You’ve said that another factor in reforming the band was that the outgoing regime at Warner Bros. initially turned down your solo stuff.
Yeah. Stevie was on the road, and she had done about six months before she finished. But I said, "Why don’t we rent a house and start cutting some of your tracks? We all know we wanna do a Fleetwood Mac album sooner or later and I’ve already got 20 tracks. So we could start cutting it, and if it’s going well, great - we’ll do a Fleetwood Mac album." And actually, the irony at that time was that I had a deal with Warner Bros. and Fleetwood Mac didn’t. So we were free agents. We found a house and the three of us started cutting tracks. Stevie sent over a bunch of old songs and we started working on ‘em. When she finally got off the road and we broke for Christmas, she wrote four new songs. And all that turned into this album. My songs were in the can, so all we really had to do was open the mix up and get Stevie’s voice on ‘em. It was a thrill for me to be engineering and producing, but it was also great to be involved in the hands-on part of it; there were things that didn’t exist when I left. So it was really a pretty potent situation, even with the absence of Christine. We all missed her, but at the same time it opened up a whole set of possibilities as a three-piece band; everyone had about 33 percent more space to maneuver as musicians.
It’s fascinating to note all the different levels on which you function here - the purse pop level of "Say You Will," "Steal Your Heart Away," "What’s The World Coming To" - compared wit the sonically surreal level of "Come," "Red Rover."
Yeah. But we’re not playing down to anyone. "Steal" and "World" are mine, and the title track is Stevie’s, and they all definitely fall into a similar category. And for me, I dunno - a song is something that you always think about covering. And as much as it’s interesting for me to stray into that unknown realm of "Red Rover" - and we’re working on "Red Rover" today - it’s interesting to do live. We’ve got three guitar players running through this vibrato on/off thing, and the on/off is toed into a specific click. And we have to play to that click or the timing’s all off, so we’re working it all out and it’s pretty trippy. But as much as that’s where my heart is in terms of pushing the envelope, and that "new frontier" kind of vibe . . . well, we’re a pop band. And those pop songs are always going to be there, and I would be very uncomfortable if we didn’t have some of those, ‘cause that’s where we stand. When Stevie and I joined Fleetwood Mac, and suddenly it was this big commercial animal, people would say, "Did you just decide you were gonna do that?" And my answer was always, "Well, no - this is what we do. This is what we like."