Dave Walker, October 12 - 25, 2000
Hello Dave, it's a pleasure to have this opportunity. Can you fill us in on your whereabouts and doings recently? Are you playing still? The Penguin album has always been a favorite Fleetwood Mac album for me. What other recordings have you worked on? Thank you very much. (Timothy Kee, North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, USA)
Hi, Dave-- Let me start by saying thank you for taking your time & energy to do this Q&A; and, its nice to hear that you're still active in the music industry. A few questions come to mind off the bat:
Did you actually get to record any of the material that ended up on "Mystery To Me"? For instance, IS there a take of Welch's "Hypnotized" with you singing it, somewhere in the vaults? (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, USA)
Being that you joined Savoy Brown right after the exodus of almost the whole band (off to form Foghat) was there an identity crisis for "Savoy Brown" to regain an audience, or keep credibility? Or, were the audiences fairly supportive? It seemed from this side of the "pond" that your incarnation of Savoy Brown was basically "Chicken Shack" with you & Kim Simmonds replacing Stan Webb. (I mean that in a GOOD way) (Steve Denison)
Good observation on the Savoy Brown reformation. Chicken Shack et.al With regards to identity crisis, there was none, as the band had been in a state of flux for one tour before Andy Sylvester, Dave Bidwell and I joined. The first tour that we did together promoted the Street Corner Talking album, which was very successful and served well to establish the new bands character.
During your Fleetwood Mac tenure, its assumed, since you were the front man, that you did most of the lead vocals, but were the leads still divided up between you, Bob Welch & Christine McVie? Were there tunes that you did in concert that weren't part of the basic Fleetwood Mac repetoire? (meaning, did you do cover material along the lines of "Roadrunner", etc, that never got recorded?) Were any of the shows you did with Fleetwood Mac ever get "officially" recorded for any potential live album? Admittedly, it took a while for me to get into "The Derelict" on the Penguin album, but it became one of my favorites after a while. How much more material did you have to present to the band? And, was it along those same lines? (Steve Denison)
Becoming the front man for Fleetwood Mac was kind of redundant as Christine and Bob Welch were already performing that function and so I was never used as that. There were no other covers other then Road Runners ever performed by me with the band and I think we only played that song a few times live. To my knowledge there are no sanctioned live recordings of the Penguin band.
I was surprised when I heard that you took Ozzy's spot for that time in Black Sabbath. You & he have very different vocal styles. Did you basically adapt the tunes to YOU, or did you try to copy Ozzy's "riffs"? (Steve Denison)
As for Black Sabbath, we were friends from the same city and they felt that I could do the job. While I was with them for a short time I wrote a large amount of lyrics which were never used, probably because they were not Ozzie licks.
Hi Dave-- Really like your vocal work with Savoy Brown, especially on "Street Corner Talking". I have several questions for you. It has been said that your tenure with Fleetwood Mac was cut short because you made the band sound too much like Savoy Brown. Do you feel like you were treated as a full member of Fleetwood Mac or just brought in as quick replacement? What work have you done with music since departing both Savoy Brown and Fleetwood Mac? Any solo material ? Thanks for comming on line with The Penguin. (John Litrenta, Kewadin, Michigan, USA)
Hi Dave, First of all, thanks for taking the time to do a Q&A session with us! I was hoping we'd get an opportunity to talk with you. How do you like Montanna? During the Penquin sessions, did you personally find it difficult to write songs for the album? After Penquin was finished, how did you feel about the album in general? It has been said to be a commercial flop but, I really love that album! All the songs are really good I think. And finally, the photo of you and the band by the water on a tree branch, where was that taken? Well, glad you are still playing music! Take care. (Sharon Bos, Sterling, Virginia, USA)
Hello Dave! Let me begin by commending you on your performance at one of the greatest shows I've ever seen! It must have been around 1985 at the Detroit Blues & Jazz Festival. It featured Savoy Brown, Robie Kreiger and the Doors with Eric Burdon on vocal, and Albert King. Do you remember that show? Any comments? (Joe Panackia, Macomb, Michigan, USA)
My first question is: Was it difficult to come into Savoy Brown as a replacement for Chris Youlden and continue on with the Boogie and Blues when they were at the height of their popularity with that music? Did you know Chris? (Joe Panackia)
Chris Youlden was a hard act to follow but about a week before my first American tour, I met Chris in a bar in London and having not been to America before I asked his advice as to what I should do, and he said just be yourself and have fun. I did my best to do just that.
How did the Black Sabbath gig come about? I thought you were a bluesman. Were you at the Fleetwood Mac-Black Sabath tour in the early 1970's? Might that be how you originaly got involved with the two groups? (Joe Panackia)
The Black Sabbath gig came about purely because of friendship and the fact that we were from the same city, of course as you point out the clash of styles between their music and mine made it pretty much unworkable. And that's all I can say about that.
Bob Welch said that the creative sessions with FM during his tenure were somewhat draining with the different personalities involved. Did you find that to be the case? Did you think it would be like a partying jam the way most people imaging it was with the original group? By the way did you know Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, and Danny Kirwan? Would you give some comments on your take of their individual contributions to the group? (Joe Panackia)
With regard to Peter Green, I met him a few times after his Fleetwood Mac days and his emotional health was not too good and he was not playing guitar except for one memorable evening when he came to a Fleetwood Mac session at Air Studios in London and played for about 5 incredible seconds on one of the tracks we were recording. The title of which escapes me now. Jeremy Spencer I did not know although apparently we only lived about 10 miles apart. Danny Kirwan, Andy Sylvester, and Paul Raymond and I tried to put a band together after our years with Savoy Brown and Fleetwood Mac were over but unfortunatly Danny who was an incredible talent was already sinking into his own personal problems and nothing ever came of the project.
Finally, what were the differences in working with Kim Simmonds and FM? (Joe Panackia)
The main differences with working with Savoy Brown and Fleetwood Mac was that Savoy Brown was a much more structured and disciplined operation where my role was very clearly defined and I was able to focus much more effectively. With Fleetwood Mac the opposite was true and so ultimately I foundered and failed.
I know there are a lot of questions here, but I didn't know if anybody else would ask them and I think you have the answers. Thank you and good luck. I hope you will return to Detroit and perform here again. Great job on Wang Dang Doodle! (Joe Panackia)
Glad you liked Wang Dang Doodle, although I always thought Koko Taylors version was superior. Many thanks for writing.
Dave Walker in Savoy Brown
I have a couple of questions that, I hope you're not asked too much. Forgive me; if they are.
Did you want to be more involved than what you were on the "Penguin" album ? When you joined Fleetwood Mac, in your mind, what did you see that you were going to be bringing to the band ? Were you planning on being involved with the "Mystery to Me" album ? If so, what did you want to do on that album ? What was your experience of joining Black Sabbath like for you? I can't imagine it being an easy job coming in and taking Ozzy's place and then he returns back to the band? (Steve Elliott, Arlington, Virginia, USA)
Dear Steve, Thanks for your e-mail. I would love to have been more involved in the whole Fleetwood Mac, Penguin experience and in fact if we could combine this question and your second question as to how I foresaw my role with Fleetwood Mac, I thought that joining them after fronting Savoy Brown, which was a much more successful band in the U.S. at the time, I would be allowed to impress my style and personality on the band to greater effect. In fairness to Fleetwood Mac, I was pretty burned out and was having problems of my own at the time which restricted my effectiveness in all areas of my life, both professional and personal and so, as history has shown my involvement with Fleetwood Mac was never what it could have been.
Hey Mr. Walker. I have several questions. Please answer them. What were you thinking when it was proposed that you join Fleetwood Mac? What was it like in Fleetwood Mac and with their members? Did you know much about the group and their history at that point What would you say was your role and impact in the group? Do you stay close with the other members? If these questions are too personal I'm sorry. (Timothy Lewis, Trumbull, Connecticut, USA)
Hey. Mr Lewis, how are you?
Hi Dave, thanks for doing this Q & A. What can you remember of Peter Green recording "Nightwatch" for the Penguin album? Thanks. (Mario Pirrone, Acqui Terme, Italy)
Hi Dave, Do you ever see Flyaway or Maureen Hillback now. Keep Rockin! (Brian Meacham, Cannock, Staffordshire, England)
First off I just wanted to say it's good to hear your still making music. My questions to you are about the Penguin album. What was it like working with Fleetwood Mac? And I've always been curious about your setlists during that time. Did you sing Peter Green songs or did you do covers? And how did you get along with the rest of the band? Do you keep in touch with any of the members of Fleetwood Mac? Any chance that you'll tour in Southern California? That's all for now. All the best to you in your future endeavors. Cheers. (David Gaines, Norwalk, California, USA)
Dear David, thank you for your e-mail. Although my contributions to Fleetwood Mac were sort of minimal, I must say that being involved with them was very enjoyable as they were a really nice group of people. The set lists around that time I am a little vague about now as it's been many years, but I do recall that Chris and Bob Welch did some songs from Future Games and Bare Trees and I personally sang Peter Green's Rattlesnake Shake and Oh Well. In some respects I thought that perhaps I would be able to perform songs of that type with the band, but with Bob Welch and Christine doing the bulk of the writing and with their unique styles that was not to be.
I have been a fan of yours since you were with Savoy Brown. As a matter of fact I grew up listening to Hellbound Train. I have a couple of questions for you. When exactly did you join Fleetwood Mac? What were the circumstances behind your depature? What doyou remember about the Penguin recording sessions? Thanks for you participation in the Q & A!!!! (Tom Kirby, Roswell, New Mexico, USA)
You seem to have co-written "High on the Ride" for the Mistress album and it sounds like you on uncredited backing vocals but were you on any other songs on this record? Also what songs on the John Cipolena's Raven album were you on? (It sounds like it might be "Clouds" but I wanted to make sure). In addition to the "Time Is" album it seems as though Idle Race had recorded the "In the Summertime" / "Told You Twice" single after Jeff Lynne had left. I can't tell if you are on either of these songs. Are you? (It sounds more likely on "In the Summertime" but I don't know) When you look at the Penguin discography, do you know of any other recordings you have been on that don't seem to be listed? Of so what are they and what songs are you on? Sorry, I've just always wanted to know about all this. Finally, I like the Savoy Brown cd just put out by mooncrest called "Jack the Toad Live '70/'72 which has you singing "Hellbound Train" & "All I Can Do" Do you like this disc? Thanks for you help. (John, Aberdeen, Scotland)
Hello Dave Walker! Being able to communicate with you on line is a rare opportunity indeed! I've had the "Penguin" album in my possession since 1981. I was 11 when I bought it--and always thought it went underrated. Anyway, I have two questions:
From all the literature I've read about your leaving Savoy Brown to sing for Mac in 1973, I learned that, at the time, Savoy Brown was a much higher profile act in America than FM. So, why did you leave that band to join the fledgling Mac?
What were your impressions of FM's approach to making music while you sang with them?
Thanks so much for doing this. The photo of you at the the top of the Q& A page (with tambourine in hand) is great! (Tony Leuzzi, Rochester, New York, USA)
What is your opinion on Fleetwood Mac's induction into the rock and roll hall of fame? Though you weren't with them for long, do you thing you deserved to be on that stage? Last, what was it like during the many incarnations of Black Sabbath after Ozzy left? Was the band into an entire different direction after his departure? (Jeff Baer, Thorofare, New Jersey, USA)
Dave- I fear you must get fed up answering questions like this as your departure from Fleetwood Mac must have been really painful, but what did you think of "Hypnotised" on the "Mystery to Me" album as sung by Bob Welch. I seem to remember reading in Mick Fleetwood's autobiography that the song was originally written as a "screamer" for you to perform. Did you ever sing it, and if not, how would you have interpreted it? PS. I really liked "The Derelict"! (Mike Hancox, Brixton, London, UK)
1. Your participation in "Penguin" was pretty minimal. When recording for the album was under way, did you want to participate more? For example, had you written any more songs besides "The Derelict" (I love that song, by the way) thinking that Mac would record them?
2. Can you tell us a little more about the Europe & America tours in '73? Do you remember the setlists? From what fans have heard, the shows were well-received and a lot of fun, but how were things within the band at that point?
3. Were you fairly good friends with John Courage behind Fleetwood Mac hired him? What was John like as a twentysomething? What did he do with Savoy Brown? I'm assuming he wasn't really a musician. (David, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Hi dave-- I had the pleasure of seeing you several times in the early seventies in the Long Island NYC area while you were with Savoy Brown. I read that Savoy Brown toured with Fleetwood Mac often in this period. If so, did Kim ever jam with Fleetwood Mac or did the two bands ever hook up onstage? Also, what was your Black Sabbath experience like? I have to say how much I enjoyed your contributions to Savoy and Mac and was sorry to see you depart. All the best and I hope to hear from you soon! (Greg Lewis, Succasunna, New Jersey, USA)
Dave...I just have a few questions for you...
1) Did you experience any negative reaction from Black Sabbath fans when you were named lead singer in the late '70s?
2) What is your favourite memory about making the Penguin album or the ensuing tour? It's one of my favourite albums and also wonder if you recorded anything besides "Roadrunner" during the sessions.
3)How can I get an autographed photo? I'm trying to get signatures of every Fleetwood Mac member and hope you can accomodate me. Thank you, and best of luck. (Stephen Laroche, Toronto, Canada, USA)
Thanks for participating in the Q and A, it's great to ask historical questions of the people who made the history. Did the project you referred to earlier with Kirwan, Sylvester, Raymond and yourself ever amount to any demoed material or live playing. Also, after it broke down, did Danny just make his first solo record with the rest of the guys. Thanks so much for your time. (Terry, Avon, Colorado, USA)
Hey Dave! I noticed that you don't have any solo albums out. Was there ever any thought to doing a solo album or will you do one in the near future? Also, did you ever have contact with Danny Kirwan over the years? The last thing I heard was that he's in a homeless shelter. It's really depressing to hear he's not doing well. (Sharon Bos, Sterling, Virginia, USA)