Bob Welch, November 8 - 21, 1999
I've got a copy of a bootleg (gasp!) of a '74 rehearsal and in the middle of Future Games you go a little crazy ;) You are talking about what a bad year 1970 was and how you came about naming that song...did you ever do that live? Were you just playing around? Did you record that rehearsal yourself? It's just like a little mini Storytellers. I LOVE it! (Tracy G., Stockbridge, Georgia, USA)
I used to do a lot of talking, even on gigs, telling the story of the "Bermuda Triangle", the year in Paris (France) when I wrote "Future Games" etc. I think it really used to annoy Mick, John, and Christine, who would roll their eyes and give me these "if looks could kill" type looks ! ;-) I don't have that tape, but I do have a "filthy language" studio outtake of "Silverheels" that an engineer kept and gave me a copy of. I don't think I'll ever release it ! ;-)
Hell-o again Bob. I will try ask this again and get your take on it. During the Dance tour, Mick would have to think that FM had not played for 7 or so yrs when in fact they played from 93-95. What I meant about John was on the Best Buy CD was he said he really like being on the road with Bekka, Billy and Dave. Does Mick treat all past band mates this poorly. You being friends with Billy did you see this band play or listen to the time CD? (Bill Seamens, Buffalo, Minnesota, USA)
Yes, unfortunately, it seems to me that Mick treats most past band members as if they didn't really have anything to do with FM, with the exception of the "Rumours" band, Pete Green, and rarely, Jeremy Spencer. Everybody else who ever played with FM he "shuts out of his mind", kinda like in the old Soviet Union, where they used to "erase" politicians from official histories, and never mention them in public.
Hello Bob. I really appreciate your candor. Long after the Q & A is done, I'll remember how gracious you were to us fans. Your music with Fleetwood Mac is as memorable as any.....Now tell the truth, did you really plan for MYSTERY TO ME to sync with THE WIZARD OF OZ if you start the LP after the third lion's roar of the MGM logo? Just kidding. I wish you all the success on your new album. (Timothy Kee, North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, USA)
Wow, that was a complicated formula !;-) Beats "backwards masking" by a mile ! ;-) The funny thing is, I've never met a musician who wasn't trying to do either 1 of 2 things with their music, (1) Make great music to the best of their own ability and vision, or, (2) make a lot of money, or both. Even people like Alice Cooper or Marilyn Manson or Ozzy Osbourne, let alone people like Fleetwood Mac, or the Beatles etc. are simply trying to do what they hear in their heads, or what pleases them ( as grotesque as that may sometimes be ).
My favorite period of Fleetwood Mac is the Bob, Danny and Christine era. You've said that your favorite song you wrote for FM is "Hypnotized". What are your favorite songs written by Danny and Christine during that period? Other than "Good Things" and "Trinity", do you remember recording material that wasn't released? Finally, not including the new CD, what is your favorite solo LP? I want to thank you for your time, and for writing such great tunes as "Future Games", "She's Changing Me" and "Ebony Eyes". Can't wait to buy your new album, as I'm a BeBop/Hardbop myself (esp. McCoy Tyner and Horace Silver). (Chris Frohring, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)
Thanks ! I think "Woman of 1000 Years" was Danny at his best...and I liked "Why" and "Come a Little Bit Closer" of Christine's, which should have been a hit single, in my opinion.
Greetings from Canada. Nice to see you have released some new material. Have only heard the clips so far but sounds good; the CD is treated as an import here and I have it on order. Will it be released in Canada? Also, any plans to release more of your later work on CD? [ i.e.: Eye Contact, Bob Welch] Have enjoyed your music for years, starting with Future Games, and consider your guitar playing to be excellent, and very unique. Caught your show in Vancouver B.C. at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre early 77?, brings back good memories, if I remember there was even a Paris tune. Best wishes on your new endeavors. (Charles Parkhurst, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada)
Thanks Charles ! I always liked going to Canada, the gigs there, esp. Vancouver and Toronto (love those big cities) were the best part of any tour, along with Hawaii and New Orleans !
I love Sentimental Lady . . . I have it on the Fleetwood Mac Record, and saw that you also included it on your solo work French Kiss. I know you are fans of Stevie and Lindsey, and that Stevie did Silver Springs for Fleetwood Mac and when she wanted to include it on her solo work Fleetwood Mac wouldn't allow her to do that. Is there a reason why you could and she couldn't? BTW, I heard your interview on TNN, where you got a well deserved award for Ebony Eyes and Sentimental Lady a while back. Both beautiful songs--thank you for them. I also have your new CD and, while I didn't at first hear "your sound," now I am getting into it! Keep on making music! If there is a Buckingham Nicks remake, it would sure be great to expand it to be Buckingham-Nicks-Welch! That would be great music! Thank you. (Susan, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Susan, you say some interesting things ! I think that Sentimental Lady was a different story from "Silver Springs" for a couple of reasons. One is, Mick John and Chris, and WB records care a lot more about Stevie's work with FM than my stuff with them; for good "business" reasons... Stevie after all is who made FM BIG stars. Also, I don't know if Stevie RE recorded "S Springs" with her own band, or whether she wanted to put the FM version of it on her solo record. Sentimental Lady was re-recorded for my solo album, and although all the members of the MAC were playing on the new version, it was NOT the "master" that was on "Bare Trees". The new CD of mine may be a little tough to "get" at first, but give it time (sounds like you are) and just sort of let it "wash over" you, without trying to analyze..and turn it up, like in a car, so you can get all the deep "sub-bass" that's on there ! Buckingham-Nicks-Welch.....? Why not ! ;=)
I was reading one of the (unfortunately few) articles on the Penguin, and one of them made reference to Lindsey and Stevie's joining the band while you were still a part of it. Had you already left the band by the time L&S joined? I know you eventually worked with them, but when did you actually meet Lindsey and Stevie? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, Georgia, USA)
I "hemmed and hawed for months about whether or not I would leave FM... John Mc Vie said, " Bob it'll be the biggest mistake you'll ever make." Everybody knew that we had to find some new creative "juice". Mick had gone out to check out studios to do the next album after "Heroes..." while I was still hemming and hawing. At "Sound City" studios is where somebody played him a tape of Stevie and Lindsey as "Bucking-Ham Nicks". Mick told me about hearing their tape, and how good they were etc. At that point I could've chosen to stay in FM, and add Stevie and Lindsey to the line up. It wasn't like anybody was ASKING me to leave, and there was a moment that I thought about staying.
Hi Bob. Thank you so much for doing this Q&A! My head is swimming from all the info you've shared with us already. Please forgive me if I repeat a question that has already been asked. My favorite pre-LB/SN album from the Mac is Mystery to Me, and one of my favorites songs on there that I never hear anyone talk about is Forever. Was that just a little 'throw away' tune? Can you tell me anything about how it came about? I notice that John McVie has a writing credit on it, too. What was it like working with him? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, Georgia, USA)
It's been fun talking with all of you who really know and care about FM. That usually isn't the case in a "straight" interview, where the guy (or girl) is most often asking questions because it's their job, not because they're really interested !
I just want to say that I am really enjoying talking with you. By the way, I have just ordered your latest album from Marty and can't wait to listen to it. Here are a few more questions: 1. Did Peter Green play on the song "Nightwatch"? 2. If so, did you record with him or was his part recorded separately? 3. Why did Christine sing the lead on "Keep On Going? That song has a great string part, were they recorded using an orchestra? (Tom Kirby, Roswell, New Mexico, USA)
...and I'm enjoying doing the q&a, because I know I'm talking to people who really know about FM, and so I don't have to be as "bland" as I would in an ordinary interview situation..but the typing is hard work, and I run out of gas after a while..;-)
I guess its part of Fleetwood Mac lore that on the "Penguin" album, Peter Green made an uncredited guest appearance on your song "Night Watch"...were you involved in that, or was that overdubbed later?
Is "Miles Away" one of the songs on which you played bass? What a great bass line!!! WHEW!! I recall seeing you at the Universal Amphitheater right after the release of French Kiss and "Miles Away" was your encore tune! Blew me away! One of your tunes I thought I'd never hear live! Was the only time I've seen you that you played it. Also, two thumbs up to Todd Sharp for a great solo on "Outskirts" that same night.
You referred in a previous answer to "Mystery To Me" as "my Rumours"...do you have an album that you'd call "your Tusk"?? (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, USA)
Steve, so Long Beach is where you're hiding ! ;-)
Originally I was really amazed by your extremely flexible skills both as songwriter and especially a guitarist after I heard "Narrow Gate (Le Porte Etroite)" from the first LP by Paris. Can you tell me little bit about the strange lyrics behind this track?
What factors were at hand that eventually led you to create the hard-rock unit called, Paris? I've read that after you left Fleetwood Mac, you spent most of 1975 sitting around your sister's house till your brother-in-law started coming up with some ideas. Was "Paris" your idea or a collaboration between Jimmy Robinson and other players? I'm not sure if this true but, I also read that after going thought six managers (and various other problems) you were also supposed to go to New York to write song for a large six piece band?? (K.E. Gil, Los Angeles, California, USA)
You ask a very detailed question K E and I'll try to cover it all ! Get ready.. ;-)<[> "The Narrow Gate" is the title of a novel by French author Andre Malraux...."Porte Etroite" means "barrow gate" in French. Andre Malraux, and I, got the expression "narrow gate" from the Christian bible, where (in differing versions, but all essentially the same) it says, "the way to heaven is NARROW" or "like a narrow gate", and "few are those who find it". There is also a famous quote that says, "it's easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle, than for a (rich) man to get to heaven". These ideas are echoed in most of the world's great religions, i.e that there is a MYSTERY, which is very HARD to understand, that is hidden in the world, BUT, that "mystery" of why we exist and for what reason, is difficult to find, like getting through a "narrow gate" or "the eye of a needle".
Let me first say that I am very happy to see that you are back on the music scene again after such a long hiatus. My question involves your FM songs which dealt with God, the supernatural, and the Apocalypse. Songs such as Revelation (my favorite), The Ghost, Lay It All Down, Angel, Night Watch, and so on all dealt with these themes. My question is simple: why did you often refer to these themes? Were they just interesting topics? Was it a 70's thing for artists to discuss such issues, as if they felt the end was near? Was it in part due to (and I mean this seriously) drugs influencing the mind, or all of the above? By the way, I left out Hypnotized too..:) Thank you for your time, and please say you will be recording more albums in the future. (Rick Spataro, New Kensington, Pennsylvania, USA)
Rick, you too are asking some very interesting questions ! And I thought nobody ever "got" a lot of my album cut stuff ! ;-)
Hi Bob, Bought any ice-cream vans lately? :) (Bob Weston, Hove, E. Sussex, United Kingdom)
Bob, how ARE you darling ...;-) Missed you awfully;-) Don't be a stranger, you mad, mad fool !
Hi again Bob, I've seen two of your CDs out in the stores since I've been a Mac fan "FRENCH KISS and THE BEST OF. So, I decided to follow the solo projects as well. Does it bother you to know that some albums of yours are not in circulation anymore? What is your opinion on the subject of imports? I know it bothers me when I have to pay $25 for an out of print CD that suddenly became an import.
Last, thanks for doing the Q&A for all of us. I share the same opinion about the Peter Green one also, I didn't find that too enjoyable at all. The question that stirred most interest was the possibility of him Mick and John and Christine getting together. But I think we'll see Lindsey's new solo album out that we've all been waiting for for two years before an original FM reunion. (my opinion also). (Jeff Baer, Thorofare, New Jersey, USA)
Jeff, what it boils down to with the albums, is 'when you're hot, you're hot, when you're not you're not. One of the reasons I've put out "Bob Welch Looks At Bop" myself, is so I can have control of it... Even if it only sells 1 copy a year, I guarantee you it will NEVER be out of print. I really never have too much liked the way record companies repackage tracks that never went together in the 1st place. Of course, if "downloading" ever takes off, people will be putting together their own albums...
Ok, another "hit & run".... ;-)
...not sure of the chronology, but in last month's Q&A, Walter Egan said he'd spent some time playing bass with Spirit. Did his tenure coincide with yours?
(another one filed under "chronology")
Which of you actually recorded "China" (from the Three Hearts album) first, you or Sammy Hagar? And what did you think of his version? Did you play on his version?? (wasn't his album that had that on it produced by John Carter, as well?)
"Heroes Are Hard To Find" has one of my favorite Christine McVie songs, "Bad Loser"...it seems to have more of a "Bob Welch sound" than what we're traditionally used to hearing from her...did you have a large hand in the arrangement of that song? (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, USA)
Steve, I don't know if I was before or after Walter Egan in terms of working with "Spirit".... I know he wasn't playing bass with them when I did that w/ Jeff Baxter...
Well, your story about Stevie coming out on stage and giving those critics "what for" was absolutely hilarious! Thank you for sharing. I had one other question I forgot to ask, Was Ebony Eyes about anyone in particular? (LauraTN, Morristown, Tennessee, USA)
Bob - Is it my imagination, or does 'Bird' from the new album have a touch of Zappa about it ? I like what you've done with the vocals. Just wondering what you think of the late Frank's work.....also, can you tell us a bit about what it was like recording 'The Other One' ? There's a lot of atmosphere on that album - did you enjoy doing it at the time ? (Steve Ryan, Carlow, Ireland)
Steve, is it the vocals or the music part (at the end) that seems Zapp-ish on" Bird" to you? In the sense that Zappa used to like a lot of musical "suprises", then yes, it is sort of Zappaish I guess ! ;-) I'm actually not all that familiar with Zappas work.. He made a ton of albums, and I've only heard "the hits". I do know he could 'do it all" musically, except sing....
I guess this would be basically a question regarding the Fleetwood Mac days, but it could also cover your solo career as well.
Has there been a song (or songs) that you've recorded that you thought "WOW! This one will ROCK when we play it in concert" and for one reason or other either didn't work out as expected in rehearsals or was vetoed by the rest of the band, etc and it never made the set list??
No, I'm not "wearing out"....just day gig priorities too demanding for my usual essay questions! ;-) (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, USA)
Steve, the day you wear out, will be the day Bill Clinton wears out his...well forget about that, you know what I mean...;-)
First, I have to gush a little. I hope you don't mind too much...but Sentimental Lady is one of those songs that I put in the "other dimension" category. It's something that, once you hear it, you are just totally thrown into another world...in this case, a very sweet, pretty world. OK-now that you know that I am somewhat sentimental...I know writers don't like to do this...but could you please tell me your "sentimental" favorites ..which of your songs you like the best for sentimental reasons; which you like to perform because of some memory it triggers?
Oh, and one more thing...is there any song that you performed (you can exclude your own creations, if you want) that you absolutely hated to perform and, given a choice, would never want to do again? (that's for my cynical side) Thanks! (Regina, Bronx, New York, USA)
The easy part is a song that I didn't really want to record, but did anyway, and tried to my best on it, and then the writer 'kicked me in the teeth" because I had changed a couple of things in the lyrics to make the song more singable for me. The song was "Bend Me Shape Me", on my 1st RCA album, which was a political nightmare to record from start to finish. I was trying to please everybody, and wound up pleasing nobody !
Sorry to bug you again, but....I have a seal copy of "Man Overboard" which has a promotional sticker that states, "includes the hit single...Don't Rush The Good Things." Did the track "Don't Rush The Good Things" eventually become a U.S. hit single??? (K.E. Gil, Los Angeles, California, USA)
KE, that story about the "includes the hit single" sticker is the one I use to show how record companies work, or don't work! ;-)
Have you ever recorded with Stevie, other than what has been officially released? If so any plans to release the material? Also please explain how a band could keep an author from his or her own material. Was your music copyrighted by you or Fleetwood Mac? When you left the band did you just leave all your contributions behind because it was recorded in a band context? Things were a lot different then as far as artists and royalties. etc..etc.. (Carmine, Floral Park, New York, USA)
Carmine, there may be some, "at somebody's house", "jam" tapes somewhere, but nothing in the official "can" that I recall... Who owns what and the whole area of music copyright is a real complex subject, and if I went into detail here, I'd have everybody's eyes "glazing over" even more than they already are ! ;-) But briefly, there are times when an artist can own NONE of their rights and times when they can own ALL of their rights....and everything in between ! It all depends on the kind of deals they've made...
From what I understand your third solo LP, "The Other One," cost about $70,000 less to produce than "Three Hearts," due to lack of string arrangements & rehearsals before the tracks were cut in the studio. Why do you think the LP did so poorly in comparison to your previous LP's, I believe it only reached #105 on the charts? Was there a lack of promotional support or public interest in 1979-80?
By the way, "The Other One" is my favorite Welch album to date. Not only do I LOVE this LP, but certain tracks seem to a have bit of a jazzy-R&B's flair to it, similar to something "The Crusaders (Joe Sample, Wilton Felder, & Stix Hooper)" would have produced. In my opinion the track "Watch the Animals" is the best song you've ever written. Great vocals, rhythm section, and excellent guitar work, but I‘m puzzled in terms of where you received the idea for this song?? (K.E. Gil, Los Angeles, California, USA)
I think "The Other One" was cheaper to do than "3 Hearts", but I really couldn't say by how much... I wasn't paying too close attention to money in those days.......unfortunately ! ;-)
Bob, Thank you for the wonderful music. It is great to see your name out there again.
1. Your song "Hypnotized" always takes me out of the regular waking state. It is a good song to meditate to (in a dark room with headphones). Just wondering, do you have any formal spiritual practice or beliefs?
2. About the lawsuit thing, not too familiar with that...was it because FM owed you back royalties or because they never paid you back for the money you lent them when they were broke in 1974?
3. You consider Stevie a good friend. Has she ever taken her role as the "mediator" in Fleetwood Mac, as she claims she has, in your case?
4. Was the RRHOF omission of you FM's doing or the nomination committee's?
Thank you for being honest in this Q & A. (Yolande, Michigan, USA)
Yolande, thanks for your kind words ! Feedback like that means everything to an artist !
First of all, I want to say thanks for all the great music -- I've just found out about and ordered the new CD -- can't wait to hear it -- sounds interesting from what I've read ...
Have you written or played with former NRBQ guitarist Al Anderson since you've been in Nashville? Somehow I think that the two of you could come up with some really interesting stuff. (Rock Stamberg, Riverside, Connecticut, USA)
No, I haven't written with Al, but I know people who have, and I might at some point... I've written with a lot of other Nashville writers...!
Can you tell me about your influences behind the production of your "Eye Contact" album from 1983? (I think was in the 2nd grade when this one was released!) "American Girls," "Stay" and especially "Can't Hold Your Love Back" are great songs due to their fresh new 80's style pop feel to them. Overall I feel this album is quite good, but I only track I have a problem with is "Love On The Line." I guess what I meant to say is that it really doesn't sound like a Welch penned love ballad...
I have the 12-inch single (extended play version) of "Fever," which is a bit different from the album cut, but was it RCA's idea to release this as a 12-inch mix? Also, were you supposed to do a third LP for RCA Records? (K.E. Gil, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Yet another detailed fact-filled question from KE Gil ! ;-)
I also was very disturbed by your being excluded when FM was inducted into the HOF! The unfairness of it (not to mention the lame reasons given) really bothered me, especially since I have always really liked the FM albums you were part of. I especially like the songs Future Games, S.L. (of course), Hypnotized, Bermuda Triangle, Bright Fire, and Night Watch.
But the question I have is this: If you feel free to do so, could you explain what the lawsuit was about, why you went that route, and why you think Mick, John, and Christine seemed to take it so personally? Was there anything else going on at the time that contributed to the hostility or was it just the idea that you sued them? And, lastly, what (if anything) do you think could bring about a resolution of the rift (I'd like to see you get into the HOF retroactively!!) (Dennis Goodyear, Denver, Colorado, USA)
Dennis, I think I've already done enough of a "rant" on my feelings about the hall of fame thing... What could be done....maybe a petition, but a petition to include ALL past members, me, Burnette, Vito, Weston, Dave Mason, Bekka.....That's the fair thing...