born of total chaos. The bassist John McVie was drinking himself into a stupor; Stevie Nicks, busy swapping cocaine for the damaging tranquilliser Klonopin, while also building up her now successful solo career, rarely turned up at the studio. The whole thing came to an end when guitarist Buckingham announced he was leaving the band, reportedly leading to an ugly physical confrontation between him and his former girlfriend Nicks.
All these years later the album seems less like a soundtrack to a designer lifestyle and more a portrait of collapse. Nicks’s little-girl-gone-to-seed croak on the ballad When I See You Again is heartbreaking, and the evergreen synthesizer pop of McVie’s Little Lies smoothes over words about refusing to face up to reality, something the band members appear to have been quite good at.
On this three-disc set not all of the alternative versions are strictly necessary, and Buckingham’s comedy voices on Family Man are as dated as a piano necktie, but for the most part the quintessential Eighties album has ended up being far more profound and enduring than anyone could have predicted. (Warner Bros)