Did Rumours’ success feel like a vindication for all the hard work or was it disorientating?
It was so disorientating. With the loss of a marriage. Mick was going through terrible times with Jenny. Stevie and Lindsey were more abrasive than they are now. That’s still pretty abrasive. It’s like putting a wet hand into a socket whenever they meet. They do get on at all. That’s the bottom line.
They’d still collaborate on music together.
(Sharply) No they don’t! When?
In that period.
Oh then, yes. But he would take her songs home and work on them
What did Fleetwood Mac mean to you before you joined?
I was aware that there was an English band with a girl in it that was blues orientated. I don’t know that I’d ever heard anything, so when we got the call on New Year’s Eve 1974, I was straight to Tower Records with every penny Lindsey and I had, and bought every one of their records in there and listened to them all, then made Lindsey listen to as much as I could get him to.
My statement to him was, “You with your guitar played can fit in very, very well.” But I also saw that they had a mystical side. “I think that we can add to and enhance this band. Also, Lindsey, we are fucking broke. I am tired of being a waitress and a cleaning lady. It’s not like you have to quit your job because you don’t have a job. I have three, so I’m calling this one. We’re joining Fleetwood Mac. Pack your bag. We’ll do it for six months and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll quit.” He was like, “OK, OK.”
I was talking to Stevie about your time in Fritz.
She exaggerates that a little. That was good experience on a certain level. I ended up playing bass, I didn’t play lead ‘cos I was a finger picker and we were playing this weird acid rock that got weirder as it went along. We had this guy Javier who did all the writing. Stevie and I were cogs in the machine. The experience we got wasn’t so much about being creative, so much as a sense of a community, a little bit of stage craft, and being focused, ‘cos we rehearsed a great deal.
This is the odd thing, I was never particularly goal orientated towards music. It was a fun thing to do. I never thought, “I just gotta make it.” it just kind of happened almost in spite of myself. Stevie was way more ambitious than I was. Her dad was ambitious and willing to uproot his family over and over in order to keep moving up the corporate ladder. I think that affected her on some level – it taught her to make a splash! I think she was looking for something that needed to be fixed a bit more than I was.
How much did you hesitate when you received the offer to join Fleetwood Mac?
There were several reasons why joining Fleetwood Mac wasn’t a slam dunk. One was, as much as I’d been a fan of the Peter Green stuff and some of the stuff with Danny Kirwan, I was less aware of what went on later. The only clear idea I had about the band was that they hadn’t had a leader for quiet a while and that was something I could do. Also, Stevie and I had done the Buckingham Nicks album and it had come and gone and we were experiencing a great deal of disinterest from our manager and yet, because we’d opened for some other bands and gotten some exposure, we were starting to get regional interest in places, Florida and Alabama, and getting radio play, so who knows, if we’d decided to see that through, I don’t know what might have happened.
Are you all relishing making a new record?
I think Stevie’s a little torn. It has a lot to do with her life in general and trying to figure out what means something to her. I don’t whether or not she’ll come to the table for an album. I hope she does. I’ve said to her: “One of the things that was so beautiful for me about working on new songs with Chris was she wanted me to do that for her. That was something you used to want me to do for you – nobody’s done it better than I have. It tapped into something in me, Stevie, with Chris, that I’d almost forgotten, when it’s not just for yourself. If you would trust me to do that for you it would make me very happy.” I think it scares her a little.
Talking to Chris and Stevie about their times out of the band, I wonder if these hiatuses are an inevitable reaction to the success and craziness, a period of rebounding…
What we had to do during the making of Rumours was live in denial. We had to take all these emotions and conceal them all and get on with what needed to be done. There was no closure. Speaking of Stevie and me specifically: Did I want to go in and do the right thing for her every day like I did, most of the time? No, but I did it anyway. The only way I could do that was by living in denial, to compartmentalise my emotions. What you’re referring to is the latent rising up of things that had pushed back in the psyche. The flipside of having gotten through that any way we could