Record Mirror, February 5, 1983

The Macs factor, by Simon Tebbutt

If Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie wasn't a member of just about the most successful rock group in the history of the American universe, she'd like to swap the racket for a racquet and become a tennis player.

"If I were to choose a reincarnation, I'd come back as a 16-year old tennis player," she reveals. "I've got a collection of tennis player's jackets. It's a hobby of mine. I've got the jackets Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe both won big tournaments in.

"Actually it's quite funny, because we know John McEnroe quite well and he'd much rather be a rock star than a tennis player. He came to watch us rehearse recently and he sat in the corner quietly peering over my shoulder all the time, trying to work out what I was doing on the keyboards."

A sunny Californian tax exile these days, Birmingham brought up Christine is back in England for a short holiday which has coincided with Fleetwood Mac's first single chart success in this country for a while, "Oh Diane". Since starting out an incredible 16 years ago - Christine joined in 1970 - the group have grown into something of a legend with their phenomenal record sales and sell-out world concerts. Obviously not short of a bob or two - I bet they don't turn the lights off when the man comes to read the gas meter - the group are taking a rest from Mac business to chase their own separate projects.

"I'm doing my solo album at the moment," says Christine. "That is to say I'm getting the songs together for it. I've got to wait until June to go into the studio because my producer is working with Paul Simon at the moment. It should be out by Christmas though. If anything the stuff I'll be doing on my own is more sophisticated.

Actually it's quite funny because the rest of the band are doing their solo albums too. So there'll be a whole spate for them at the same time. I think mine will be out first though."

Fleetwood Mac fans shouldn't worry about this spate of individual creativity because as soon as this gaggle of records is out of the way, they'll all be back together working together as a group.

"We're getting songs together at the moment," says Christine. "We still get on really well even after all these years. Actually we all see each other more socially now than ever. We all bought each other Christmas presents. The best present I got was a bar - but I bought that myself. But it's good to do solo projects because it releases any tension there might be. We're one of the few groups who haven't thought of breaking up."

Cynics might think that Fleetwood Mac are just too damn successful - especially in their adopted land across the water. Are they ever surprised that they just seem to roll from success to success all the time?

"We're a bloody good band, that's why we're successful," affirms Christine. "I'd be a liar if ai tried to pretend I didn't think I knew why we were so popular.

But I don't think we're so big here in England. "Oh Diane" is the only single that's done anything here for ages. And the "Mirage" album was only in the top 20 for something like two weeks."

It's true to say that, born in Britain though it was, Fleetwood Mac is the epitome of the LA based, AOR sound that dominates the airwaves and minds of America. Coming back to England must be a bit of a shock.

"I don't really like much of this new wave sound really," says Christine. "A lot of it just sounds so heavy and plodding. And half the group look like morons, completely without intelligence. And I don't like to rely on electronic sounds either - we use natural sounds. Much of the music I hear now has no substance at all. Yes, I suppose you could say I was more conservative in my tastes."

Hence the affinity with the land of fruit and nuts - California?

"It's home to me now. God, I've been living there seven years. Mind you, I don't know how anyone in my tax bracket could afford to live in England. I'd like to come back and buy a little place down in Windsor some time though," she adds jokingly.

Fleetwood Mac are famed for their mammoth world tours - the dreariest being places like Pittsburgh and the most exotic in Hawaii - and although it can get pretty gruelling at times, they reckon they'll keep on truckin', as I believe the phrase goes.

"Yes, it does get hard at times, but I just love it," says Christine. "I never forget how lucky I am doing just what I want. Which is playing music and travelling. I don't think we ever want to stop."

Thanks to Mari for posting this to The Ledge and to Anusha for sending it to us.