John McVie Q&A Session, Part 2
January 2006

John has graciously volunteered to come back for another round of questions. As we still had many good ones left over from the previous session, we'll be sending those off to him, as well as any new ones you may want to send us. Welcome back, John!

-- Lis and Marty

What is the significance, if any, of the crystal ball that appears on the sleeves of both the White album and Rumours?

On that note, what's your favorite Fleetwood Mac album cover?

--curious members of The Ledge

Hi "Curious members of the Ledge", Thanks for the questions. Sorry the reply is so late.

"The Crystal Ball". Well, I don't know if there's any "Meaning" or "Significance" to it being on the covers. I think you could sit down and dream one up if you so desired. Maybe Stevie brought it along to the photo shoot. Or Mick. One thing about those covers is that they were fun. It all got a bit serious later, don't you think?

Favorite album cover? Has to be "Bare Trees". What a great pic! What an accomplished photographer! Seriously, I like them all. Except for the one that has us all "floating around". What was that all about?

What a shame that CD's have taken over. I liked the old "LP's". It felt like you had some value for money. I also prefer the sound on the vinyl. Much warmer. Someone told me that there's a Company that still produces Vinyl records. If you have any info on that I'd appreciate you letting me know. I still have all my stereo stuff and play the LP's from time to time. It gets a bit tiring, winding up the "Victrola" every time but it's worth it.

Love to "All", John

Hi John--As a bass player myself, I must say that you are one of the most tasteful players rock music has ever known - deserving of the "Mac" in Fleetwood Mac, for sure. That riff in "Forever" is excellent. What a catchy melody.

In a rare interview with Danny Kirwan a few years back, the interviewer was able to bring Danny's feelings about Fleetwood Mac to surface. When asked if he ever missed the FM people or if there was a person in the group that he liked the most, he responded that he always liked you and wouldn't mind seeing you and Mick again. What was your relationship with Danny like?

Thanks for answering our questions here at the Penguin! (Chris Frohring, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.)

Hi Chris, Thanks for the questions and the compliment.

Danny was very young when he joined us. A very nice guy, Nervous and shy, but what a player! He had a lot of insecurity that emerged over time. More so with success and pressure. We got along fine, as I recall. A few "ups and downs" but that's in the nature of a band that was working and touring as much as we were. I haven't seen him in a very long time. I just get reports from Mick every now and again. What a tragedy and waste of talent.

All the best!

John

Hi John-- Firstly thanks for doing this question and answer session and secondly greetings from England, I had a wonderful time at the concerts last year, thanks a million for bringing your band home again, hope you can do it again real soon.

On with the question, can you tell us about the demise of the Time-era band and re-formation of the rumours-era band for The Dance, what was the feelings like when you, Mick and Chris were playing with Lindsey on his solo album? Was there moves for the reunion straight away or did it just pan out that way and how did Billy Burnette react to this, was he still a member of Fleetwood Mac at the time? This seems to be a really interesting timeline in the history of the band but is sadly lacking in any of the published bios of the band. Maybe you can elaborate of the happenings. Thanks for taking the time, cheers.

- Neil (Neil O'Donoghue, , , United Kingdom)

Hi Neil, Thanks for the questions.

Glad to hear you had a good time at the U.K. gigs. So did we. Sorry I'm so late in replying. It was great working on Lindsey's album. I'm very glad he asked me. Seemed like "Old Home Week". No baggage, just the Music. The reunion just developed over time. It was the usual Mac way of doing things. The "Time" band had finished by then. Billy and everyone had moved on. I don't know the "in's and out's" of that incarnation's ending. To me it just...............finished.

Hope this answers your questions. Thanks, belatedly!

John

Hi John,

Can you tell me a little about the time right after Jeremy left when Peter re-joined the band to help finish your tour? Did you just jam with Peter during those shows or did you do your standard set lists of Danny & Christine songs? Was this the last time you ever played with Peter?

Mystery To Me is my favorite Fleetwood Mac album & "Forever" is one of many of my favorite songs on that album. I notice that you have a songwriting credit on that song. How did you get that credit? Did you contribute any lyrics to that song? Thanks again for answering my questions.

Mary Anne (Mary Anne Bucher, , Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

Hi Mary Anne, Thanks for the questions. When Jeremy "left" in L.A. we called Peter, or rather Mick called Peter, to help us finish the tour we were on. Bless his heart, he came straight out with a mate of his, Nigel ( who played ? congas). I think we did a couple of "structured" songs but to the best of my recollection we just jammed for 2 - 3 hours. It just shows you the strength of Peter's playing at that time that he could carry that. What a player!

"Forever", if it's the track I'm thinking of, came about at "Benifolds", the house we were all living in. I was down in the "Big Room" playing along to a drum machine and I think it was Chris who heard the riff I was playing. She liked it and took it from there. I think Bob Weston had a part in that as well.

Thanks again! John

Hi John, I was wondering how much of an adjustment it was back when you all decided to move to America. Was there ever a point when you felt like just going back home, or did you like living in California right away? What do you think was the hardest part of relocating? I guess you're glad you did it!

Thanks very much, I have been a fan since I was a baby because my parents played Fleetwood Mac all the time!! (Mary Beth Morgan, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A.)

Hi Mary Beth,Thanks for the questions.

In my opinion it was the best thing we ever did. America had always been the place where you had to go to really "make it". I'd grown up listening to American music and anything that came out of America, with a few exceptions, was O.K. with me. We'd been very successful in Europe and then not so successful and there didn't seem like there was any way to "break out" other than by actually living here and working the circuit. The only regrets I had were that my family and relatives were so far away, back in Europe.

Yes, you're right. I'm so glad we moved!

Thanks! John

Can you tell us a little about how you got interested in music when you were young-- what did you listen to, and did you have older siblings that influenced you like Lindsey and Christine did? Was your family supportive when you decided to quit your 'real' job and be a musician? Thank you so much for this opportunity, and for all the music. (Charlie, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, USA)

Hi Charlie,

Thanks for the questions,

No brothers or sisters. Well I did have a sister but she died when she was very young. I think my first exposure to music outside of what my parents listened to was when I was at my cousins house in the late '50's. He was playing "Rave On" , over and over. I couldn't get enough of it. Then a neighbor musician friend, Cliff Barton of "The Cyril Davis All Stars" turned me on to Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee , Little Richard etc. When I first joined John Mayall he gave me a bunch of Blues albums to listen to and learn from. My parents, bless their hearts, were very supportive from day one. It was a sort of "bemused tolerance". They used to come to some of the gigs in London and I think enjoyed the whole scene.

All the best! John

I was hoping you could reach back in your memory and share with us your "first impressions" of meeting Mick, Chris, Stevie and Lindsey. To many fans the group always had such amazing chemistry, and so I was curious if that was something you felt with any of them early on, or if it seemed to develop over time.

Thank you so much for your time! (Paulina L. , Burlington, Vermont, USA)

Hi Paulina, Thanks for the questions!

Well, I'll give it a shot. "Memory Lane" does have a few dead ends and wrong turnings so to quote Hillary, "To the best of my recollection":

Mick, I first saw in "The Flamingo", an all nighter in Wardour Street, London. He was coming down the aisle with his sister, Sue and as they were both tall and had permed hair it was a bit difficult to pick out which was which. I think our friendship really started during his Mayall tenure. Short as it was.

Chris, I'd seen from time to time when she was playing with "Chicken Shack". I finally got up enough courage to ask her out when we were playing at "The Thames Hotel" in Windsor. That was a pretty quick courtship. Six or seven weeks. I believe.

( "Courtship". Shows you how long ago it was! )

Stevie and Lindsey grew over time. Lindsey was, and is, a pretty intense guy and it took me, being a "Good Time Charlie" sort, a while to get used to him. and maybe "Vice Versa".

Stevie, has always been a friend. I'm not as close as say Chris or Mick but I still think of her as a good friend. One of the many good things about Stevie is that you know where you stand with her. A straight shooter. I like that.

All the best! John

Thanks for coming back to answer some more questions for us, John! You've mentioned numerous times that Charles Mingus is one of your idols. Have you ever considered playing jazz bass, or even starting up your own combo, or is your interest in jazz strictly as a listener? --Jim; Jena, Germany

Hi Jim, Thanks for your question,

The closest I ever got to doing something on my own was a CD I did with Lola Thomas. That was interesting, mostly fun and in a genre I understand. Doing something in the Jazz world is another kettle of fish. I don't have the talent for that. Or, to be honest, the inclination. I'm quite happy putting the headphones on and enjoying "The Masters'!

Thanks again! John

Hi John, i think its fantastic you have taken time out to do this, i just wanted to ask you-- watching the destiny rules documentary and all the talk that went on of a double album that lindsey felt so strongly for, what were your feelings on this matter?

By the way i thought it was so sweet when it showed your daughter and stevies niece and friend singing on the Say You Will track, my little boy was singing along too at home! All the best to you, Louise (Louise Melbourne, Manchester, , United Kingdom)

Hi Louise, Thanks for the question.

To be frank, I really didn't care. As long as SOMETHING went out. I could see both sides of the argument. It did get a bit strong there, didn't it? It seems to have worked out for the best. I think Lindsey was happy with the final result. (Or maybe not!).

That was a blast having my daughter in there, singing away. Quite an emotional moment.

Give my regards to Albert Square! All the best! John

Hello John,

I first have to say that you and Mick are like a fine wine: you two keep getting better with time. I think you and Mick really started going to the next level around "Mystery To Me" and have only gotten better with each subsequent album.

This summer I got to see a Fleetwood Mac show and an Eric Clapton show and heard new music from Rod Stewart and the Eagles, and I began to wonder if you ever get amazed at how much staying power Fleetwood Mac and many artists associated somehow with the band still have all these years later? (Steve MacDougall, Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.)

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the question and the compliment (Fine wine, huh? Hmmm),

These people you mentioned , Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, The Eagles etc are, in my opinoin, all great players. They've paid their dues and are still playing great music. I think that's the bottom line. Great music. There's always going to be a place for that.

If you mean "staying power" in the physical sense, that's a tribute to what a miracle the human body is! Amazing how it can absorb all that it does and, in most cases, keep going!

All the Best! John

Hello John! Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to do this Q and A. My question is, how is the "normal day to day" John McVie really like, as far as hobbies, T.V., books, etc..

Thanks for your time, John! Rock on! (Alex Navarro, Hialeah Gardens, Florida, U.S.A.)

Hi Alex, Thanks for your question,

I'm a pretty boring old fart, at home. We've just moved so I'm still doing stuff around the house. When I get a chance, I like to read. Mostly History and Biographies.. My golf game never did really get off the ground. Nor did the ball. I hack around on the road but it's more for the fresh air than anything else.

I've just sold the new boat I bought. Couldn't get used to banging Marlin on the head and watching them die. I'm going back to a sailboat but that's a bit far off, right now. Thanks to cable T.V.'s "Soccer Channel" I can get my soccer fix. I did get to go see "The Eagles" when they were here recently.Great show. Great Band. Joe Walsh was brilliant.

So, as you can see, I don't really have a "Schedule", just cruising along, trying to stay out of trouble.

Thanks again! John
boring old fart, at home

Thanks for the opportunity to ask a question, this is really wonderful. I was curious if there was ever any competition that you noticed between the two ladies in the band. For example early on when Lindsay and Stevie first joined and it seemed like Stevie was al over the stage and getting so much attention, did you all feel overshadowed? And do you think christine was ever jealous of all that? She doesn't seem like the type to get that way, but I always wondered, and I wanted to get your perspective. (Bethany Klein, ,North Carolina, U.S.A)

Hi Bethany, Thanks for the question,

As for any competition between the Ladies, far from it! I think Chris was very happy to be behind the keyboard. As she told me recently, she was never really comfortable on stage. Strange, huh? That surprised me.

It was great for us to have a "front line". Made it more interesting for the audience and Stevie's good at it. However, on the next tour she better watch out as I've been practising my "Moonwalks" and "Bump and Grinds".

All the Best! John

How many basses do you generally take out on the road for a trip? When was the last time you boiled your strings? (That's if you boil your strings...) What musician/musical act currently has your attention (In other words, Which musician/musical act do you actually like?) --Brian J.

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the question. I usually take about 6 - 8 basses out on the road. Some are back ups and some are in different tunings.

I've never boiled my strings. Not quite sure what this does to them. They're usually changed after 2 - 3 gigs.

My 16 year old daughter keeps me pretty current on the "new" bands. Most of which bore me to tears. I do like John Mayer and also the Dave Mathews Band. Thanks again, All the best! John

Hey John. I wanted to thank you for all the great music you and Fleetwood Mac have given us over the years, and I also wanted to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. It's really awesome that you're doing this!

I have two really quick questions. The first is about the "fake" Fleetwood Mac that was around in 1974. I was wondering if you knew around what time the fake band stopped playing. My mother's first Fleetwood Mac show was in September 1974, and we can't figure out whether or not it was the real band she saw, or the fake (there are no pictures in her yearbook).

Secondly, I was 11 years old when I saw "The Dance" for the first time, and I was instantly hooked. I know many others in my age range who list Fleetwood Mac among their favorite bands, and I was just wondering how it makes you feel that your music continues to affect people in a younger generation? Thank you so much for your time! -Johanna (Scranton, PA)

Hi Johanna, Thanks for the questions.

The "fake" band wasn't around for long. I think only for a couple of months, if that. (What was that guy thinking?). I've no idea when they actually stopped working as "The Mac". Not soon enough. Did Mick cover this in his book? (Still available on Amazon ,,,,,etc). If you do find out that she saw the "fakes" please let me know as I'd like to hear what they were like.

It's very gratifying to see all the different age groups in the audience. Once I get over the "Christ, how old am I and how long have I been doing this?" bit, it's a lot of fun. I wish some of them wouldn't hold their kids up right in front of the stage. Very young ears and loud sounds don't go well together. So if you know anyone who insists on doing that, BRING EARPLUGS FOR THE KIDS!

Thanks again! John

Considering what an impact your music has had on so many fans, I thought I would ask what music in particular has affected your life-- for example, what artists do you respect and admire? Any albums that have become favorites of yours, or any songs that have a special place in your heart? (I couldn't even begin to name all the Fleetwood Mac songs that have a special place in mine.) Thanks and best wishes-- Randi M; Pennsylvania

Hi Randi, Thanks for the questions,

There's so much different music that I listen to. Hard to pin any one thing down but if I had to it would be Blues and I thank John Mayall for that. And when I'm in that mood I dig out B.B. Kings', "Live at the Regal" and "Blues is King". Does it to me every time!

All the Best! John

Hi John,

As a fellow Londoner (and Arsenal fan) I was just wondering if you ever consider moving back here (if just for the footie) and what do you think of London now when you visit? Is it anything like the London you grew up in.

Also, as I rarely see interviews with you, I'd love to know if there are any films, TV shows or books you are particularly fond of. What are your favourites?

Thanks John and please come back to the UK to see us all soon! --Sharon, London

Hi Sharon, Thanks for the questions.

Way to go! UP THE GUNNERS! Maybe not this year but it's looking good for next year, isn't it? What with Henry staying and them just signing this new kid, Theo Walcott. Reyes and Pires seem to be doing well. I'd love to see the new stadium. What will be the nearest Tube to that? I got to go see the Carling Cup game against Wolves when we played Earls Court. Got me pic taken with the F.A. Cup. They wouldn't let me in the Directors Lounge as I wasn't dressed "appropriately" but that was O.K. Just being at Highbury was a rush. Plus they won. 5 something.!

I found it very, very expensive when we were there. Also a lot "harder". Going home to Ealing after an "All nighter" at the Flamingo in Wardour Street was never a problem. I wouldn't dream of doing that now. Or walking through the Park at night. I still have some Family left in the U.K. and we stay in touch. Also, after all these years on the West Coast I can't handle the cold over there. Thin blood etc.

I really try not to do the interview bit. I don't like it and I'm not good at it. I leave that to Mick and the others. Plus when it's a "Group interview" it's hard to get a word in.

My daughter drags me out to a movie every now and then but I'd rather stay at home and watch the DVD's. She's a film fanatic and is going into that business. (Oh God!). I got a bunch of books for Christmas, mostly English history and Shakespeare. So I'm still wading through them. We've become "Morse" and "Midsomer Murder" fans and are lucky enough to get them on Cable here. (Never knew John Thaw was married to Sheila Hancock. Just read her book, "The Two of us").

There's rumblings and mumblings of a tour later this year so hopefully we'll be back over there. if there's enough demand, that is. Earls Court, Pork pies, The Gunners, Chicken Vindaloo......sounds good to me!

Sorry to go on so long! This is a "stream of consciousness reply" as you can probably tell! All the Best! John

Hey John, Thanks for taking the time to answer all of our questions.

So here's mine: Everyone seems to have an idea of what each member of the band is actually like, not their stage persona. And now we have someone that can actually give us the real answer [at least in his opinion]. So tell us, what are Stevie, Lindsey, Mick, Christine and you for that matter, really like - funny, serious, ditzy, a loner, political, sarcastic - these being some of the adjectives used in the past, so tell us the real deal.

Thanks again for taking the time. You have made a lot of people truly ecstatic by doing this - pass the word on to the rest of the band.

See ya in NYC.

Lory (Lory, NYC, , U.S.A.)

Hi Lory,

Thanks for the question, ( I think!),

There's no way I'm going to answer that! Are you kidding me? The words you used, "funny, serious" etc are a good start but I'm not going to put names to them.! I think maybe it would be more interesting to figure it out for yourself. I have to work with these people and right now they're my friends. I'd like to keep it that way!!!

Thanks again!

"Chicken" John

Hi John, Thank you so much for for doing this Q&A session! I really admire your bass playing! I have two questions:

Were there any difference in the way Peter, Danny and Jeremy presented new songs to you and Mick? Did they involve the rest of the band in the arrangements of the songs?

Thank you! Best wishes, Daniel. (Daniel, Tromso, , Norway)

Hi Daniel, Thanks for the question,

At the beginning it was pretty much sitting around and playing stuff together. Then Peter and Jeremy got 2-Track machines and they'd bring the song in. We'd play with it and put our bits in unless there were specific lines. Such as "Manalishi" etc.

Thanks! John

I hope it's not too late, but I want ask John this: John Pierce played bass on which tracks of SYW ?

That's all and I want to add this: in my opinion he's the best rock bassist in the world.

Forever a fan, Philip, from belgium.

Hi Philip, Thanks for the question.

I had no idea who you were talking about as I hadn't read the liner notes. And I can't tell you what he played on. Maybe one of Lindsey's? I know what he didn't play on. I'll ask around and find out. I'd like to know myself!

Thanks again! All the Best! John

Hi John,

I've enjoyed your work for a long time now and I think you're a great Blues bass player! I want to ask you if it wasn't a little bit too strange for you when during the Peter Green days, Peter was doing this six-string bass solo at the end of "Green Manalishi".How did you feel about that?

Thank you. (Mick Ravassat, Paris, France)

Hi Mick, Thanks for the question.

I didn't really care about the 6 string bit. "Tho I did think it was a bit weird. I don't know what the thinking was behind it. A bit of Ego, maybe? Or a "Wrap up" to the song? I've no idea. it was great to listen to as I couldn't have done it.

All the best! John

John, you've had the kind of success in your career that most musicians only dream of. But it's not like the ride went smoothly. If look back at the choices you made over your career, personally and professionally, is there anything that stands out as something you wish you'd done differently, or something you regret? Was there something you would have liked to have seen the band do that it didn't, or vice versa? (Mike Polesky; ;Texas; U.S.A.)

Hi Mike, Thanks for the question,

I don't think I'd change a thing. Good or Bad. It all leads to "here and now".

I wish I hadn't hurt people I loved, that's for sure.

But that's about it. Thanks again!

John

Hi John,

I'm only 11 and a big fan of Fleetwood Mac. You, Mick, Stevie, and Lindsey ROCK!

I was wondering what kind of basses you have used and are using at the moment. Also, do you recall Mick playing any electronic drums on Tango In The Night? Thanks for doing this Q&A,

Ethan S. (ethan, , , U.S.A.)

Hi Ethan,

Thanks for your questions. I've used many basses "over the years", From Framus to Fender, Hagstrom to Hofner, Alembics, Rickenbackers. I've used basses made by Rick Turner for a long time. From when he was at Alembic and now with his own Company, "Renaissance ". But somewhere along the line the old Fender P-Bass always pops up.

I don't remember Mick playing any Electronic Drums on "Tango". Mind you, that doesn't mean to say he didn't, just that I don't remember it. I'll ask him next time I see him. All the best! John

Dear John: First of all I want to say that I had a chance to see 35 shows on the Say You Will tour and I never left a single show thinking that you guys gave anything less than your very best effort. That meant a lot to me being a fan since I was 6 years old in 1977. Here's my question: Which would you say were the hardest and easiest bass parts for Fleetwood Mac songs you had to do and why. Thanks again!

David Marx, Minneapolis Minnesota

Hi David, Thanks for the question.

35 SHOWS! Wow! I'm impressed. Thank you! As for your question, I don't know if there's any "easy" or "hard" parts. Once the part is in the brain it's just a question of paying attention. I did have a hard time getting the part for "Come". That was one of Lindsey's "Brain teasers".

All the Best! John

Hello John, Nice to have an opportunity to chat with you online. Have been a fan for close to 35 yrs now, Is there an incarnation of either The Blues Breakers or Fleetwood Mac that you felt more comfortable playing with? Do you play acoustic (double) bass or any other different instruments?

Keep up the great work and would like to see a book of your photography sometime. What do you think? Thanks for considering my questions. Best regards, John in Michigan (John Litrenta, Kewadin, Michigan, U.S.A.)

Hi John, Thanks for the questions,

Most of the incarnations of the Mac have been "comfortable". The oddest, for me, was the one with Dave and Becca. That got a bit strange at times. Fun, but a bit weird.

I enjoyed the Clapton and Green period with John. Although, thinking about it, I enjoyed it all with John. Great players, huh?

I attempt to play the Upright bass. Not well but I give it a go. Since we've moved it's been in storage along with the rest of my gear. I'll have to get it out and get stuck into it.

I think somewhere along the line I'll print up some of my pics. See if there's anyone interested. All the Best! John

I wondered whether you are a collector of any particular items (aside from the plethora of penguins you mentioned you've collected over the years.) I believe in Mick's book he said you had some Third Reich memorabilia. On that note, what was your reaction to Mick's 'memoirs'? Did you find them to be accurate? There was some talk of friction within the band when the book was released.

(Stewart Hayes; ;Maine; U.S.A)

Hi Stewart,

Thanks for the questions. We've just moved house. I realised that I collect STUFF. From basses, books, records, WW2, tools, marine artifacts,. STUFF. I've found Music newspapers going back to the John Mayall days! Just STUFF. One of these days I'll have to have a yard sale.

I think Mick's book was pretty accurate. As far as it went! And as for "talk of friction in the band". In this band? We've just floated through the years on a cloud of sweet contentment!

All the Best! John

Hi John! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions! I'm only 19 so I can't say that I've been a fan for almost 40 years! But I have been a true Fleetwood Mac fan since I was 12. Anyways, here's my question:

I know you have been on many tours with Fleetwood Mac, but which one has been your most favorite, and why?

Thank You! ~Jessica

Hi Jessica, Thanks for your question. I know this sounds a bit trite but I enjoyed every tour. Even the ones with all the "Ups and Downs". It's just being on the road that I love. I somehow don't think you're going to earn your 40 year Gold Earplug award. Let's see. That would make me 90 something. On second thoughts, If Mick has his way.............!

Love and thanks! John

John, thank you for doing this! We are all very excited about the possibility of another tour!

I believe in the past you have stated you prefer going on tour to studio work, as playing the same tunes over and over is more than tedious. I am curious if the prospect of touring again sounds good to you? The last tour was quite extensive, which we all appreciated, but do you think a new one would be just as lengthy? And which would you prefer, 153 dates or 50 choice ones? Do you travel well? (e.g. hate it or love it?)

Also, it would seem, as proven with your correspondence here, you have become quite computer savvy! Do you utilize this tool to keep in touch with your family when you are on the road or do you generally stay in touch via phone? If you communicate via email, do you carry a laptop with you, use a friend's or do you use a 'business-office' at the hotel? Does your family visit you while on tour?

In addition to loving your music, we all love you as a person! You have got to be the funniest man alive,love your wit! Personally, I am sending in your nomination for People's Sexiest Man Alive! (wink)

niki/california

Hi Niki,

Thanks for the questions. I LOVE TO TOUR! For me that's what it's all about. Playing live music, different places and different audiences. Every show is unique in it's own way. It might be the same set list but no show is ever alike. What a rush! I get nervous every show but as soon as the first note hits, I'm home.

Now having said all that, I'm finding it harder to be away from my family. Especially my daughter. She's just turned seventeen and will be off to College soon. So every moment is precious.

I don't know any details of the new tour. Just that it'll start early next year. (So they say!). I take a laptop, ( a "Mac", of course!) on every tour. On this one I'll try and use "Skype" and a camera to stay in touch. We try and "hub" out of major cities. That is, stay in a major city and go do the show wherever and come back after. I think we "hubbed" out of Chicago for 3 or 4 weeks on the last tour. That makes it easy to set everything up and come back to the same hotel room every night. My girls come out on the road. They seem to enjoy New York, Chicago, Boston etc. For some reason they don't come out to places like Lincoln, Nebraska or Fargo, N. Dakota. Strange, Huh?

As for your last line, "Wink" back at ya!

Thanks again! John

Hi John! Thank you so much for the many years of great music. I know that you enjoy sailing, and I was just wondering if you have any great sea stories. Do the other members of the band ever get underway with you? Thanks again! Take care. (Emily Louis, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.)

Hi Emily,Thanks for your questions,

One of the memorable, and printable ones, happened when we were en route from Los Angeles to Tahiti. There were two of us on watch around 2.00 a.m. I'd gone below to fetch something or other when there was a loud "thud" and the whole 28 ton boat was pushed forward. Everyone, nine in the crew, woke up and came up on deck. We'd been rammed by what my watch mate called a "baby whale". He'd seen it slide back under water after it had hit us. No damage that we could find, just a very scary "wake up".

Stevie and Mick have been aboard a couple of times. Just day cruising, no long distance stuff.

Love and thanks! John

Good day John, and thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Your sense of humor is hilarious and your answers thus far have been great.

The Destiny Rules documentary gave fans a bit of an inside view of the band's decision-making process during the making of Say You Will. Was it predominantly a conflict filled or peaceful process compared to the making of other albums? And, could you comment on the balance of power within the band now vs. in the past? (Amy, , Maryland, U.S.A.)

Hi Amy,

Thanks for the questions, "Say you will" was, for me, a fairly peaceful album. Seemed to go on forever, though. I think Stevie and Lindsey had a couple of discussions. I try and stay clear of that stuff. As for a "balance of power", it's the same as it always has been. People throw in their "two pennyworth", it gets "discussed" and we end up with an album. Thanks again! John

Hi John, Thank you for returning to The Penguin for another round. I know you and other members of Fleetwood Mac worked with Warren Zevon. Can you share any of your remembrances of the man. and of your time working with him at that time? How did it come about?

Also what were your thoughts the first time you heard "Don't Stop"? How did you deal with having any songs written about your LIFE played not only around the country, but around the WORLD? Thank you very much! (blackcat, , Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

Hi BlackCat!! Thanks for your questions.

I only played on one track with Warren. That was "Werewolves of London". (What a great writer, huh? "Lawyers, Guns and Money!". Wow! ). As far as I can remember it was , Warren, Mick, Waddy Watchell and me. I believe Jackson Brown produced it. I don't know if any one else did stuff with him. It was back in the days of "Wine and Noses" so it's not really that clear in my mind. I seem to remember that he was a very pleasant guy. Pretty straight ahead.

To be honest with you I didn't pay much attention to the lyrics of "Don't Stop". Just wanted to get my part right. It's only very recently that someone told me that one of the songs was about me. I'm still not sure which one.

Miaow! John

Hi John! What's contact between the band members like (past and present) when you're not recording or touring with Fleetwood Mac? You and Mick have always seemed close, but do you ever call up Bob Welch and see what he's up to? How often do you exchange recipes with Chris? Do you guys ever get together for jam sessions? All of us fans have always wondered about things like this. Thanks for decades of life changing music! (Louie Golden, Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A.)

Hi Louie, Thanks for your questions,

I don't have any contact with past members of the Band. I saw Peter briefly in London on the last tour. Billy Burnette turns up every once in a while. As does Jeremy. Mick is the one who stays in touch with a lot of them. And there are a lot of them!

I spoke to Chris quite recently but recipes didn't come up. I'll have to drop her an e-mail and see what's cooking, so to speak. She sounded very well and I hope to get to see her if we do London on the next tour.

All the Best! John

Hi John!! I think you are the greatest!! I went to several shows on the Say You Will tour and always brought a sign that said 'John Rulz.' Sometimes you saw it and sometimes you didn't, but you were kind enough to sign it for me at a show. (Thank you!) You always seemed surprised when you saw signs for you and you were always very gracious in acknowledging them. So my question is... do you enjoy fan attention at concerts or would you much rather let Stevie, Mick and Lindsey soak it up? All the best! (Ali Perkins, , Idaho, U.S.A.)

Hi Ali,Thanks for your question and the sign!

I have an ego, like everyone else, and it's nice to have people applaud and stuff. I just have a hard time dealing with compliments. The others have more experience in that department, I guess, and they seem to have no problem with it. So I'm up there thinking, "Thank you, Thank you, That's very nice of you! (Now what do I do?".)

I'm not knocking it, just that it's hard for me to deal with. ( I should be so lucky, huh?)

Love and thanks! John

Hi John, Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions. The music industry has changed so much since you began, what advice would you give to someone starting out today? (Besides buying a boat to sail away from it at times.)

Thanks- Jim (Jim Funk, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.)

Hi Jim, Thanks for the question,

It certainly has changed. Steam powered amps and megaphones to these wonderful lip synchers. But much remains the same. Same old spiel from the suits. "Don't worry about it, Trust me!". As soon as you hear that, START WORRYING! READ THE SMALL PRINT!

I'm not one to hand out advice but if I have to it would be to just follow your heart and gut.

THEN BUY A BOAT!

Love and thanks! John

hi john! i've been a fan for 30 years. i've attended 3 concerts this past tour - the one in atlantic city was the best as i was only ten rows back dead center. i wanted to ask what type of sail boat you have/had? i grew up sailing (my dad still does w/ my brother). i will miss you guys and hope there is another album in the works. thank you for doing this.

nancy (nancy althouse, frederick, Maryland, U.S.A.)

Hi Nancy,

Thanks for the questions, sorry for the late reply, We've had a few boats. The first was a William Garden design, Taiwan built, ketch. We sailed her to Maui from L.A. I lived on her for a while after the seperation from Chris.The next was a beautiful 63' S & S designed, Burger built sloop. We had her for 22+ years. Did the L.A. to Hawaii a few times, sailed her to Tahiti and had her in St Thomas ,USVI when we lived there. The last trip back from Hawaii to San Francisco was so cold and wet that I decided it was time to get some comfort. ( Too old to be cold). We bought a Nordhavn 46' Trawler with the plan being to sail/ drive her (?) to Hawaii when we moved. That plan fell through and I sold her this year. I briefly had a 35" Cabo Express Sport Fish but couldn't handle watching the Marlin die. It was also "souless".

Right now I'm "boatless". However, I'm sure there's one out there just waiting. All the best, John

John,I was just wondering how you really got started playing bass. What led you to it?

Also, did you ever have any training/lessons, or did you master it yourself?

Thanks, Alex (Alex Tirrell, Riverside, Rhode Island, U.S.A.)

Hi Alex, Thanks for the questions,

I started out on bass when, I think, no one else wanted to be the bass player, in a group called "The Krewsaders". We'd do instrumentals a la "Shadows" and "The Ventures" etc. I'd listen to the records over and over again and try and get the part down. Must have driven my parents up the wall.

The first bass was a six string Framus acoustic guitar with the two "thin strings" removed. It didn't work too well. But it was a start. No lessons, just some guidance later from Mr John Mayall. Bless his heart.

As for "mastering it myself", that's very kind but I haven't even scratched the surface! All the Best! John

Hi John, Are there ever times that you pop in a CD that you have worked on, and listen to it for the sheer enjoyment, much as a writer would read one of his own novels years after completion? If so, is it easy or do you try and think about what could have been changed, and if not, why do you think this is?

Thanks! Heather (Heather, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.)

Hi Heather, Thanks for the question,

We spend so much time on albums, excuse me,CD.s, that by the time it's over I don't have much inclination to play them at home.

When I do hear them I often find myself thinking "maybe I could have done it this way, or tried it that way". Playing live gives me a little opportunity to try small changes. That's one of the perks I get playing on the road! Thanks again! John

Thanks for doin' this Q&A-EXCELLENT! What do you think of Fleetwood Mac tribute bands? (Paul Bartell, Croydon, Outside US and Canada, United Kingdom)

Hi Paul,I think there's a tribute band in the U.K. called "Fleetwood Bac" (?). Mick has seen them and says they're very good.

I guess you could call Fleetwood Mac a "tribute band" in the beginning. Elmore, B.B. King, Jimmy Reed etc.

What's the saying? "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"? Good luck to them! Thanks! John

Hi John! I'm a massive fan of Fleetwood Mac, and your bass playing. To an aspiring bass player such as myself, you are an inspiration! What is your memory of creating the bass solo for 'The Chain'?

(Shona Fraser, Glasgow, Outside US and Canada, United Kingdom)

Hi Shona, Thanks for the question (and the compliment!),

The bass part in "The Chain" came out of noodling around in the studio. I was playing it and I think it was Chris who said "I like that". It's not really a "solo" , it's more of a lead-in to the tag.

Thanks again! All the Best, John

Greetings from Tennessee, John! I love all eras of the band, but I am particularly fond of the Bob Welch years. What are your thoughts on Bob and what he brought to the band? Hope to see another solo project- the "Gotta Band" was a fun record. Take care. (Thomas Helmick, Sparta, Tennessee, U.S.A.)

Hi Thomas, Thanks for the question,

I loved Bob's stuff. He was quite a writer, wasn't he? Still is, I believe. His songs had a slightly "spacey" tinge to them. Something we hadn't done before.. That was another wierd time in the band.

The "Gotta Band". That was a "one off". Lola has since had a child and settled into married life. What a great voice. That album didn't show everything she could do. It was fun to do. (I think). It meant I had to be in the studio all the time and that got old very quickly. There were some good players on that album. I don't see another one in the future. All the Best! John

Hi John! Thanks so much again for taking the time to share your thoughts with all of us, it really is a treat. My question this time is interactive. Hopefully you'll enjoy watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3dtos9uge0

I think your playing is really on fire on this performance. (And that's a great hat!) Do you have any memories of this appearance on the Midnight Special, or any memories of that tumultuous Mystery To Me tour that you could share with us? --Jim; Jena, Germany

Hi Jim, Thanks for the questions, Sorry for the late reply. I tried to access the site but just got a message saying "This video is not available". Any info on how to see it would be appreciated. (Note from Lis: He did eventually see it; if he writes again with more to his answer, I will add it here!)

I'm afraid the "Mystery tour" is lost in the mist. As I'm in the middle of moving, again, I can't access the archives. When we're finally in place I'll give it a shot. Sorry about that! All the best! John

Hi John, thanks for taking our questions, this is so great.

When the band decides on the setlist for a tour are there any limitations as far as bass playing which could determine whether a song can be done live or not, or are you able to play to anything that's decided on? And did you find the traveling for this last tour gruelling or tiresome in any way.

Thanks for many years of great music John. Peter (Peter Taylor, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

Hi Peter, Thanks for your questions,

So far I've been able to play everything that we've recorded. I don't know if you've seen us live but if you have you may have noticed that I keep changing basses throughout the set. This is not because I'm breaking strings or showing how many guitars I have, it's because they're all tuned differently. Like on "So afraid" the E-string is tuned way down as it was on the record. it's really a pain in the arse for my bass tech, Mark Scaggs (Yes, the brother of........) but he does a fine job in remembering all the different tunings and handing them over in the right places. (Come to think of it, he could really screw me up if he wanted to...Hope he doesn't read this. Salary raises etc).

The travelling bit is just fine with me. Being on the road is as hard as you want to make it. We're so damned pampered. ( And have the bills to show for it)! The big problem I have now is just being away from my girls. Thanks again, All the best! John

Greetings Mr. McVie - My thanks for all the wonderful music over the years. I just read of a rumoured (sorry - no pun) appearance by Fleetwood Mac with The Syn (Chris Squire's band) for a Guitar Center Charity Benefit (it's mentioned on the Syn's website). I haven't heard of this prior - so I was wondering if there was any truth to it all... Continued best wishes to you and the band,

Todd Richards, host "Fleetwood Mac Marathon 2004"

Hi Todd, I haven't heard anything about this event. I saw Mick last week and he didn't mention it. What's that site? Let me know?

Also, Chris Squire........Great Player, huh? Thanks! John

Do you ever read The Ledge (and other Mac sites)? If so, what do you think about all the stuff we dig up? - these photos just posted from Glasgow, for instance... http://ledge.fleetwoodmac.net/showthread.php?t=26299 -- I hope they're happy memories.

Or have you ever checked out the earlier Q&A's at http://www.fleetwoodmac.net/penguin/qa/-- and --people have discussed this idea to no end--do you think there's any way in heck that Chris would ever consider doing one here also (she seemed maybe a bit scared off by the one on her site)??

We are so glad that you are doing one, John! Thanks!!

--Nixxxed and other curious Ledgies

Hi Nixxxed and other curious Ledgies, Thanks for the questions,

I didn't really know about "The Ledge" or the other sites 'till, I think, Lis asked me to do some "Q & A". So, yes, now I do go there and there's some pretty good stuff. Saw some pics of Glasgow and a comment that I looked like "that carpenter guy". Now that's interesting. I've tried to keep that quiet all these years but I guess I blew it when we moved to Hawaii. My wife and daughter flew but I walked.

I don't know if Chris would do a 'Q & A' session. Ask her. Does she have a site?

P.S. You don't have to thank me for doing this.

All the best! John

Greetings John McVie! It is so cool that you are corresponding in this forum. Given that Lindsey plays several instruments and Stevie sort of roughly plays the piano and some guitar, do you and mick play any other instruments in addition to the ones you are most known for? Thank you for your time. (Jules, Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.A.)

Hi Jules,Thanks for the question,

I don't play anything other than the bass. That's quite enough for me. There's always something new to learn on it. And to be honest, I have no interest in playing anything else. Piano would have been nice but I think it's a bit late in the day for that.

As far as i know, Mick just plays anything percussion. Thanks again, All the Best! John

Hi, John,Thanks for taking the time to be grilled & interrogated by us.

Granted, the majority of Fleetwood Mac's success has come from the incarnation of the band with Lindsey & Stevie, but, there are incredible songs that Fleetwood Mac has in its catalogue from other incarnations, as well. Has it been a conscious decision to avoid playing tunes from incarnations of the band prior to, or in between those with Lindsey & Stevie?

For example, "Oh Well" is conspicuous in its absence from a Fleetwood Mac concert set. (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, U.S.A.)

Hi Steve,Thanks for the questions,

It's a real pain choosing a set list. I always leave it to the front line. ( Lindsey and Stevie. Although Mick likes to have a say in it as well). With such a long "body of work" to choose from and so many variables to take into account, it can take quite a while. I'm not sure if they'd be comfortable working with Bob Welch songs or Peter's stuff. They have a huge catalogue of songs to choose from of their own. Also, take into account the audience recognition of the old stuff. A lot of people might not even know the songs. Then there's the pace of the set. How it fits together for a, hopefully, smooth flowing evening. Also the length of the set. We might start a tour with one set list and change it around for a few nights if it doesn't feel right. So, as I say, it's quite a process.

Thanks again, John

Gday John! I'm in Japan these days but was in Australia to see your shows in Brisbane and Sydney. Time of my life!

If your ol' pal Lindsey was to tour to in support of the 'Gift of Screws' material you worked on together, would you be intrigued to play the songs live on the road with him?

Also, did you enjoy much boating while in Australia? Thank you so much for your time! (Joe Grealy, Matsuyama, Outside US and Canada, Japan)

G'Day Joe! Thanks for the questions.

I'm not sure what "Gift of Screws" material you're talking about. You'd have to refresh my memory on that one. I think Lindsey already has a band set up for a tour.

I was lucky enough to get out on the briny a couple of times during the Australian tour. Once in Sydney where we went out on a friends power boat. Stopped at the fish market and got some seafood and went out to, I think, "The Heads?". What a great harbor Sydney is. Then a fishing trip in Perth. Nothing caught but just a great day. Hope to do it again next year. Thanks again, Sayonara! John

Hi John. You seem to recall the 60's with great fondness. Would you like to make music with Peter Green or Jeremy Spencer in the future? I am sure a lot of people would love to see or hear you playing together. They say you can't go back, but it would be very special for the fans and hopefully yourselves. (Richard Ford, Torquay, Outside US and Canada, United Kingdom)

Hi Richard, Thanks for the question, If we could get Peter and Jeremy to do it, I'd probably, maybe, do it. I know Mick would do it in a flash. Unfortunately, I don't think there's much chance of Danny doing it. Bless his heart. All the best! John

Hi John. I am a big fan from well over 30 years ago. It's great to have this opportunity. My question to you is, how did you accept Stevie and Lindsey joining the band after Bob Welch left? How did you feel about the "California Sound" they brought to the mix, after the devotion you had to the blues. Did you have to warm up to the idea or were you as sold as Mick was?

John, I love this band, from the blues to Say You Will. You are truly the best. Thank you so much. (Timothy Kee, North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

Hi Timothy, Thanks for the questions, By the time we met Stevie and Lindsey the band had pretty much moved away from it's beginnings as a pure Blues Band. In fact you could say that had started with "Albatross" and "Man of the World". So when Stevie and Lindsey joined it wasn't a big shock. I was as sold as Mick was when I heard them. Especially the first rehearsal we had and I heard Chris, Lindsey and Stevie singing together. Goose Bumps! Thanks again! John

Hey John, Thanks for your time in answering the Q&A...Here are a couple of questions I have: #1-Do you display any of the awards you have won in your home (ie-Grammy, RIAA Album sales Certification), Or do you keep 'em in storage?

#2-Do you prefer playing a concert in an arena setting or the more open (Quite literally) "shed"/amphitheatre setting?

Thanks, Brian j.

Hi Brian, Thanks for the questions,

We have a couple hanging up around the house. I don't want to turn the house into some sort of shrine but it's nice to have a few to look at. The rest are in storage for our daughter to use or not as she sees fit.

I don't really care where we play. Just so long as we're playing somewhere. Unless it's a daytime show I can't see beyond the first few rows anyway due to the stage lighting.I liked playing the clubs when we started out. Much better stage sound and feel. Thanks again, All the Best! John

Dear John, Your basswork rules. It does since the sixties and I really freak out every time I hear the effectivity of it in a blues context AND in a -sometimes slick- popcontext too. Over & Over is my fave today... Does it ask a different approach from you to play in a blues environment compared to playing in Mr. Buckinghams' folkpop structures? In what way?

Don't get me wrong here: I love Lindsey. It brings me to my next question: I've got two big heroes in life: Lindsey Buckingham and Dennis Bergkamp. Do you see any comparison between those two geniuses?

Have fun,

Gerald "shackin'up" from the Netherlands.

Hi Gerald,Thanks for the questions,

I've never really thought about it. I guess if I had to I'd have to say it's very similar. I just try and stay out of the lead lines way and fit in with what Mick's doing. And try and keep it simple.

Yeah, Dennis Bergkamp! Alright! Unfortunately, I think he's retiring at the end of this season. (Is that right?). Great shame. I've tried to think of a comparison between the two but all I can come up with is a rather lame "They're both great Players!" Thanks again! John

I always wanted to know this. In one of the previous questions and answer sessions with Ken Caillat, he mentioned that there were many live recordings of concert performances of Fleetwood Mac. Is this true? If so, does this include most of the shows you did from the White album tour (75')? Do you think these will ever be released, the same way that Led Zeppelin did? There is a great desire by fans to actually hear soundboard recordings done back in the late 70's. (Mickey, new york, New York, U.S.A.)

Hi Mickey,Thanks for the question, During our last house move a few months ago I found a box full of old soundboard cassettes. I think there's one with Dave Walker on it. So that shows you how old they are. I bought an "analog to digital" transfer unit but haven't got 'round to putting them on CD. Do you, or anyone, have any tips on how to treat these old cassettes? I haven't played them so I would think they're pretty fragile.

The Band has no plans to release anything like this. So maybe I'll start a company, sell them on E-bay, piss the band off and make a fortune. (There goes the Tour!)

All the Best! John

Hi John, and thanks so much for taking the time to visit with the people who admire you and your work.....you are the best!

I have noticed that many times when the Mac does any kind of TV interview or non performing personal appearance, that you are not with them. Is going on TV or the radio to plug the tour or the album one of the things you just don't like to do? Do the other members of the group ever say anything about your not taking part in these events?

Thanks John. --Tom (Thomas K. Hix, Boaz, Alabama, U.S.A.)

Hi Tom, Thanks for the questions,

You noticed that, huh? I just do not like doing that stuff. I realise it has to be done, plugging stuff, talking about the tour etc, but please, leave me out of it. The others are good at it and I think that they've accepted that I hate it. It just rubs me the wrong way. Thanks again! John

Hi John, I've got to say first off that your bass playing is still top notch...you did an excellent job on Say You Will. I wanted to know if you and the other Mac members have discussed the opportunity to make another album eventually...it would be a shame if Say You Will is to be the last one? Thanks.

Rick (Rick Spataro, New Kensington, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

Hi Rick, Thanks for the question, and the compliment! As usual, it's pretty much up in the air. I haven't heard anything about an album but that's not to say there won't be one. I agree, it would be a shame if "Say you Will" was the last one. Thanks again, John

How did your daughter come to be part of the Say You Will recording - how did you feel about that? Did she beg to do it or did you encourage it? Stevie is trying to help her niece with the world of music; would you like to see Molly enter this crazy industry?

Thanks again (Missi Lourimore, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

Hi Missi,Thanks for the questions,

Stevie asked if Mo would do it, I think she knew that Mo had been in school plays and sung. I like that bit they did on the end. She had a great time doing it.

Would I LIKE her to be in "The Business"?. No way! Too many broken hearts and dreams. However, I'd support her if that's what she really wanted to do. Right now she's into Film, on the business end of the Camera. Oi Vey! Thanks again, John

Hello John,thank you for all of the great music over the years and thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions -

I have long been fascinated by the BBC and live recordings of the band. My question is how did the band decide which songs would be performed? So many of the BBC numbers were done once and never heard again and even in concert, mainly in the early years, where songs would be played a few times and then dropped from the set lists.

Do you prefer having the ability to try different numbers on a whim or do you prefer a more consistent set list? (Richard J. Orlando, Mount Laurel , New Jersey, U.S.A.)

Hi Richard, Thanks for the questions,

It was all very "spur of the moment". Especially with Peter. We found also that some songs that worked on record just didn't make it "live".

When we do a set list these days it's much more than a musical running order. We have the Lights to go with each song. They're programmed for each song. Then there's the monitor guys who also have their program to run. Same with the Video techs, the Guitar techs and Stevie's people. So it's quite difficult to suddenly switch songs. If we do change the set list there's always a sound check to work all this out.

Twixt you and me, I prefer "No Surprises!". Thanks and all the best John


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