Bob Welch, November 8 - 21, 1999
In an interview from 1979, you stated that your earlier involvement in a 60's R&B outfit called "The Seven Souls" may have evolved into similar musical styling of Earth, Wind, & Fire. Have you ever had the desire to make a dance-able 70's style jazz-funk album?
I understand that your early musical training was on clarinet, which I recall that you accidentally broken onto pieces on purpose when you were young. Did you ever play the flute/clarinet parts for that wonderful song called, "The Ghost" from the Fleetwood Mac LP "Bare Trees?" Besides playing guitar, did you ever play bass on any Fleetwood Mac LP's?
I don't mean to get too personal, but how many times were you married and do you have any children? (K.E. Gil, Los Angeles, California, USA)
The Seven Souls were actually part of a large group of players in LA, that were all in different bands, but sort of trying to do the same thing. There was the 'Souls, there were the guys, Bobby Watson and Tony Maiden, who later, with Chaka Kahn, turned into "Rufus",. Up north, there was the disc jockey on KYA, Sylvester Stuart, who later was "Sly" of "Sly and The Family Stone".. CBS records was going to sign either the Seven Souls, or Sly Stone to a recording deal. They picked Sly...good choice, much more original than our band was.You even had bands like "The 5th Dimension", actually they were a singing group, who the Seven Souls used to back up when they were still called "The Versatiles". Then you had all the Ike and Tina Turner review alumni, like "Nose", and David T Walker of "The Kinfolks", who later became a much recorded session player. All of us sort of knew each other, from the clubs, we had the same friends etc. The Seven Souls even played at Jordan High School in LA for Motowns debut of The Jackson 5. And Larry Williams, he of "Bony Marony" fame produced one of the Seven Souls two singles. It was a "tight" scene"!
I would like to say that I feel that you were the best guitarist that FM has ever had. You and Bob Weston were great together. Are there any live tapes with Weston and you together? Any recordings by the Seven Souls on cd? Many years ago in March of 1982 I spoke with a friend of yours named Judy Wong. How is she doing these days? I hope you get to release some Mac material that you play on in the future I would love to hear "Good Things". By the way, you should have been inducted into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame with FM. THEY CHEATED YOU!!!! What is your favorite memory of your career with FM? (Tom Kirby, Roswell, New Mexico, USA)
Thanks for the compliments,... I'm sending you another 50$ ;-)
Do you plan on touring or playing nightclub gigs? What kind of cigar do you like? (Ernie Fuhr, Rockford, Illinois, USA)
No plans to tour at the moment. I don't smoke cigars anymore, but I used to like "Excalibur" made in Honduras.
Hello Bob, I saw you play with a band called Touch, I think. Who was in that band and did you do any recording with them. It would be great if you would play again in southern California. (Carl Swift, Sierra Madre, California, USA)
"The Touch" was me, Dallas Taylor (ex Crosby Stills Nash drummer), John Schayer on bass, and Brian Wild on vocals. We recorded some demos, but nothing was released.
Hi, Bob...guess who, again? Next battery of queries.
Technical questions from one guitarist to another...slap me if I get sounding TOO much like a Guitar Player Magazine reporter! ;-)
Throughout the years, I've seen you play mostly Gibsons...the white SG, the double neck, the tobacco sunburst Les Paul Standard (which was SO cool I HAD to buy one...well, TWO...sold the first one to get a Firebird...the guitar, not the car...then had seller's remorse...so had to get another one a few years later), and a white Les Paul Custom...then read about the adventures of your ES-345. In the video from the Roxy, (and on the cover of your first RCA album) you have that unusual hybrid of Firebird body with Les Paul Custom neck....was that a custom made guitar, or did Gibson market those commercially? It looks vaguely familiar, like I'd seen one hanging on the wall of a guitar shop, but I'm not sure if it was the same model as the one you had.
Although in inner sleeve photos in the first Paris album shows you with the famed sunburst LP, both times I saw you with Paris you were playing Strats! That surprised me. Do you/did you like them? What inspired the change?? just for "changes" sake?? Was there a particular tone you were looking for? Then after French Kiss, you went back to Les Pauls.
Around the time of "French Kiss", I saw a couple of magazine ads where you were endorsing Hagerstrom guitars (and their synth trigger system). Did you ever use those in concert? Or was that mainly for studio work? Or was it just for endorsement's sake? ;-)
I see on the new CD cover the Gibson endorsement...what model do you play these days?
The cool thing when I saw you on the "Heroes Are Hard To Find" tour was your foot pedal collection at the base of your mic-stand. A whole row of Morley pedals !!! WOW!! You were the first guitarist I'd ever seen with THAT many pedals. You were also the first guitarist I ever saw use a Roland Space Echo (during your Paris stint) What are you using now??
With all the phenomenal technical leaps & bounds in guitar gear over the last 20 years or so, have you kept up with Guitar Synths for your effects? (which is probably a redundant question, after asking the prior question)
After going back & listening through some of your prior CD's over the course of the past week, I rediscovered the short interlude before "Devil Wind" on your Three Hearts album. Was that you AND Todd Sharp? Or all you? Was it recorded live or overdubbed? (which again, considering the question before, could be considered "redundant"...sorry)
Well, that's all for now...more to come...if somebody else doesn't ask the questions I was going to already. (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, USA)
If you got paid by the word, you'd be RICH ! ;-) Yes, Gibsons and I just seem to feel right, although I have played, (and owned) Fenders of all stripes.
"OH NO, NOT HIM AGAIN"!!!! This time, let's talk JAZZ...
I've got a few Miles Davis, John Coltrane, & T-Monk lp's. They each seem have "the one" lp that is "their definitive" one (well, Miles sort of has a few different ones depending on era). I guess "Kind Of Blue" would be Miles' definitive "be-bop" one & "Giant Steps", Coltrane's (do you agree?)....what, in your view, would be Charlie Parker's?? What I've heard, I've liked, but they're mainly compilations from various years of recordings. IS there a "definitive" Charlie Parker album?
I've mainly been into Be-Bop for only "listening pleasure" and not from a "I gotta learn how to play this" point of view. In fact, I have not even considered "Be-Bop" being a guitar form of music, basically, just piano & horns. Once again, you've inspired me to reconsider that. Thank you! What guitarists (besides yourself, of course!) would be considered "Be-Bop" guitarists? Kenny Burrell? Joe Pass? Herb Ellis? Would they be considered Be-bop?
Unfortunately, I didn't get to see George Van Eps one last time before he passed on, but I was fortunate to see him play at a Sushi restaurant once a month for a while. Would he be considered in that list too? Which brings me to another question....
...have you ever played one of those 7-string jobbies that Van Eps conjured up?? That's all from me for today...more tomorrow! (look out!!!) (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, USA)
You may not be a "stalker", but you are.....a talker! ;-)
Hello Bob. Just a couple of questions for you. I like your new stuff and your old music also. Did Tommy Bolin play with the Mac in LA for a radio broadcast? The BBC did tape some live show with FM with you and Danny that most fans would love to here. Give me your make on the Time Mac-- Bekka, Billy, Dave Mason and why Mick is not saying much about that band but John does? Keep rock'n Bob. Thanks. (Bill Seamans, Buffalo, Minnesota, USA)
As far as I know, the late Tommy Bolin never played with FM. The BBC owns that show with me and Kirwan, and who knows what the BBC will ever do, or when they'll do it ! ;-)
Hi again, and may I add that I agree with you about bringing jazz into the year 2000. I love jazz as well. I remember hearing at one time that you hosted a tv show called "Hollywood Heartbeat". What kind of show was it? Damon Garascia, Ferndale, Michigan, USA)
"Hollywood Heartbeat" was a show, like "MTV", only a year before MTV started. In other words , we'd go to clubs and catch bands playing, and then I'd "interview" somebody; Tom Peterson of Cheap Trick for instance, or Mick Fleetwood. It was filmed though, not live via satellite, so in that way it was different from MTV.
Hello again..several more questions from me to you! How did you meet Todd Sharp? Do you still hear from Robbie Patton? I love your appearance on Don't Give It Up!!!! Are there any musicians that you would like to work with in the future? Thanks again for everything and Take care....:~) (Christa, West Haven, Connecticut, USA)
Todd Sharp showed up at auditions I was holding to find players to tour supporting the French Kiss album. Todd had just come off several years with Hall and Oates, on the road, and when Mick and I spied his (still!) lithe and lissome form, (not to mention svelte hairstyle! ;-) and heard his cascading flurry of honeyed notes coming from his "tool" (a Flabbocraster), we "fell in love", and hired him on the spot, or "post haste", as they said 100 years ago in England ! (Todd, if you read this, don't e mail me...;-) What a guy ! ;-)
Hello---what an honor to talk to you. I've been a FM fan for years and I adore "Ebony Eyes", "Hypnotized" and "Sentimental Lady". I have a vague memory of seeing you and Stevie playing together at a "California Jam". (I saw the performance on television; I was about nine at the time so I can't vouch for my accuracy) Stevie was singing backup on "Ebony Eyes." Does this ring a bell with you or was I dreaming? (Dianne Lopp, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA)
Thank you for the compliments on my songs ! You're right, Stevie was at the "Cal Jam" 2 in Ontario CA, and although not performing herself, she did do my last song, which was always Ebony Eyes, with me... Stevie loved performing, and when she could, she'd show up at my, or some other friends gig and just "pitch in". The headliners on that show, which incidentally was the largest crowd (over 300,000) for a rock gig ever, was Aerosmith and the then 2 years old U2. Great memories !;-)
I absolutely adore Ebony Eyes...it's just totally lucious! I have several bootlegs (ahem excuse me but they are a necessity for any fan)...and Stevie has performed that song many times with you...I was just curious how that all came about...did you work much with her....and did you work any with Lindsey?...Ooooo Ebony Eyyeeess!!!..sorry...Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions=) (LauraTN, Morristown, Tennessee, USA)
Laura, I noticed you mentioned bootlegs...bootlegs??....BOOTLEGS!!!....cool,,send ME some ! ;-)
Hi Bob! It's a pleasure to know that you're on the local scene (I'm about 30 mins. south of Nashville). I really enjoy the Bare Trees album and was wondering if you have any good stories about the making of that record or about the songs themselves. Also, do you play gigs around the local clubs and, if so, where? I'd love to come out and catch a performance sometime. Thanks for all the hard work and years of great music. (Thomas Helmick, Chapel Hill, Tennessee, USA)
Yes, Nashville is musicians "hog heaven" ! ;-)
I love Bare Trees, especially Sentimental Lady. I went to every record store trying to find it. what was it like working with Danny Kirwan? Also, what were the sessions like? Was it hard to fill Jeremy Spencer's shoes? Thank you so much for doing this. (Edna, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
I'm glad to hear your nice comments on "Bare Trees" and Sentimental Lady!
Here are a few more questions: 1. Can you describe the Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, what type of setup was it? 2. Where were the group photos taken for Future Games, Mystery To Me, Penguin, and Heroes Are Hard To Find albums? 3. What was it like to live at Benifolds? (Tom Kirby, Roswell, New Mexico, USA)
The Rolling Stones Mobile was one of the 1st, and the most sought after movable recording studios in a truck. It was narrow,(duh...cause it was in a truck..;-) and it had room for only about 6 people to sit. Without getting technical, oh to hell with it, let's GET technical (girls, except airline pilots, engineers and mathematicians, TAKE YOUR BREAK ;-) ) it had a "Helios" console, and some rather unimpressive "Tannoy" monitors. The thing was, when you got everything you had recorded on it back to the mixing studio to put the final touches on, it sounded amazing, i.e. absolutely "true" to the original performances....no coloration at all, no "garbhage". That's why Deep Purple did their biggest album on it (the "mobile" in "Smoke On The Water" is the Rolling Stones Mobile), Fleetwood Mac did "Mystery To Me" on it, and hundreds of other bands, (Led Zeppelin too I think), used it. It was called "Rolling Stones" because I think the 'Stones had at first owned it and had it built.
The questions I did have for you have been answered. So let me just say that I've enjoyed your music over the years and I'm thrilled you have a new album out. I love the new album BTW. I was fortunate enough to see you play live with Avenue M back in 1990. It was a club called Bogart's in Long Beach California and you blew the roof off the place! Which reminds me, do you have any plans of releasing a live album? I sure hope so! Your a wonderful musician and I hope you come to Southern California soon. Best of luck in your future endeavors. (David, Norwalk, California, USA)
....and all the answers I had for you....have been given ! ;-) Just kidding ! Seriously, you really don't have any other questions, like, "what color are your eyes", or, "is there a God?". ;-) Just kidding, again ! Seriously, REALLY seriously, it "thrills" me, and I mean it, even though "thrills" is a pretty silly word, that you like my new CD.
Hello again. Bob, you have the ability to put a signature sound to your music. It is easy to hear your work on the Dawson and Friends song. I am looking forward to hearing the new CD. Why isn't it available at local stores? I thought your work with Jeff Baxter and Spirit looked like you were having a lot of fun. Could you tell us anything about those sessions and is there much likelihood that either video or audio will be available to purchase. Thanks. (Carl Swift, Sierra Madre, California, USA)
I'm trying to get the new CD in as many stores as possible, but at this time of year, the Christmas season, AND the year 2000 thing, "shelf space" is hard to come by. I suggest you get the CD at The Penguin, or CD now or something. Marty's price is better though!;-) [and they are autographed]
I had a question regarding French Kiss. Was that originally intended to be the 3rd Paris Album? Some of the songs sound like they could have been written for Paris. I love the guitar work on that Album! Do you remember how the recording sessions went for that LP? One final thought on French Kiss, Who was the woman with you on the cover? Thanks again. (Damon Garascia, Ferndale, Michigan, USA)
Yes, French Kiss was possibly going to be a 3rd Paris album, but Paris was breaking up,Hunt Sales had contracted Bells palsy Glenn Cornick was doing a side project, I think, and it was probably John Carter who suggested I get Alvin Taylor (drummer) and do it as a "solo"album.
Hi! First I must say that I'm a HUGE fan of your work with the Mac (especially Mystery To Me) and I look forward to hearing the new album! I've got a couple questions...
First, what was your first impression of Christine McVie and what was it like working with her? Second, what about New York drove you to write "The City"? Third, are "Miles Away" and "Keep On Going" about anything in particular. And fourth, whose idea was it to give "Did You Ever Love Me" a reggae feel? Thanks a lot! (Ali, Montgomery Township, Pennsylvania, USA)
I appreciate all the compliments ! Christine Mc Vie is a very strong and outspoken lady, and also a good cook ! She had already been the leader of her own band, "Chicken Shack", when I met her, and also had won Melody Maker magazines " singer of the year" or something. So she was well established, and I had, and still have, a lot of respect for her as a musician and writer/singer. Christine's father was the 1st violinist for the Birmingham symphony orchestra, so you didn't "mess" with Chris when it came to music ! ;-)
Hi Bob! It's such an honor to get to speak to you via this forum :-) I've been a fan of your music for many years! Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.
I love the "Penguin" album and was wondering what the inspiration was for the song "Night Watch?" Also, how do you like living in Nashville? Do you have any plans to play 328 Performance Hall? I've been there many times and it's a great place to see a show. BTW, if you're ever in need a drummer, my brother is always looking for a gig ;-) Take care and keep on rockin'! (Ann, Gordonsville, Tennessee, USA)
Thanks for your nice thoughts and compliments ! My ego is ballooning up like the Goodyear blimp !
A 'quick one'....well, two....for now. Waiting for the arthritis meds to kick in...;-) Is there a take "in the can" of the version of "Hypnotized" with Dave Walker's vocal?? AND... What is your opinion of the Pointer Sisters' version of "Hypnotized"?? (I assume you've heard it) (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, USA)
Blow some my way..;-)
Hi Bob, wow I have had the opportunity to ask some questions of some really great Musicians here...and here is another!! And yes, another question from New Mexico!! I first had a sampling of your music when I bought the Chain Box Set...it really sounded familiar and I loved it instantly, however it seemed as your work was not as widely showcased as the other artists...My question then is how about a Bob Welch's Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits?? Another question I have is from a previous answer you gave...How did you come about having Guns N' Roses rehearse in your Garage?? P.S.--> All of us down in NM would love to see ya when you tour...=) (Joshua, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA)
I love New Mexico; I lived in Phoenix for awhile, and we went to Albuquerque and Santa Fe all the time, where I stupidly ordered the "hot" version of an enchilada, and suffered for 2 weeks afterwards ! ;-) Yow !
It's great to see that you're back in action with a brand new album. I hope it'll be available in most records stores soon so, most people can hear/buy it?
What are you're memories of the "Bare Trees" sessions and Tour. It's my fave 1971-74 F.M. album. Everyone had really great songs on that album. Did you play mostly rhythm guitar on that album to Danny Kirwan's Lead Guitar ?
Thanks for all the great songs like "Sentimental Lady", "Ebony Eyes", "Hot Love Cold World", Big Town 2061, "Blue Robin", and my fave Bob Welch/F.M song "Hypnotized". Hope to see you tour in the Washington, D.C./Northern Va. Area, soon ? (Steve Elliott, Arlington, Virginia, USA)
I hope "BW Looks At..." will be available everywhere soon too; meanwhile, you can get it from Marty A. Help support The Penguin! ;-)
Thank you so much for doing the Q and A. I mainly wanted to tell you how much I love "Hypnotized" and "Sentimental Lady". Those are my favorites from the days when you were with FM. I am also very sorry you were not inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame.
How was the song "Hypnotized" made? Unlike Steve I am not a musician so I can't tell just by listening how a "sound" is achieved. (Vianna, Alexandria, Virginia, USA)
Hi again Bob, What are you're memories of the "Bare Trees" album sessions and the Tour. It's my fave 1971-74 F.M. album. Everyone had really great songs on that album. Any unreleased songs from this album that you can remember ? Thank you !! (Steve Elliot, Arlington, Virginia, USA)
There probably are some unreleased songs from Bare Trees, or any of my other albums w/FM, but WB records owns those masters and they do what they're gonna do, or not do, and I'm not in "the loop"! One of the things I remember about the Bare Trees tour, is that the stage at the Eastown Theater in Detroit slanted so much it was like you were playing on the side of a hill. And we ate a lot of Dunkin' Donuts, especially Christine ! ;-)
I have another question? I read in Mick Fleetwood's book that the masters for the Bare Trees lp were erased by accident and you had to remix the album. How was this done and was the final mix any different from the original one? What is your opinion of Mick's book? was it accurate? Why did you leave FM? On what day did you leave? (Tom Kirby, Roswell, New Mexico, USA)
The Bare Trees masters got erased because the airlines had just started putting in anti hijacking metal detectors, and the very 1st ones were not "tape safe" and would erase recorded tapes. They don't do that now !