Bob Welch, November 8 - 21, 1999
Bob, let me tell you this Q&A session is the most revealing to date. You are very sincere with us, and that´s priceless for people who have been into BW and FM music for so many years. It really helps to understand a lot of things.
I would like to ask you much more questions, but I suppose you must be swamped with them. So just let me add some comments/questions about Heroes Are Hard To Find.
How was the development of such "atmospheric" songs like Coming Home and Safe Harbour? Was it easy for you to explain to the other members of the band what you really wanted? What is Safe Harbour about? ("just a fine and safe harbour...?")How many guitars are there? Are they all Les Pauls? One of the guitars is very Future Games-like. How did you get that amazing sound? (one of the most "transparent" sounds I´ve ever heard) What kind of amp did you use?. Another one is playing jazzy octaves. GREAT!
What harmony are you using in Coming Home? It´s so complex I still don´t know which chords do you use.
Bad Looser is the most Welch-influenced song by Christine McVie. Isn´t it?
Which is your favourite Paris album?
Which are your all time favourite rock albums? (If you have any)
And finally...a tricky one for Professor Welché. In most of your songs you write about finding meaning in a meaningless existence. After all those years and all your experiences... do you have ANY CLUE about what the meaning might be? (Daniel Galera, Madrid, Spain)
Daniel, you ask some detailed and thoughtful things, so let me give it a (I hope not too long !;-) "shot"..
One quick question. Who was in the bogus FM? Thanks. (Edna, Boston Massachusetts, USA)
There was somebody by the last name of "Kirby" that's all I can remember. Evidently they were all English session musicians that Clifford had recruited...Pretty good too, just NOT Fleetwood Mac....
Hi Bob- You have obviously spent a lot of time answering all these questions, but I have just one quick one. There's been a lot of talk about "Hypnotized" but what about "Emerald eyes"? I really liked that song. also, was there a basic theme plan for 'Bare Trees'? It seems to be very bleak lyrically, which works well with Kirwan and yourself. Thanks again for your time! (Mike Paquet, Havertown, Pennsylvania, USA)
Mike, I think I talked about "Emerald Eyes" somewhere back in the previous questions...I don't want to be rude, and I love to ramble, but I'm gonna refer you to that, in the interest of brevity, and my own rapidly developing "carpal tunnel syndrome" ! ;-)
I was just wondering, given your opinion that Mick sometimes doesn't realize he's just the drummer, what you thought of the way he slammed Lindsey in his autobiography, obviously lying, and justifying it with phrases like "That is what happened to the best of my memory or knowledge" stuff like that and then how Lindsey seemed to have forgiven him pretty easily. I guess Mick realized after the Time band that he couldn't really do it without Lindsey's help? what do you think? (Laura, Virginia, USA)
Laura, the only thing I can say about Mick's book, is that I thought it was pretty accurate about MY time in the band. Mick does take a few liberties like when he said, in the postscript, that I was living in Arizona "writing film scores".....The "Arizona" part was right, the "film scores" thing was not... But that's pretty minor.
Hmmmm...ok, I can't resist asking this one.
At the top of "section four" of the Q&A is a really cool photo of what appears to be your Buddhist doppelganger, "Foo-Man-Welch"...could you give some background on that photo. Where? When? Who did the make up? etc. (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, USA)
Steve, shortwinded for a change are we ? ;-)
Well, it looks like I've got some competition in the "Essay Question" category! :-) I've trained them well. ;-) (just kiddin')
Must be "synchronicity" or something, when I think I've come up with a question that hasn't been asked and I send it in...VOILA! I read where somebody has sent the same question at pretty much the same time. I'll try this one and see if somebody else is already on the same wavelength.
In a prior question, you said that "Ghost Of Flight 401" came from Mick's drumbeat & Christine's keyboards. You've also stated that French Kiss evolved from what would've been a third Paris album; "China" was intended for Paris. What other songs you've recorded for your solo albums we're originally intended for either Paris or Fleetwood Mac?
Now that your "Labor Of Love"..."Be Bop" is out for us to explore & enjoy, what's next for you?
Since my workload is increasing and my "on-line" time is getting cut significantly (sniff), I may not get a chance to GRILL you anymore this week. (but ya never know! :-))
I just would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU for:
1) all the incredible music you've given to the world already and anxiously await all new arrivals! (that includes "back catalog" reissues as well!)
2) influencing my guitar playing (as well as a lot of other's too, I have discovered over the years). Especially my use of stage footpedal effects.
3) showing us that songs can be about more than happy love & broken hearts...science, the apocalypse, and parapsychology CAN be song lyric topics!! I'll bet Chris Carter is a fan of yours...Night Watch, Hypnotized & Bermuda Triangle (among others) HAD to influence him on at least for a couple of episodes of "X-Files"!! ;-)
4) for "saving" Fleetwood Mac. And I do hope that some sort of reconciliation between "you & them" comes about....the Berlin Wall came down, so who knows?
5) Being so giving of your time & of yourself in answering our questions...letting us get to "know Bob Welch" (and being so patient with my ramblings)
Its been a PLEASURE AND AN HONOR to "converse" with you the past week or so and I hope that you've had as much fun with this Q&A as we have.
Also, I hope that our paths cross in some musical way someday.
Here's wishing you all the best, personally & professionally!
Oh, BTW....do you think Lindsey & Stevie will ever get back together romantically?? (jus' kidding!!) (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, USA)
Steve, you may well have some competition, but you'll always be "King Of The Essayists" to me ! ;-)
Howdy there, Bob!
Firstly, I must admit that I'm just starting to get into the "pre-Rumours" era of Fleetwood Mac. Of course, I've heard the hits (Hypnotized, Ebony Eyes, etc.), but usually, the best stuff is not released as singles! For a new fan like myself, what would you suggest I start listening to from your stint in FM? Anything in particular I should start with from your solo work?
It seems a lot of folks like your new CD, and I'm seriously considering picking it up.
Finally, I've been following all of the Q&A's here on the Penguin, and yours has been by far the most informative AND entertaining, in my opinion. Great job, and here's to success for the new album. If you do tour again in the future, feel free to stop off in Oklahoma! ;) (Erick Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA)
Erick, my own favorites are things like "Revalation" from the Penguin album, "Future Games" from the "Future Games" album, pretty much the whole "Mystery To Me" album... My 3 favorite albums from my solo stuff are "The Other One", "Eye Contact" and "Bob W Looks At Bop". That's my judgement from a purely musicians perspective... The biggest "commercial" hits were on some of my other albums.
Hey Bob, it's me again. What were the inspirations behind "Somebody", "Safe Harbour", and "Bright Fire"? Also, in "She's Changing Me", you mention "The Sweet Omega". What's that? (Brian Shoop, Cornwall, Pennsylvania, USA)
Brian, the only trouble with song "explanations" sometimes, is they sort of do what music videos do to music, which is screw them up for any other interpretation. Some music should be left open to not be ABOUT anything specific, to leave some "wiggle room" for people's imaginations to work. Unless of course you're writing stuff like "money, cash, "ho's" in which case there ain't much to interpret.
Ah, HAH!!! Thanks to "bugs" in the NEW computer, I get a chance to ask one LAST question from my old computer before I leave your typing hands to a physical therapist (well, I can't vouch for the rest of the people...they've still got ya for four more days!). ;-)
Since the "bogus band" debacle of '73, have you met or even inadvertently worked with any of the members of the "bogus band"...and has any of them ever apologized, either formally or informally, to you personally?
Once again, Bob, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for all the music you given us and WILL give us, and especially for taking precious time (and typing energy) to give us all more insight into you & your life, your music, and Fleetwood Mac.
PS- Do you find that doing three octave major scales in all keys helps stretch out those sore muscles in your typing fingers?? ;-) (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, USA)
Steve, no, I've never met any of the "bogus band" guys, and nobody ever apologized. And you're very welcome, as I said, this has been fun ! Really though, typing is a LOT more work than playing the guitar !
Just wanted to say that I received "BOP" and it's something else! Your guitar work is excellent on it -- it reminds me more of your style with Fleetwood Mac than on your previous solo albums -- anything to that? The "Silver Heels" references/update is totally cool -- one of my favorites of your songs. Your voice sounds very different on "BOP." I can't figure out if it's been "electronically enhanced" or what's going on in certain spots. Maybe you're just singing in a lower register. Maybe it's not even you!
By the way, I always thought your work on HEROES ARE HARD TO FIND (the first Mac album I bought) was fantastic. "She's Changing Me" should've been a hit. Take Care. (Rock Stamberg, Riverside, Connecticut, USA)
Rock, I'm very pleased to know that you like "Bop" ! The reason the guitar playing, and everything else on "Bop", is the way it is, is because the cuts on the album just evolved over a period of time, and originally, I had no plans to release any of it...It was something I was doing for me, just for fun and relaxation. So the whole record is very.....relaxed, which may be what you're hearing.
Bob, It's fantastic that you're spending so much time answering all of these questions. First, I just want to say that "Heroes" was the first Fleetwood Mac record I remember hearing - "Silver Heels" was playing quite a bit on the radio here back in those days! So it was that version of the band that really defined my perception of Fleetwood Mac.
I was curious as to whether you'd ever consider playing with Peter Green. I know your styles are not similar, but I've always thought they would mesh together well. It sounds as though you feel that Mick has a significant influence over Peter these days though, so maybe playing together would be tough to pull off even if you wanted to.
Are there any musicians in particular that you'd like to play with that you haven't been able to yet? (Ken, Oakland, California, USA)
I'd love to play with Pete Green...I wish life was that simple, but I'm afraid things like that, because of the politics and all the "water under the bridge" will probably never happen. I don't really know if Mick has any "control" over Pete Green....I do think Mick would LIKE to have some control over him though... Like at one time he had emotional "control" over Stevie. Control, is Mick's 'thing'.
Hi again, Bob! Thank you very much for answering all of our questions. It sure is a treat for us fans. We will always love your music and support you 100%. I know you have a lot of questions backed up and time is running out, so I will get right to the point:
1) One of my favorite songs of yours is “Something Strong.” It was only issued as the B-side of the “Precious Love” single and, to the best of my knowledge, no where else. Why was this great song never included on an album? What are your feelings about this song?
2) On the “Bermuda Triangle” live CD from 1974, you talk and tell stories to someone named Boog. Actually some times it sounds like you say Boob, but I doubt that. Who is this person?
3) What was the name of the Kenny Rogers song you co-wrote?
4) Do you still hold rights to the name “Paris?” I think there is a rapper who goes by that name. Does this bother you?
5) Had you heard any of Christine’s songs from the White Album in 1974, before you left the band? Did she use them to motivate you to stay?
6) Who is the song “Church” about?
7) Who is “The Girl Can’t Stop” about?
8) What the heck is a “Danchiva?” (Great song by the way!)
9) In Mick’s book, he referred to being a bit nervous about you hearing them do “Hypnotized” without you. He mentioned a time when you were sitting in the crowd and he hoped you liked it. What would you say about this situation? Did they do a good job?
10) Did you read Mick’s book?
11) If so, were the circumstances surrounding Danny Kirwan’s departure accurate from your point of view?
12) That night where the four of you were on stage and Danny was sitting in the audience after walking away must have been crazy. What are your recollections about the concert that night? It must have been a huge strain on you. How was this more difficult from when you played on stage as the “Heroes” lineup? Did you have to play Danny’s songs without him?
13) You touched upon this before, but I am not sure I understand. Are the drum parts on “Hypnotized” Mick playing very constant or is that just a short recording looped over and over? How did he make those cymbal sounds so constant? I am not a musician, so chances are I won’t understand the technical aspect of it! “Hypnotized” is my favorite FM song and I have always wanted to know.
14) Kind of a silly question: Did it ever bother you that the Cy Young award winning pitcher shared your name? Have you two ever met? It could be like a Paul Simon the senator meets Paul Simon the musician scenario.
Thanks again! You are the BEST!!!! (Rob Hylen, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Zowie Rob, a 14 parter ! Steve Denison is going to be talking to you about this ! ;-) In order then:
Thanks so much for autographing the CD's! Mine just came - I have always wanted to own something signed by a Fleetwood Mac band member and now I do! I will treasure it always. I have some questions:
I have read Mick's book and he comes across to me as seeming to think Fleetwood Mac is kind of his "child" and that he is the "daddy" - he seems to think Christine's "Oh, Daddy" is about him, and he seems pretty possessive about the band. Do I have the right idea here? This may explain why he seems to think he can control what the band does? He always seems to be the spokesperson - why is that? did (does)nobody else want to be? or he wouldn't let them?
Was Mick managing the band when you were in it? I know he was when Lindsey and Stevie first joined because it was slightly after that that the band "fired" him because of "missing" money..I always call it "Mick's Missing Millions" ...=:-) (Vianna, Alexandria, Virginia, USA)
Vianna....I think your "psychoanalysis" of Mick is pretty "right on"...
Hi Bob. Thank you so much for participating in this forum with us. I originally got interested in Fleetwood Mac after your tenure had already ended, but I was very happily surprised to discover you and your music as I learned about the band's history. Just like the Green years, and the Buck-Nicks years, your years in the band have a very distinct attitude and sound. I love the jazziness that you brought. It's wonderful stuff.
This is sort of an icky question, but I gotta ask. Richard Dashut has repeatedly expressed regret that Lindsey didn't get individual production credit on Rumours, or even full credit on Tusk either. I know you weren't in the band then, but knowing what you know about the attitudes of the parties involved, would you be inclined to attribute that oversight to some sort of purposeful action on Mick's part?? Was it "politics" as Lindsey has vaguely intimated in more recent years?
Your comments about the dynamics in the band have made a whole myriad of cryptic comments from Lindsey, Stevie, and even a few by Vito a lot clearer to me, so this has been really fascinating to read your recollections and impressions. Thank you for being so open with us.
I heard an interview with you on a radio show some months ago -- the Kevin Bacon Guitar Show, me thinks. I thought I remembered you mentioning that in addition to your current new album, you were also working on an album, or thinking about making an album of contemporary remakes of some of your Mac material. Was that just a product of my questionable memory, or is that something you are working on? If so, what songs are you thinking about including?
And finally may I just tell you that "Emerald Eyes," vaulted into my list of all-time favorite songs upon first listen. I NEVER get tired of that song. Thank you for writing it. (Les, San Diego, California, USA)
Les, glad to hear you like the "middle period" FM !
I love your new CD, Bob. Two of my favorite songs are "Hustler" and "E-Ticket to Fly." I was wondering what (if any) rap or hip hop records you might listen to or any rap influences you may have. Thanks for a great CD!! (Keith, Washington, DC, USA)
Keith, I'm really pleased to know that some of you Fleetwood Mac fans like my new CD ! It lets me know I'm not just "shooting in the dark ! ;-)
Hi again Bob. Here are a few more questions for you to ponder.
1) What is the funniest memory that you've had in your long career?
2) What was the thinking behind the very disturbing cover to "Heroes Are Hard To Find?"
3) If you had it to do all over again, what, if anything, would you change?
4) Why not have a one-off "X-Mac" jam at a Nashville club, since I know you, Billy, Rick, and Bekka all live in Nashville. You know, a freebie club show.
5) Finally, I would like to wish you the best of luck with the new and future albums. I do hope that you decide to tour, as I've always wanted to see you in concert. (Steve MacDougall, Columbus, Ohio, USA)
Steve, THE funniest memory I'm saving for my book !;-) But the 2nd funniest, is when the "Seven Souls" truck driver, Melvin, pulled up to the main entrance of the Sands hotel in Las Vegas, and because he wasn't "really" a truck driver, he forgot that the truck was too tall to fit under the entryway, and he knocked the whole front marquee down, lightbulbs were popping, plaster was flying everywhere...... We made a BIG entrance.
I've noticed that you, Bob Weston, and Delaney Bramlett have all done your most recent projects independently of major record companies and have done most, if not all, of your promotions on the internet. Do think that the advent of inexpensive recording equipment, the internet, and desk-top publishing programs that yield professional looking and sounding CDs and cassettes has the potential to radically change the music business? Do you think that more and more musicians who are disgruntled with the current state of the recording industry will be successful in recording and releasing new, original music. Or, are we all basically screwed?
You, Weston, and Bramlett all have notable histories, which will obviously help you sell CDs over the net. Do you think the net will be as helpful to newcomers? I guess, in short, should the technical revolution scare the big record companies? What do you see the industry looking like in 20 years? (Steve MacDougall, Columbus, Ohio, USA)
Steve, to the 1st part of your question, I'm going to make too easy on everybody, and just say yes, I agree with all your points.;-) I think the only function for some record companies in the future will be as giant pr. or marketing firms. You must realize though, that even a "recognizable" name will not necessarily sell records WITHOUT any marketing or publicity. Or, they might sell a certain # of records over a long period of time. The thing is with all the "major' labels now is, if you don't sell a half a million records within the 1st few months of release, they think you had a "flop" and won't continue to support you ! Their whole thing is, "big money...FAST". In contrast, I plan to keep my new CD out there forever, I don't care if it takes the next 20 years to sell it; I "believe" in it, I think it's good, and I don't EXPECT it to sell a million in the 1st year... Of course if it does, great ..;-)
Oh Bob! I just read your answer about Mick and his need to control and the emotional control he had over Stevie. I know you want to save stuff for your book, but oh please Bob, please tell us more about that now! Did she ever confide in you her feelings about the other three as Lindsey did? How did this "emotional control" figure into the affair she had with Mick? And what kind of control did (does) Mick have over Lindsey, that would make Lindsey continually put aside solo projects whenever Mick came a callin'? Bob, thank you for your music and also for turning us on to some new philosophies. (By the way, the Park West here in Chicago would be a wonderful venue for you.) (Donna, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Donna, I could go on and on about my "take" on Stevie, Lindsey, Mick, and everybody, but...I have to EAT !;-) I've gotta charge admission next time ;-) Please understand, I'm not trying to be "coy"..Thanks !;-)
Bob, What do you think of the current English music scene and why do you think English bands are finding it so hard to crack the States? (Monty, London, England)
Monty, to be honest, I don't know much about the current English music scene, except that it's supposed to be very dance, rave, trance, electronica etc oriented.......
Hi Bob, All my sympathy for all the typing. Especially if you only use two fingers (sometimes three) like me. Anyway I just wanted to say I've been a fan since I bought the Penguin album way back when. As far as I'm concerned Bob Welch was FM in those days! Revelation was and still is my favorite song. Basically all my questions have been answered previously. Also in reference to who was a guest on the Lindsey Buckingham Trouble video, I believe it was Bob Weston. Thanks for the music! (John Gallo, Rochester, New York, USA)
John, thanks for clarifying who was in the "Trouble " video, it was beginning to "trouble" me, like I had lost even more brain cells that I thought !;-)
Hi, again, Bob! No questions this time; I just wanted to reiterate (as if you didn't know by now!) how admired you are by so many. As a "younger" Mac fan (mid-20's), I have only recently gotten into the members' solo projects. A few years ago I found a cut-out CD of your 1981 RCA album (with a great track by a Canadian rocker who hadn't yet made it big!). That was all I had, though, until this past August, when within a couple weeks, I bought French Kiss, The Other One/ Man Overboard, and the two compilations (I love the Avenue M track!). All this great music convinced me that not many musicians can compose a catchier melody than you, and your arrangements are always interesting as well. The one downside to really getting into you, though, was that it seemed as though you had fallen off the face of the earth. And then "Bop" came along, followed by this Q&A. Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this for us, for continuing to create great, original, exciting music, and for being "Bob Welch, who just released....." rather than "Bob Welch, who used to be in Fleetwood Mac"! Good luck and happiness to you! (Jonathon Donahue, New York City, New York, USA)
Jonathan, what can I say to that but thank you ! ;-)
What was your first impressions of Stevie and Lindsey as people/a couple/musicians? Were Stevie's talents recognized at all by the band? (LauraTN, Morristown, Tennessee, USA)
Laura, when I first met Stevie and Lindsey it was in a working situation, at Sound City studio, and from what I heard on the playbacks, I could tell they were tremendously talented..... I'm sure the rest of the group thought the same.
Hello again.....upon reading the Q & A you mentioned saving stories for a book,are planning to writing book in the near future? What would you name your book? And my last question, Is there any current female artist that you would like to duet with? Take Care and Thanks for everything!!!!! (Christa, West Haven, Connecticut, USA)
Christa, yes I'm (slowly) working on a book about my life in music... I don't know what the title would be...
Bob, what is your fondest memory of Stevie, did you like her right from the start, Did Stevie or Lindsay ever talk about each other to you, did you catch any of Stevie's concerts last year for Enchanted and if so what did you think? Why didn't you and Stevie ever get together romantically? Has Stevie discussed her new album with you, and what do you think about Stevie working with people like Sheryl Crow and Dallas Austin? Thanks. (Melissa, Hemet, California, USA)
Melissa, I think I talked about what is MY fondest Stevie memory earlier in the q&a, which was when she "came to my rescue" at a horrible gig in LA... Please look at that...
What do you think of Warren Cuccurrullo as a guitarist? (James, England)
James, he's a fabulous player !