Extracts from this raw interview were used in a Daily Express article in Nov. 2003
Gavin: Is there a competitive element in Fleetwood Mac? Say, um, best or better than Lindsey's song.
Stevie: Uh, I don't think you'd really look at it as competitive, but I think that we are all - how do I explain this - cos it's not competitive. But we are all competitive. I mean, does that make any sense? Not really. Um, when you're in a band, you don't really, you want to keep that competitive thing down as much as possible, because you're in a band. If you're going to be in a band, you need to be able to make compromises, you need to really understand the other people who are working and writing with you, and you need to, you need to, you're a part of a group. When you're in your solo work, you're not a part of a group and you make all the decisions. Now that's really good but then you're not in a band. And of course being in a band is really more fun.
Gavin: When you and Lindsey first met, did you never write together?
Gavin: Why did that - I mean, it seems odd that -
Stevie: I don't know why. Um, I was just telling the last lady [that] I'm not - When I first wrote my first song, which was - I was fifteen-and-a-half - just a little love song. I'd fallen - My first love, y'know, and he'd totally dumped me and I was totally miserable, and my Mom and Dad gave me a guitar. And my Grandfather had taught me like, y'know, four or five chords that I'd been playing for many years. I sat down and I just wrote this song, y'know. 'Well, I've loved and I've lost and I'm sad but not blue / I once loved a boy who was wonderful and true / But he loved another before he loved me / And I knew he still wanted her, it was easy to see.' So that was my first song, right. And I wrote it all by myself, you know.
Gavin: Was Lindsey love on the rebound from the first love? Was he -
Stevie: Oh, no, no, no. This was like fifteen-and-a-half. This was long before Lindsey. So this was like in my sophomore year in high school in Los Angeles.
Stevie: I hadn't even moved to San Francisco where Lindsey lived. My family got transferred to San Francisco, um, like a week after my senior year began. So I didn't even meet Lindsey until almost the end of my senior year.
Gavin: So was it a musical relationship before it was a romantic relationship?
Stevie: Oh yeah. And when I first met Lindsey in 1966, the year that - and he's a year younger so he was a junior and I was a senior. I met him one time in some high school function, and then I didn't hear or see from him again until two years later when the drummer in his rock'n'roll band called me and asked me if I had any interest in coming and being in the band. And this being that - When I had met Lindsey in 1966, uh, we had sang a song together. So they had remembered that. You know, they pulled it out of their hat and called me. Um, if it hadn't had been a rock'n'roll band, I might not even have been a rock'n'roll singer. I might've ended up being a country singer. Because I was a little bit more country at that point. Um, so by the time my songs started getting used in the band, it was almost the end of our period of having a band in San Francisco, which was '68, '69, and '70.
Stevie: So I was pretty much on my way to being a very solitary songwriter when I met Lindsey.
Gavin: Okay, okay. And, um, as far as your relationship was concerned, I mean, it came together through music, but -
Stevie: Oh, so that was what I was going to tell you. So when I went into the band, into Fritz, Lindsey was going with somebody I actually knew and was pretty good friends with. Her name was Sally. And I was going with my boyfriend, David. And this was - So for three years in the band, we were both with somebody else. So, you know, when you're in a band and you travel and you work every weekend and you practice every single day, so we were just friends for a long, long time. And then the only reason - and he will tell you this too - that probably we ever actually got together was because we went to Los Angeles as a band - the five of us - and we played for a showcase. And the record industry was not at all interested in the other three. They were only interested in Lindsey and I. So we had to go back to San Francisco and fire these very close friends of mine for three years but Lindsey for all through high school. I mean, these were his dear friends. We had to fire them. That was a huge drag. And in that sad, sorrowful situation where we had to let these three people go, that's when Lindsey and I started going out.
Gavin: Right. But was it getting involved in Fleetwood Mac that pulled you apart, or would you have fallen apart anyway? Or is that hypothetical?
Stevie: That's hypothetical. You know, if we never moved from San Francisco, if we had stayed up there, it's very possible [that] Lindsey and I would've been married and would've been together forever. It's very possible. No way to know.
Gavin: Yeah. And what was the problem in your relationship? I mean, what was, what were the things that so pulled you apart? Love.
Stevie: Yeah, and it's just very hard to be in the public eye and have everybody watching you all the time and everything you do is news. It's not like - Like I said, if we had stayed in San Francisco, I mean, cos we had a great relationship. And I was very much the care-taker in that relationship, and I LOVED taking care of him. And I loved taking care of our house and, you know, all the things that women do when they love a man. You know, I washed his jeans and embroidered stupid moons and stars on the bottom of them, you know. I made sure that HE was perfect, you know. I mean, I loved being that person in our relationship. The day we joined Fleetwood Mac, that all changed. Because we were famous. And we were rich. And the world really, the world really got in the way.
Gavin: Did you battle to keep hold of him, or - I mean, I got the impression from what I've read about the relationship was that really you went away from him.
Stevie: Well, I did go away from him.
Gavin: Left him quite torn up.
Stevie: And it did. And it probably wouldn't have left him near so torn up if we hadn't had been in a band together. Because when people break up, you know, you don't go and have breakfast with that person the next morning. In a hotel. And that's what we had to do. And, y'know, I was very, very careful to never, y'know, I didn't really go out with anybody, I didn't bring anybody on the road, I didn't - I knew how sensitive he was about the whole situation so I didn't ever, ever cause him any more pain than had already been caused. So I was really careful to - It's like, you know, he probably thought I never went out with anybody again cos he never saw me with anybody.
Gavin: What about your songs? Would you be sensitive or cautious about what effect they might have on him?
Stevie: Yes. Yes. Very much. Always careful what I wrote. And was he a great sense of something to write about? Yes, he was. But I was very coded in how I would write.
Gavin: Is he still? I mean, in these new songs, are you writing about Lindsey?
Stevie: Well, there are a couple. Uh, Thrown Down is written about Lindsey. Not just Lindsey but Lindsey and Fleetwood Mac in an odd sort of around-the-world way.
Gavin: Sure. Well, that's quite a showcase. 'You're not like other people, you do what you want to.'
Stevie: Now see, THAT verse was just written like a couple of months ago. Because I didn't have a second verse for Thrown Down. And the song was completely recorded and what I did was I went back into - I have a huge volume of poetry that a friend of mine, over the past five, six, seven years, has gone through all my journals and pulled out the poetry out of the journal. And so I came upon this poem that is that verse. Excuse me. And I said, 'Well, you know.' And I'm pretty sure this was written about Lindsey. I'm not sure sure, but I'm pretty sure it was. Um, cos it was very old. And I thought, 'Well, this is great because this really does just fit perfectly into what's happening now.' Because he's not like anybody else and he does do what he wants to. Um.
Gavin: In terms of life or music. I mean -
Stevie: You know, life and music. Um, he's - But it's me too. We both do what we want to. We're both very - We're kind of both very solo people, and even though Lindsey's married and has children, we're still pretty much loners, both of us. And, uh, so that's, I don't know how to exactly finish where we're at on that question, but in answer to your question, yes, some of the things I write DEFINITELY tend to be about Lindsey and I. And yet some of the things that I write aren't about Lindsey. And some of the things I write aren't about anybody; they're just made-up, magical things in my head, you know. Or I get one little sentence that's about somebody, and then I have to basically make up the rest of it, you know, because then it isn't really about, you know, I got an idea from somebody but I didn't get a whole song from somebody.
Gavin: How was it working in the studio with Lindsey on these new songs? This is the first time, what, that you've worked in the studio with new stuff for, what, a decade or more.
Stevie: It was great. It was, uh, it was pretty dreamy. The first six months was very dreamy. Um, because I came right from Trouble In Shangri-La, and that was not dreamy. That was 9/11 out there and it was horrendous. So to come from that mess back into a house, a home in Bel Air, with nobody but me, Mick, John and Lindsey and the tech, Ray Lindsay, it was very, it was very kinda calming. And then, of course, we got started February 1st. Then by the time we got to the middle of summer then the soup was all starting to heat up a little bit. You know, there was a lot of stuff going on at that point. The songs were starting to be done and the record was starting to come together. And so then it wasn't quite so dreamy anymore. It was more, then we were really working on a record. So it was nice that there was that couple of months transition period for us, especially for me, to come out of a situation that was very difficult for me. Because I stayed out on the road. I was in New York when it happened. I had just flown in. I was there for a couple of hours. I'd just gotten to my hotel and unpacked everything and gone to bed at 7.30 and BANG the world blew up. Um, our shows were all cancelled due to acts of war, which has not happened since Pearl Harbor, you know, that shows were actually canceled due to an act of war. And I had to stay in New York for three days, which was very amazing. Because we didn't want to cancel anything until the actual Radio City Music Hall, The Today Show - Until they canceled, we were going to play if they wanted us to. And from that day on it was just the most difficult thing I've ever done. So to finally get home in December - It took that long to actually make up all those shows and tie up the odd ends and pieces of Trouble In Shangri-La, to go home and go back into this really lovely home in Bel Air and start working on music was a very wonderful thing.
Gavin: But once you started, when you described the soup 'heating up', was there a tension in the studio between you and Lindsey? I mean, quite often it must've just been you two in the studio, um, how -
Stevie: Well, there's - Quite often it was all four of us, too.
Stevie: Um, the way that we recorded was was that Lindsey would pretty much get there at nine. If we were tracking, we would start to track at about like two. Um, and then we would track for a couple of hours, and then the boys would probably go home and I might stay and then we'd work for another couple of hours. But Lindsey really put in a good solid six hours every day more than anybody else did. So he really deserves a medal for this because he did a whole lot more work than anybody else did.
Gavin: He doesn't think you've thanked him enough.
Stevie: Did he say that to you?!
Gavin: Um, well not quite, but he did say something to that effect. It was earlier, so *mumbles* I'd seen a piece where you'd been interviewed and you said it was a bit like the cast of Big Brother. Um, if you'd have had a chance, you would've voted him out and if he'd have had a chance, he would've you out.
Stevie: Oh my god. Did he - I mean, all I can say - and I mean, whatever, that's fine whatever the world is thinking - but, in fact, I'm telling ya that he got there at nine every morning and worked his butt off. I came in at two. I stayed until seven. Many nights he stayed later. So I give him all the credit in the world. He took my little skeleton songs - and that's what they are when I give them to you, it's like - That's what, when we said we don't write together, we don't write together because we both are very frozen in our ways of writing. We write our songs by ourself at our own house. That's the way it was in 1971, so that's not changed. And then I, you know, I get a cassette and I write my little song and I put it on the thing and then I give it to him. And then he runs with that. And then he goes and spends that extra six hours a day - where I'm not even there - putting, trying different stuff, playing different parts, doing singing parts. Um -
Gavin: What do you think of his talent? Is it an immense talent, do you think?
Stevie: It's an immense talent.
Gavin: Do you think it's one of the greatest things in pop?
Stevie: Abso - I think that he is a craftsman beyond belief. And, you know, I knew that the first day that I met him. I knew that that's who he was. And you know what? We never like - The fact that we didn't write together, we never like - It was not ever like a bummer. It was just the way it was. And it was fine with him that I wrote my own songs. He never came in and said, "You know what, I think you should change these words to - I don't like the words in this line." He never in all the years I've known him was ever -
Gavin: He accepted them as yours.
Stevie: Yes. And vice versa with me. When Lindsey plays me a song, it's like, I love it because it's his. I love it because it's what he needs to say. And that's how he feels about my songs. And we never, ever have ever had problems with that. That's always been a really great thing. I think maybe one time in our whole life we actually tried to write to song together and we both just ended up going, "You know what, this isn't working." Because we both don't want to change our words. Once they're down, they're in stone. And neither of us wants to go back and start over and try to make something else out of a song.
Gavin: How was it for you in a quite masculine environment or, I dunno, maybe Lindsey's got feminine qualities or you've got masculine qualities, but how was it for you in a band where, I mean, sort of competitive in a way but was it a battle for you? Maybe - Of all the people that took cocaine, maybe you had the most problems with it. Would that be true? Would that be a function of trying to keep up with the lads or the boys?
Stevie: Well, no.
Stevie: Um, I think we all did a whole bunch. It was pretty much, you know - I think that probably Lindsey did the least.
Stevie: Yeah, he did. He - I don't think that we would have even put him in the bag of being a cocaine addict. I think he did it once in a while but I think that Lindsey just like had a shot of scotch. Um, it was Christine and me and Mick who did the cocaine. And, um, I'm sorry, now where was that leading us?
Gavin: And are you more content now than you've ever been? Are -
Stevie: Yeah. I'm very - I'm happy now. And I love being single, I really do. I'm really - Like I said about Lindsey and I both, and even though he's married, but we are very much loner people. And, uh, we are kind of happy being by ourselves, which, I mean, I don't really, you know, he's in a marriage so I don't really, I can't really speak about that because I don't know anything about that, but I just know that for myself - And again, you're right, being a father you don't have to quit. You don't have to get up with the baby every morning. You don't have to, you know. So it's different.
Gavin: And how will you and Lindsey interact onstage? Have you been, uh, will there be theatricality in -
Stevie: See, that never goes away. That's just there. And we know that it stops when we go offstage. It begins when we go onstage. And it's really a lovely thing that we have that, because it makes it a lot of fun. And we get to yell at each other and, you know, argue out all the things we never argued out. We get to actually do it onstage and that's really fun. And it certainly makes for excitement for the audience and, in turn, excitement back for us.
Gavin: Is there ever any sort of been a heartbreak when you're hearing certain songs that were written - I mean, how do you feel when Go Your Own Way's being played? Is that -
Stevie: It takes me right back to when it all happened, it really does. You know, it takes me back to when we first broke up, which was when he wrote that song.
Gavin: I mean, are you still, in a way, on this record, playing out your relationship? In the songs, do you think? He wrote this song, Say Goodbye -
Gavin: And then Goodbye Baby ends the record. Is that your answer record to him?
Stevie: Well, no, to be perfectly honest, he actually arranged those. I said I would like to end the record with Goodbye Baby, because I thought it was a good closing song. Because we've always gone to - whether it was Songbird or, for me, Has Anyone Ever Written - more of a ballad at the end, which is a nice way, I think, to leave people. Um, and he wanted to put Say Goodbye To You right before it. And I felt that was a good idea. It was a nice pairing of those two songs.
Gavin: I think it gives a sense of closure.
Stevie: I think so. I do. I think it's a really nice - That's what people really remember, is when you get to the end of a record and the last two songs is what really makes the imprint on you.
Gavin: I mean, the song Illume 9/11, it sounds like another song about your and Lindsey's relationship. Obviously it's got the 9/11 thing in there - But how does that relate to 9/11?
Stevie: Well, it's written about the day it happened. It really is written about the day it happened, because that day was, you know, I went to bed at 7.30 and Karen came in - my assistant - and woke me up at 11. She actually let me sleep through the really horrible part, and, uh, came in and woke me up and said, 'Well, you're not going to believe this, so check this out.' And, uh, we were there for three days and we didn't leave until Thursday night, because like I told you, we had to wait to cancel everything. I saw - You know, it said in the song, it says, I'm alone now / With my thoughts / Of how we could make it / Of how we could get out / What we've been through / All of the trauma / The smell of Nag Champra / Shadow of a stranger / What I saw on this journey / I saw history go down / I cannot pretend / That the heartache falls away / It's just like a river / Ooh, it's never-ending / I cannot pretend / That the heartache falls away...' I cannot pretend to this day that the heartache goes away for that. I will never get over that. That song is not about Lindsey. That song is about 9/11. That song is about being in the city that was bombed. And being fifteen minutes away. And then staying out on the road until - My last show, I think, was at the end of September going into October. And going onstage in a big public place every night and being afraid.
Gavin: Is it not odd with different - You've all got separate managers; is that an odd set-up to go out on the road with? Will it be -
Stevie: No, because they don't go. No, they don't go. They're not there. All the different managers and all that has a lot to do with, like, what's going on now, but once we leave, they all stay home. Once we go, it is not, you know, it's like we laughingly call it, you know, 'my camp' or 'Lindsey's camp', everybody's camp, but once we go, the camps are just disassembled and it becomes one camp, and that's Fleetwood Mac. So it seems complicated now but it stops being complicated once we leave this city.