Q&A Sessions
John McVie: January 2007

Welcome back to the Q&A John! I must say, quite refreshing your attitude on how you’d like to conduct this session.

I become quite frustrated with the rumor-mill and, unless I hear comments directly from the horse’s mouth, I let the majority of the comments of presumption roll of my back…even though it pisses me the hell off.

I am curious, as I have noticed with Lindsey promoting his new solo work/tour he is quite open about his perceptions of FM past and present, does that ever piss the other members off? I ask this as I have noticed that sometimes there are on occasion what appear to be jabs (or perhaps rather what some perceive as jabs.) Yet, I notice that there are very few, if little, comments/interviews conducted by other members that are as vocal about their perceptions.

If I may ask, do you feel these are intentional jabs meant to be read by fellow band members in an effort to hurt them in some way? And, if that is the case, do you believe this is done as there is an awareness by him that the other members will and have remained mute? Or, do you find the ongoing FM “saga” perpetuated is for marketing purposes only and, if so, do you really think it helps? Or, do you feel, “eh, that’s Lindsey, he will do as he will and say as he will…best not to read too much between lines.” If the latter is the case, is it really fair to other members that he is the mouthpiece broadcast in the media? I, personally, find it old news and rather concentrate on the music generated. It is odd to me that there is so much fan-focus on what happened 30 years ago. Reminds of my mother still giving me the grill about being such the wildchild

Will there be another studio or “live” FM CD? Will there be another tour?

Have you listened to Lindsey's new CD Under the Skin? If so, do you like? If not, why not?

I would love to personally shake your hand and thank you for the many years of enjoyment. For now, this will have to do. Thank you John! (Niki)

Hi Niki!

Thanks for the questions. Thank God for the Rumor Mill! At least some people are still interested! Lindsey has his opinion's as do the rest of us. I don't think there are any intentional "jabs" at people. If there are, so be it.

As for "Old News". Oi Vey! I've just done an interview with some U.K. film people about, wait for it...........Peter Green. Wish I hadn't done it. So many bloody years ago. Couldn't remember half of the stuff he asked me about. It being 40 odd years ago.

I haven't heard Lindsey's album. I thought he might send me one. I still wait by the mail box. My Daughter and her friend went to the "Wiltern" Gig.

I hope there'll be another tour. I hear word that it might be later in the Year. If you hear anything, let me know!

Love and thanks!

Dear Mr McVie,

First and foremost, I am a long time fan of you and your music. Even though "Yo-Yo Man" was a digital collaboration the track cooked. With all the water under the bridge since the last time Peter Green was in Fleetwood Mac, do you still have any basis to communicate with him as a friend and will you, or is it just a previous professional relationship? (Vinnie Cerniglia, Pine Bush, New York)

Hi Vinnie,

What the hell is "Yo-Yo Man"? I did a quick "Google" search and couldn't find it. Enlighten me, please?

With all the water(?) under the bridge since Peter left, I must say that I haven't had that much communication with him. Maybe twice. Once was at the "American Music Awards" and once backstage at Earl's Court. At the American Awards thing he didn't reply to me and at the Earls Court backstage there was a smart ass reply so I said "F--- This" and went about the business of seeing my relatives. Mick has more of a relationship with him. I hope he's O.K.

Thanks for the Question!

Yo Yo Man is from John Mayall's Along For The Ride featuring you and Mick on two cuts with Steve Miller. Peter Green is tracked in on Yo Yo Man. Are you going to have another Bluesbreakers reunion? I loved the one in the early eighties. I saw that tour at "The Chance" in Poughkeepsie. regards, vinnie c

Hi Vinnie! Thanks for reminding me. Lordy, where have the Brain cells gone? i don't know about another "Bluesbreakers" reunion. If there is one it'd better be sooner than later! All the Best! John

Hey John,

Thanks a lot for doing this Q+A with the fans. I can't believe I am talking to a member of the band!!! Anyway my question may require you to think back a bit so here goes...

What was the tension like when Stevie came back into the studio with you guys to record the Mirage album? I mean she had just come off with a huge success with Bella Donna. Was there any hostility towards her? Or was it just ignored? Also one more, what do you think about Stevie's stage costumes? Does it annoy you at all?

Thanks a lot John - Hope to see you this year on the road. -Jimmy (Melrose, Massachusetts)

Hi Jimmy, I do believe there was no tension. (Tension in Fleetwood Mac? ). I think it was "Well Done, and now lets do this project". As for Stevie's Stage Costumes, Well ,that's Stevie and I think she wears it well. I do have a problem when she wears the same eye liner as I do. God, the arguments we've had about that. All the Best! John

Hi John, First of all I wanted to say that I have been to 20+ shows on the 'Say You Will" tour and I enjoyed every single one of them. I know that some artists now have the ability to make a CD and or DVD available of every concert on their tour. I would love to be able to obtain a CD or DVD of a show that I have just attended. Is this something that was ever considered?

I know that you have an interest in photography and I was wondering what would be some of your favorite subjects to shoot. Also, have you ventured into any digital photography? If you have what do you think of it. Did you ever take any photos of the other band members either in concert or behind the scenes on the SYW tour?

I hear that you like to surf the internet. I was wondering what kind of sites you like to visit and how you became interested in computers and the internet? Are any of the other Mac members as computer savvy as you? Pattie D, Providence, RI

Hi Pattie, Thanks for the questions. I don't think we'll be doing a "show by show" DVD or CD. To get the best out of it each show would have to mixed in a studio and I don't think there's the time or money to do that. I could see, maybe, another "Live" CD. That's a whole lot different than doing each show. Then you'd have a dedicated recording truck and all the peripherals that go with it.

I still take pics, though not as much as I'd like. I prefer "Medium Format" . However, since we've moved I find it a lot harder to get my films developed and printed than it was when I lived in L.A. I usually take a camera on the road and I've got boxes of photo's going back to 1842 or whenever it was we started. Someday I'll get them organized and archived! I like the convenience of Digital but I don't think the prints are as good as film. For me, there's a lack of warmth. Also, unless you spend 15-20 G's the definition isn't there when you go to large prints.

I'm still very much an "Anglophile" even though I've been an American citizen since '86 and always surf the Brit press each morning. I'm also an avid soccer fan (Arsenal) and track the sports news every day. I'm not sure who else in the Band uses the net. I've been talking (via email) to Christine quite a lot. She's doing well and sounds quite happy with her life. (Am I rambling here?). Anyway, All the best! John

Hello John, welcome back for more punishment!

As this is the 4th round and as you say its "gloves off" time, I was wondering if you would elaborate on something you once said. It was that "all the mistakes in my life have been alcohol related" quote. Apart from the (already documented) emotional turmoil that came from your indulgence, especially around the Rumours era, are there any other instances you can share that were, in retrospect, rather wreckless but went under the media radar?

I also wanted to know if you have seen the BBC series "Planet Earth"? There are some stunning shots of Emperor penguins in the first episode.

Thanks John, hope to see you back at Earls Court soon! p.s. Well done to the Gunners today knocking champions Liverpool out of the cup!

Kind regards, Justin Bailey, Manchester, UK.

Hi Justin! Thanks for the email. Well, where to start? Let me see........ Got fired twice from John Mayall because of the booze, had a car wreck in which I overturned the damned thing and got trapped for a while, ran a sailboat up on a sandbar, upset many friends and lost a few. None of which I'm proud of, by the way. There are other "incidents" but hey, enough's enough. Things have now changed the last few years and I'm now quite a well behaved, non boozing , boring old fart.

Didn't see "The Planet Earth" thing but my Daughter insisted I see "The March of the Penguins". I drew the line at "Happy Feet".

How 'bout those Gunners, eh? Not only 3-1 F.A. Cup but 6-3 Carling Cup! I hope we are back at Earls Court soon! (Wasn't Chelsea going to buy that at one time?) All the Best! John

I'd like to know if the band has heard the similarities between Richard Ashcroft's New York and Illume? And please don't come chasing after me with your gloves off, Mr. McVie. I'm 43 and arthritic. --gldstwmn

Hi GLDSTWMN! (?) Not that I know of. I'll try and find it. Once again I'll show my ignorance and ask "Who is Richard Ashcroft?".

I don't know where this "Gloves Off" bit came from. I did ask that ALL the questions get sent and not just the kind ones. (note from Lis- I have reminded him of his 'gloves off' quote. :-) )

I don't do much chasing anymore, it's hard on the chair and scares my nurses. Love and thanks! John

hey john, thanks for giving up your personal time to answer our questions. if you've been reading these boards, you are no doubt aware that there is, how should i say it... a fair bit of "frustration" about the same old, same old playlist. we can pretty much write it out ourselves before you guys hit the stage. now, we KNOW we aren't the typical audience members - but we buy a lot of tickets! so really. does anyone need to hear dreams again? yes, the chain is a great opener... but it's been a great opener for how many years now? mick's body-pounding drum solo? getting old. so what do you say? can you guys shake it up for the next tour? how about... if you do 18 songs, make 9 of them album cuts you've never done live. what do you say? (please don't say you hate me). thanks much, cat

Hi Cat! Thanks for the question! That's a great idea. We've tried that before and have been met with deafening silences. I do think that we'll definately "revamp" the set list for the next tour. Stevie and Lindsey have a whole slew of new stuff that I'm sure they'll want to do. However, there has to be a balance. Personally , I'd like to start with "Shake your Moneymaker" but I don't see that happening!!

Meow! John

Hi John-- Could you clarify the situation as to whether there was ever a realistic chance that Christine would join the band on stage at Earls Court in Dec 03? Some of us were daft enough to buy another ticket on the strength of a rumour. I heard a story that Stevie and Mick were in favour of this but you and Lindsey were against it. Perhaps you could shed some light on this?


PS your boys did well at Liverpool yesterday (6 Jan) A lady I work with has been to the new Emirates Stadium and she says it is most impressive but then again she is a Portsmouth fan and pretty much any stadium would look impressive compared to Fratton Park!

Hi Gail, Thanks for the questions!

Christine had made it very clear, way before we even got to the U.K. that there was no way she was going on stage. I'm really sorry you were taken in by this "Rumor" but it didn't come from us. I would have loved for it to happen but there was just no way she would do it.

Yes, how about them Gunners!! I hope to get to the new place when/if, we come over. I managed to get to Highbury for the Carling Cup game v Coventry. I have a pic taken with the F.A. Cup! Here it is! All the best! John


Hey John,Good to have you back. How ironic I just received a copy of the A Hard Road Expanded edition CD and I noticed that you recorded some tunes with Paul Butterfield on your 21st birthday. Do you remember that session or the session before joining Fleetwood Mac? You are still the best Bass player around.

Tom Kirby; Carlsbad, New Mexico

Hi Tom, Thanks for your questions. That's interesting about the "Hard Road" CD. I haven't heard of that. I'll have to go to "Amazon" and get a copy. As for the Paul Butterfield sessions, I must confess I have no recollection of that. Long time ago........ in a far distant galaxy...... etc . However, I do remember my 21st Birthday. We'd, "Bluesbreakers" , played in a town, maybe Cheltenham, to the West of London and I got back at 2.00 a.m. to be greeted by my parents and relatives, all slightly oiled, singing "21 Today". So I don't know about recording on that date. Many thanks and all the best! John

In case no one has replied to enlighten you :) ..."Yo-Yo Man" is the song you & Mick with Steve Miller(and Peter Green via harmonica overdub) did for that John Mayall & Friends album a few years ago.

For a while there was some bad blood between Bob Welch and the band. Have those fences been mended and would you be willing to work with Bob again at some point?

Steve; Long Beach, California

Hi Steve, Thanks for the reminder. That was a blast, working with Steve Miller. Can't tell you how many hours we spent listening to him when the band all lived together back in the U.K. "Children of the Future" etc!!

I think the "bad blood" between us and Bob was about Royalties and it was resolved. I'd love to work with Bob again. Nice man and a great writer! Love and thanks! John

Dear John, how difficult was it for you to make the transition from the blues to the more mainstream style of Fleetwood Mac? I know how much you loved the Blues and it must've been hard at times knowing you were moving away from that. David Marx, Minneapolis Minnesota

Hi David, Thanks for your question,

It was a gradual process. As you know, I don't write songs so I'd go with the flow. Peter was moving away from traditional Blues stuff and we all went with him. But my basic premise was the same and still is.The rythmn section supports the "front line". It gives them a base to work from. I've just been to Mick's place and had a couple of days with Jeremy Spencer and Rick Vito and we did some great stuff. Something, I hope, might come of that. Thanks again! John

P.S. Check out Jeremys new CD. "Precious Little" on "Bluestown Records". Very cool!

Hi John, In the making of Rumours documentary both you and Lindsey mention how the both of you used to 'butt heads' in the early days - any chance you could elaborate on this?! And how long did it take for you to become buddies?

Also, at what point did the bands' drug taking become past the point where it was fun to the point where it became more serious? Hope I'm not prying too much! The UK misses you and will be offended if we don't see you on the next tour! Thanks, Andy, Liverpool, UK

Hi Andy! Thanks for the questions! As for "butting heads" with Lindsey. Well, I wasn't about to be a session player. That is, to go along with "This is the part so play it!". I could only play the part as I saw it. For better or for worse. As it turned out it wasn't that bad, and you know, how hard can you argue with a writer of a song? They have their vision and some where, one hopes, the two can meet.

This next one is a hard question to answer. I don't want to "duck it" and I also don't want to get people in trouble or pissed off at me. Suffice to say it started around the time of the "Fleetwood Mac" album.

I was never much of a "Consumer", my poison of choice was alcohol, although of course I did "dabble" in the other stuff. It went on for a long time and gradually people made their own decisions and stopped. It's really a miracle we all made it through. Just goes to show what a wonderfull piece of work the human body is!

I miss the U.K. too and hope we're there on the next tour. All the Best! John

P.S. 3-1 in the F.A.Cup? 6-3 in the Carling Cup? "Up the Gunners!"

John, thank you for all of the great music! I've been to 3 shows during The Dance & Say You Will tours, and you guys blew the roof off the joint! I hope to see you on tour again soon! I love your sense of humor - are you planning to write your memoirs? Vickie; Cumberland, Maryland

Hi Vickie! I've got "Diaries", (I call them "Logs" ), they're pretty sporadic but they go back to 1963. I really don't know about this. I've got it in my head that no one would believe it anyway, or care! I also have a Daughter to consider. There's enough "stuff" out there as it is. Most of it is way off base. What you've heard or read about doesn't even scratch the surface. I hope it stays that way. Anyway, In Chapter 1 we find ourselves completely nak..................! Love and thanks! John

Greetings John, Thanks for taking the time to do this. We all love a little insight into one of the bands that is high in our collective history.

I have read several interviews that indicate that there are plans in the works for a Fleetwood Mac Tour possibly in 2007/2008. And yet Lindsey has indicated that while he is in a place where he'd like to do another studio album, that given the say you will experience (hmm what did we miss that's on the cutting room floor of the destiny rules dvd) that Stevie may not feel the same. I love when bands tour with new material and I know other superfans like myself who do as well. My question is, how do you convince everyone to get on the same page? I would hate to see a sort of rehash of the last tour with no new material to promote. Thoughts? Jules; Washington; District Of Columbia; U.S.A.

Well said, Jules!! I've heard "Rumors" about a tour later in the year. I really hope it happens. I would imagine that if it does there'll be a slew of new material. At least, I hope so. As you probably know, Lindsey has a CD out and has toured succesfully with it and Stevie never seems to stop working. But I think, as I've said before, if we do a tour there has to be a balance between new material and songs people recognise. Personally. I'd be happy to play anything as long as we're on the road! That's where the band proves itself. For me it's all about playing Live!

But, Let me ask you this? If you were putting a "Set List" together, what would you choose? Keep this in mind: The History, Pace, Variation in Singers/ Writers, Change of instruments, Keys, Emotion, The "Shape" of a set, Length of "Set" etc. There's so many variables to consider. I'd be interested in your answer! Let me know? Thanks!! John

Hello John, Thanks for answering another round of questions on the Ledge, It is much appreciated. Here's my question, Which is not music related: Since it is known that you're a person who enjoys sailing, has there ever been a time where you're love of sailing has put you in fear for your life? Such as being caught in a storm and rough seas. Thanks, Brian j.

ps-Bassists are much smarter than we are given credit for!

Hi Brian, Thanks for the question, Yes there's a few times. And I can go on for quite a while! SO AT THE RISK OF BORING YOU...

The first was on the first trip to Hawaii. I've done six. On a 43' Ketch called "Adelie". Back in the '70's. It was a night watch but with a moon. Just myself on watch with a 4 man crew total. The lads were below and asleep. We were about halfway to Hawaii. The swells were getting bigger , it was a following sea, and in the moonlight I turned around because I could hear this "roar' and I swear I saw this wave that was so big, higher than the mast which was about 50-60', I just hunched down and waited for it. I was strapped in but I really thought that "This is it". It broke just behind us! Talk about " Pass my Brown trousers!".

Another was off Cape Hatteras, going up from St Thomas to Bar Harbor, Maine. This time on a 63' Sparkman and Stephens Aluminum sloop, "Challenge". Just at sunset a squall came up from nowhere. Again, I was driving and the wind was so damned strong and came up so quick we couldn't reef in time so we were laid right over and again, i thought,"This is it, we're going to drive ourselves under". The rain was coming horizontally, you couldn't even look forward, it was so painful. Like BB Pellets. Finally managed to fire up the engine,fall off the wind and get the lads up, drop the headsail and put two reefs in the main. The engine saved us. It was very close.

Anyway, there's a lot more stories. Encounters with Whales, Real Pirates, Smugglers, that I won't bore you with. Thank you for reminding me of this ! I have'nt thought about this in a long while and I think I'll dig my Log Books out. All the best! John AAAAARGH MATEY!!!

P.s. Then there was the time Miss Puerto Rico boarded us. It was a desperate struggle, mano y mano..... to be continued..............

P.s. Bass players do it deeper.

Hi John: I just started learning how to play bass at age 61. Are there any tricks or techniques that you can pass on to all us aspiring bass players? Also it would be great if Fleetwood Mac would tour again and come to Toronto. Thanks and take care-- Ron Hart ; Toronto; Ontario; Canada

Hi Ron, Thanks for the question, There's no "tricks" to it. I get these questions from you young people all the time. Get yourself a little digital tuner, tune up and play along with some 12 Bar Blues. Elmore, Muddy, Willie Dixon et al. That'll get your fingers in the right place. Just "Play as you go". Or as your ear takes you. However, if you're talking 'bout "slap" bass, you're on yer own! I'd love to be in Toronto again! All the best John

John, Here's my question: There's a song called "Fireflies" thats on the live album from 1980 and I've always wondered was their was a studio version of this song? Was this song part of the setlist for the whole tour, or just done once? Alley ;New York; New York

Hi Alley, I think there was a studio version of that , where it is, I don't know. I don't remember it being on a set list during a tour, tho! Thanks! John

(This was John's response to one of the lists sent to him. I also gave him the link to the discussion so he could see everyone else's suggestions....)

The Chain-- Dreams-- Steal Your Heart Away-- Freedom-- Eyes of the World-- Second Hand News-- Thrown Down-- Never Going Back Again-- Rhiannon-- Tango in the Night -- Gypsy-- Big Love-- Seven Wonders-- Red Rover-- Storms-- Gold Dust Woman-- I'm So Afraid-- Running Through the Garden-- Tusk-- Stand Back-- Go Your Own Way-- Blue Letter-- Don't Let me Down Again-- Don't Stop-- Crystal--

Yess.noo..maybe so? Looks balanced. Thats 25 songs.... -Jimmy

Jimmy, Thank you for this! I'd like to see "My little Demon" in there. But, I'll pass it on. I love "Crystal", What a great song. Thanks, John

Hi John, Thanks for doing another Q&A. Next to the White Fleetwod Mac album, 'Time' is one of my favourite studio albums : I was thrilled when it was released in 1995 and it sounds as good to-day as it ever did. My question: I didn't realize until recently that the band toured with the Time line up so extensively in 1994/95. Given the new line up, smaller venues, set lists changes, album sales etc, what are your thoughts/memories/impressions of that tour? Thanks again, John Whittle; Waterford; Ireland

Hi John, My memories of that tour start with busting my head on the bunk above me as we traveled over atrocious roads through Poland. (I'd chosen the lower bunk, just above the rear wheels! Duh!).

We did some weird gigs. But all in the band were "Players". We'd all done it before. Small Gigs, lousy hotels, long bus rides. Nothing new. The strangest was doing a gig outside of Berlin where the stage was protected by concrete machine gun posts. (Unmanned). Turns out it was one of Adolph's Speaking Arena's. The backstage was all zigzags and little rooms. Spooky. But, I have to say, we had some Great players on that tour. Some crazy times (Which I won't go into here), but we all came through! Thanks again! John

P.S. My relatives live in Co. Kerry. A beautiful part of the world. Anyway, "Erin Go Bragh!"

These songs were suggested the most frequently by Ledge members to be put into the setlist next tour. Of course, we don't expect all (or even most) of them to make it. But even just 2 or 3 of them would be amazing. (Also, there were several "if Chris tours..." suggestions, but since she probably won't, I'm not listing those. )

In order, starting with most requested:

Sisters of the Moon -- Storms -- Tango in the Night -- Blue Letter-- Crystal-- 7 Wonders -- Monday Morning -- Angel-- Bleed to Love Her -- Thrown Down-- Miranda-- Steal Your Heart Away-- Oh Well-- That's Enough For Me-- Save Me A Place-- Smile at You -- Everybody Finds Out -- That's Alright--

Thanks, Paula

Hi Paula, Thanks for the suggestions.

I'm putting all these in a file so when I show up at the First rehearsal, I' ll have something to contribute. There is so much to consider, It blows what's left of my mind. We'll see what happens when we all meet. We can't do the whole ' What has gone before" thing. There has to be feeling of "Moving Forward". Otherwise we'll end up in "Vegas". (Without me).

P.S. I Always thought "Crystal" was the best song from Stevie and Lindsey. Wonderfull Music and Lyrics. Gets me every time. Love and thanks! john

P.S. Chris will not tour.