Jeremy Spencer, June 1999

Section One

Of all the songs you wrote for Fleetwood Mac, which stands out as your favorite? Which are your favorite songs by Peter Green and Danny Kirwan, respectively? (Question from Chris Frohring, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)

I honestly don't have one. I guess, it's a little bit like that saying, "One can rarely stand the sight of one's self." Sometimes I cringe when I hear a lot of the stuff I did. I did a song on "Kiln House", which I liked. I was venturing into the world of personal songs. It's called 'Fly to the Sun' and I thought that was okay. I heard a recording I did of a song which Conway Twitty recorded back in the 50's, called 'Heavenly' and I did a version of that for a radio show. I liked the way that came out. And a song for the same radio show that Rick Nelson recorded, called "You never know what you are missing till you try, " which I liked. But all in all, I don't really have anything that particularly stands out to me. Maybe this is the case with a lot of musicians-that the songs or recordings that have received the most acclaim and attracted the most attention are not necessarily their own personal favourites!

Peter Green: He did one, an instrumental actually, called 'The Apostle' which I think was for an independent record label, called Vernon Kells or VK records, something like that, but it was a nice instrumental, touching.

Danny Kirwan: I can't really say. I am not so familiar with his material. He wrote an instrumental once when he first joined the Fleetwood Mac. He had recorded it on his home tape recorder, though I don't think it ever got recorded commercially in a big studio. I don't think he had a name for it, but I thought it was pretty nice.

All of us early Mac fans would love to see a reunion show for old time's sake. Would you ever consider reuniting with Peter, Mick, John, and Christine to record a CD and do a few shows? (Question from Ed)

Mick Fleetwood on a number of occasions has put this proposal to me and it's been tossed around, and I am interested, but I don't know if the circumstances and the ingredients for the show are ready or able. It seems Danny is psychologically unfit for any performance like this. I don't know about Peter. I've considered it and if God wills, I would do it. But it looks like the circumstances are not right for it yet.
What are you up to these days other than playing in the Asian market? Will you ever play the UK since you, like Greeny have a loyal following? (Question from Alex Gallard)

In my work I have been able to use my music talent as well as my art talent, which keeps me busy! I am certainly involved almost fulltime in either my music or my art, so that is what I do! As far as playing the UK, well see the answer to the next question!

[As for playing in the UK,] it would have to made very clear and for a good reason. I did have an offer to do some concerts in Macedonia, but that was before the war broke out in that region.-That was to raise some charity money for the refugee children to go back home. That would have been good but I haven't heard much more about that.

I've admired your guitar style since I first heard "Fleetwood Mac in Chicago" in 1972. It's great to hear you back in action! What tuning(s), string gauges and effects/gear do you use? Also - When can we expect to hear more from you, either on the Internet or on CD? Thanks. (Question from Mike Gooch, Charleston, South Carolina, USA)

For tuning, I use standard 'e' tuning for slide and I like to use the heavier gauged strings with a plain third. Recently I got a PRS guitar, which I am very satisfied with, and that enables me to have the strings tight enough to do the slide and to also bend and twang with my fingers when I need to-which I found a little hard to do with other guitars that I tried in the past. It also has been easier to pick with some fingers while dampening with the others, in a combination of fingers and pick style. I don't know why it happens to be that I can do that with this particular guitar!

The effect gear: honestly I am not such an effects box person. I don't really like the sound they get for extended playing. I know that is just my opinion and a lot of people would disagree with me. But I like to hear the guitar coming through the tubes, straight through the speaker, miked. So, a lot to me depends on the amp, and I like a Mesa Boogie, or an old Fender or Marshall. Maybe I am a little bit old fashioned when it comes to that. I have heard that the Soldano amps are pretty good, but I haven't tried one.

I hope to have a studio CD released sometime in the year 2000 and in the meantime you can pick up MP3 quality copies of the last concert we did on my WEB SITE for free (www.jeremyspencer.com)

I have been unsuccessful in locating a copy of the solo album recorded at the time of "Then Play On." I have a taped version that is worn out. To me, this is one of the best parody albums ever made. The album is so much fun to listen to. Is there any chance of these "solo" recordings being re-released on CD? And many thanks for introducing me to Elmore James. (And I'm from Mississippi!) (Question from Dr. Michael Puddister, Natchez, Mississippi, USA)

My solo album, well, I think at the time it was released it sold a total of about maybe 75000 copies! I don't know, seems it's become a little bit of a collector's item. So, I don't know if it is still available. I have been approached and asked about re-releasing it. It's kind of out of my hands as it belongs to Warner Brothers, and if they want to put it out, they are welcome to.

Yes, I am glad you got turned on to Elmore James through my songs. He was definitely a big influence in my life of music, probably the number one as far as guitar playing.

Hi! I was just wondering, who were your favorite musicians when you were growing up, and did any of them have any influence on your style? (Question from Maura Carney, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

Again, here I say Elmore James! When I was in my mid-teens, after Art College, I heard Elmore James on a variety blues album and just flipped out and wanted to play guitar like that. Before that I was very much influenced by Cliff Richard and the Shadows, and Marty Wilde, two British pop stars of the 50's. That was during the 50's when I was just a little kid, I loved that stuff! It was mainly songs too that got to me, like 'Young Love' by Sonny James; 'It's only make believe' by Conway Twitty. Then someone introduced me to Buddy Holly and I was very much influenced by him and bought almost everything he ever made when I was in Fleetwood Mac and could afford it! I modeled my vocal thing after him and Cliff Richard and a bit of Elmore: quite a pot-pourri there! Also I really liked the piano style of Ray Charles; when I got to hear that, -I was learning piano at the time (around 12 yrs. old!) and got into that and some of Jerry Lee Lewis.
I assume that you are very happy with the decision that you made to leave the hectic world of rock stardom, but allow me to ask, were you having as much fun performing with F.M. as it seemed to us, the fans? The music was great! (Question from Don Brown, British Columbia, Canada)

Yes, in the beginning I did, I am not going to pretend that I didn't have fun performing and that does show! But then it did get to be a grind.

See, I was unhappy because I had to mainly resort to the past. I had no vision for future of the music. I felt a little bit like Don McLean said in the song 'The day the music died'; I'd felt that that was happening although it was promoted everywhere around how great it was going, the youth and expression, etc! But I couldn't see it for myself and I felt that music was getting worse, sad to say. It was very hard for me to be convinced otherwise, I just felt it was dead, or at least the body was twitching. Again I am saying that's my view and that is how I saw it and I couldn't find anything I liked to listen to. I found "After the Gold Rush" by Neil Young and I listened to that often times, but I could say that's about all. And even then it was very vague in its pictures and images and so on with a kind of like a hopeless "signing off" feeling. Yes, I was at a loss really.

I tried to purchase your CD and Video, but was told that their release has been delayed. Anytime soon? Will they be sold exclusively on your Site? I better not hog anymore of your time, and allow someone else a chance. I hope that I have not been overly personal with anything. (Question from Don Brown, British Columbia, Canada)

I think that it is a limited release for India on Polygram and also in Thailand on a different label! Hopefully there will be a studio CD available sometime next year that I hope to record after the upcoming concerts in India and Asia in the early part of 2000. In the meantime you can pick up most of the "Live CD" on my WEB SITE in MP3 format for free! We have 5 tracks available at the moment and will upload the rest by the end of July at the latest! Here is the address: WWW.JEREMYSPENCER.COM

To your question that you hope you haven't been overly personal, it's fine to be personal, that's great. God bless you, Don!

When I listen to stuff like your first solo album, and some of the parody stuff you did with Mac, it always sounds like you had so much fun. Was it fun, and is music still a source of joy to you? (Question from Pete Grant, Finchley, London, England)

Another question on 'fun.' I would say, yes of course I love to play music but the way I hear it and what I like is just not what's the going thing. I am content going where it's appreciated. I feel in myself I have a hard time adapting to trends and I always have. Usually, since I was younger, my taste in music often clashed with others around me and I often felt like the odd man out! The funny thing was, back when I first heard Elmore James; people just didn't understand why I was raving about it! Also when I first heard Otis Redding, I really liked him but at the time I heard it and was raving about him to people, they thought 'gosh, this sounds like fairground music', then two, three, years later he's this big monster hit! I don't want to toot my horn, but I feel I am 'out of time'! There is a little saying 'water seeks the lowest place' and that's how I feel a little bit. I don't feel like being assertive and going out there saying, 'listen to me', maybe that sounds defeatist, maybe I am just not that type with the motto, 'see what you want, go for it and don't let anything stop you' type mentality.
Where does the money go that you earn in your benefit concerts? What is your organization all about? (Question from Richard Jimenez, Iwakuni, Japan)

The money from the benefits concerts in India went to the National association for the Blind in India! The band I put together there was a combination of some friends and some very talented local musicians which gave things a very unique feel!

Jeremy Spencer, 1998, picture used with permission from the Heart To Heart Organization

Do you still have that great collection of guitars? Any chance you could reach out to Danny Kirwan and put him on a new path in life? Thanks for your time and lots of great music... (Questions from Terry)

Well, I have tried to help Danny, but that was quite some time ago. Terry, if you believe in prayer, please pray that Danny will come to his right mind. He still seems to have psychological problems.

About the guitars: I have an old Dobro, that follows me around, as a matter of fact I have left it behind several times, but then someone will come up and give it back to me!! I used to have an old Les Paul SG that I used for many years since leaving Fleetwood Mac. It was in a storage room and I strung it up, tuned it to slide and found it was the best one I tried in my life for slide! I'd tried SG's before, so seems not all SGs are the same, at least those old models. So I found that one and it just had it!

But then it just got too banged up. I needed a new guitar with more versatility of tone and always had a feeling that a PRS would do and I liked the look and sound of them. So I traded my old SG in for a PRS to a Rock 'n Blues guitar museum in Memphis, and I have been very happy with it. It's blue and the grain of the wood looks like waves and it's got those abalone birds on the frets - it's a nice looking guitar. I'm not usually so into what a guitar looks like, but it just so happens this looks very nice! It gives a really good tone without having to go through a chain of miles of FX boxes! And for regular guitar playing I have a Yamaha mark 2, it looks a little bit like a skinny version of a Strat, it was a prototype model that somebody gave to me in Japan. And I was quite happy with it, but basically I think I would like to trade that in and get an ordinary Strat. When it comes to playing regular guitar I am not so picky and to me a Strat covers that.

So, that's about the question of guitars. And no, I don't have a big collection. I never really had a great collection of guitars in Fleetwood Mac; I actually went through them one at a time and some I kept and some I sold. I used a Gibson Flying V for a while, but it was so hard to maneuver, it just didn't hang right and so I didn't stick with that for very long.

Will you be recording a brand new solo album of new songs you've written and/or an album of selected blues cover songs, anytime soon ? (Question from Steve Elliott, Arlington, Virginia, USA)

That's the same question again - I am hoping to put something out soon, hopefully next year and see what happens to it. I think it will be a brand new selection. I think that's a good idea there, you said 'and/or' if I was going to do a Blues selection it would be better to be strictly that and I wouldn't necessarily want to mix my own compositions in with it. I would like to just do one of my own stuff. Then a blues cover one if it ever comes up, of course if it were blues, for me, the lyric content is important and really there is not a lot of existing stuff that can adapt itself to what I believe, really. But there are some good songs. Like mentioned above, you can pick up what you like from the live concerts I did last year in MP3 Format for now on my WEB SITE!
Since your leaving of Fleetwood Mac, have you kept in touch with any of the members? What do you think of the band's progression from gritty blues to commercial pop in the 70s? Is there any chance of your solo albums being re-released in the U.S.? Thanks for your time. (Questions from Mike Paquet, Havertown, Pennsylvania, USA)

When I first heard 'Rumours' and the other one, actually I preferred the one they called just 'Fleetwood Mac' with "Say that you Love Me" on it, it seemed to have a lighter airy mix flavour to it than 'Rumours', but I thought they were both very good albums as far as albums go. I thought Christine and those guys had come into their own. To me it was more uplifting and easy to enjoy than some of the more dark, brooding semi-progressive stuff of the early days. The in-between time was kind of no man's land, it wasn't too interesting.

About the solo album to be released in the US, as I mentioned we hope to do a CD sometime next year that can be made available worldwide.

Hello Jeremy. With the recent release of all the older Mac shows and outtakes, can you tell me if the members get royalties on these? Finally...would your ever consider dropping in on a Peter Green show and sitting in? Thanks for your time. (Questions from Terry, Colorado, USA)

That whole royalty business is, you know, all these companies now with all these mergers, so many of the little guys are getting lost in the shuffle, and the big guys are getting bigger and bigger pieces of the pie. So it's not possible to keep up with all the crumbs because there are so many people trying to grab at it. So, I am thankful for whatever we can get and you can be sure that we are trying to get it. I know that some of that money can be put to good use! I suppose it is the nature of the music business that seems to somehow prevent the royalties from reaching the artist without a good lawyer to fight for you every step of the way. But I will not be going through humongous court battles for it you know, though I am trying to track some of this down as it is clear that most of the older Fleetwood Mac material that I recorded on has been re-released somewhere in the world within the last few years and then usually imported to the U.S.

Any ideas?

About sitting in on a Peter Green show - as I said, if he was fit enough, I have considered it. I read recently that B.B. King paid him a visit last year while on tour in England and that Peter was playing well. Of course there is a lot of the extra things that come along with it, the publicity and so forth that I am not exactly relishing the idea of, especially on old stomping grounds.

I have several questions to ask. First of all, do you have any regrets of leaving Fleetwood Mac, or of joining the Children of God religious sect? Second, Peter Green has made several musical comebacks through his life, and you have maintained a solo career. Do you think that your former band member, Danny Kirwan will ever return to the music business? Lastly, I think that your contributions to Fleetwood Mac are wonderful. I was first introduced to your parodies when I heard Fleetwood Mac in Chicago 1969. However, I can never find any of your solo albums. Is there any chance of your solo recordings being released in the U.S. on CD. (Questions from Timothy Lewis, Trumbull, Connecticut, USA)

No, I don't have any regrets about leaving Fleetwood Mac. And I can say that in all honesty. Of course, one can look back at one's life in general and regret doing or not doing certain things but that's got nothing to do with regretting leaving F.M.

On the question of Danny will return to a career, I don't know.

The music you made with Fleetwood Mac ranged from blues to rock to country. Was blues your favorite musical style? What other types of music have you performed or would like to perform? I wish you the best in your future endeavors and I look forward to hearing from you. (Questions from Eric E. Poe, Odenville, Alabama, USA)

About blues being my favourite musical style - back during that time I was looking for other music to listen to and I didn't like all those 'Les Paul bands' and you know all that English art rock. That's what I meant when I explained earlier about 'what's the music becoming?' King Crimson and all that, that was exactly all the kind of head stuffing music I couldn't stand. I couldn't really find much except by delving into the past, but I did find Country music enjoyable at that time but of course that was an anathema to the Hippie Culture in the US when I traveled there, when I breathed a word about liking country music, it was like what? ---Heresy! So again, I was the odd man out in that! But I liked the way the Nashville musicians played so well and simply and tight, everything fit together, the background chorus and the singing of it was just terrific stuff. Even though I parodied it in an album, it didn't mean I didn't like it. The same with 50's rock 'n roll, I loved that stuff, and country music was the only thing I could see as a pleasant contemporary off shoot from it. I didn't see how people could link Buddy Holly, Everly Brothers, and Ricky Nelson etc. to punk rock or Elvis Costello, and say it's just the natural evolution of music, like Handel to Marilyn Manson. I don't agree with that, but again, that's my opinion! So, blues for a long time was my favourite style. It took me somewhere else and had a mystique about it, hearing Elmore James, and someone else I really liked was Otis Rush. When I heard 'I can't quit you baby' and 'So many roads' I thought it was fantastic! These two in particular really stood out, Elmore and Otis. So really in a way, when you say blues in general, I wasn't a fan of it all, but I did also liked country blues with acoustics, Sleepy John Estes and Blind Willie McTell and some like that.

What other types of music have I liked? Aside from some occasional songs I have liked here and there, I want to put in a plug and say that when I heard 'Sultans of swing' with Mark Knopfler and his guitar playing I tipped my hat! It'd been years since I heard a guitarist that struck my key like that! He's done that thing I like to hear on a guitar! When people ask me well, what about so and so, this guitarist and that guitarist, honestly, I can hardly tell one from the other, maybe if I really zero in with a magnifying glass I could see the different inflections and nuances etc., but to me the drone of guitar traffic that goes by is like hearing cars going by on the motorway! Unless you are really into it, it can all sound the same, with maybe some different variations of over drive. People sit me down and say, oh listen to this lead here, and most of the time it just goes through one ear and out the other. Usually it's a demonstration of virtuosity and that isn't the key that does anything for me, like watching how fast somebody can do something. But so much of public awe and attention for this kind of thing in music is like watching a sport, like how quickly somebody can run or something like that which is very much a mental thing for me and not an emotional thing to just kind of watch or listen to. "Yeah, good, he's fast." And I am just not a fast guitarist, or even a fast person, so I am not so interested in it. So there again, when I heard Mark Knopfler, he really stood out to me.

Well, I hope this answers your question, Eric Poe. Are you any relation to Edgar Allen?!!

Hello! Did You ever regret the way you left the group? Do you have any contacts with Peter, Danny, Mick or John? What was your feelings when Danny joined the group? Having three guitarists. Wish You very well in the future. Hope We will hear more music from You. Take care. With kind regards. (Questions from Jan Reidar Totland, 4017 Stavanger, Norway)

Well, I do regret in some ways that I didn't give them enough notification and not go about it in a little more of a thoughtful way and all that with the "disappearance". But that is just the way it happened, that's the way I wanted to do it at the time and there is not much I can do about it now!

Do I have contact with them? Yes, I do. I last saw them a few years ago, John and Mick with Bekka Bramlett who was singing with them then, they had this show in Tokyo and I got to meet them. It was a very nice reunion and I got to play a little bit on the stage on a Johnny Burnette song who was the uncle by the way of Billy Burnette who was playing guitar with them then! I was a Johnny Burnette fan too. That was quite a nice time we had there, a good chat with Mick and everything.

I still have contact with Mick.

About Danny joining F.M. - well, that whole thing happened pretty fast. We'd seen him play and thought he was very good, both Peter and I. But Peter was a little bit frustrated with me because I wasn't, well, I didn't really cut it as a side guitarist-not slide, but side. Which is what Peter wanted to help him. Because he backed me up on my numbers, but I didn't back him up on his! And so it was understandable he needed a guitarist to back up his playing. I felt out of place a bit, but then the only thing was on stage, it was like a battalion of guitars and to me it was overkill. Sometimes it was all three of us playing guitars and honestly, to this day, I don't know why we didn't drop Danny or Pete out on my songs, because it was fine enough with just one back up guitarist on the Elmore James numbers! But Peter and Danny definitely had an inventive streak then and worked well together, getting new stuff. Pete would try to include me in on it, but I just didn't quite understand the direction of the music or what it was really doing. The pieces were getting layered, and there was this little part here and there and that was nice, that's musical arrangement and Peter was wanting to get into that, you know, almost like orchestrally layered guitar work. That's nice, but I was it's a combination of different things, lack of confidence and laziness, I just wanted to get up there and blast away on a few Elmore songs and go home! So, I really didn't take the music that seriously, and it was a funny quandary to be in when Peter left the band and it was Danny and I on guitars! I think we'd both regarded each other as having lost a bob and found a tanner!

As far as working as a unit, as a band, I think 'Kiln House' was a pretty good album and then for live gigs, the introduction of Christine Perfect was a good and necessary asset. I also had been listening to country music and I wanted to get more into vocals and I was enjoying the fact that we could do harmonies. But then I was so dissatisfied with life and myself and everything, I needed the Lord, I just needed to get away!

What were your early first impressions of Peter, John, and Mick? Who would you say was your closest friend in the group? (Question from Lisa Adelson, Hillsborough, New Jersey, USA.)

My first impression of them was basically that I liked them. We of course had a common ground of interest in music and I felt at home around them, as they were not the usual "cars and sports" crowd!

In the beginning I think we were pretty good friends, they told me the truth when I wanted to hear it and so on. That's what friends are for. But as far as closest, that would be Mick Fleetwood. On the road we spent the most time together, travelling and chatting and we kind of clicked in our humour. He is a Cancer too and in a way we understood each other. I would say John was a good friend too.

Section One


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