John McVie Q&A Session,
September 27 - October 10, 2004

We'd like to thank everyone who participated, and many thanks to John for taking the time to do this Q&A with all of us!

-- Lis and Marty

Hi John,

First, I would like to thank you for putting the Mac in Fleetwood Mac. I have been a fan for nearly 30 years. I would also like to thank you for doing this Q & A here on the Penguin. This is a real treat getting a chance to ask a question of "Mr. Bassman". So, here goes:

1. Have you had a chance to listen to Christine's solo album, In The Meantime? If you have, what did you think of it?

2. Do you think there's a possibility if Fleetwood Mac ever records another album that Christine would be involved in any way? Maybe writing a few songs, adding some keyboards & of course, adding her beautiful voice, as well?

Thanks once again for doing this Q & A. I'm really looking forward to reading your answers to everyone's questions. (Mary Anne Bucher, Harleysville, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

Hi Mary Anne,

Thanks for the questions. I've only heard a copy that Chris gave me when we were in England. I think she's remixed it since then. There's some good stuff on it. I think Lindsey and Stevie and maybe Mick and I could have helped out a bit. But then I'm a bit biased.

I think Chris might just possibly, maybe, could be, record with the band if there wasn't the need to tour to "work" the album. She just doesn't want to go on the road. I don't see the point in her being involved if she can't promote the project. She's happy being where she is and doing what she's doing.

Hope this answers your questions,

Thanks,
McVie

John: I know your thoughts on seeing Peter Green again in 1998 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction, but given some thought and time, would you (and Mick) consider playing alongside him one more time? I see that you got together with Jeremy Spencer on Mick's new solo album, and wondered if the original Mac (or part, at least) might trot out for the 40th anniversary?

Thanks for doing this Q&A - you're the best. (Mark McKeown, St. Andrews, United Kingdom)

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the question. I'd like to think that maybe somehow that could be worked out. I just have to get over the fact that Peter isn't the Peter I used to know. I know Mick would do it like a shot. Over the years he's had more contact with him than I have so he's more comfortable in his company.

The Jeremy thing. I just went to a studio and played along with the track. No Jeremy in person. Is that a Mick Solo album? Has it really been 40 years? Jesus. I don't think anyone will be "trotting out". Shuffling, maybe.

All the Best!
McVie

Hi John! This is so great! I've been a fan for quite awhile. I have always thought it was pretty interesting that the whole band lived together for several years after Peter Green left. What was that like? Can you recall your BEST memory of living at benifold, (and maybe your WORST memory there also?) Thanks so much!! Cathi R.

Hi Cathi!

Thanks for the question. The band living together. It was, in reflection, a great time. Actually, there were two houses. The first was at a converted Oast House. "Kiln House". We were there to "get it together at a house in the Country". It was a beautiful English Summer, and I think we only worked the last couple of weeks of a three month stay. The rest was spent eating, drinking and doing "illegal substances". That was when Chris joined. Not for the "illegal substances" but to fill out the Band sound. And she certainly did that.

Living at "Benifold". There were so many good times there. Having our Parents down for the day on a weekend, going down the local, Chris's great Sunday dinners, oh, and a bit of music. The worst. Getting busted. Having to deal with Jenny's dead rabbits who'd stiffed out in the cold at Christmas, going through all the legal stuff when our ex-manager Davis, put a "fake" Mac on tour.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of....".

Hope this answers yer question!

Thanks again!!

McVie

First of all I'd like to say that I think you are and have been the best bass player in rock music since the beginning of your career.My question is (and I'm sure this is on the minds of many Mac fans),what does the future hold for Fleetwood Mac in terms of touring and music being released? Thanks for taking the time to do this!!!It is greatly appreciated! (Iggy Hernandez, Miami, Florida, U.S.A.)

Hi Iggy,

Thanks for the question and the compliment. I can't say I agree with you but thanks anyway!

As to us lot touring and recording again. Well, as usual it's "up in the air". Literally. We were talking about it on the plane on the way home from the last leg of the tour a couple of weeks ago. Everyone seemed to think it's a "good idea" and "maybe next year". So who knows? It's a typical Mac thing. We seem to stumble along with no set plan and so far it seems to have worked out O.K.

I'd like to think we'd be out again. We haven't even done the mandatory "Farewell Tour. Part #1" yet!

All the Best!

McVie

Hi John,

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. If you had not been a musician, what would you have done with your life? Also, have you ever tried writing songs? (Maria, Ruidoso, New Mexico, U.S.A.)

Hi Maria,

Thanks for the questions.If I hadn't stumbled into this life I'd like to think I'd have been a parenting, sailing, fishing, woodworking, photographing, wine tasting, diving, soccer playing, History reading, Lottery winning................. "Man about town"!

I did try and write a couple of times. The problem is that you have to sing the melody to communicate it to other people. Believe me, it's best that I haven't done that.

All the Best!

McVie

John, first off thank you SO much for taking the time! My question for you is, when Stevie & Lindsey joined, did you feel that something big was about to happen or was it more like "ok well here we go again" and they didn't seem all that special or did you even care one way or another? Thanks again!!

-Al (Al Chapman, Stafford Springs, Connecticut, U.S.A.)

Hi Al,

Thanks for the question. Yes, most definitely I thought it was going to happen. We rehearsed in the basement of our agent and I remember them doing a "three part" for the first time. Goose bumps! Very exciting! Lindsey's playing blew me away. Stevie's voice and songs. Yes, you could say I was impressed!

All the Best!

McVie

Hi John,

First off, I find this very cool that you have agreed to answer some of our questions. It's time I'm sure you'd rather be spending on a boat somewhere..

What I'm wondering is how the writing process works from your perspective? When, say, Stevie or Lindsey bring in a demo (and for the sake of this question, let's say it's Stevie with a stark piano demo)... do you start playing around with ideas right away? Do you wait until some guitar and keyboard ideas are out there? Wait and here what Mick might be doing in terms of rhythm? Thanks in advance for the insight.

The second question is a quick one - are the others in the band as plugged in as you?? Are Stevie and Lindsey as aware of the massive online community that is so supportive and appreciative of Fleetwood Mac as you (and Mick) clearly are?

Thanks again - and for all those years of music and touring. (Stephanie, Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for the questions. When the writers start playing any of their demo's, I start trying to find the bass part right away and that continues and can change all the way through 'till the finish. There might be a "kick" part that Mick does or a guitar part that's done right at the end of recording that changes the whole part. It's a continuing process.

I know that both Stevie and Lindsey are aware of the interest out there. I think Stevie does stuff on her Web site while Lindsey seems to spend his time recording. He really works at it. Takes a portable studio with him on the road and spends his "off" time working on his music. He's very commited.

Mick and I just sit around on our arses waiting for someone to talk to!

Thanks again!

McVie

Your basslines on songs such as "Thrown Down", "Everybody Finds Out" and especially "Smile at You" are absolute knock-outs and amongst the best of your entire recording career, in my opinion. Was it frustrating for you not to be able to play these on stage on these last Fleetwood Mac tours ? Are there songs from Say You Will or any of the earlier Fleetwood Mac albums that you are just dying to re-visit ???

Thanks so much, Mr. McVie, for your incredible work throughout the years and I'm sure I speak for millions when I say: you made me appreciate and understand the importance and magic of bass-playing in music. Thank you, Max Comeau (Max Comeau, Candiac, Quebec, Canada)

Hi Max,

Thank you for your kind words. I'll have to go back and listen to the tracks to see what yer talking about!

As for playing any favorite songs, tracks or ditties, there really aren't any. I really just like to play with these guys. Period. The rest of the stuff; travelling, press, photo shoots, all of the garbage that goes with the territory doesn't interest me at all. It's the time from the start of the song 'till the end that gets me off. The rest is Bullshi-. (To me, that is).

Hope this answers your questions. Once again, Thanks!

McVie

I love your sense of humor! What was the funniest prank or joke that happened during the last tour, and were you a part of it? Rock on forever, please!!! (Lisa, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.)

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for the question. The last tour was pretty staid in terms of pranks etc. We were going to substitute Barnyard animal noises in Mick's "World Turning" vest for the last show but the tech got cold feet. We've had a few good ones over the years. 26 chickens, two Roosters and two bales of hay in a suite at the St. Francis in San Francisco comes to mind. Also renting a "Princess Di" look-a-like in London worked for a while.

Love, McVie

Hello Mr. McVie (I suppose this is more polite),

I'm sure you have been asked about what will happen now that the tour has ended over and over, and then some. My question is, where would you draw the line when it comes to Fleetwood Mac later in the years? In other words, when will you be too old to carry on with the Mac? After all, it would be ridiculous to see you, Mick, Lindsey and Stevie with walkers, hearing aids, false teeth, you know, the usual old age apparatus. (Maya Kappagantula, Davis, California, U.S.A.)

Hi Maya!

Thanks for the e-mail. Walkers! We haven't got to those yet. Thanks!

McVie

Hi John, Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. First off you are one of the greatest bass players ever! It has been a real pleasure to listen to your playing thru the years. Now here is my question. I am a huge fan of the Danny Kirwan era of Fleetwood Mac, so my question to you John is what are some of your fave songs from that era and if you have any memories to share of that period of Fleetwood Mac. Thanks for your time! (Juan S. Alemparte, Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

Hi Juan,

Thanks for the questions. Danny Kirwan. He was quite a player. Lovely Vibrato. No favorite songs, really. Always just enjoy playing. That time was very hectic. We always seemed to be working. Either in the studio or on the road. There are so many memories, it's really hard to single them out....Playing the Albert Hall, travelling Europe, Peter leaving, Danny refusing to play the San Diego gig and watching from the audience, just a lot of stuff! Sorry I can't be more specific!

Thanks! McVie

Hello Mr. McVie,

Thanks so much for taking our questions. First off I just wanna say you are the backbone of Fleetwood Mac, and your bass playing is the best in rock music. I hope I can meet you someday. My question though, is kind of not music-related though. Lindsey Buckingham has referred to you in interviews as a "staunch republican," so my question has two parts. First off are you now an official US Citizen and eligible to vote here? Secondly, a fan who got the backstage tour from the Fan Club on this tour, said your tour road case had a JOHN KERRY for PRESIDENT sticker on the side. Is that true, and are you a US Citizen, and if it is true was it put there as a joke of some sort? Thanks! (Chris McLeod, Locust Grove, Georgia, U.S.A.)

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the questions. I've been a citizen since 1986. I think I still have "dual citizenship" with the U.K. but I figure I'll be here for awhile.

"They" put the "Kerry" sticker on my case for a joke. It's not there anymore!!

Thanks again! McVie

Dear Mr.McVie, Whose hilarious idea was it to have the cut-out of yourself for the "Tusk" video?

Love & Thanks, celestenadia (Celeste Nadia, Middletown, New Jersey, U.S.A.)

Hi Celeste!

Thanks for the question. What happened was that I'd just sailed from L.A. to Tahiti and was hanging out down there when the video came up. The cardboard cut out seemed like a good idea to me. Wish I could have done that in all of the videos.

Thanks again! McVie

Hello, Mr. McVie,

Thank you so much for participating in this Q&A with us. Since I'm sure you'll receive many inquiries (and rightly so) about the various aspects of your career in music, I have a bit of an offbeat question.... I'd like to know if you have any anecdotes to share in regards to your days as a tax inspector.

I'm also curious to know if there was one defining moment that sealed your decision to quit your job and dedicate yourself to the Bluesbreakers on a full-time basis, or if the lure of music simply proved too compelling.

I'm not sure if you and the band quite realize the extent of it, but trust me when I say that Fleetwood Mac has a very passionate fan-base. So, while I have the chance, I'd like to take the opportunity to let you know that we're all anxiously waiting for remastered/expanded editions of 'Mirage' and 'Tango In The Night' (as well as your entire Warner Bros. back catalog), in the same vein as the terrific deluxe editions of 'Fleetwood Mac,' 'Rumours' and 'Tusk.' I'd also like to mention that a DVD compilation of Fleetwood Mac's videos is another item that Mac fans have longed for for years.

Anyway, I thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, and I hope you didn't mind my moment of opportunism. ;-)

Take good care! (Johnny Stew, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

Hi Johnny,

Thanks for the questions. The tax inspector bit. I don't know how that came about. One minute I was in School and the next I was in an office doing something I had no talent for and even less desire to do. The best part was that the first day at the office was also my first gig with John Mayall. That's how it went for the next 9 months. Office in the day and gigs in the evening. Until something had to go.

The bright spots in my office day were on Pay days. Fridays. The guys used to come into the office asking about their income tax, sometimes drunk, and they'd send me out to deal with them. Talk about the blind leading the blind. God, it was awfull! We had one guy jump the desk and punch the tax officer out. Fortunately, John was becoming better known and the gigs were coming in. There really wasn't any choice. Get me out of there!

I have no idea what's in the works for future releases. I don't think we're done yet! Thanks again! McVie

First let me thank you so much for doing this Q&A, and for being part of a band whose music has really affected my life. It is wonderful of you to have this connection with the fans.

A lot has been written about the songs on 'Rumours' and how they were directed at certain people in the band-- and even today people always think Lindsey and Stevie are writing their songs about each other! I saw on a VH1 special that you said hearing Chris play Songbird made you cry-- obviously you have been emotionally affected by that song. So I just wanted to ask if you ever took any of her other songs personally- (and not just the Rumours ones but the older ones too) like you felt it was being directed at you? And also if you had written a song on Rumours what do you think YOU would have said to HER? (Andrea R., Levittown, PA, USA)

Hi Andrea,

Thanks for the questions. Yes, "Songbird" used to get to me. I don't think it was anything to do with what happened with Chris and I. It was more the total aura of the song. I've never, and wouldn't, asked her about the targets of her songs.

If I'd have written a song on "Rumours"? How about "You want a what?", or "We should have had a Pre-Nup". Thanks! McVie

How would you characterize your friendship with Stevie Nicks throughout the band's heyday? From old footage onstage, it seems like you guys had a natural affinity for each other that's very sweet. Am I correct in my assumption, and if so, do you still? (Sara, Austin, Texas, U.S.A.)

Hi Sara,

Thanks for the questions,

I'd like to think that Stevie and I are and always have been, friends. She's a great Lady. She can be very funny and you always know where you stand with her. She also has one of the dirtiest laugh's I've heard from a woman! Thanks! McVie

Greetings!!! Thank you for your time, I have a few simple & short Bass related questions for you:

#1-What do you look for in a Bass guitar? Does how a Bass handle in the live environment weigh in on your decision?

#2-What did you think of some Bass contemporaries of the late 60's & early 70's, Such as Jack Bruce (of Cream), Chris Squire (of Yes), Paul McCartney (The Beatles/Wings) & John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin)?

#3-Who was your main influence on the Bass in your formative playing years?

Thanks again for your time and thanks for all the great bass playing...Brian j. (Brian j., Carnegie, Oklahoma, U.S.A.)

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the questions. A bass, for me, has to be comfortable to play. A nice neck and a good range of tone from the pick ups. This is, obviously, going to vary from player to player. "One man's meat is another man's...etc". I started on P-Basses and always seem to have one around for something or other. I got turned on to Rick Turner's basses a long time ago and pretty much use them for the majority of work. However, it's also down to "what fits the song".

The guys you mentioned, Jack Bruce, Chris Squire, Paul McCartney and John Paul Jones. These are all GREAT PLAYERS. Especially, for me, Paul McCartney. Those lines! Love that tone he gets.

My main influence. John Mayall. Willie Dixon. Most of Charles Mingus. Thanks again, All the best! McVie

"Ahoy John!!!!" Thank you for YEARS of amazing music and your work and magic in Fleetwood Mac. You made me laugh with a couple of your comments on the Destiny Rules DVD. It made me wish we could have a chance to talk to you LIVE. Who knew that we'd have a chance to speak to you? Thank you for making that happen right here on The Penguin! Here's my question:

1-You've been through all the incarnations of Fleetwood Mac from Blues to Rock. What was the happiest of times in the band for you? (Apart from playing on the stage)

2-What do you consider your greatest accomplishment/contribution with this band? What particular work are you most proud of?

Thank you John! love, blackcat (blackcat, Pennsylvania, USA)

Hi Blackcat!

The "happiest times?". From the beginning to today it's always been a mix of happy/sad, good/bad, up/down, off/on. So there really hasn't been a period that's been "the happiest". It's the complete Roller Coaster.

I'm proud of all the stuff I've done with the band. Nothing particular stands out. My greatest accomplishment? Stopping the booze! Thanks! McVie

Hello there! I'm curious, You mentioned "the Peter you used to know"- what kind of man was that? Did you see any sign of emotional instability in him before he did acid, or do you think that's what really set it off? My opinion is that he might have left the band even without the whole Munich experience. It seems even before the acid he was sort of out there, wanting to give away the money and all.

For what's it's worth another clue might've been the fact that this chap who was your friend actually called Christine and told her not to marry you, I mean really, what kind of person does that, Did no one think that was peculiar? Didn't you want to knock his block off when you heard about that? oh well at least he wasn't too persuasive! Cheers and many thanks-- (Sarah; Sussex; United Kingdom )

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for your questions and thoughts on Peter. The "Peter I used to know". Outgoing, Funny and easy to get along with. Nowadays I find it difficult to communicate with him. However, our meetings have been few and far between. Whereas Mick has had more contact with him and finds it easier. Mind you, Mick is "the Great Communicator". I don't remember him being "out there" before the acid. He was very involved in his music and the direction it was going. Whether or not he'd had left before Munich is pretty moot. The giving money away came after the acid.

The marriage warning bit, I think was done out of concern for us both. He might have phrased it a bit differently but I don't think there was any malice involved.

Thanks again for your interest! All the best! McVie

Hi John! Many fans are upset that Bob Welch wasn't admitted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of the band. What are your feelings on this? Are there any other members you feel should have been admitted that weren't? Thanks for the four decades of incredible music... it truly has changed countless lives. (Louie Golden, Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A.)

Hi Louie,

Thanks for the question,

That's a good question. Maybe he should have been. What do we do about Bob Weston, Dave Walker, Rick Vito, Billy Burnette & Dave Mason? Thanks again! McVie

John, concerning the widespread idea (among the fans, anyway) that Lindsey's tracks on some Fleetwood Mac albums are basically Lindsey himself playing all the instruments, I would like to ask you to which extent this is true.

I've understood myself that most (excluding tracks like "Songbird") of The White Album, Rumours and Mirage have the full Rumours-era line-up playing, this including Lindsey's tracks. Same with Say You Will, with exceptions like "Say Goodbye" and "Red Rover".

However, I've been under the impression that Lindsey's Tusk tracks are mainly himself playing all the instruments, and that the same is true with Tango In The Night. Of course there are occasions where I think you are playing: the official Tusk documentary shows you in the studio laying down the bass track for "Save Me A Place". And on Tango In The Night I think you are playing on "Caroline" as well, not to forget the ending of the title track. But in general, is it just him playing nearly everything on his tracks on the Tusk and Tango In The Night albums? (Gaius, , , Finland)

Hi Gaius,

Thanks for the questions. As far as I know and remember, every bass track on a Mac album was played by me. If you find out they snuck one by me, let me know. All the best! McVie

Hi John, Firstly thanks for doing this Q&A and, as a UK fan can I just say it was great to see you over here last winter, hope it won't be the last time!

Now my question: What is your opinion of the music you guys put out in between the two 'big eras' so to speak? This stuff is overlooked by so many people, but I think some of the best Mac songs come from this period (Hypnotized, Jewel Eyed Judy, Why, Future Games etc.). What do you think? Thanks once again. Greg (Greg Ireland, Faversham, Outside US and Canada, United Kingdom)

Hi Greg, Thank you for the questions,

You know, I have to agree with you on that. I tend to bypass that time as well. There was some good stuff there, wasn't there? Especially Bob's stuff. I think I'll go and dig out those albums! Thanks again! McVie

Hi John,

It's so kind of you to take the time to answer our questions. I've been a Fleetwood Mac fan for 30+ years -- there's no one better than you guys. And your bass playing is just plain gorgeous.

My question is: what's your earliest musical memory? And whose music turns you on now (besides the Mac's, of course)?

Thanks so much for all the gigs and all the music, John McVie. I'll keep listening! Sylvie (Sylvie, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.)

Hi Sylvie,

Thank you for the question,

Earliest musical memory? Vera Lynne! Earliest Rock and Roll memory? Maybe "Rave on" and "Rock around the Clock". I do my best to stay "current" but I have a really hard time with that. As far as I can tell there's a sad lack of music around. I like some of the Dave Mathews and John Mayer stuff, but the majority of it is puke to me.

Thanks! McVie

I have enjoyed your photographs that have found their way into the public eye, such as the "Bare Trees" album cover and several more in "25 Years: The Chain"'s liner notes. Has photography been a lifelong passion of yours? Thank you for the musical memories and for answering our many questions. (Justin Klenow, San Mateo, California, U.S.A.)

Hi Justin,

Thanks for the question,

I've been interested in Photography since John Mayall let me use his darkroom back in the "Bluesbreaker" days. He showed me how to develop and print. I wish I'd have done more over the various tours. Missed a lot of moments. Now we have a little time off, I'm getting back into it. Going to move from 35mm to "Medium Format". I've been scouring "E-Bay" for a deal.

Thanks again! McVie

Thank you for taking time to do this. My question has to do with the penguins - did you enjoy them prior to them becoming the FM mascot or was it the other way around? Cory Buckingham mentioned you had to buy a new suitcase in Australia to get them home.

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

Hi Missi,

Thanks for the question,

The whole "Penguin thing" started when Chris and I lived near London Zoo. I used to go there on days off and always gravitated to the Penguin exhibit.

Besides the penguins themselves, the display is a very cool piece of architecture. So anyway, when the idea of a "logo" came up it was decided to use a penguin somewhere on the sleeve. (Yes, it was called a sleeve back then). Over the years I've gotten quite a collection. That's putting it mildly. The little buggers are everywhere! Thanks again! McVie

This happens to be pretty much the same question I asked Chris in her Q&A, but I figured it might be interesting to get *your* view on this time frame and then compare your answers!

Back in 1970 when Chris initially joined Fleetwood Mac, the press had said she was 'joining for appearances only' and was sort of viewing the US tour as simply 'taking a holiday'. Now if Jeremy *hadn't* suddenly left when he did and the band wasn't put into that 'crisis mode' of 'what do we do now?' --do you think she would have actually *stayed* w/ the band, or do you think she would have just gone back to her 'regular' life?

A lot has been said about the 'Jeremy leaving', but never much about the 'Chris staying'! That whole period always struck me as being pretty significant in terms of the direction you guys ended up taking.

Finally-- although I'm well aware that one more compliment might just push you over the edge-- I have to say an enormous thank you for doing this Q&A here, you are a sweetheart. To say you and your band have greatly affected my life would be an understatement.

-Lis

Hi Lis,

Thanks for the question and the compliment!

There are so many "ifs" involved here. I have no idea what Chris would have done. The whole story of the band is one of Happenstance. Luck, Coincidence, Kismet, Fate, Karma, A whole host of incidents that no one planned or expected. I'm just thankful it turned out as it has!

Thanks again!

McVie

Hi there John! Thanks again for doing this Q&A for us! Thank you, also, for the years of spectacular music, it's touched my life more than I can explain in words.

The great ones never leave us, and you are one of the great ones. What would you like your headstone to say about you? (Christy, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A.)

"I'LL BE BACK."

Love and thanks! McVie

Which song(s) did you run into the most complications with during the recording of "Say You Will"? We only got a glimpse in the "Destiny Rules" documentary and with that many songs on the album, there must have been a few that stick out.(Chris Resnick, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.)

Hi Chris, Thanks for the questions,

The track I had trouble with was "Come". Took a while to get the timing and structure straight, in my head. Thanks again! McVie

Do you have any memories of that Annie Leibowitz/Rolling Stone photo session of all of you in bed together? Lindsey and Stevie recently shared some recollections with Rolling Stone and I was just curious what your feelings were on that experience. Stevie said you and Chris didn't want to be near each other. And what really happened with Lindsey and Stevie after the photo shoot was over!? (Katie W., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

Hi Katie,

Thanks for the questions. I do remember a bit about that photo session. I think that, among other reasons, maybe Chris didn't want to be next to me and share my view of a beautiful pic of Linda Ronstadt in Playboy.

I've no idea what happened with Stevie and Lindsey after the photo shoot.

Thanks again! McVie

Hi John,

What music do you listen to, or who are your favourite bands and artists? Any particular album? I'll be presumptuous and guess that they're from a previous era due to a simple lack of contenders from current times.

This of course written under the assumption that unlike us, you don't sit around with Tusk cranked up on repeat day after day. - Lux (Lux, , , Australia)

Hi Lux, Thanks for the questions,

I'm listening to the same artists that I've always listened to. Unfortunately most of them are dead. I really do try and stay "current" but it's really flogging a dead horse. I've never heard, in my opinion, so much sh-- in me life as what's out there now. I catch myself sounding like my Dad a lot of the time. "How can you listen to that cr--?" etc.

Oi Vey!

Thanks again! McVie

Thank you so much for taking time to answer questions. I've thoroughly enjoyed your answers. I was wondering if there was a movie about the life and times of fleetwood mac- who would you want to play you? And who would you think for the other bandmates?

thanks again john, and keep on rockin'!

-sheri, grand jct. colorado (sheri, grand junction, Colorado, U.S.A.)

Hi Sheri,Thanks for the question,

This is a good one! Also dangerous. I think for Lindsey maybe Montgomery Clift. For Mick - Peter O'toole. For myself - How about George Sanders?

Now, Stevie? Hmm. I'll have to give that one some thought. Thanks again! McVie

Hello John,

I think that your taking the time to do this is really tremendous. Thank you.

In Martin Celmin's biography of Peter Green he mentions that you were the only band member who was NOT feeling any "trepidation" in regards to coming to America for your first tour of the States. Would you be able to elaborate on Celmins' comment and if you would, share any of your impressions of the country and "music scene" that you found here during those summer months in 1968?

Also I was curious about the sessions the band recorded for the BBC for radio broadcast - did the band ever use pre-recorded tracks, or add any instrumentation to a number after it had been recorded?

I am thinking of some of the Jeremy Spencer numbers where it is clearly Jeremy playing lead guitar and yet there is also piano on the track. This occurs on some numbers where neither Christine or any other pianist is listed as having been at the session. Any insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time and here's hoping you continue to share your talent with your fans around the globe. (Richard J. Orlando, Mount Laurel, New Jersey, U.S.A.)

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the questions,

I've never read Martin Celmins book. Didn't know there was one. So I don't know quite what he means by "trepidation". There was apprehension, certainly. Everyone felt that, I believe. For me, coming over here, in retrospect, was like coming to the end of the rainbow. This is where it all came from! Rock, Blues, Jazz the whole nine yards. We spent a lot of time in San Francisco, just towards the end of the Haight Ashbury hey day. It was still amazing. A lot of exciting bands around, people with a very different view of life than I had. Just a complete eye opener in every sense. Sorry I can't be more specific but it was such a big time in my life that it's hard to pin things down.

The BBC stuff. To the best of my knowledge we didn't use anything pre-recorded or add anything. I don't think the BBC had the facilities or the time to do that. I haven't heard the tapes so I'm at a bit of a disadvantage. I'll have to get a copy from Mick and give it a listen. Maybe listening to it will jog what's left of my brain cells.

Thanks again! McVie

John, you were there during the craziness known as "Rumours." You were going through many personal trials and we are glad that all of you survived.

At one point, as Mick has revealed in his "tell all" book, he and Stevie had an affair that they regretted. When you did you personally find out, what was your reaction?

Stevie has said on several occassions that it would have been the "end" of Fleetwood Mac. With all the other craziness that went on in the band, why would that have been the clincher?

Were there times when you thought "it's OVER" in terms of your relationship with the band? Did you ever get so fed up that you wanted out?(Susan, , Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

Hi Susan, Thank you for the questions,

Mick and Stevie? I never knew. Never. Didn't have a clue. Not an inkling. And I still don't want to know. That was completely their business.

Maybe what Stevie was saying about it being "the end" etc, was that it might not have sat too well with Lindsey, at that time.

There have been many times when I thought it was over and a few times when I just wanted to say "Goodbye". A couple of times on the last tour, to be honest. Thanks again! McVie

John,

Thank you very much for sharing your talents with us for the past ___ years (We're probably both too old to appreciate seeing the number in print). Most of us probably don't have an appreciation of how much hard work is involved.

Is there a chance for "John McVie's Gotta Band Again"? The 'Gotta Band' release remains a favorite of mine. Thanks, Ken (Ken, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.)

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the question. The "Gotta Band" thing was a "one off". Lola Thomas is now happily married with a lovely daughter. She's a great singer and it was a fun project but we couldn't "work" the album. Tour etc. Thanks again! McVie

Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions!

Who convinced you to sing background vocals on "Say You Love Me" during the Dance and how were they able to do that? Have you done any other vocals during your career with the Mac? (Amy, , Maryland, U.S.A.)

Hi Amy,

Thanks for the questions. I think it was Chris who got me into the vocal bit. Maybe for a dare. It wasn't really "singing" more like vocalising the bass line. I did do a bit on one of the "B" sides. "Cool Water" I believe.

For some reason I was never asked again. Probably they didn't want to be "upstaged". Strange, Huh? Thanks again! McVie

Hi John, Thank you so much for doing this! I'm a big fan of the band from the blues to Say You Will.

I wanted to know about the first time you met Mick. Do you have any specific memories that you could share? Thanks, Amy (Amy, New York, New York, U.S.A.)

Hi Amy,

Thanks for the question. I believe the first time I saw Mick was at an all nighter club called "The Flamingo". I was with John Mayall, and Mick, I think, was with "The Cheynes". He was walking down the aisle between the seats with his sister Sally. With his curly hair I couldn't tell them apart. Later he joined John Mayall, briefly, and I believe our friendship started there. Thanks again! McVie

Hello John,

It was just brilliant to see Fleetwood Mac tour Ireland, the UK and Europe last year. Any 'stand out' moments for you from that leg of the Tour ? And what did you make of the 'Penguin Shower' for your birthday at Birmingham, NEC ?! (I was the 'wag' who threw a Penguin chocolate bar *groan*) Best Wishes, Lisa (Lisa, Birmingham, Outside US and Canada, United Kingdom)

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for the questions, (and the "Penguin Bar"),

I enjoyed the whole tour. Being back in the U.K. is always a blast. I get to play, see relatives and old friends. Be a tourist for a while. Very cool. The "Penguin shower" was amazing. I was not expecting that one! Didn't know where to put my face! Thank you, everyone!

Thanks again! McVie

P.S. Hasn't Birmingham changed? Didn't recognize the place!

hey john...

just wanted you to know i think you are cool :)

enjoyed seeing your pleasure on the boat segment during the filming of destiny rules :)

my question: were you happy with the end-result of the documentary, and would fleetwood mac consider doing another should the opportunity again arise? (niki, laguna beach, California, U.S.A.)

Hi Niki,

Thanks for the question,

To be honest, I haven't seen the whole thing. Just bits and pieces. I don't care much for that stuff. "Would we do another one?". I've no idea. Would I avoid doing another one? You bet. Thanks again!

Hi John,

Many thanks for doing this Q&A, and thanks for giving music some of the greatest bass lines its history. I have two very different questions:

I was wondering what your live set-up is? i.e. any effects (racks or pedals), what cables you use, pre-amps/power-amps/combos?

And secondly, if you could play ONE Lindsey Buckingham song from any of his solo albums as part of a Fleetwood Mac concert, what would you choose?

Thanks so much, rock on! (Seteca, London, , United Kingdom)

Hi Seteca,

Thanks for the questions,

I'm using a combination of "stuff" on the road. "Carver", "Ampeg" and "SWR" power amps, "SWR" preamps, a "Urei" Graphic, "SWR Henry VIII" cabinets, "Ampeg 15" Cabinets and "Ampeg 4 x 12" Cabinets. They're wired for stereo. No "effects". Cables, I think are "Monster Cables". This was all put together over the years with a lot of "trial and error". "Trial" by the bass tech, Mark Scaggs, and "Error" on my part.

I never got a copy of Lindsey's Solo albums so I can't pick a track. Any of his stuff is fine by me! Thanks again! McVie

During the craziness of the Rumours success-- getting rich, winning awards, being on magazine covers, attracting so much attention etc-- did you enjoy that time, or was it really not so much fun for everyone because of all the personal things going on in the band? (Emily; Colorado, USA)

Hi Emily,Thanks for your questions,

We were working most of the time the "Rumours" stuff was going on. So, for me anyway, it all seemed to be part of the whirlwind. I don't remember sitting down, relaxing and saying to myself "Wow, Look at what's going down. This is cool". "It was the best of times, it was the.....etc". Thanks again! McVie

Hi John, Thanks for taking part in the Q & A. I'm a big fan of the Future Games/Bare Trees line-up. Do you know if these albums are ever going to be remastered and do you know if there are any unreleased tracks from this era still in the can?

I've always loved your playing with Mick Taylor. Are you still in touch or likely to record again?

I think of Tusk as the greatest double album ever and an underrated gem. 25 years on, what do you think of Tusk as an album and your playing on it? (Chas, London, , United Kingdom)

Hi Chas, Thanks for the questions,

I haven't heard any word about remastering these albums. I'd be surprised if we could find the masters! "Unreleased tracks"? I doubt it. If there were any such things I'm pretty sure someone would have dug them up and released them by now.

I haven't seen Mick Taylor in quite a while. I know he did something with John Mayall recently. An anniversary album, I think. He's a nice guy and a great Player.

The "Tusk" album. I thought that was a very good album 'tho I wasn't sure where it "was going". I think I played O.K. on it. (Have to pull it out and check)!

Thanks again! McVie

Hi John, Thank you for taking the time to do this.

My question is, although you are now a US citizen do you still feel English?

Also in a previous reply you mentioned "soccer playing" do you support a team? if so which one?

Gail (Gail Heaton, Southampton, , United Kingdom)

Hi Gail, Thanks for the questions,

Absolutely I feel English. I don't want to lose that. Don't think I can. Still got my accent. (So my daughter says!) There's a lot of things I miss about England and also a lot I don't. Miss my relatives, the history, the food. (Yes, the food!) I DON'T MISS THE WEATHER! and it does seem to have become a bit "grim" in the last few years. Or is that my imagination?

Soccer:

I was raised in Ealing, in the west of London, so my local team was Brentford. Always in the third division! Used to sell programs outside the ground on Home games. However, and this is the God's truth, I was from the age of 14 always an Arsenal supporter. I'm not jumping on the bandwagon, that's the truth!! When we did Earls Court last year I was lucky enough to get a couple of tickets to the Arsenal v Wolverhampton, Carling Cup game. (I think it was a 5-1 win). Got my picture taken with the F.A. Cup. Well, standing next to it. We have a bit of Soccer coverage here on Satellite T.V. but not enough. I also log on to the Arsenal.com website to get all the news.

See, you hit a "button" there with that soccer question! Many thanks! McVie

John, I've been a fan for a great many years and it's wonderful to have this opportunity to 'chat' with you. I very much envy your involvement and immersion in London's 'Blues Boom' back in the late 60's, and was wondering if you had any memories to share from that time, any experiences that stand out. For example, who did you and the other band members enjoy seeing when you weren't working on stage yourself? Which clubs did you enjoy frequenting?

I assume your 'blues connection' was how you got to know Christine. Was it initially easy or difficult having a relationship with someone who was on the same career path as you, and perhaps in the back of your mind did you have an inkling that she'd one day join you in Fleetwood Mac? In an odd way (for longtime fans such as myself) it all seems to have been destined.

Your candor in this forum is much appreciated; all the best to you, and thanks for all the music. (William R., United Kingdom)

Hi William, Thanks for the questions,

Many memories of that great period. Just a few: Playing in John's band and backing Sonny Boy Williamson, T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker. Having John Lee stay at our Council flat one night as he couldn't get a hotel room. Alexis Korner, Cyril Davis. Georgie Fame at the "Flamingo". Graham Bond, Zoot Money, all those really fine bands.

Yes, I got to meet Chris on "the circuit". She was with "Chicken Shack" at the time. One of the best Blues pianists around. It was difficult when we were both on the road but in different bands. I don't think that lasted very long, however. Seems such a long time ago! (Note to self: IT WAS!) Thanks again, All the best! McVie

First of all thanks so much for doing this, I'm so shocked that I get to ask John McVie a question. My question is about the songs you decide to play in concert. Do you play a big role in that? And if so what do you think about playing Sisters of the Moon on the next tour. And how about playing 1 or 2 old pre-1975 songs. Has that idea ever come up? It'd be great to hear Oh Well, Green Manalishi, or Hypnotised. (Mickman, Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.)

Hi Mickman,

Thanks for the questions.

I'm quite happy to let the others pick out the set. It's quite a balancing act. Figuring out whose songs, the tempo's and how they feel in the set. The length of the set, etc. There's quite enough "input" without my "two pennysworth". I'm just glad to be there, playing.

Thanks again! McVie

Hi John! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions! It really means a lot to us fans.

My question has to do with when the band is performing onstage. You have always just kind of hung back in the shadows, playing the heck out of your bass. Do you kind of like to stay on the down low, and not say much? I'm just curious about your feelings when you're playing in front of a crowd.

My second question is short. How does your daughter, Molly, feel about music? I know she did some singing with Stevie's niece on Say You Will, but does she plan on doing anything in music later in life?

Thanks again for doing this, and thank you for being apart of some of the best music ever made! (Amber Dodds, Lima, Ohio, U.S.A.)

Hi Amber, Thanks for the questions,

The reason I "hang in the background" is that if I move forward or away from my speakers then I can't hear myself. If I turn up it destroys the balance on stage. The bass doesn't carry as well as the sharper toned instruments. It also saves me a fortune in "Spandex" and make up.

Molly likes being on the road. I think she likes the whole stage "ambience" thing. She's very involved in acting at school and is threatening to make it a career. God help us. Thanks again! McVie

John,

Thanks so much for doing the q and a. I never thought I'd get to "talk" with a member of my favorite band.

How is it decided which songs will make it onto the album? Are the record companies, like Warner's, involved in this at all?

I know why "Silver Springs" was left off, but am wondering about "You and I Part I" and "Down Endless Street"...

Vianna

PS The SYW concert was terrific! (Vianna Barksdale, Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.A.)

Hi Vianna, Thanks for the questions,

Everyone can have a say in what goes on the album. However, the writers, rightly enough I think, have the most input. I think the Company gets involved when something is a bit "controversial" or over long.

As for "You & I" or "Down Endless street" I'm afraid I can't help you there.

Sorry about that, Thanks again! McVie

Hi, John,

Thanks for taking your time to answer our inquiries.

I saw the "Time" incarnation of Fleetwood Mac at the free concert in Van Nuys back in 1994. I thought that was a great lineup...granted not the most well known.

Was there ever any discussion of doing a second album with Dave, Billy & Bekka?

What was your overall feeling during the recording of "Time"? (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, U.S.A.)

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the questions,

That was a strange period for me. I enjoyed the playing, great players all of them. We did the album, did a tour and it sort of just........ended. There was never any talk of another album. As far as I know.

Mick probably has a better recollection of all that as he was pretty much the force behind the whole thing. As he has been many times before and since. Thanks again! McVie

Hello John,

Thank you so much for being there... and thank you for all the music! My question is kind of strange... i've been told that you keep a record of all the serial numbers of bass guitars you've ever owned. Is this true? If so, i think i may have a bass you once owned. Would you be able to tell me if it was ever yours? It's a pre CBS 1962 Fender Precision serial number 74415. I've owned this bass for 15 years and often wondered if it was true.

Thank you so much. Jan Fullerlove (Janet Fullerlove, Much Wenlock, , United Kingdom)

Hi Jan, Thanks for the question.

I don't think that's one of mine. The only "P-Bass" I can't account for is my original bass that was ripped off in Manhattan Beach, California, back in the early seventies. It was stripped and had a carved dragon on it. I believe the serial # was L12304. Thanks again, McVie

Greetings Mr. McVie, my thanks for taking the time to share some insight here at the (great!) Penguin,

Could you share some of your influences on bass, who did you listen to back starting out?

Finally, including KILN HOUSE and SAY YOU WILL, FM has recorded several projects in a "home" setting. Do you prefer that to the traditional "studio" setting for recording?

My thanks for your time, Todd Richards, Host "Then Play On - The Fleetwood Mac Marathon" (Todd Richards, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.)

Hi Todd, Thanks for the questions,

My biggest influence "starting out" was John Mayall. He gave me a bunch of records and told me to "listen to this lot". So, whoever was playing bass on them, I guess, was my first influence. I think the main object of that lesson was not not so much "What" they were playing but "Why". Willie Dixon was, and is, one of my great pleasures to listen to. Also Charles Mingus.

We tend to go for the "home studio" bit mainly for the comfort and the ability to work at any time. It's far less "structured" than being in a formal studio. Stevie gets to decorate and it almost turns into a home away from home. However, it's still not a place I like to "hang out" in. Many thanks! McVie

Dear John,

I was fortunate enough to have a couple of very brief chats with you during the Mac's visit to London just before last Christmas. Leaving for one of the concerts at Earl's Court, you mentioned that Peter Green would be attending that night's show. Did he turn up? Did you all meet up? What happened?

Also, a couple of months ago the BBC screened an excellent (and well overdue-in my opinion) documentary about John Mayall's career featuring quite extensive interviews with yourself, Clapton, Mick Taylor and others. It also featured tantalising clips of Fleetwood Mac in a doc from 1969 called Turning Point (which I didn't see at the time!) in which you, sporting a fu man chu moustache, speak, and another of Peter, looking great, speaking in an amazing middle class accent! It's well worth seeing- --Hughie Flint's initial misgivings about Peter's playing--Clapton in retrospect feeling he owes Mayall a debt! Did you ever get to see this Mayall doc?

Best Regards, Tim Douglas (Tim Douglas, London, , United Kingdom)

Hi Tim, Thanks for the questions,

Are you the chap I met outside the hotel in London? "The Four Seasons", I believe. If so, Hi again! Well, I did meet Peter at the gig that night. It was very, very brief. I had all my relatives there and, as usual, it was a zoo backstage. I just said "hello" and that was that. I think Mick talked with him for a while.

I haven't seen the Mayall documentary yet. John sent me one a couple of weeks ago but I haven't played it yet. I'll do so today. Thanks again! McVie

Hi John, You always were the coolest member of fleetwood mac. Great to talk with you. here's my question for you.

You're stranded on a desert island.

Assume you know you'll be rescued in a week ; Who would be the best company to sit and relax and shoot the breeze with for that time--- mick, lindsey, chris, or stevie.

Now assume you may be stuck there forever. Which of the 4 do you think would be the most creative in helping you think up ideas to survive on/get the heck off of the island.

Take care John, you're the best. (Rick T., San Francisco, California, USA)

Hi Rick, Thanks for the questions,

Are you trying to get me into trouble? I'm not picking anyone here! As for being on a desert Island, why the hell would I want to leave? Thanks again! McVie

Hi John, first let me just say that I think it is really great you are doing this. Oh and second, seeing FMac on tour was awsome this last year. Stevie always seems to be surrounded by her yorkies (dogs)-- do the other members of the Mac have pets? (Barb, , California, U.S.A.)

Hi Barb,

Thanks for the question. Those dogs have been on the road for years. "Sara" and "Sulamith". Very cute. Lindsey has a dog, a Big Poodle I think. I don't think Mick has a pet at this time. We've always had dogs but they keep dying on us. Of old age, that is. I think our next pet is going to be something that will outlive me. A Parrot, Turtle or Elephant or something.

Thanks again, McVie


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