Date: Friday, November 7, 1997
Source: By Parry Gettelman Sentinel Popular Music Critic
THE ORLANDO SENTINEL

THEY'RE BACK AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

Forget grunge, electronica and women-in-rock. The real rock 'n' roll trend of the '90s has been the reunion tour. Everyone has hit the road under the reunion banner, from 25-year-old bands led by the presumed half-brother of the original lead singer to 5-year-old bands that sulked in their rooms for a while after losing a record deal, then decided to mount a "reunion tour" without going through the formality of breaking up.

The trend has been going on long enough that rock fans recognize "reunion tour" often translates as the "our wives want us out of the house tour" or the "we have to stop squabbling long enough to promote our box set tour" or the "we're betting we can sell you our tour T-shirt in a larger size now tour."

Still, even some of the crustier cynics have gotten a bit excited over the Fleetwood Mac reunion. The group was one of the biggest success stories of the '70s, and the lineup that produced the landmark Rumours (1977) had not toured in a decade and a half before launching the reunion tour that will bring it to the Orlando Arena Sunday.

True, Fleetwood Mac has followed the familiar formula for superstar reunions, hyping its tour with an MTV special and related live album. But both products showcase a group that seems to have preserved its unique chemistry, despite years of internecine acrimony.

Fleetwood Mac also brings back a level of sophistication and musicianship lacking in most contemporary pop music. The group's singular vocals are a particularly alluring throwback. The voices of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham have weathered in an appealing way. And the crystalline beauty of Christine McVie's voice is one of the nicest surprises on The Dance.

Speaking by phone from Los Angeles before the tour, Christine McVie said that although she left Fleetwood Mac in 1990, she never quit singing. Over the past five years, she has been writing and recording "a whole pile of demos," so she has kept her voice in shape.

"I also quit smoking over three years ago," McVie said with a laugh. "Stevie quit smoking in January, and everyone is doing really well - pretty well, considering we're not 18 anymore."

McVie said members of the group had stayed in casual contact after breaking up, remembering each other at holidays and birthdays and phoning each other once in a great while.

"But nothing you could call blood brothers - although, in actual fact, we're closer than brothers and sisters than we all suspect because it's been so long," said McVie, who joined in 1970 and helped begin Fleetwood Mac's shift from blues-rock to pop. She was already a star in Britain under her maiden name, Christine Perfect, when she joined the band anchored by Mick Fleetwood and her then-husband John McVie. Buckingham and Nicks signed on five years later.

"It's amazing how strong of a bond we actually all do have," McVie said. "I just noticed yesterday when we were rehearsing; John and Lindsey were walking away from me with their arms around each other. I thought: 'Wow, I've never seen that in my life before.' "

"Don't start any rumors, though," McVie added with a laugh.

McVie said for years, people had been asking the band members when they would reunite.

"I never really thought it would be possible, to be honest with you," McVie said. "Too much time had passed to make it feasible. But it's funny; when we're all in the same room now, it doesn't seem as if any time has passed at all."

The rapprochement began when Buckingham asked Fleetwood to help out on his solo project, and John McVie also wound up working with them. Buckingham also asked Christine McVie to sing backing vocals. Christine McVie then had a talk with her manager, who had worked for the band for about 25 years.

"He was almost like a sixth member of the band, started off as a roadie and was also the tour manager of the band and ended up being my manager," McVie said. "He said, 'Chris, it looks like everyone is really keen to get together and do something.' So the next thing I knew, there we were at rehearsals."

McVie had some trepidation at first.

"I didn't know if we would all be able to get on," she said. "But it seemed we're all a bit old to be snapping at each other. I thought, 'Well, if it's going to be like that, I don't want to know.' So I said to my manager the requirement I had was that we were going to get on, and it would have to be fun; otherwise it was just not worth doing. . . .

"We all got together before we actually sort of launched ahead with this thing. We sat around and talked, sang a little bit, and it was pretty clear, I think, that everyone was performing well, singing well and there was a good chemistry there. Mainly through Lindsey's solo album, to cut a long story short, we ended up in the same room together breathing the same oxygen and actually enjoying it. I think that's what kind of propelled this."

McVie said there are certainly still disagreements among band members, but they are able to solve them amicably now.

"We're just older, I suppose," she said. "We're more mature, more flexible. And we are really enjoying each other's music - that's the basic truth."

McVie brought in one of four new songs that wound up on The Dance. She had written "Temporary One" before the reunion came about. People could interpret the lyrics as being about Fleetwood Mac, but actually, she said, it was to do with moving back to England. She is very close to her brother, whose home is in Kent, and she and husband Ed Quintella bought a 17th-century house just 10 minutes away. They have made frequent trips during the past five years to work on restoration and plan to move there permanently by the end of 1998.

McVie met Quintella, a musician and audio engineer, when she was working on her 1984 solo album. They have been married 10 years now. He has co-written some of her songs, including the Fleetwood Mac hit "Little Lies."

"I used to be filled with trepidation about writing with other people," McVie said. "I never liked the idea of people seeing one at one's worst, in the initial stages. But now I've changed my mind, and I do like to collaborate with people. I collaborate a lot now with my husband, who is a very fine songwriter himself."

McVie said Quintella, who plays keyboards, recently put together a band called Moon, and they are crossing their fingers for a record deal currently in the works. Quintella has also been working at home on McVie's solo project, temporarily put on the back burner.

"We work well together," she said.

Although McVie is known as a pop artist, she has wide-ranging tastes. She said she has been listening to a lot of classical music, including Debussy and Vaughan Williams, and jazz, especially Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck. She also enjoys opera and pop musicians such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Sting and Peter Gabriel. And, she has never lost her taste for Fleetwood Mac's music.

"I can't speak for other members of the band, but I do kind of trot down memory lane once in a while and listen to the old tracks. And I still find them as fresh today as I did when we cut them," she said. "I hope the others feel the same way! This (tour) is like a sort of celebration of our music that we've done over the last 20 years, and it's as nostalgic for us as I hope it is for the people who are going to come see us."

THEY'RE BACK AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

Forget grunge, electronica and women-in-rock. The real rock 'n' roll trend of the '90s has been the reunion tour. Everyone has hit the road under the reunion banner, from 25-year-old bands led by the presumed half-brother of the original lead singer to 5-year-old bands that sulked in their rooms for a while after losing a record deal, then decided to mount a "reunion tour" without going through the formality of breaking up.

The trend has been going on long enough that rock fans recognize "reunion tour" often translates as the "our wives want us out of the house tour" or the "we have to stop squabbling long enough to promote our box set tour" or the "we're betting we can sell you our tour T-shirt in a larger size now tour."

Still, even some of the crustier cynics have gotten a bit excited over the Fleetwood Mac reunion. The group was one of the biggest success stories of the '70s, and the lineup that produced the landmark Rumours (1977) had not toured in a decade and a half before launching the reunion tour that will bring it to the Orlando Arena Sunday.

True, Fleetwood Mac has followed the familiar formula for superstar reunions, hyping its tour with an MTV special and related live album. But both products showcase a group that seems to have preserved its unique chemistry, despite years of internecine acrimony.

Fleetwood Mac also brings back a level of sophistication and musicianship lacking in most contemporary pop music. The group's singular vocals are a particularly alluring throwback. The voices of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham have weathered in an appealing way. And the crystalline beauty of Christine McVie's voice is one of the nicest surprises on The Dance.

Speaking by phone from Los Angeles before the tour, Christine McVie said that although she left Fleetwood Mac in 1990, she never quit singing. Over the past five years, she has been writing and recording "a whole pile of demos," so she has kept her voice in shape.

"I also quit smoking over three years ago," McVie said with a laugh. "Stevie quit smoking in January, and everyone is doing really well - pretty well, considering we're not 18 anymore."

McVie said members of the group had stayed in casual contact after breaking up, remembering each other at holidays and birthdays and phoning each other once in a great while.

"But nothing you could call blood brothers - although, in actual fact, we're closer than brothers and sisters than we all suspect because it's been so long," said McVie, who joined in 1970 and helped begin Fleetwood Mac's shift from blues-rock to pop. She was already a star in Britain under her maiden name, Christine Perfect, when she joined the band anchored by Mick Fleetwood and her then-husband John McVie. Buckingham and Nicks signed on five years later.

"It's amazing how strong of a bond we actually all do have," McVie said. "I just noticed yesterday when we were rehearsing; John and Lindsey were walking away from me with their arms around each other. I thought: 'Wow, I've never seen that in my life before.' "

"Don't start any rumors, though," McVie added with a laugh.

McVie said for years, people had been asking the band members when they would reunite.

"I never really thought it would be possible, to be honest with you," McVie said. "Too much time had passed to make it feasible. But it's funny; when we're all in the same room now, it doesn't seem as if any time has passed at all."

The rapprochement began when Buckingham asked Fleetwood to help out on his solo project, and John McVie also wound up working with them. Buckingham also asked Christine McVie to sing backing vocals. Christine McVie then had a talk with her manager, who had worked for the band for about 25 years.

"He was almost like a sixth member of the band, started off as a roadie and was also the tour manager of the band and ended up being my manager," McVie said. "He said, 'Chris, it looks like everyone is really keen to get together and do something.' So the next thing I knew, there we were at rehearsals."

McVie had some trepidation at first.

"I didn't know if we would all be able to get on," she said. "But it seemed we're all a bit old to be snapping at each other. I thought, 'Well, if it's going to be like that, I don't want to know.' So I said to my manager the requirement I had was that we were going to get on, and it would have to be fun; otherwise it was just not worth doing. . . .

"We all got together before we actually sort of launched ahead with this thing. We sat around and talked, sang a little bit, and it was pretty clear, I think, that everyone was performing well, singing well and there was a good chemistry there. Mainly through Lindsey's solo album, to cut a long story short, we ended up in the same room together breathing the same oxygen and actually enjoying it. I think that's what kind of propelled this."

McVie said there are certainly still disagreements among band members, but they are able to solve them amicably now.

"We're just older, I suppose," she said. "We're more mature, more flexible. And we are really enjoying each other's music - that's the basic truth."

McVie brought in one of four new songs that wound up on The Dance. She had written "Temporary One" before the reunion came about. People could interpret the lyrics as being about Fleetwood Mac, but actually, she said, it was to do with moving back to England. She is very close to her brother, whose home is in Kent, and she and husband Ed Quintella bought a 17th-century house just 10 minutes away. They have made frequent trips during the past five years to work on restoration and plan to move there permanently by the end of 1998.

McVie met Quintella, a musician and audio engineer, when she was working on her 1984 solo album. They have been married 10 years now. He has co-written some of her songs, including the Fleetwood Mac hit "Little Lies."

"I used to be filled with trepidation about writing with other people," McVie said. "I never liked the idea of people seeing one at one's worst, in the initial stages. But now I've changed my mind, and I do like to collaborate with people. I collaborate a lot now with my husband, who is a very fine songwriter himself."

McVie said Quintella, who plays keyboards, recently put together a band called Moon, and they are crossing their fingers for a record deal currently in the works. Quintella has also been working at home on McVie's solo project, temporarily put on the back burner.

"We work well together," she said.

Although McVie is known as a pop artist, she has wide-ranging tastes. She said she has been listening to a lot of classical music, including Debussy and Vaughan Williams, and jazz, especially Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck. She also enjoys opera and pop musicians such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Sting and Peter Gabriel. And, she has never lost her taste for Fleetwood Mac's music.

"I can't speak for other members of the band, but I do kind of trot down memory lane once in a while and listen to the old tracks. And I still find them as fresh today as I did when we cut them," she said. "I hope the others feel the same way! This (tour) is like a sort of celebration of our music that we've done over the last 20 years, and it's as nostalgic for us as I hope it is for the people who are going to come see us."

Thanks to Daniela Korges for transcribing this and to Jessica for posting this to the Ledge.