Christine McVie: ‘Without one of us, we’re incomplete’

The singer on the band’s half-finished album, the visitation she had when writing Songbird, and growing up with a psychic mum

Hi, Christine. What was it like growing up with the surname Perfect (1)?

It was difficult. Teachers would say: “I hope you live up to your name, Christine.” So, yes, it was tough. I used to joke that I was perfect until I married John.

Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage is being reissued as a box set for £50 (2). Does that seem like a fair price?

It’s a really nice item! It’s quality, isn’t it? It’s good value for money – you’ve got a lot of outtakes, a lot of previously unheard demo versions of songs, you’ve got the vinyl … a CD, I believe, is in there? I mean it’s a nice package! I haven’t had a good look at it, but the label has given me one to take home. I get a free one!

Have you listened to the demos and outtakes?

No. I’m not a big fan of those things. I know people are interested but for my own personal enjoyment I prefer not to listen to them. My songwriting, when I’m writing, is nothing like it is in its finished form – but you have to start somewhere.

Is the new album finished?

No, it’s half-finished. It’s just seven tracks that we’ve got, and they’re only with guide vocals.

I’m sure I saw a news story about two years ago saying it was half-finished?

Well … Yeah.

Is it the same half?

It is the same half. We’ve been doing a world tour! I’m going back in October to try and finish it. If it’s not finished by Christmas then I’ll go back after and finish it then. We do things in a weird way, I guess.

What’s your favourite of those new songs?

I don’t think we’ve given titles yet.

Would you like to now?

Er, no. I don’t think we’re supposed to. But I like them all, and that’s not a lie. We have a fantastic variety of songs and I’m very, very pleased with what’s happened so far.

Can we talk about Songbird? (3)

Yes, of course.

JESUS CHRIST, WHAT A SONG.

That was a strange little baby, that one. I woke up in the middle of the night and the song just came into my head. I got out of bed, played it on the little piano I have in my room, and sang it with no tape recorder. I sang it from beginning to end: everything. I can’t tell you quite how I felt; it was as if I’d been visited – it was a very spiritual thing. I was frightened to play it again in case I’d forgotten it. I called a producer first thing the next day and said, “I’ve got to put this song down right now.” I played it nervously, but I remembered it. Everyone just sat there and stared at me. I think they were all smoking opium or something in the control room (4). I’ve never had that happen to me since. Just the one visitation. It’s weird.

Have you inherited any of your mother’s psychic abilities?

Well, I believe they were real. She was a healer. I just wanted her to be an ordinary mum, so the less I knew of that side the better, but here’s a story I can tell you. There was an old friend of my dad’s, in Newcastle – this rich old lady who lived in a run-down castle. She had terminal cancer. She sent a pair of her kid gloves to my mother, who wore one during the night, and a couple of weeks later there was a phone call: the doctors were amazed that all the cancer was completely gone.

Did you psychically predict that I would ask you a couple of questions about your reissue before attempting to get information about the new album?

Aha! I did notice you sneaking those in. I was thinking, What’s he talking about? We’re supposed to be talking about – what’s it called? – Mirage.

It’s exciting when a band gets back together, though. Especially when elsewhere in pop you’ve got Abba, whose refusal to get on with it is bordering on trolling.

Why wouldn’t they get back together? I suppose they made all the money in the world – I mean, we’re not doing it for the money either – but I don’t know. Maybe the need for each other is not there. You see, I still think there’s a certain need for each other in our band. In a strange way. We’re umbilically tied together, somehow. Without one of us, we’re incomplete.

What’s your No 1 piece of house renovation advice? (5)

Well, I didn’t do it personally, but I oversaw it. It was a very old house; the beams had to be stripped. It’s subjective. Keep the wood beautiful, I suppose, but there’s so much I could say. That’s the worst question you could possibly ask.

Well, let’s see, shall we? Have you ever been missold PPI?

I just press delete on those texts.

You could have £20,000 sitting around!

I don’t believe any of those things. Anyone I don’t know, in my emails or texts, I just delete. If it’s someone legitimate they’ll send it again.

What are your favourite apps?

[Whips out iPhone in garishly decorated protective case] WhatsApp I adore. I use it all the time with my friends. I’ve got thousands of apps, and most of them I never use. Look at this! [Flicks though terrifying number of apps]

That’s quite an iPhone case, Christine. Did you stick those jewels on yourself?

It’s Dolce & Gabbana, dear!

It’s slightly alarming that you haven’t put any of your apps in folders.

Oh, I don’t do that. You’re talking to a complete phone moron. As long as I can make a phone call and do a WhatsApp, I’m fine. Oh, and I use it to learn a bit of Italian.

Would you like to conclude this interview in Italian?

Ciao, arrivederci. A presto!

Footnotes
(1) When still called Christine Perfect, Christine released an album called Christine Perfect. In 1984, as Christine McVie, she released an album called Christine McVie.

(2) Mirage was Fleetwood Mac’s 13th album. Released in 1982, it was seen as a return to poppier territory after the slightly-all-over-the-place Tusk. The remastered version – in expanded and deluxe editions – is out now on Rhino.

(3) Songbird was originally released as the B-side to Dreams, in 1977. Eva Cassidy had a bash at it a couple of decades later.

(4) Famous opium fans include word enthusiast Samuel Johnson, Piano Concerto No 2 In F Minor hitmaker Frederic Chopin, and US bigwig Thomas Jefferson, who used it to control diarrhoea.

(5) During her 16 years away from Fleetwood Mac, Christine renovated a massive, subsequently flogged Kent property. She now lives in London.

Peter Robinson / The Guardian (UK) / Thursday, October 6, 2016

Christine McVie on Mirage, Fleetwood Mac’s future

Christine McVie on Fleetwood Mac’s ‘peculiar’ Mirage Sessions, new LP — as the singer-songwriter looks back on heady days at Château d’Hérouville, discusses band’s future plans

Christine McVie has a confession to make. The 73-year-old singer, songwriter and keyboardist is on the phone with Rolling Stone to discuss the new deluxe reissue of Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 effort, Mirage; but, she admits, she hasn’t actually listened to it yet. “I just now got my copy of the remastered edition in my hands,” McVie says, calling from her home in the U.K. “But I just moved to a flat where I don’t have my DVD or CD player yet. So I’m unable to play it. And there’s all these outtakes and demos and things in there that I certainly haven’t heard since we made them. So I’m most curious to listen.”

Indeed, the new package is a treasure trove for Mac completists (and, apparently, band members). In addition to presenting the original 12-track album – which spent five weeks at Number One and spawned two of the group’s biggest and enduring hits in McVie’s “Hold Me” and Stevie Nicks’ “Gypsy” – in remastered form, the three-CD and DVD set offers up a disc of B sides, titled “Outtakes and Sessions,” as well as a live collection culled from two nights at the L.A. Forum in October 1982 on the Mirage tour. The whole thing is rounded out by a vinyl copy of the album and a DVD in 5.1 surround sound, as well as a booklet with extensive liner notes and photos from the era.

Fleetwood Mac Mirage 1982
(Photo: Neal Preston)

An impressive package, to be sure, and one that is perhaps necessary for an album that, for all its multi-platinum success, never quite gets its due, having been overshadowed in the band’s canon by the career-defining trio of records that preceded it – 1975’s Fleetwood Mac, 1977’s mega-smash Rumours and 1979’s sonically adventurous double album Tusk. In an earlier interview with Rolling Stone, drummer Mick Fleetwood acknowledged that, in such imposing company, Mirage often gets overlooked – a notion that McVie seems to agree with. “It does, and I don’t know why,” she says. But, she adds, “As it stands today, a lot of people know every track on it. Which is quite unbelievable. So I just take it for what it is.”

McVie spent some time reminiscing about the album with RS, from the “unusual” experience of recording at the Château d’Hérouville outside of Paris, to the “nightmare” of filming the video for her song “Hold Me” in the Mojave Desert outside of Palm Springs. But she wasn’t only looking backward. McVie also discussed Fleetwood Mac’s plans for the future, which may include a new album and another world tour. “We’re just gonna keep on doing what we do best,” she said, then laughed. “Which, I’m not really sure what that is!”

What was the state of Fleetwood Mac going into the making of Mirage?

I suppose we all felt in a way that what we were doing was kind of an homage to Rumours, in the sense that, obviously, after Rumours we went completely the opposite way and made a double album of an entirely different nature with Tusk. And for Tusk we had done this hugely long tour. Two world tours, I believe. Then we all disappeared for a few years. But we have a habit of doing that, Fleetwood Mac. Just kind of taking quite long hiatuses. And as we got together again, I think it was Mick who had this idea that perhaps we should enter another bubble-like situation, which was similar to what we had done for the Rumours album, when we recorded in Sausalito. Just taking us away from familiar things, like our families. There was the idea that maybe something would emerge from there that was completely different. Maybe it would make us more creative. And I think it worked, to an extent. It was definitely an unusual experience.

Rather than Sausalito, for Mirage you went to France. Do you recall anything particular about recording at the Château d’Hérouville?

Well, I don’t think any of us remember a huge amount about it! But I don’t remember there being anything bad about it, how about that [laughs]?

That’s a good thing.

Yes. But, I mean, my recollections in general are of thinking, What a peculiar, odd place to be going. …

How so?

It was extremely odd in the sense that it wasn’t really a studio. It really was a rather beaten-up old castle. We were living in it, and then there was another area that was made to be a studio. And there were wine cellars underneath, which I believe we used as echo chambers. So it was unusual, but it also provided a “come-together” sort of moment. Because we really had no options to do anything else. In Sausalito, at least you were close to restaurants, clubs, whatever. But at the chateau, you were just there. We had the table tennis out, we had some radio-controlled helicopters, we had food cooked for us every night on the premises. … I don’t know, it was like some weird, manic kind of resort or something. But I think we got on really well during the making of the record. The actual recording part of it, there were no particular spats I can think of. And some of the tracks are really good.

One of your tracks, “Hold Me,” became the lead single off Mirage, and it was also a big hit. What do you recall about writing it?

I’d co-written it with a friend of mine, Robbie Patton. And when we first recorded it, it was only semi-finished, really. But everybody liked it so we thought, Well, we’ll lay something down on tape and get the bones of it. What we put down was very basic – there were huge chunks that had nothing in them. And then we just built it up in sections.

In the demo version of the song that appears on the second disc of the Mirage deluxe package, you perform the vocal alone. But the final version of “Hold Me” is more of a duet between you and Lindsey [Buckingham]. How did that change come about?

I think some of these things just happen organically. I don’t think it was a plan. But I do know that when I wrote the song with Robbie, he was also a singer, and he was always singing a lower part. And so at some point it became obvious to me that Lindsey would eventually do it.

Do you have a favorite track on the album?

Yes, well, I think “Gypsy” stands out clearly as the best track on the album. Without a doubt.

Why do you feel that way?

I just think the whole song came together in a very cohesive way. It’s very musical. Very melodic. All the parts are right. It’s just a very beautiful record. And, of course, that video – I know the record company spent a lot of money on it.

Reportedly it had the biggest budget of any music video produced up to that point.

Yeah. And it’s one of my favorite videos of all time. And I don’t mean just of Fleetwood Mac’s.

What do you recall of shooting the video for “Hold Me”?

“Hold Me” was a nightmare! It was the middle of the desert in Palm Springs, in the height of summer. I don’t know what possessed us to do that. But we sometimes do crazy things [laughs].

Did it feel unnatural that you were doing it at all? MTV, and the idea of music video being a promotional tool, was a very new concept at the time.

I’m sure we were a bit uneasy with doing it. To some extent, I’ve always felt that the music should be the thing that creates the emotion in you, rather than a video. There are so many songs that have become massive hits merely because the video is great, while the song is pretty rubbish. From that point of view I think I’ve always preferred to listen to a song rather than look at it. So it was a bit difficult.

The directors of both the “Gypsy” and “Hold Me” videos have stated that they encountered some difficulties trying to navigate the thorny romantic relationships between band members at the time. Do you recall as much?

[Laughs] Well, of course! I’m sure it oozes out over the screen when you watch some of the scenes. Yeah, for sure. And I’d be the first one to admit that none of us were stone-cold sober. There was a fair degree of alcohol and drugs going on. But everyone was doing it, so it was kind of the norm.

“I’d be the first one to admit that none of us were stone-cold sober. There was a fair degree of alcohol and drugs going on.”

In contrast to the long tour behind Tusk, the Mirage tour was relatively brief – just two months in the fall of 1982. Was there a reason for such an abbreviated run?

I don’t know why that was. Maybe Stevie was going off to do a tour. I can’t remember if Lindsey had a tour. But it was short, and then we did another vanishing act for another couple years before we came back and did Tango in the Night.

More recently, you took some time away from Fleetwood Mac, before returning in 2014 for a world tour. What is the future of the band at this point?

Well, we cut seven songs in the studio already for the start of a brand-new studio album. Which we did probably nearer two years ago. We shelved that temporarily and then went on the road and did the tour. And now, actually, I think we’re going back in in October to try to finish it off. Stevie hasn’t participated yet, but hope springs eternal. She’s going on a solo tour at the moment. But Lindsey and I, we have plenty of songs. There are tons more in the bag that we have yet to record. And they’re fantastic. So we’re going to carry on and try to finish the record. And then maybe if Stevie doesn’t want to be part of that then we can go out and just do some smaller concerts.

You would consider doing some shows with just you, Lindsey, Mick and John [McVie]?

As a four-piece, yeah. With a view of doing a huge world tour after that, with Stevie.

And would you expect that we’ll see this new album in 2017?

One would hope so, yeah. That’s the plan. And I can’t wait for it to be finished. It’ll be great. And then we’ll hopefully do this world tour with Stevie. And after that, who knows? But we’re all still alive, how about that? So that’s a start.

Richard Bienstock / Rolling Stone / Monday, September 26, 2016

10 Questions for Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac

The peacemaker of Fleetwood Mac on Mirage, Maui, and missing the buzz

theartsdesk meets Christine McVie on a sunny Friday afternoon in September; the Warner Brothers boardroom (with generous hospitality spread) is suitably palatial. We’re the first media interview of the day, so she’s bright and attentive. McVie was always the member of Fleetwood Mac who you’d want to adopt: the most approachably human member of a band constantly at war with itself. Readily admitting that she’s the “peacekeeper” in the band, the singer/songwriter behind such Mac classics as “Everywhere” and “You Make Loving Fun” is as sweet and serene as you’d hope she would be.

She’s here to promote the new deluxe remaster of 1982 album Mirage – the follow-up three years on to the somewhat deranged Tusk, which was recorded and released as Christine and John McVie, the band’s bassist, were divorcing. She quit the band in 1998 after the hugely successful live album The Dance, after which she started a fairly solitary life of her own in the English countryside for the best part of 16 years. The first four of those, she says, were simply spent working on the house. It was only therapy and the canny, persuasive hand of Mick Fleetwood that coaxed her into returning after a trip to Maui, Hawaii, where Mick lives close to John McVie, his lifelong partner-in-crime.

The former Christine Perfect had a severe fear of flying that she’s now completely beaten, and as we speak, it’s clear that she’s fairly perplexed about having left the fray for so long in the first place. So what was she doing in all that time exactly? “A lot of people ask me that question!” With a brand new album (their first since 2001’s Say You Will) and a new world tour in the planning stages, it’s clear that the Fleetwood Mac story still has several enthralling chapters ahead. Somewhere near Fleetwood’s on Front Street – Mick’s fancy restaurant in Maui – the drummer must be feeling pretty smug that the ragged band of brothers and sisters he founded are finally back together.

RALPH MOORE: What was the mood of the band post-Tusk?

CHRISTINE McVIE: I remember we did two huge world tours after Tusk. We drove ourselves into the ground physically, and obviously there was a lot of drinking and a lot of drugs, and that just about killed us all, so we took a lot of time off. There was a long time between Tusk and Mirage. Mick went to Ghana to make an album called The Visitor and Stevie [Nicks] made Bella Donna, which was a huge hit for her.

Fleetwood MacBut I think maybe we were under contract so had to make a record at that time, so Mick tried to recreate a similar bubble to Rumours where we were away from our homes, and that’s how that started. The mood? I was quite looking forward to it. We recorded at Honky Château [the infamous Chateau d’Herouville, located 20 miles north of Paris in the Val d’Oise]. There was a big piano there that Elton John had left there, so that was great. I seem to remember we did a lot of mucking around, playing table tennis. The guys from the French Open came down to visit us and John McEnroe also came down – I think I actually beat him at table tennis one night! It was a funny time. I don’t remember any particular animosity. I’m sure we were under contract to do another record so that was the basis of it. And from that, from little acorns the oak tree grew and it turned into a much nicer experience with some really good songs on it.

You returned to the band in 2014: had the dynamic changed?

Well, I just couldn’t believe that 16 years had actually passed. I mean, quite literally, from the moment I stepped on stage in Dublin to rehearse “Don’t Stop” I knew: the eye contact with all the band members, it was like going home. Truthfully. And they felt the same about me. The circle was complete. Had anything changed? Only technically. Vibe wise, I had Mick looking at me through his cymbals, but there was always that gap there on the stage when I left – they hadn’t filled it up with anyone else. That gap when they were touring without me was there every night. It was such a great feeling.

Is it fair to say that you’re the peacekeeper in the band?

I know Stevie always calls me Mother Earth, so possibly! How do I put this…. I have always been the most sane one of the lot, more down to earth, but I think John’s probably even more down to earth now. Peacekeeper? Yeah, I like that title. I do tend to meander around in the cracks! And do I have to be a peacekeeper now? Only occasionally. You always get moments with Stevie and Lindsey [Buckingham], that’s part of their make-up – they are each other’s muses and they have not been together for years, but they have this love/hate thing that they’ll always have and someone has to gently insinuate in the middle.

But Stevie and I are really good friends, in fact I think we’re better friends now than we were 16 years ago. And it’s a fact, when it’s the Buckingham/Nicks show backed by John and Mick, that’s going to cause a lot of tension and stress. But with me in there, it gave Stevie the chance to get her breath back and not have this constant thing going on with Lindsey: her sister was back.

Is it fair to say that Fleetwood Mac is a democracy, but driven for the most part by Mick?

Yes, but you’ve got to have a degree of flexibility. We’re very democratic. If one person is outvoted, you go with it. Mick always says, I’m a drummer, I can’t just sit in a room and play drums, I need a band. So in Maui, he has his own little band and when Fleetwood Mac’s not touring, he plays with them. It keeps him busy.

(Photo: Danny Clinch)
(Photo: Danny Clinch)

In the 16 years interim, what were you doing and did you see the band much?

I didn’t see them very much. First of all, I never flew anywhere. I saw them at Earl’s Court a few years back and sat at the sound board and that was a weird feeling. But I had no sense at that time of wanting to rejoin and at that time it was a relief – but I didn’t realise what pleasure I was missing until more recent days when I made the phone call to Mick and asked, “What would be it be like if I came back?” Fortunately Stevie was dying for me to come back, as were the rest of the band. Lindsey didn’t believe it would ever happen, but when I walked back onstage he did and they were delirious.

But when I first left, I was married at that point and spent four years restoring the house, a big rambling place with gardens – it was quite a project. But I didn’t write very much and the marriage didn’t work out, and I started to find I was twiddling my thumbs in this huge place, bouncing off the walls. So I thought that I’d do a little solo project. I got together with my nephew who’s a good musician and quite handy with ProTools and I thought, I’ll do a little record because I can’t fly, and I don’t want to tour, so we did that in my garage. And that took a couple of years, because we didn’t have a pressing need to finish it.

And then I sunk into isolation and got in a bit of trouble and sought help, and that was when I called Mick. It was healing and cathartic going back into the band. I missed all that buzz. I was also deluded about some idea of being the country lady with dogs, a Range Rover and Hunter boots, going for long walks, all that. Baking cakes in my Aga. It was not what I wanted in the end.

How did you overcome the fear of flying?

I was starting to realise that I was trapped in England unless I went by train or boat – and that I will never be able to see the world. So I went to a therapist and said, “I have to be able to get on a plane.” And he said, “Where would you most like to go?” And I said, “Maui!” And he said, “Buy a first-class ticket. Don’t get on – you have the ticket, that’s the starting point.” And as serendipity would have it Mick said, “I am coming to London” and I said, “I have a ticket to Maui!” So he said “Stay there! And we’ll go back together.”

So I went back with Mick to Maui and didn’t even feel the plane taking off, that’s how unafraid I was. I had some pretty good therapy, and I love flying now! And I did some songs with his little band there, and that was the start of it all. It’s the best thing we could have ever done. In many ways, I think we sound better and the audience reaction is better than even it was before. It’s unprecedented in rock ‘n’ roll that someone should leave and rejoin 16 years on and all five of us are still alive and healthy – touch wood and whistle.

Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie
Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie work on new songs in the studio.

Let’s talk about the new album.

I love every single track we’ve done, bar none. This’s something to me that is really special. Stevie hasn’t come in on it yet because she’s been busy doing something else. Last year, I was in there with Mick and Lindsey and John – John’s healing very nicely now – and nearly completed seven tracks and they’re magic. Seriously, no padding! I’m going to go over again in October to work on it. Stevie’s on tour but we’ve got until next year to finish it because we’re planning a world tour again, for the summer of ’17. I don’t know if I’m privy to give song titles yet, but Lindsey and I have practically co-written everything. Getting the band all together is like herding sheep: to get all five of us in a room is nigh-on impossible. And then somebody will wander out. But it does happen.

Mirage is still a pretty eccentric record when you listen to it. And what’s great is Fleetwood Mac is now a genuine, cross-generational experience.

The generation gap is phenomenal! Kids are going, “We’d better see them before one of them dies!” The songs endure. I have lots of friends with growing children, even 12- and 11-year-olds and some of them are avid listeners, they carry Rumours on their iPods! Tango is a favourite and Tusk is a favourite of some the weird 14-year-old boys. The demographic is remarkable.

And you still have the potential to play Glastonbury again.

Yes. I think we have been asked but for whatever reason it hasn’t happened, I don’t know for what reason. Would I love to do it? Love’s a strong word! I wouldn’t mind – so long as we could helicopter in and helicopter out!

Fleetwood Mac Mirage (1982)Let’s end by returning to Mirage – where does it sit in the Mac canon for you?

If I have to be really truthful, it’s not catalogued as my favourite but on it are some great songs and some really good memories and it harkens in a vague sense not to the soul of Rumours but to more commercial roots after Tusk, which was the antithesis of commercial. On Mirage we made an effort to have a few more catchy songs. But it’s still a pretty eccentric record when you listen to it. It’s nuts!

The deluxe edition of Mirage is out on September 23rd on Warner Brothers.

Ralph Moore / theartsdesk (UK) / Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New Mac album almost ready

Christine McVie
Christine McVie (Photo: Reyhaan Day)

Rumours has it

After 16 years in the Kent wilderness, Christine McVie and Fleetwood Mac are creating magic once again… there’s even a new album in the pipeline.

Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie offers me tea and a seat on a plush sofa. Among the things on her coffee table is a picture book called Crap Taxidermy. There’s a platinum record on the wall, and a stuffed dog looks out from under a side table next to a flickering fireplace.

“Do you like my dog? I found him in an antique shop – he’s 100 years old and I call him Jarvis.”

McVie is a dog person – she had two until recently. “I had a lovely time with them, but do I miss having dogs? Dogs tie you down. Who’s going to look after them when I go on tour?” she says. “I thought about getting a bird – a parrot perhaps – and teaching it to talk.” But McVie doesn’t want to be held back any longer. “I want my freedom now.”

As one fifth of Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie has helped define popular music since the late 1960s. With her bandmates, McVie has written songs that are loved across generations. With 1977’s Rumours, Fleetwood Mac became superstars, experiencing both critical acclaim and public adoration. She explains that there is something about the band’s music, and Rumours in particular, that appeals to all ages. “Parents played the album at home, but kids gravitated to the album as well; and now some of their children are turned on to Fleetwood Mac.” It’s something that McVie is still surprised by. “It’s really quite amazing, the dichotomy of people coming to see the shows – it ranges anywhere from 80 to eight. It’s very exciting.”

Nearly 40 years on, Rumours is an album that still resonates with audiences today – herself, included, says McVie.

“I think people love Rumours – I think that the songs are timeless and ageless. I still love Rumours too; I don’t listen to it all the time, but when I do, I’m always stunned by how fresh it still sounds.”

McVie and Fleetwood Mac achieved a virtually unparalleled level of acclaim and adoration with Rumours, but the road to success wasn’t always easy. “There weren’t that many women around back then [the 60s and early 70s]. It was a very male-oriented industry. I wasn’t in the pop industry at that time – I was playing in a blues band, so that was even more unusual.”

It was peaceful, and I learned about birds. I just wish I’d filled that 16 years with a hell of a lot more. After the house was finished, I was bouncing off the walls. It was an isolating time. I’ve wasted a bit of my life, and I want to make up for it now.

McVie had her first taste of life on the road with British blues outfit Chicken Shack; a gig she held down until she married her future band mate and Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie in 1969.

“We had a Ford transit van and we used to schlep up and down the M1,” she recalls. The young songwriter was paying her dues, living a lifestyle far removed from what she would later experience with Fleetwood Mac. “You couldn’t say it was a life of luxury by any means.”

After a couple of years playing the British blues circuit, the band made the biggest decision of their career. “We moved to America. We thought it would be great to move to LA, because we weren’t doing anything here. We couldn’t buy a gig.”

Soon after the relocation, the band’s guitarist and driving force over the past few years Bob Welch departed, leaving Fleetwood Mac guitar-less. A chance meeting with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham led to the band bringing Buckingham and his lover and collaborator Stevie Nicks into the fold. “I was a bit cagey in case we didn’t get on or something – but we met for dinner one night and we all got on really well. We didn’t even have auditions. The rest, really, is history.”

The tide truly began to turn with the band’s 1975 self-titled album (referred to as the “White Album” by McVie) – the first with Buckingham and Nicks.

The album demonstrated a more pop-oriented sound than before. It was during the writing of Fleetwood Mac that McVie saw the band’s potential to be big. “I remember that I’d written a song called ‘Say You Love Me’. We went into a little rehearsal room in a cellar somewhere, and I said: “Well, it goes like this…’ When the chorus came, Stevie and Lindsey both chimed in with the most fantastic harmony,” says McVie.

“We all had goose bumps. That was the moment when I thought: ‘This is going to be amazing’.” With Buckingham and Nicks, the band took on an unusual dynamic. “The combination of two Americans and three Brits, two girls and two couples as well, made for all kinds of things we never could have expected.”

More than a year after its release, Fleetwood Mac went to number one on the Billboard 200 chart. “That took some time to take off,” says McVie. “Once we started touring, people started to flock to see us, and they would buy the album.” The band was receiving huge support from radio, and was riding a wave of critical acclaim and success before the band began to record a follow-up. “I don’t think people realised, but the ‘White Album’ was number one in the charts about six months before we even made Rumours.”

What happened next is rock and roll legend. Personal relations between band members hit a low; the McVies were in the midst of a divorce; and Nicks and Buckingham’s on-off relationship was strained. “When we finished Rumours, we knew we had something good – but we weren’t getting on very well. Stevie, Mick [Fleetwood] and I would get on great; Lindsey, Mick and John would get on great, but the ‘couple’ thing got quite tense in the studio sometimes.”

Against adversity, Fleetwood Mac made one of the finest albums of their career – and one of the most popular albums of all time. Rumours is estimated to have sold more than 40 million copies. McVie says there is an understanding between them, which leads to memorable music. “What’s that saying? ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. In our case that is true, because there is a great chemistry between the five of us. We’re all different, but we connect musically in a really strange way.”

In 1998, after continual chart-topping albums and lucrative tours, McVie left the band. “My father died in 1990, and I was desperate to move back to England,” she says. “I wanted to be closer to my brother who was my only remaining close family. I’d also developed a chronic fear of flying – and the band knew when I did the last tour that there was no persuading me to stay.”

McVie spent the next 16 years in Kent, restoring her house and looking after two dogs. Now McVie has mixed feelings about her time out of the spotlight. “I could say I have regrets, but then there were quite a few years doing that that I did enjoy,” she says. “It was peaceful, and I learned about birds. I just wish I’d filled that 16 years with a hell of a lot more. After the house was finished, I was bouncing off the walls. It was an isolating time. I’ve wasted a bit of my life, and I want to make up for it now.”

McVie says she came to a realisation. “There came a point when I finished doing the house that I realised I was just sitting in the country, rotting away. I thought: ‘What am I doing?’”

McVie sought the help of Dr. Richard Wolman, a Belgravia psychiatrist who helped her overcome her fear of flying. “He worked with me for quite a long time.” Soon, the idea of getting back with the band began to take shape. “It just so happened that I was thinking about what it would be like to go back to Fleetwood Mac. I called up Mick and said: ‘Do you think it’s possible? Would you guys even be interested?’” Fleetwood was arriving in London and suggested meeting to discuss a reunion.

As part of her therapy, Dr. Wolman suggested McVie buy a plane ticket. “He said: ‘If you could get on a plane, where would you go?’ I said Maui, because I love Hawaii. He told me to just buy a ticket, and said I didn’t have to get on it, but it would be a positive move. So I did.”

McVie flew from London to Hawaii with Fleetwood, who lives on the islands. “I ended up going on stage with his little blues band – he owns a restaurant called Fleetwood’s on Front Street, Lahaina. He persuaded me to play a couple of songs with his band, and I loved it.” Soon she spoke with other members of the band, and the five members that recorded Rumours were reunited.

Since McVie’s return, the band has completed a world tour taking in 120 shows. Now Fleetwood Mac is in the process of recording a new album.

I’m waiting to hear when we’re going to finish [the new Fleetwood Mac album], which I suspect will be April. Everybody has different things going on. But my feet are firmly planted in this record at the moment, because quite a lot of the songs are mine!

“I started sending demos to Lindsey and he worked on them, then we got together to start making a record – we’re talking two years ago now. We only got it half-finished; we’ve got seven or eight songs at the moment, and we’re very, very thrilled with them.”

Fans will have to be patient – getting each band member in the same room is not as easy as it once was. “I’m waiting to hear when we’re going to finish it, which I suspect will be April. Everybody has different things going on. But my feet are firmly planted in this record at the moment, because quite a lot of the songs are mine!

“The songs are fantastic, they have a whiff of Rumours about them. I think people could do with a new Mac album from the five of us.” Once the album is ready, McVie says the band will embark on another tour. “Depending on how decrepit we feel, it may not be the last. We’re all fit, so we think we can do another tour and put a record out – and people seem to love us, so we appreciate that.”

McVie says that playing with the band feels natural, even after so long out of the public eye. “It was strange in the fact that it wasn’t strange at all. The moment I stepped on stage, it felt right – it was like 16 years hadn’t happened.”

According to McVie, there is one song in particular that audiences connect with. “When I do ‘Songbird’, you can hear a pin drop. I’m not saying it’s my favourite song, particularly, but it seems to be the one that I get associated with, because people have played it at weddings, funerals or when their pets die. In all kinds of situations, people play ‘Songbird’, because it’s a little prayer. I wrote that song in 30 minutes!”

For now, McVie is back in London, and enjoying what Mayfair has to offer. “I love it around Bond Street – now I’m back in the city, that’s top of my list: burning some plastic!” As for Fleetwood Mac, she is content just seeing where the music will take her. “It’s a rebirth, in a sense – and it’s fantastic because we’re way over 60. I’m having a ball.”

Reyhaan Day / Mayfair Times / Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The World’s Highest-Paid Women In Music 2015

The top-earning woman in the music business has been cashing in on a massive world tour, a constant stream of hit singles and a string of endorsements with a slew of major companies, while occasionally throwing thinly veiled barbs at her chief rival.

Sounds like Taylor Swift—but, in fact, it’s her frequent competitor, Katy Perry. Largely because of her Prismatic World Tour, which is now winding down, Perry pulled in $135 million this year. She grossed more than $2 million per city over the course of 126 shows in our scoring period, and added to her total through deals with Coty, Claire’s and Covergirl.

“I am proud of my position as a boss, as a person that runs my own company,” Perry told FORBES for our Celebrity 100 cover story this past summer. “I’m an entrepreneur. … I don’t want to shy away from it. I actually want to kind of grab it by its balls.”

Swift has also been having quite the year, claiming the No. 2 spot with $80 million. More than a year after the launch of 1989—the top release of 2014 with over 3.6 million copies sold—her latest single, “Wildest Dreams,” has ascended to the top of the charts, boosted by a music video with Scott Eastwood. But it was the beginning of her epic 1989 World Tour that placed her so close to the top of this list.

Rounding out the top three is Fleetwood Mac at $59.5 million. Though the band contains three men, it also boasts two high-profile ladies—Stevie Nicks and the recently-returned Christine McVie—rendering the group eligible for this list. Its On With The Show tour included 86 concerts during our scoring period, grossing well over $1 million per city.

“Fleetwood Mac is out there slogging it on the road,” says Gary Bongiovanni, chief of concert data outfit Pollstar. “From a fan perspective, I think that Fleetwood’s core fan base recognized that Christine McVie being back in the group was something special, and worth coming out for.”

Lady Gaga ranks fourth with $59 million, followed by Beyoncé at $54.5 million. The former played 66 shows during our scoring period, also cashing in on deals with Versace and MAC, as well as her own Fame fragrance. The latter’s On The Run tour with husband Jay Z grossed over $100 million for 19 North American dates, giving music’s first couple a nightly average comparable to that of the Rolling Stones.

Top 10 World’s Highest Paid Women in Music 2015

1. Katy Perry ($135 million)
Our Celebrity 100 cover star also claims the top spot on this list, largely because of her Prismatic World Tour. During our scoring period, Perry grossed more than $2 million per city over the course of 126 shows. She adds to her total through deals with Coty, Claire’s and Covergirl.

2. Taylor Swift ($80 million)
More than a year after the launch of 1989–the top release of 2014 with over 3.6 million copies sold—Swift is still selling. Her latest single, “Wildest Dreams,” has ascended to the top of the charts, boosted by a music video featuring Swift and Scott Eastwood. With her 1989 Tour grossing some $4 million per city, she’s got the early edge for the No. 1 spot on our list next year.

3. Fleetwood Mac ($59.5 million)
Though the band contains three men, it also boasts two high-profile ladies—Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie—rendering Fleetwood Mac eligible for this list. The group’s On With The Show tour included 86 concerts during our scoring period; it also boasted a staggering secondary ticket price of over $300.

4. Lady Gaga ($59 million)
Gaga has remained one of the biggest names in the music industry for nearly a decade, pushing limits with her over-the-top performances and fashion choices. Aside from playing 66 shows during our scoring period, Gaga also cashed in from deals with Versace and MAC, as well as her own Fame fragrance.

5. Beyoncé ($54.5 million)
Last year’s On The Run tour with husband Jay Z grossed over $100 million for 19 North American dates, giving music’s first couple a nightly average comparable to that of the Rolling Stones. Deals with Pepsi, L’Oréal and her own Heat fragrance add considerable cash to her plentiful coffers.

6. Britney Spears ($31 million)
The cyborg pop star continues to release new songs like “Pretty Girls,” her collaboration with Iggy Azalea, but it’s her Planet Hollywood residency in Las Vegas that accounts for the bulk of her bucks. She also cashes in on The Intimate Britney Spears, a lingerie line that sells globally.

7. Jennifer Lopez ($28.5 million)
Though she began her career as Jenny from the Block, she’s as nearly as far from music as she is from the Bronx these days: she played only five concerts during our scoring period. Lopez made double-digit millions as a judge on American Idol; recent acting roles include the film The Boy Next Door. With a residency at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood due to start in early 2016, though, a partial return to her roots is imminent.

8. Miranda Lambert ($28.5 million)
The country star scored Female Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards, part of a huge year full of diverse income streams. Lambert boasts partnerships with Red55 Wine, Pink Pistol and Dixie Darlin, as well as her own line of clothing and pet accessories.

9. Mariah Carey ($27 million)
In May 2015 the golden-voiced diva joined a long line of cash queens in taking her talents to Las Vegas for a residency. Dubbed Mariah Carey’s #1’s, the series is set to stretch into 2016, making her an early favorite to land on next year’s list.

10. Rihanna ($26 million)
After seven albums in eight years through 2012, Rihanna has gone quite some time without a full-length release, and she only played nine dates in our scoring period—resulting in a lower-than-usual finish on our list. That’s set to change with the launch of new album Anti, and likely a tour, in the coming months.

Zack O’Malley Greenburg / Forbes / November 4, 2015

Dressed-down Fleetwood Mac out and about in Adelaide

Fleetwood Mac: Supergroup being pretty low-key ahead of their Adelaide concert

Mick Fleetwood
Mick Fleetwood outside The Intercontinental in Adelaide (Photo: Mike Burton)

THE members of legendary supergroup Fleetwood Mac are being pretty low- key during their Adelaide stay.

Heading out of the band’s city hotel yesterday wearing jeans and a T-shirt Lindsey Buckingham, greeted our shutterbug telling him to stay put because “there will be a raft of people for you to photograph’’.

He wasn’t telling Little Lies either because soon after appeared Christine McVie, who is back with Mac after 16 years, with an entourage. Like Lindsey, she was casually dressed and looking relaxed as she left to take in some city sights.

Mick Fleetwood was even more chilled out, rocking a beanie.

Fleetwood Mac is performing at Coopers Stadium on Wednesday night and there are Rumours the band will be at the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Lindsey Buckingham
Lindsey Buckingham outside The Intercontinental in Adelaide (Photo: Mike Burton)

“Fleetwood Mac has been invited and inundated with requests to attend Cup Carnival events,” a source close to the band tells Confidential.

The Advertiser / Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Kingdom up for sale

Going to go her own way: Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie puts her 19-acre Grade II listed Kent home on the market for £3.5million ($8 million).

  • Christine McVie, 72, has been spending an increasing amount of time in London since rejoining Fleetwood Mac
  • So now, she has decided to put stunning Grade II-listed country home in Kent village of Wickhambreaux on sale
  • She is selling the mansion – where she wrote some solo material following band’s disintegration – for £3.5million
  • It boasts six bedrooms, four reception rooms, a three-bedroom outhouse, two cottages and sprawling gardens

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McVie, a famed vocalist and pianist, purchased her six-bedroom Wickhambreaux home, dubbed The Quaives, in 1990. She worked on solo material in the 19-acre estate’s converted barn following the continued disintegration of Fleetwood Mac through the 1990s. When McVie moved into the property, it was in dire need of refurbishment, and over the past 25 years, she has overhauled the entire estate.

The star officially left Fleetwood Mac in 1998 and all but retired from public view. She released just one solo album in 2004, written with her nephew Dan Perfect at The Quaives. But now, she has listed her home for sale – less than a year after stunning the music world by rejoining Fleetwood Mac for the On With The Show tour.

Strutt and Parker estate agents, which is selling the mansion, said McVie has been spending more time in London since the band’s reform.

Simon Backhouse, of Strutt and Parker, said:

  • Christine McVie bought this house in 1990 and when she did it was in a bit of a state.
  • She has spent an enormous amount of money on it since then, putting a new roof on it and restoring it to its former glory.
  • She has family in Kent and it’s a very beautiful and private house. It’s quiet and you can’t see it from anywhere so that ticked a lot of boxes for her.
  • The house itself is stunning and the village it’s in is a quintessential chocolate box village.
  • The full Fleetwood Mac line-up have reformed recently and Christine now spends more time in London than she had been doing.
  • She’s looking to upsize in London and downsize in the country.
  • The Quaives is new to the market but already there has been much interest in it.
  • Whether you’re a music fan or not, this is an incredible opportunity to own something very special indeed.

As well as six bedrooms and a converted barn, The Quaives boasts four reception rooms, a massive kitchen, a saloon and a thatched stable. It also features a three-bedroom outhouse, two separate cottages, a tennis court, a croquet lawn, paddocks and extensive gardens.

McVie, who is currently on tour with Fleetwood Mac in Australia and New Zealand, spoke fondly of the property.

“I have whiled away many peaceful days song writing in this tranquil home. Much fun was had by all on the croquet lawn,” she said.

McVie joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970, where she joined her husband John McVie, the band’s bassist, and drummer Mick Fleetwood. American guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and his singer girlfriend Stevie Nicks were added in 1974. Three years later the group released their most celebrated album, Rumours. Fleetwood Mac were one of the biggest bands in the world until Buckingham and Nicks left in 1987.

The band then went on to perform in various incarnations but only appeared again as the full Rumours line-up in September last year. McVie is responsible for some of the most-loved songs including “Songbird,” “Everywhere,” “You Make Loving Fun” and “Oh Daddy.”

The singer and her husband divorced in 1976 and she went on to marry keyboardist Eddy Quintela in October 1986. She and Quintela split up in the mid-1990s. McVie has no children.

Sophie Jane Evans / Daily Mail (UK) / Thursday, September 24, 2015

Christine McVie: Why I went back to Fleetwood Mac

She wrote some of the band’s best known hits but walked away for a quiet life in the country. But now Christine McVie is back with Fleetwood Mac on a tour which is heading to New Zealand. She talks about her return to the fold.

Fleetwood Mac, from left: Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie and Christine McVie.

Speaking from London, Christine McVie sounds a bit like a more mellow, less posh Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous.

There’s a lovely, light, warm huskiness, and plenty of character in the voice that’s been missing from the Fleetwood Mac line-up for the past 17 years – the voice (and pen) behind many of their hits, like Don’t Stop, Little Lies, Songbird, and You Make Loving Fun.

But now that voice is back.

Rumours swirled after McVie appeared on stage with the band in Dublin and London during their 2013 tour, and in January 2014 it was announced that she was officially back in the band.

And now, more than halfway through their current world tour – entitled On With The Show – the 71-year-old sounds totally convinced she made the right decision, and is thrilled to be touring again.

“We’re having a ball. Every night, I look across the stage from where I’m playing piano, stage right, and I can see the rest of them, John, Mick, Stevie, and Lindsey, and it awes me every night. I just think, blimey, you guys are fantastic. I think the difference this time is that we’re all smiling.”

Not that she had any dissatisfaction with the band or the music, or even the performing when she left the group in 1998. McVie felt she had to leave for a far more simple reason: she couldn’t deal with aeroplanes anymore.

“It was never the playing or the people, it was just that I’d developed a hideous fear of flying! And I loathed living out of a suitcase forever and I really longed for some roots. I wanted to have a home, where I could go home, and unlock my door, and go in, and be settled. I was tired of being a gypsy. And that was fine really.”

She’d been doing it for nearly 30 years, after all, and as has been well documented, some of those years were pretty rocky – McVie was probably the least naughty of the five.

But the band had its fair share of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll excess. So the appeal of some time out at an old country farmhouse in England was understandable. She wanted a bit of isolation, a bit of quiet, and a different kind of life.

“I restored the house from the roof downwards, and I had fun with that for about five years, imagining I was living this country life with the welly boots and the dogs and the Range Rover. And then I just started to get bored.

“And I hadn’t really sat at a piano very much at all during that time, so I started to play again, and drifted around, writing and so on, and I did make a solo album with my nephew Dan Perfect, called In The Mean Time. But because of my fear of flying, I didn’t promote it. And so it was released and did nothing at all” she laughs.

She pottered about for another few years, but her boredom and isolation got worse, and so she decided to seek help for her fear of flying, and for the various other issues she was grappling with.

“I went to a psychiatrist, and I was looking for help with other problems as well, isolation problems – all sorts of stuff started happening being in the country on my own – so I sought help, and this chap, who has since become a really good friend, he said, ‘Well what are you going to do for the rest of your life? Are you going to sit around, and drive your Range Rover, and put your Hunter boots on, and that’s it?”

That got her thinking. He also asked where she’d most like to go if she could get on a plane, and she knew the answer immediately: Hawaii – where Mick Fleetwood is based on Maui.

“So my psychiatrist said ‘Why don’t you book yourself a ticket? You don’t have to get on the plane, just book the ticket. So I did.”

Serendipitously, Fleetwood happened to be coming to London for promotional duties around the same time, and decided to align his return ticket with McVie’s so she could (hopefully) fly to Maui with him. And she did it.

“It was funny, I stepped on the aeroplane, and I texted my psychiatrist and said, ‘Oooh, I don’t know about this, I’m smelling the jet fumes’, and he replied ‘No, that’s the perfume of freedom’. And I thought, ‘Yeah! That’s cool’.

“So we took off and I didn’t even think about it, and I haven’t since. I’m free! It’s an incredible feeling when you’re grounded and you feel like you can’t really go anywhere, I felt like I was stuck. No chance of coming to Australia and New Zealand. But now it’s fantastic.”

Of course overcoming her fear of flying was one step, but rejoining the band was another.

Christine McVie performing in LA in 1979, at the height of Fleetwood Mac’s fame.

While she was in Maui, she got up on stage with Fleetwood at his local venue, and really enjoyed jamming along. So then when whole band went to Britain in 2013, she thought she’d try getting up on stage as part of Fleetwood Mac again, as a special guest.

“I was terrified. I had met them in Dublin, and rehearsed with them. But it was a very strange feeling walking on to the stage – I was terrified, because the technology has changed so much since I was in the band originally, now we use these really sophisticated in-ear contraptions, which I wasn’t used to at all, and all those little things took a bit of getting used to.”

But the overwhelmingly positive response to her appearance convinced McVie it was time to ask her bandmates if she could rejoin the band – and they welcomed her with open arms.

Now she’s convinced Fleetwood Mac are the best they’ve ever been.

“I feel more at home on stage than ever, much more confident, and happier.

” I love the way we sound. And, not trying to blow my own trumpet, but we sound better than we’ve ever sounded before I believe. I think we all now have an appreciation of what we were 18 years ago. Because for quite a few years in the middle there they couldn’t play things like Little Lies and Make Loving Fun. And then me rejoining and playing my part on the piano, and the little nuances I contribute, and the backing vocals, it’s making us all realise ‘Gosh, that really is a great song’.”

In fact things are going so well that they’ve already started recording a new album.

Lindsey Buckingham and McVie started writing new songs together in February last year, and the band has recently finished a nearly two-month run in Studio D at the Village Recorder in Los Angeles, where they also made 1979’s Tusk.

“We did about eight songs so far, which are all fantastic. One is about my flying fear, which is called Carnival Begin, which is a really beautiful song.

“Stevie was working on another project so she hasn’t come in yet, but she will. And we’re planning on trying to have an album finished by early next year, and releasing it in the spring.

“It’s exciting, because the songs feel fresh – they’re modern, they’re sexy, they’re great.”

Writing with Buckingham again felt completely natural too – like the proverbial pair of worn slippers.

“We just fell right back into the same slot,” she laughs. “It was as though time had not existed all those years, we just fell into this great songwriting partnership again immediately. It’s chemistry really.”

And the things that inspire her songwriting haven’t changed much either. “I’m still emotionally a 17-year-old, always looking for the right man, you know!”

But even though she professes to still be searching for Mr Right, the tumultuous relationships of her 20s and 30s are well laid to rest, including her 1976 divorce from bandmate, bassist John McVie, and now they feel more like a family than ever.

“When we’re flying between shows, I just often look around our little plane, and look at everybody, and everyone is chatting and laughing or sleeping or eating, and I just feel, this is really a family.

“For all our differences and history and unsettled times in the past, we’ve come out of it, on the other side, and we can celebrate that. Our diversity is still keeping us together somehow. Don’t ask me how, but it’s magic.”

Who: Christine McVie and Fleetwood Mac
What: On With The Show tour
Where and when: Performing at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on November 21 and 22.

Lydia Jenkin / New Zealand Herald / Saturday, 6th June 2015

Why we’re excited about the return of Christine McVie

Those heading for the Isle of Wight festival will see something Mac fans feared they would never see again: Christine McVie’s return after a 16-year absence.

To listen to Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie speak, you’d never guess she was a member of one of the world’s most successful – not to mention debauched and dysfunctional – bands of all time. Level-headed and prone to understatement when I interviewed her for the Guardian in 2013, she described the songwriting gift that enabled her to knock out such hits as Don’t Stop and Little Lies as follows: “I don’t know what it is really … I think I’m just good with hooks.”

During that interview, she went on to discuss the band’s legendarily gargantuan drug intake without a hint of romance – “Well, I’d be lying if I said I was sober as a judge” – and described the crazy routine the band adhered to at the peak of their success in similar terms: “You look at tennis players; it’s the same kind of thing.”

So grounded can McVie appear that it’s almost surprising that the songs she writes take flight so effortlessly: heartfelt and clear, they’re given extra wind beneath their wings by her pure, songbird falsetto. This summer, those heading to the Isle of Wight festival will get to see her perform them, something many Mac fans feared they would never see again: McVie left the group in 1998, succumbing to a fear of flying and longing for a quiet life in the country; she rejoined in 2014.

It’s a testament to Fleetwood Mac’s abundance of talent that they have not just survived without McVie and her many hits during this 16-year absence, but delivered storming three-hour sets packed with classic tracks. Great though those shows were, it wasn’t quite Fleetwood Mac. McVie’s songs don’t just stand out in their own right, but also provide a counterbalance to the other artistic directions in the band. Less mystical than Stevie Nicks’ and less wilfully experimental than some of Lindsey Buckingham’s, McVie’s simple songs of love nonetheless brim with a sense of positivity, not to mention an abundance of melody.

Her musical gifts – let’s not forget she’s a skilled keyboard player with a style schooled in the blues – are not the only reason Mac fans should celebrate her return. In a famously fractured band, whose existence always seems precariously balanced, thanks to decades of broken marriages, flings and rows, McVie’s down-to-earth personality provides a steadying role similar to that of her songs.

She always seemed capable of rising above the tangled love dramas that caused jealously and tantrums among the men, and her enduring friendship with Nicks helped the pair to face the perils of being female artists during the sexist 70s. When McVie first left, Nicks said she was heartbroken; today she talks lovingly about having her musical sister back in the band: “When I finish Silver Springs, Christine waits for me and takes my hand,” she recently told Canadian magazineMaclean’s. “We walk off and we never let go of each other until we get to our tent. In that 30 seconds, it’s like my heart just comes out of my body.”

McVie is too key a figure for Fleetwood Mac to have carried on touring without her, and drummer Mick Fleetwood has admitted that her return to the band makes them “complete” again. Speaking to the Vancouver Sun in March, he added that he “couldn’t think of a better ending, when this does end … we’re all on the same page and writing the same last chapter”.

Comments such as this only add to the sense that their Isle of Wight show will be a magical, uplifting and emotional experience. Or “not a bad gig”, as Christine may well say afterwards.

Fleetwood Mac play the Isle of Wight festival on 14 June.

Tim Jonze / The Guardian / Wednesday, 3rd June 2015 

Play On

Why Christine McVie came back to Fleetwood Mac

By the time Christine McVie arrived at the Morrison Hotel Gallery, in SoHo, she had been up for sixteen hours and was dying to remove her false eyelashes. “They’re so heavy,” she said, as she tilted her head onto her clasped hands for the benefit of her manager, who had promised her an early exit. McVie, who had recently decided to reunite with her old bandmates in Fleetwood Mac for a tour, was in a makeshift V.I.P. room in back. Out in the gallery, a throng of Fleetwood Mac fans were looking at an exhibition of Polaroid self-portraits taken by the band’s Stevie Nicks. (“These are, like, the original selfies,” one woman, dressed in witchy layers, in homage to Nicks and McVie, said.)

“I’m only here for Stevie,” McVie said. At seventy-one, she was dressed like an off-duty rock star: narrow jeans, pointy boots, a gauzy scarf. Shaggy blond bangs nearly covered her eyes. “Everyone thinks this is quite the glamorous life, but it’s axe-grinding. Like this opening—I was dreading it. I’m so tired, I’m barely human. And I thought there might be old pictures of me, God forbid.” (There weren’t.) She scooped up a small white Maltese named Rodney, the property of Nicks’s manager. “Oh, I miss my pups,” she said, burying her face in the fluff.

Mick Fleetwood, the band’s drummer, put a glass of white wine in McVie’s dog-free hand. She nodded at a colorful scarf that hung around his neck. “Is this cut from a kimono you used to own?” she asked. “I recognize this fabric.” She and Fleetwood have an ease with each other, which, she says, is what brought her back to the band after sixteen years away.

Earlier that afternoon, lounging in her suite at the Trump International Hotel (“It’s such a diva thing, but I need one room for my suitcases and one for me”), she talked about her decision to rejoin Fleetwood Mac, despite years of drama (divorces, addictions, solo ventures, illnesses). “I went for years without seeing Stevie or Lindsey”—Buckingham, the band’s lead guitarist—“but Mick was always just there, on my shoulder,” she said.

“I left the band because I developed a terrible fear of flying,” she explained. “I wanted to restore an ancient house in Kent, and that’s what I did. It was a heap—this Tudor building with the beams painted lime green, so hideous. And I had this idea that I’d love the small village life, with the Range Rover and the dogs and baking cookies for the Y.W.C.A. But then it got so boring. You couldn’t walk down the road without meeting two people related to each other. I missed the songs. And I missed the audience.”

Before rejoining Fleetwood Mac, McVie asked permission of each band member. They were thrilled to have her back at the piano—with a few caveats. “Stevie told me I had to get in shape, because the road was gruelling, and I said, ‘Stevie, you must recall that I was in the band before you were. I know how hard the road is.’ And then Lindsey said, ‘You cannot just waltz in and waltz back out. You have to be in it for the whole nine yards.’ ” She continued, “So I found a psychiatrist and got over my flying thing.”

She toyed with a silver chain on her wrist, looking out over Columbus Circle. “Stevie gave me this chain. It used to have a diamond feather on it. It’s a metaphor, you know. That the chain of the band will never be broken. Not by me, anyways. Not again by me.”

She added that she had one stipulation of her own for coming back. “I wanted it to be fun. That sounds like a hollow word, but, with this group, that is not a given. I didn’t want to go back into the Dark Ages and into the negativity and the gloom and the exhausting melodramas that have gone on in this band for years and years.”

On the tour so far, the mood seems bright. “We are all smiling ninety-nine per cent of the time,” she said. “Which, by this band’s standard, is phenomenal.”

She described the band’s pre-show ritual, which it will be performing before its gig at Madison Square Garden on January 22nd: “Before shows, we rub elbows and growl. It started once when someone had a cold, and we didn’t want to hug each other. So we started rubbing elbows. And we don’t kiss. We just go, ​Grrrr!” ♦

Rachel Syme / The New Yorker / Monday, January 19, 2015