National Music Writer, News Corp Australia Network
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.
The unmistakeable groove of the Mac’s rhythm section of drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie is present and the distinctive voices of Buckingham and McVie blend as they always have in unique harmony.
The Buckingham and McVie record began as a tentative experiment to test the bonds — creative and personal — between the Mac’s guitarist and keyboardist as she rejoined the pop rock survivors after a 16-year absence.
McVie quit the Mac in 1998. Her father was ill, she had developed a fear of flying and could no longer live with the threat of Los Angeles’ earthquakes so returned to live in rural England.
Consequently she was musically out of shape when she reached out to Fleetwood to canvas a return to music and the band.
Before the reunited classic line-up headed out on the On With the Show tour in 2014, Buckingham and McVie convened at the Village Studios in LA where the Mac had made Tusk back in 1979.
“It didn’t really start off to be an album,” McVie says.
“Lindsey wanted to reconnect properly after my absence of so many years, so just prior to that long Fleetwood Mac tour we went into the studio for a week or so.
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“For the first couple of days, there were slight nerves … we were testing our musical bond, which could have been non-existent after so long, but it was stronger than ever and by the end of the week, we had six tracks.”
Buckingham enlisted his other Mac band mates to help flesh out his own song ideas and the demos McVie had been working on since her last solo album was released.
During her semi-retirement from music, McVie had released just one album in 2004 called In the Meantime, a collaboration with her guitarist nephew Dan Perfect.
“The title came from the idea that in the meantime I am doing this and Fleetwood Mac are doing that,” she says, chuckling.
“I made that one album in my house with my nephew, who is a great guitarist and lyricist and very handy with the ProTools.
“Of course because of my fear of flying, I didn’t really want to go on the road with it. The 10 people who bought it liked it very much.”
After the On With the Show tour finished, Buckingham wanted to revisit the songs. Speculation was rampant there was a new Fleetwood Mac album in the making.
But Nicks was committed elsewhere and seemed reluctant to invest the time and emotional energy to complete their first Mac record since 2003’s Say You Will.
Instead, she went her own way; recording her 24 Karat Gold album when her band mates started their studio sessions in LA and then out on tour when they finished the recordings late last year.
“When we revisited the songs at the end of last year, we asked the question why don’t we make it a record? And when we finished it, the question was ‘Why haven’t done it before?’ Don’t ask me,” McVie says.
The title of the duo record, Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie also conjures memories of the Buckingham Nicks album which was released in 1973, the year before the pair joined Fleetwood Mac.
The tracks alternate between each taking the lead vocal. That was a coincidence according to McVie.
The theme of most of her songs, both her co-writes with her Mac mate and solo composition is unrequited love, a timeworn subject for the author of such Mac classics as Don’t Stop, You Make Loving Fun, Say You Love Me, Songbird, Think About Me and Hold Me.
“That’s what I write about,” she says. “I have been doing it for a long time, I am a professional when it comes to writing about unrequited love, that man across the room you will never obtain or the guy who left you. But I do write some genuine love songs too.”
When asked if writing about this particular subject is exorcising her own demons, the musician is stumped. She split from first husband John McVie in 1976, became engaged to Beach Boy Dennis Wilson but broke up before his death in 1983 and then married her second husband, keyboardist Eddy Quintela in 1986 with the pair calling it quits in the mid 1990s.
“I suppose (writing) is cathartic, I haven’t really thought about it. I am very happy in my life now,” she says.
McVie conquered her fear of flying by deciding to visit Fleetwood at his home in Maui and has now embraced all the things which prompted her to quit the band. With the benefit of hindsight, she believes those 16 years away from her “family” as the “wrong move”.
“I do kinda embrace it all now and these days, we have people to help us do it properly. And for me, it’s way better than sitting in a country estate isolated from the world,” she says, hinting at the depression which shrouded that time when she was alone.
“After I rejoined what I should never left, I love the travel, I love the shows, I love being in this group.”
While Buckingham and McVie will tour their duets record for five weeks in the US, there are no plans to bring the show to Australia.
We will simply have to wait until they reveal details on the Fleetwood Mac world tour planned for next year, which many believe will be their farewell lap of the planet.
Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie (Warner) out tomorrow
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