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Q&A Sessions
Ken Caillat: August 2 - 15, 2001
Page 6


On the Tusk Album, I heard the song Sara was edited; I think it was originally 15 minutes long?? How did Stevie feel about this?? (Anonymous, New York, New York, USA)
I think I answered this already, Stevie knew her song needed to be edited down. Remember, this is her businesss, and the shorter a song is the more she can put on an album and the more $$$ she makes.

Ken: from the sound of it, you've got your hands on a lot of archival material that you or Warners don't think would be worth a commercial release, and you're probably right. However, what about releasing some of this music to us fans in a noncommercial way? For example, Pete Townshend has posted quite a few demos and live cuts in mp3 form on his website (www.petetownshend.com) over the past year and a half. Might you consider doing something like this on The Penguin or another website? Also, let me be another person to go on record saying I would love to see Christine involved with the band in a studio-only capacity if she would be willing. Thanks again for your time! (Jim Wagner, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA)
Pete Townshend may have bought back his masters from the label, but as long as Warners owns them they won't give them away! But maybe if our friend John gets a job at Warners'?

Ken, you're a prince for doing this. I love the pic of you and your wife, you were VERY cute way back when (so was your wife, and you still are). Rumours has been my favorite album since I was 15 and was the first album I ever bought, way back in 1977. I played guitar back then, and recently started playing again. And since I am retraining my ear, I've been hearing more and more stuff, I'm like, wow listen to that guitar part, I never heard that before. Can't wait to get the DVD.

My question is how much of the demo is on the album? Did they play it again or did you use the demo tape and put parts into/onto it? Forgive my ignorance, I don't know much about recording. (JoJo, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA)
I think I used 3 or 4 of the demos on the DVD, I used the original demo tapes, cassettes, etc. Thanks for the compliments, getting older sucks!

Ken, from reading this Q&A session, you said it was 'the sound' you focused on when at the desk. In regards to Lindsey, after The Rumours album, he changed the guitar he played the most (or live anyway) from the white Gibson Les Paul to the Turner SG. How do you think that affected the sound he got from his playing? Do you think it did? It appears his guitar on the albums are not as clear as after Rumours? Also his voice appeared to get deeper (deliberately??) at this time. I contend his best vocal work was on The White Album & Rumours (ie, GYOW & Monday Morning); would you agree with this? As for the vote...no contest , please do The White Album to the DVD-Audio..it is no contest. Cheers. (Scott Young, Sydney, NSW, Australia)
No, I don't think the different guitar affected the sound, not the way you're thinking, I think his style changed...he wanted a more "aggressive sound" because I think he became more aggressive (probably from frustration). Yes I think his best vocal work was on the earlier albums, probably because his vocal chords weren't so stressed (same problem as above).

Question about the song Rhiannon. I always thought the difference between the studio version and the Live version of that song was breath taking to say the least. How did this change come about, was it altered during the rehearsals?? Can you give any details and experience's about when you first saw it done live, and your impressions. Also you mentioned there were around 10 shows recorded for every tour, does this include the White album tour? (Anonymous, New York, New York)
I think the whole experience for the band during the white album was different, they were new to the band, and recordings often are just a "snapshot" of how they felt then. When they started playing together live they discovered their real potential, that's the great thing about playing live, you just "let it go" and feel the audience reaction. No, I don't think the white album tour was recorded as often, because I wasn't there, and the label didn't know how the album was going to do.

I wish to comment on several things I have read in this Q&A forum...but first what an informative forum it is...thanks to you. I must say that Lindsey doesn't seem to know when to say a project is done. Is he ever really musically satisfied? We get teased with solo projects and then he decides to go into the studio as the Mac. Stevie has always said this about him. I also believe that Lindsey and Stevie brought the talent and drama that made the Mac the fame it achieved. I also think that too much is made of the drug scene of the 70's. As someone who was a young adult during that time...as Lindsey has said...it was just part of the times. Drugs were everywhere..especially for those that had the money to support it.


As for the new album being worked on as we speak....yes, the word is that Christine will not go back in the studio or tour....and the word on the Stevie and Sheryl Crow web sites is that there is serious talk of Sheryl Crow participating in the project in some capacity. I am a huge FM fan and huger Stevie fan....but I just cannot fathom the Sheryl addition. It just wouldn't be the Mac. It would be the Mac with guest Sheryl. Is this a trend for the older bands to include new blood....why mess with a good thing? Would love your response....thanks. (Deb Tighe, Monson, Massachusetts, USA)
Who's to say if it is a good idea or not? I'm sure when Stevie and Lindsey were brought in the band was essentially coming out of the blues era and I'm sure their fans would have voted no, if they had the opportunity. And as it turns out, it was a genius move by Mick, et al. I suggest we all sit and have faith the Mac will do the right thing and won't let us down....

Got my copy of Rumours at age 12 and it lept out of my speakers like a mastertape. Amazing work. I thought the band was in the room with me ( no small task on a $50 stereo ). Tusk blew my mind too - it's my favorite album of all time. Thanks for the great work. I read a long time ago that the band liked to get as much "information" on tape and then start honing things. I have tapes of rough mixes of most of the albums you worked on and there is clearly some searching going on. Was the need to keep recording and searching mostly Lindsey's influence or was this a feature of the Caillat/Dashut/Mac team? Many thanks - you are being great with the questions. (Chris Houston, Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
I'm not sure what you mean. We used to record the effects when we recorded the instruments. We never waited to hone things. We always tried to make our decisions ahead of time, including combining all the vocal, and solos...that is what Caillat liked to do.

Hello there! Like everyone else, let me thank you right off the bat for doing this - you are a real sweetheart! I have two questions:

1) You (and everyone else!) think Silver Springs is a great song - and indeed it is. I didn't know who or what a Fleetwood Mac was until 1997 when I heard Silver Springs on the radio and decided to check this group out. (I was born in 1974 and my favorite album at the time of Rumours was the soundtrack to the Muppet Movie). At any rate, once I bought the Dance, I became a frightening rabid fan and have contributed heavily to Lindsey's sh*tload of money that you referred to earlier! My first question (bet you thought I'd forgotten!) is: was "Silver Springs" ever in the running to go on a subsequent album? After all, wasn't "That's Alright" pulled out of the reject pile for "Mirage"? Why wasn't "Silver Springs"? (Nancy Kerns, Houston, Texas, USA)
No, Silver Spings was never considered for another album. Since it had been recorded and Stevie loved that version. That's Alright never was finished during Rumours she pulled it out of consideration.

Since you've produced FM albums in concert with Richard Dashut and Lindsey Buckingham, I'm curious as to how decisions got made. While it's obvious that too many cooks didn't spoil the pot, surely conflicts must have arisen occasionally over the material. Were responsibilities divvied up somehow? When agreement couldn't be reached, was there a pecking order of some kind? (Nancy Kerns, Houston, Texas, USA)
It was pretty easy, generally-- the one with the idea got listened to. It was a very co- operative atmosphere. But let's face it if it had to come down to it, Lindsey got the extra vote. Remember, Richard and I weren't actually hired as producers originally, we kind of earned the position thru our contributions.
I was surprised by an answer you gave a while back regarding some missing lyrics, where you said "Perhaps the lyrics were too personal for Lindsey". How much input did one member of the band have on another member's lyrics? Could Lindsey veto a lyric of Stevie's he found offensive, or vice versa? Or was it just a "Could you pretty please not sing that?" If indeed lyrics were edited for that reason, could you reach back in your memory and give a couple of examples? Seeing as how the finished product isn't exactly all sugar and candy, it would definitely be interesting to hear what a couple of those edited-out lines were!

Well, that's it for now...again, thanks so much - and if you ever come to Houston and get really bored, I've got Tetris! :-) (Nancy Kerns, Houston, Texas, USA) 

Remember this is one big family, and you can imagine if one family member doesn't get their way they can become "very cold" or very uncooperative. Sometimes you could cut the air with a knife! I' m sure that "pretty please" was never used. But in saying that I don't think that occurred very much. Steve's lyrics were edited routinely and not because anyone was offended, but rather to shorten the song. I think what I was talking about was some talking during the intro of her song, and I probably just muted that track until the actual start of the lyrics, nothing sinister.

In "The Making Of Rumours" video there is seperate footage of both you and Lindsey at the control panel of an enormous console with dozens and dozens of buttons and knobs. How do you remember what part of the track is on each button or knob so you can access it easily? Do you load the individual tracks somewhere and is this done song by song, or is the console capable of holding dozens of individual parts from many songs? Once you've mixed or combined different parts of a track - is that stored somewhere else and do you name it something so you can remember what guitar part and what vocal was mixed on that version?

Remember this is one big family, and you can imagine if one family member doesn't get their way they can become "very cold" or very uncooperative. Sometimes you could cut the air with a knife! I' m sure that "pretty please" was never used. But in saying that I don't think that occurred very much. Steve's lyrics were edited routinely and not because anyone was offended, but rather to shorten the song. I think what I was talking about was some talking during the intro of her song, and I probably just muted that track until the actual start of the lyrics, nothing sinister.

In "The Making Of Rumours" video there is seperate footage of both you and Lindsey at the control panel of an enormous console with dozens and dozens of buttons and knobs. How do you remember what part of the track is on each button or knob so you can access it easily? Do you load the individual tracks somewhere and is this done song by song, or is the console capable of holding dozens of individual parts from many songs? Once you've mixed or combined different parts of a track - is that stored somewhere else and do you name it something so you can remember what guitar part and what vocal was mixed on that version?

FM records so many vocal and instrumental parts with such subtle differences, then manipulates and layers many of these individual vocals and instrumentals, I've wondered how you keep track of the slightly different versions and find something that your looking for after working on a song for days/weeks/months.

I realize it must be complicated and difficult to explain in this format - I would appreciate it if you could give us an overview of how the console works and answer any of the questions I asked. Also - how has the process changed since recording Rumours, when everything was manual. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all of our detailed questions:) (Ava, New York, New York) 
Each of the knobs on a console are actually set up in rows. Usually at the bottom is a sliding volume control called a "fader" and above that bass and treble controls and then echo effects controls and then panning controls which I would use to position a sound somewhere between the stereo speakers. When we record, we record to 24 track tape which runs along to record each microphone, the bass, each of the drum tracks, guitars, pianos' and the vocals. We keep track of what is recorded where by the track sheet which our assistant engineer keeps. And on the console, we use....masking tape to write down what that channel has on it. The console doesn't hold anything, it just passes the sound thru the console to the speakers, which the engineer plays like an instrument, controlling the volume of each track. Working with the music day after day, it becomes second nature. Today the only difference is that a computer controls the volume and can play it back the same repeatedly.

There has obviously been a lot of chemistry between Stevie and Lindsey over the years. I've seen some video footage from the Rumours tour and it is VERY obvious they were not getting along at all. However, in some of the Tusk tour outtakes, as well as the Mirage era video, they seem to be getting along much better. Stevie herself made a comment once that they never really broke up until Lindsey left the band in 1987. Inquiring minds want to know... did they really totally break up in 1976 or was their romance on and off over the years? Thanks for doing this Q&A Ken. (FMFan, Palo Alto, California, USA)
I'll go with whatever she said, but it didn't look that way to me.

Hi Ken. Having read various interviews with Lindsey Buckingham, he says that many of the tracks on Tusk sound as if they could be solo tracks of his. My question is, are their any tracks of his on Tusk that are pure Lindsey, and that none of the band, even Mick and John, are involved on? One in particular, The Ledge, which is a wild song for Fleetwood Mac, sounds as if Stevie and CHris aren't singing on it. Are they? Thanks again, Ken, for your time. (Brian Skeggs, Nashville, Tennessee, USA) 
Many of the songs that sound like they were recorded in a garage, or a bathroom, would have been Lindsey originals. Regarding the Ledge, maybe background vocals? But possibly not.

Hello again Ken, hope you are well. Rub some heat lotion on to your aching fingers! You are doing a great job keeping up with so many questions. OK here we go...If you could choose to mix any artist's work and in particular a single song into 5.1, who/what would you record? One that I thought might be interesting is Burning Of The Midnight Lamp by Jimi Hendrix. Also, can you tell us a little about John McVie, he seems to be the most enigmatic member of the band and a man the music press seem to almost try not to talk to. In a recent guitar publication in the UK he was voted 3rd best bassist of all time behind Willie Dixon and Tommy Shannon, a great player indeed.

If I could mix any song Id have to go with The Beatles. How about Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark? John, is quiet, an avid boater a devoted father and a great bass player.


Hi Ken! You are pretty amazingly nice taking time to answer all these questions of ours. I would like to know, you mentioned "I'm So Afraid" as being your favourite Lindsey song but don't you find his vocals only got progressively good? I mean- I happen to find rather weak his performance on the original white album. Seems he only really found the voice for it when he did "The Dance". Also, is Stevie crying on "Live's "Landslide"??? WHAT A MOVING PERFORMANCE!!! Thanks Ken, you're the best!!! (Max Comeau, Candiac, Quebec, Canada)
Yes, as I said in a recent question, I didn't do the white album but it seems as though the sessions were rather subdued, compared to the subsequent performances of these songs live!!! I've discussed this with the band and they are just as amazed as everybody else is at what these songs grew up to be. No, I don't think Stevie was crying on Landslide, that's the way her voice growls. Thanks for the questions!!

Were there any particular songs on the Mac albums you worked on that took up a much bigger percentage of your time than the other songs? Did the results justify the extra labor? What, if anything, do you regret doing, or not doing, on any song given your perspective now? (Tom Burk, Pasadena, California, USA) 
I think every song took the same amount of time (and love). You can hear the ones that took extra time, the the ones with lots of colors, like Silver Springs. What do I regret not doing? Writing a couple of song for the album!

Hi Ken! Thanks so much for answering all these questions for us--this has been the most interesting Q & A so far :) Anyways, I know everyone keeps asking about videos and stuff to be released on DVD but I think it would be really cool if they would release something we haven't seen before--or something that we have only seen in bootleg form like the Largo concert where Stevie is wearing jeans from '75 I believe--or the Rosebud concert or Cal Jam II Bob Welch/Stevie footage or something like that. Also, was the concert that they always showed on the Midnight Special recorded in full--that would be cool on DVD too. Okay enough of that! My question is that I'm kind of curious as to how all of Stevie and Fleetwood Mac's demos get leaked to the public?? I know Stevie was very angry at one time for her demos being released as bootlegs--but how do they keep getting "released" now?? I would have thought if she was that angry that she would have somehow done something about it, yet there are brand new demos now all over the place from Trouble in Shangri-La--not to mention the numerous demos from all of her previous solo projects-- so I'm kind of confused. Any thoughts on this?? I LOVE them so I'm not complaining--just curious--thanks! (Amy Green, North Street, Michigan, USA)
I'lll pass your ideas along. Good question, how do Stevie's demos keep getting out? It looks to me like she has a leak in her organization, her group of followers she surrounds herself with, or maybe someone's selling them. I know she is always playing them for everyone!

Hi Ken, First let me thank you for spending the time to talk to us, I have found it extremely interesting and informative so far. As for DVD Audio, I would next choose Mirage or Tango In The Night. However my question is this. When recording a Mac song from the beginning how does it work? I assume the first instance it is piano / guitar and basic voice. What is added next the drum / base or melody, when are back vocals added, what about outside instruments (strings, horns etc) and so on and so on. Basically how do you set up a session from start to finish. Thank you. (Rob Naylor, Liverpool, England, USA) 
I have answered this already, but usually whoever's song is being recorded, is playing their instrument and sings a rough vocal and every one else starts playing along, drums, bass etc. After we get a take that we like, sometimes we'll cut two together to make one, then we'll add the frosting, the colors, usually guitar, and background vocals, then we go in for the final lead vocal and lastly, percussion.

Hi! It's been interesting reading all of your responses! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this! I am a huge fan of Lindsey's. I saw that you said Lindsey has probably "shelved" his solo album and taken some of those songs to go towards the Fleetwood Mac album. I REALLY want to see Lindsey have another solo album, and I know several other fans that would LOVE to hear an album of his solo work. His previous 3 albums are my all time favorites ;)! I am wondering this -- Do you still think there is a possibility we will get this much anticipated solo album from Lindsey? Stevie has said that he has a "double album" worth of songs that he had been working on for his solo album, so do you think it's possible that he will use some towards Fleetwood Mac, but still have his own album as well?? Please let him know that his fans would love to hear another solo album! :) Again, thanks so much for all of your time! (Jessica, St. Louis, Missouri, USA)
Definitely Lindsey will release his solo album. It will be good for his sales if the Mac comes out with a big record,they go on tour, and everyone gets all excited about Lindsey again, and then he'll drop the solo album. I'm sure thats the plan!

Ken, Thanks for your giving Fleetwood Mac fans the chance to reach out and speak to such an important part of the Fleetwood Mac experience. A number of bands, eg ELO, are releasing remasters of their previous albums with additional demos, B-sides, unreleased tracks etc. Is this something you have considered for Fleetwood Mac? Thanks. (Bryan, Ayr, QLD, Australia)
I've discussed this before, if I ran the world, I'd release everything, but its a business for Warner Records and probably what most of you true fans want would not be received that well from the rest of the buying public. In other words, it would probably sell less that 100,000 units, a failure in record company terms. Now that's where my company is different, we're small and caring and 100,000 units would make us very happy. I hope I've answered your question. Thank you

Hi for the last time Ken! Does someone in the band still have the original crystal ball from the Rumours album cover? Was it the same crystal ball used on The Dance album? (Brandon Jones, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
Regarding the Rumours crystal, my guess is Herbie Worthington gave it to Stevie or still has it himself. He now runs a fabuluous Anique store in Los Angeles called the House of Worthington. Maybe he's got it there? I don't have any idea about the Dance crystal ball, probably with whoever is credited for that photo.

You mentioned that Lindsey was the reason you didn't work on any Fleetwood Mac albums after Mirage. Was there "bad blood" between you and Lindsey or was it a case of "too many cooks spoiling the broth"? Do you know how other bandmembers felt about your lack of involvement? I think your input into the music of Fleetwood Mac as a producer has been excellent by the way and I hope there will be more involvement in the future! (Aine Foley, Dublin, Ireland)
I've been told by the band that the problem was "Lindsey and I were too much alike" and we both liked to get our own way. That's what they said. I did't jump up and down at everything Lindsey did, like some, but again I'd prefer not to speculate. Everytime we see each other we hug and there are good feelings. Maybe Lindsey want to engineer and since that's what I did best.... By the way, he's engineering the new Mac album. Thank you for your kind words, me too. Thank you.

Hello Ken. Thanks again for your time. Lindsey has often said that Tusk was his favorite Fleetwood Mac album to make. And, indeed, there are so many, how should I say, adventurous songs on that album. One that comes to mind is "I Know I'm Not Wrong." This song sounds like the entire group really came together on it. Any special memories of putting this song together? (Brian Skeggs, Nashville, Tennessee, USA)
Hi Brian, my name is Hernan Rojas, assistant engineer and additional recording engineer for Tusk. I believe that Lindsey's opinion on Tusk has a lot of validity in terms of the depth of the work and the intense creative environment that prevailed during those intense 13 month sessions. Tusk will be a treasure that only time will allow fans and experts discover and decipher the great jewels in it.

"I Know I'm Not Wrong" is a song that featured Lindsey playing most of the instruments, including that raucous harmonica. Some of the drum parts were doubled and tripled, sort of a "wall of sound treatment," Phil Specter type. The idea was to get a raw and straight forward sound and performance.

I encourage you to discover some of the hidden treasures in the album, Try headphones and careful listening.

Cheers to you,

Hernan


Ken, thanks for a great q/a! This whole thing is really unique as far as someone like yourself being so generous with your stories and behind the scene view. Not to mention your love for your family and children which is very important. Thanks so much... your work is appreciated! My question is this: Do Lindsey and John get along? I really don't mean to ask a negative question, but it seems that they have some issues. Sometimes it seems as though Lindsey is an island when it comes to interaction w/ the group OUTSIDE of music.... would love to hear your "behind the scene" answer. Take care. (Jeff Baughman, Crooksville, Ohio, USA)
Well they don't hang out, if that's what you mean. Lindsey is an island. No, they would only hang when they're on the road or in the studio; they are pretty much oil and water.

Hi Ken, in Mick's book, "My twenty five years in Fleetwood Mac", the discography states that John Mcvie played on a single by the Aussie Band released in 1980 in the US only on Real World Records (which is a sister company of Atlantic) catalogue number RW7309. The titles are "Somebody wants you" b/w "Cry your life away". I recently got a promo copy of this single and see that you were the producer of this project. As some of us have come across a few errors in Mr. Harding's discography from this book in the past, I was hoping you could provide some information on this session. Was this a one off single? Does John play on both/neither of these songs? (and if only one,) which one? Was there an Aussie Band album? If so, what was it called, catalogue number etc. (so we can find it) (If there was an album,) does John play on any songs on that other than the songs in question from this single? Basically, any of this kind of info would be helpful as the promo copy I have only has "Sombody wants you" on both sides and if John wasn't involved with "Cry your life away" or any other material from the Aussie Band, it would save us fans alot of time & money with trying to find it (no offense) and also, many Mac guest appearances have only been vauguely listed on albums in the past in such a way that lists them as being on an album but doesn't state which songs they play on from the album and as I can't find info about this obscure act anywhere else, any data you could provide on this topic would be very helpful as we don't get the chance to ask questions to people like yourself too often so I thought I'd better ask now. Thank you very much for your time and great help and enthusiasm with this q & a session, it has proved to be a real step forward for us. (John Fitzgerald, Peabody, Massachusetts, USA)
Hello Detective John: Yes, I did produce the Aussie Band and yes, John did play bass, but I couldn't tell you which song. Can you hear a frettless bass in one of the songs? That's what I probably would have asked him to play ( a fretless bass allows the bass player to slide up and down on the strings, so the bass notes would slide up or down). I don't think the album was ever released, the label went broke after the single was released and I don't think an album was ever pressed. I probably have a casette or dat of it somewhere. Well done!

I think of Mick Fleetwood as one of the greatest "feel" musicians ever ( and one of the drumming greats to boot ! ) and most Mick Fleetwood tracks have very creative florishes ( the double drum beat in part way through Gypsy to name but one ) that make most Mac Tracks a joy to listen to again and again. How "preconceived" were these little drum florishes. Did Mick spend a lot of time trying to get this florishes just right or did they flow out naturally all the time? Many thanks ! (Chris Houston, Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
I don't think Mick ever thought about what he played, not in a preconceived way. On the DVD he talks about Lindsey asking him to play the drums on Go Your own Way like "Street Fighting Man" from the Stones. Mick started to play and he said what he played was the best he could do, Mick is totally spontaneous and I've never seen a drummer like him!

What song was the Trojan marching band from CA in for Fleetwood Mac? (Tammy, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, USA) 
That would be Tusk from the album of the same name with the unknown dog on the cover, recorded at Dodger stadium.

Possible contest coming on this one...


I saw Stevie Nicks on VH1 the other night being interviewed backstage from a woman who is on Sex and the City. During that interview Stevie said that Lindsey Buckingham is married with two babies. Who did he marry, when and what can you tell us about his "babies". I, like so many others, have always hoped that Stevie and Lindsey would marry. Of course, their happiness is what always comes first. Thanks Ken! (Grace, Rolling Meadows, Illinois, USA)
I don't know his wife very well, but his kids are great and I believe it has been one of the best influences on him. He has told me it brought him down to earth.

Hi Ken, Thank you for your precious time to d this Q&A. I have an 'old' and a 'new' question for you..... What do you think has been the most defining Fleetwood Mac moment in all of the history from Rumours onward. Do you believe that it is a good thing for Stevie and Lindsey to come 'full circle'on a musical level, writing as a duo within the Mac sphere and what challenges do you think it will present to the band as whole and how do you think this will be met by them. (Louise Beard, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom)
Tough question! How about Bill Grahams' "A Day on the Green" 60k screaming fans on a beautiful outdoor concert in Oakland right after Rumours was finished? (Gee I hope I get this answer right!) I think this concert, they really grew.

Stevie and Lindsey came full circle? When did this happen and why wasn't I notified? I think the challenges will be to set aside Stevie's career and focus on making another album. However, I've said before, it is their job and they are professionals. It is just a matter of can they find the time?

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