Rolling Stone

Christine McVie

The songwriter on navigating the ‘storm’ of Fleetwood Mac


You’re releasing a new collection of your solo recordings, but you’ve made only three solo albums during the past 50 years. Why is that?

Well, I’ve never felt I was a solo artist, particular­ly. I’ve always liked to be part of a group. . . . I also felt very uneasy about doing a solo tour for the material. And with this new compilatio­n, I just went for favorite songs of mine and had them redone with extra instrument­ation.

What music still moves you the most?

I’m a big fan of Steely Dan; the Beach Boys; Crosby,

Stills, Nash, and Young. I like quite a broad range of people, and my favorite . . . the Beatles, of course. Some of their songs move me to tears.

How do you relax these days?

I watch a lot of TV. Really, that’s about it. I don’t really write songs to relax. When I feel a bit of pressure coming on, I’ll get to the piano and see what I can come up with.

What’s the best advice you ever received?

Not to lie. To be honest. That came from my parents. I can’t imagine better advice coming from one’s parents. I try to stick by that rule and to be as good a person as I can.

What’s the worst part of success?

Being noticed if you don’t want to be noticed. I’m not one of these people that’s an extrovert. . . . But one shouldn’t mind, because after all, they’re paying you a terrific compliment.

If you could travel back in time to 1976, what advice would you give yourself?

I think I followed my map pretty well in the course of my life. . . . To be honest with you, I don’t think I gave myself any advice. I think I just kind of got on with what I was doing and thoroughly enjoyed it. Obviously, my best beautiful days were when we were the Buckingham-Nicks Fleetwood Mac version. That was the best to me.

You were seen by many as the calm and the reasonable person in the eye of the hurricane that was Fleetwood Mac.

That is apparently true, but I didn’t realize that at the time. Yes, I was supposedly like the Mother Teresa who would hang out with everybody or just try and [keep] everything nice and cool and relaxed. But they were great people; they were great friends.

What sort of toll did that take on you emotionall­y, to be that Mother Teresa figure?

I don’t think I thought about it that much. I enjoyed the storm. . . . Even though I am quite a peaceful person, I did enjoy that storm. Although it’s said that we fought a lot, we actually did spend a lot of our time laughing. So, that must have been forgotten. Great sense of humor.

People spent so much time talking about the Lindsey-Stevie dynamic that they overlooked that you were in the band for nearly five decades with your ex-husband, John McVie. What’s that relationsh­ip like?

Well, we used to fight occasional­ly, but not that often. I think we sorted our difference­s out by then, and we actually got on really well. . . . It was never as melodramat­ic as Stevie and Lindsey. And right now, we don’t live in the same hemisphere. He lives in L.A.; I live in London. But we occasional­ly write to each other or phone each other. . . . He’s been suffering with a few health problems, but he’s OK. So we talk a fair bit. He’s a good man, John.

You took a 15-year break from the band in the early 2000s. How did you grow as a person in that time?

I just enjoyed having my dogs, living in the country, going for long walks. I just wasn’t interested in playing music at that point. Then the feeling came back. Mick and I have always been in touch, and he said, “Do you ever think you’ll ever come back?” I said, “I don’t know.” Suffice to say that I did decide to return and never regretted it.

Mick has said he wants to do a farewell tour with the Rumours lineup. Do you think that’s a pipe dream?

Personally, I’d love to think it could happen. But honestly, I really can’t see it happening. I don’t know. I’ve been

wrong before.

Mick wants Lindsey back in the band; Lindsey wants to come back. Do you want him back?

I’d always want Lindsey back. He’s the best.

‘Songbird,’ McVie’s first compilatio­n of her solo work, is out now.

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