Q&A Sessions
Bob Weston: August 4 - 17, 2003
Page 3

Greetings Bob,

Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions from the FM Legion of fans. I am thrilled to see that you have new material out (only sorry I missed out on the autographed copies!:) and I can't wait to hear it.

I've been co-hosting a Fleetwood Mac Marathon (All day of FM + solo artists etc) at 88.3FM The Sting for about three years now, and all the time the same questions came up - What ever happened to....? Just a few from me then -

1) When you DO tour:), would you cover any of your FM period material? 2) Did you have anything to do with the CHAIN box - in any capacity? 3) In a "perfect world" - would you be willing to play on a track with "all" the members of FM? How bout a tour with Billy Burnette, Rick Vito, you and Bob W.?! 4) Any touring memories of Cleveland? 5) I think you should be included in the RRHOF - as the Rolling Stones and Greatful Dead have included "non-original" members in thier class - any thoughts?

Many thanks - and we'll "see" you on the airwaves this summer. (Todd Richards, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)

Hi Todd,

Panic ye not - there's a second batch of (autographed) CDs in preparation, prior to an official release in the New Year.

Q1: Re FM material: I might do a few early Greeny ones, as they're so cool to play, and classics in their own right.

Q2: Re the Chain box set: I think I must have had something to do with it, as I get a royalty cheque from Warners every once in a while :). Wasn't "Forever" on there?

Q3: In a perfect world, it'd be fantastic to play with the band at large, before it's all too late.

Q4: I answered just now that touring is all a blur... not much time to absorb the scenery.

Q5: Any recognition is welcome, especially in this business; the wilderness can be rather cold. But once again, what is the RRHOF? I'm not sure what it is - is there any money in it? :) Does it matter? What's more important to me is my music reaching the audience.

Talking of which, any chance of a spin on your station? Thanks in advance :).

Hi again Bob+Penguin! I forgot one - What's your favorite song on the new Robbie Robertson "Contact From The Underworld Of Redboy"? - I think the album is fantastic! (Todd Richards, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)

Hi again Todd,

Tracks 4, 7, 8 and 9 - can't remember the titles - are really grabbing my attention. But this album has so much content and depth my preferences are beginning to change. Overall, it's just a marvellous piece of work.

Well, I just wanted to let you know that I got your new cd and have played it three times since yesterday. I love it...especially, "There's a Heaven Above," "Letting Go,"(Love, love, love that)and "All the Love in the World." It really is a beautiful recording.

When you plan a recording, do you try to choose a general theme for trying to summarize a whole section of your life in one work, or is it a more random process? I'm always interested in the creative process of, can you give us a little insight into yours?

Thank you again for this lovely cd! (Regina, Bronx, New York, USA)

Hi Regina,

Here I am sitting in Hove (Brighton), England - I just think it's amazing that's someone's sitting in New York enjoying my new CD! I'm really glad you're enjoying it.

Yes, I suppose one does try to create a general thread throughout the work. I don't consciously try to summarise where my life is, at that particular junction; although I sometimes notice in retrospect that I have done - an unconscious expression. The random does come into the equation, but does require a certain manipulation/control; it's a bit of both. The ideal, I've noticed, is when the mind is free of all the garbage, an empty moment, ideal for filling. In fact this is particularly relevant to "Letting Go", which came in such a moment. Perhaps the title is appropriate!

I hope the rest of the Bronx enjoys the CD as much as you - play it loud!

Hi Bob, How would you describe playing guitar with Bob Welch ? Was it fun ? (Warren Rutledge, Huntsville, Alabama, USA)

Hi Warren,

It's always fun playing with Bob. His ideas are always stimulating. Playing guitar with him is fun as well :).

The thing I like is that he allows you to take his ideas and run with them. Some writers are possessive of an idea; he's quite the opposite and welcomes creative input.

Hi Bob, on your latest cd, you and Max Middleton create a sound that really works well. Are you working with him again on your new songs? I too would like to see what you and Bob Welch would produce. One last question, is the new cd you are currently working on as eclectic as the one you just released or does it tend to be more focused in a musical style? Thanks for sharing your great talents and I am looking forward to your future endeavors. (Carl Swift, Sierra Madre, California, USA)

Hi Carl,

Right now I'm in writing mode; questions re recording will be easier to answer when I get into that mode. But yes, I think it's 99% certain that Max will be involved; we've worked so much together over the years, it would be odd not to include him.

So far the music for the new CD is simply presenting itself; I'm almost sitting back and watching it develop. It's too early to take control of its potential nature. So - watch this space.

I look forward to your reviews of my future endeavours :).

Hi, Bob.

1) What was it like working with Sandy Denny?

2) How did you come to know her? Did you know her well?

3) Did you tour with her?

4) Is there a fond memory you have of her you can share?

Thanks! (Tim Bucci, Springfield, Illinois, USA)

Hi Tim,

Please see my previous answer for detail on the Sandy Denny question. Perhaps a footnote in passing: I came to know her via the recording session scene in London. She came to hear about my work, and simply approached me and asked if I'd play guitar on her sessions. I didn't know her well, but it didn't take long to realise what a charming person she was. And of course a very fine singer. I didn't tour with her, as she died soon after the sessions I mentioned.

Hi Mr. Weston! I'm glad your latest CD is a hit! I noticed in one of your responses you mentioned you met Billy Burnette. Have you ever worked with him (either with Fleetwood Mac or on a solo project?) What was he like? (Michele Mategrano, Burbank, Illinois, USA)

Hello Ms Mategrano :),

I love your optimism re the CD! No, I've never worked with Billy Burnette; just in passing we would jam at Christine's from time to time. I didn't know him well enough to comment on his persona. Sorry I can't be more informative.

Hello again Bob. First off I would like to complement you on your new CD. It is truly beautiful music; in my world it would be required listening. :-) I've been thinking of the reasons I stated playing guitar back in the stone age. It's a long story. I won't bore you with the details, but it leads me to my first question. Why did you start playing quitar in the first place? How old were you when you started? Lastly, I would like to know how you approach song writing. If you will, could you discuss your creative process? Thanks a lot! Have a wonderful holiday season! God Bless! (Russell B. Wright, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)

Hi Russell,

Thanks very much for the comments on the CD. I'm really pleased you're enjoying it.

I started playing guitar when I was 12. The guitar was becoming the spearhead of a cultural revolution in music at that time. Before that it was boring trumpets (as distinct from e.g. Miles); the guitar took over for sure here in the UK, and I think in the US too. We had the Shadows; you had Santo and Johnny, the Ventures etc; all-guitar instrumental bands. Like a lot of other kids I just fell in love with the electric guitar - when I saw and heard a Fender Stratocaster for the first time I was hooked.

At the risk of being elusive I'd rather refer you to a previous response on my writing process - which I feel answers your question completely.

Have a great holiday season yourself!

Hi again, Bob! I've gotten the new album in the mail, and I love it! Very eclectic. And I know you're dying to talk about it, so I'll give you a good doozy of a question: What were the inspirations of each of the non-instrumental songs? I know that's a pretty loaded question, but I'd love to know! Also, have you gone back and looked at Bob Welch's Q&A, re: Q6 of my last writing to you? Thanks for your time, Bob! (Jim Wagner, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA)

Hi again Jim,

The opening track, "There's a Heaven", was inspired by some personal trauma my sister had to go through a while ago, which is reflected in the lyrics - as you no doubt appreciate, life isn't always a bowl of cherries :). "Letting Go" was another example of personal experience, which I directly interpreted to song - somehow I find it cathartic to put on paper what initially is an abstract emotion, be it good or bad. The other tracks - some songs are pure fantasy; rather like being a story teller, creating characters that can be whatever you want them to be.

I'm afraid my schedules have been so pressing in the last month I've hardly had the time to read a newspaper, let alone Bob Welch's War and Peace :). (And quel peace!) I'll try to respond before the end of the Q&A.

I was wondering if you remember the song "Forever"? I noticed that you, Bob Welch and John McVie wrote it. Was the drum sound on that track a drum machine? If so, what model and make was it? What do you remember about writing that song? Thinking back to the Bob Welch Live at the Roxy show, Why did Mick not perform with you on "Remember Me"? Oh, and by the way, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family and to Bob Welch Too!! (Tom Kirby, Roswell, New Mexico, USA)

Hi Tom,

Re "Forever": it is a drum machine - if memory serves, if was one of the more up-market models, called a "Beverley". In fact I'd really like to find one now; that retro sound can be kinda stimulating when writing and recording :).

I remember that John and I developed the basic riffs to the song, and couldn't quite get it to arrive at its final point; so we called in the Wizard Welch who did the business. He was great like that; he could always pull something out of the fire, which otherwise might have turned to ashes.

If Mick didn't play drums on the Roxy show, who did??? The question was a surprise - I thought he had, but maybe I'm losing it :).

Thanks for the kind felicitations!

Hi again, Bob. I've spent the last week or so listening to THERE'S A HEAVEN and I really enjoy it. There is some really interesting stuff on there and it's really cool to have "reconnected" with you (on a listening level) after having only two albums (PENGUIN and MYSTERY TO ME) -- both of which I've enjoy tremendously for the last 25 years and both of which benefitted mightily from your input. Anyway, I'm glad for something new from you. I really dig the tabla and acoustic stuff on the album and someone should get the title song to Annie Lennox right away. Your singing is really nice as well. There's a lot opf soul on your album. Here's my question, apropos of a vibe I get from your new CD: Do you like Ry Cooder's playing? Although you and he have different styles, I'm picking up on something similar in the slide/bottleneck playing. Maybe it's just the mic technique -- anything to that? Anyway, I dig THERE'S A HEAVEN and I'm looking forward to hearing what you do next. Thanks Bob. (Rock Stamberg, Riverside, Connecticut, USA)

Hi Rock,

I'm very pleased you're enjoying the CD, and I'm determined it won't be another 25 years before you hear the next one :). We're aiming for a follow-up sometime within the next year.

Of course Ry Cooder is The Man on slide. And straight guitar, come to that. David Lindley is another wiz. Roy Rogers, Sonny Landreth... one could go on and on. As far as influence - blimey - it's impossible to create in a vacuum, so one is constantly picking up and gleaning bits and pieces everywhere. To go right back to the root, I'll mention one man's name: Lowell George. As a footnote, it seems Bonnie Raitt carries the torch eloquently from him. What a great player she is.

I found your Annie Lennox comment interesting; I can hear that quite easily. Who knows...?

Django (presumably of the Reinhardt (?) variety) keeps coming up here...Rick Vito mentioned a liking, Lindsey B cites some reference, and the Mavericks also express interest...could you identify a handful of 'definitive' tracks or albums that you'd often go back to? just curious ;) hope Santa's kind to yer. (Fred Coppie, Pica, Cumbria, United Kingdom)

Hi Fred,

Are you sure "Pica" is in the UK?? Sounds suspiciously American to me.... :)

As for Django's albums, not really - they release and re-release so many of his works it's hard to keep track (haha). Specific tracks for me are primarily: "Mystery Pacific", rather like Hendrix on acoustic, especially the end section; "Nuages" of course, one of his classics; "Vipers Dream"; "Two tickets / Deux billets"; just to mention a few.

All the best!

Me again! Stupid throwaway question: I was just looking at your signature on my copy of the new album. Are you left-handed?

And a real question: What is your songwriting process like when writing instrumentals? Do they usually come out of you just fooling around on the guitar and coming up with some sounds that you like, or are there usually emotional drives behind them? (Jim Wagner, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA)

Hi again Jim,

I had to laugh; I'm impressed with your observation - alimentary, my dear Watson! I am left-handed, but hasten to add I play guitar right-handed. I don't know why :).

Re instrumentals: usually it's a seed of inspiration, often very little, then the work comes in, moulding it into some shape or form until I'm genuinely satisfied - one knows when it's cooked. The initial seed quite often comes from playing around with some little melody or a riff, and then applying the emotional drives to that. As an abstract question it's quite difficult to put it into 3-dimensional terms; I hope this answer will do.

Hi Bob, I have never heard any material from being as your past albums are obsolete where I live. Anyway, besides Mystery To Me's 'Forever' I've never heard you actually sing before. Your album is indeed a surprise and fantastic, I personally flipped at the overall compatiblities of the different cultures of music blended. No question, just wanted to let you know that my first listen to one of your own album's was definitely worth it. If you get a chance, read my review that I submitted the Penguin, I explain a lot more. Thanks for the Q&A. (Jeff Baer, Thorofare, New Jersey, USA)

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for your review. I found the comparisons intriguing; I always find it surprising when my music is reviewed from another's perspective. Glad you enjoy the vocals! I'm also pleased you found it culturally compatible :) Thanks again.

Bob.....RE the "ice cream van".... Did I ever give you a ride in that thing? The worst thing about it was it had a hole in the muffler, and a hole in the floorboard which let exhaust gas into the cab. I had to drive to London and back with my head out the window to keep from passing out ! Also, I played your new CD last nite...excellent stuff Boob, maybe my favorite record this to "Bob Welch Looks At Bop " ! ;-) of course.Very atmospheric indeed dahling ! (Bob Welch, "Naish-Veal", Tennessee)

Hi Bob!

No, I didn't get a ride in the ice cream van :(... it was easier to take the train from Haslemere! I always thought you were a bit spaced after a drive in that vehicle... :). Or was it the ice cream??? hmmm...

Just been playing "Looks at Bop" - it's a really "cool" CD, it's gonna take a lot of listens as there's so much content to absorb. Initial impressions: love the guitar; the CD is again very atmospheric/modern... Enjoyed the lyric on "Hustler" :). I'll be playing it a lot over Xmas. Hopefully talk more in the Noo Year.

Hi thank you for doing this Q and A. When you were in Long John Baldrey's band, what other musicians did you work with? What do you think of the Bare Trees album? Do you play any other instruments besides guitar? Thank you. (Edna, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

Hi Edna,

Re Baldry: the main musician that springs to mind was Baldry's piano player for many years, indeed from the Steampacket days with Rod Stewart; a Scotsman named Ian Armitt. As for the others - there was a constant stream of talent that came through that school of music; rather like Alexis Korner, another granddaddy of British blues, Baldry had a knack of developing as yet undiscovered but talented players. As an example, young Rod Stewart, as I mentioned above.

Re Bare Trees: not my favourite FM album; very well played, but a trifle too melancholic for my taste.

Re other instruments: a little banjo, harmonica, autoharp, and a very little piano (6" tall).

Greeting Sir Robert.

1. Any chance of a bare bones disc just you and your axe and your vocals?

2.If Max does a cd or Lianne, please post it-- they are both wonderful.

3.Why don't most English fans like the post green mac.(the yank welch )....

4.What your take on the time mac of Bramlett, Mason, Burnette-- ever hear them?

5.Keep the music playing!!!

Thanks BOB. (Bill Seamans, Buffalo, Minnesota, USA)

Hi again Bill,

Sir Robert, huh? I must have slept through the New Year's Honours List... Nevertheless it has a certain ring to it :).

Q1: Bare bones: yeah, there's every chance of a bare bones disc. Not sure where/when, but it's a good plan.

Q2: Max & Lianne: I'll let you know as soon as I know. No plans for the moment that I know of.

Q3: I'm not aware that English fans have rebuffed the post-Green Mac. It's my impression that they've sold rather well over the years in the UK.

Q4: Bramlett/Mason/Burnette Mac: never really got into them, thought there were too many guitars, saying too little... since you asked!

Q5: You betcha!

Hi, Bob! Thank you so much for doing this! I am in my mid-20's and discovered FM about ten years ago, long after your tenure ended. Because of that and the fact that you have not released much material, you have always been a mystery to me (no pun intended). Your new CD is amazing and gets better the more familiar I get with it, and it sheds light on who you are. I look forward to more in the future.

Regarding your work with FM, I consider Penguin and Mystery To Me classic albums in their own ways, and they include some of the most interesting Mac music. Gems like "Caught in the Rain" and your acoustic work on Christine's "The Way I Feel" and "Why" stand out to me especially.

Mac fans have been so lucky in the last couple years, starting with the "reunion," Stevie's boxed set, Peter's comeback, and new CD's by Rick, Dave Mason, Welch, Billy, and you. Thank you for coming back into our lives! Good luck to you! (Jonathan Donahue, New York City, New York, USA)

Hi Jonathan,

It gives me a lot of joy to hear that my work has been appreciated to such a degree. Thanks for your comments. Here's to the future then!

Hi Bob. Thanks for doing this, its really interesting. My question is after the huge success of the Rumours incarnation of Fleetwood Mac, did you notice a large increase in your royalty cheques as people started to discover and purchase earlier mac albums that you played on? Were you able to live off the money you made with the Mac or did you have to get a job or anything like that at any point? (god forbid!) Thanks in advance! (The Nepotist, Toronto, Canada)

Hi Mr Nepotist,

Re royalties after Rumours: no, it didn't affect me directly. There was more of an increase when all the FM material was transferred to CD. Re your other question: I've always been fortunate enough to make a living as a working musician; quite an achievement in itself, I guess.

Bob Weston has provided closing comments to us as an audio clip!

MP3 Clip

Also from Bob Weston:

I'd like to thank my agent, my bank manager, my chiropodist, my counsellor.... But seriously, thank you all for your very keen and welcome interest in my latest project "There's a Heaven". I was a little bit nervous awaiting the first reviews; you never know if it's going to be a "stiff" :). But your warm and constructive comments have allayed any fears of that. I look forward to its full launch early in the New Year, encouraged by the response it's had so far.

All the best,

Bob Weston

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