MC: Lindsey Buckingham was often credited as the architect of Fleetwood Mac’s sound, by the band itself as well as critics. While recording the new tracks, I wonder if his role in the studio – his arrangement and production touched – were missed?
CM: Not yet. Lindsey was probably the prominent architect if you want to use that word, but we all tried our hand at production as well. And I think it’s forcing us to come out of ourselves a bit now that Lindsey’s not there anymore. And so far, we haven’t missed Lindsey in that way. I’m hoping that it’ll go on like that.
MC: Lindsey’s layered guitar was an integral part of the band’s recordings. Rick Vito’s playing is very different from Lindsey’s style. How will that effect the band’s sound?
CM: I think that Rick’s an incredibly versatile guitar player, and I think we’ve missed that in the last twelve years. Lindsey is brilliant at what he does, but Rick brings us back a little bit more to the blues days. With Rick, we can cover practically any musical field. To be able to play some of that old blues stuff is a killer. I love it.
MC: When the six of you finally had the opportunity to record together for the first time, what was the chemistry like?
CM: I think the chemistry has always been good among the six of us. I don’t think we really had a problem at all with that. I think in the beginning stages, we had a couple of hiccups with the production – with the people working around us. It was kind of a scary time to be going into the studio having never really recorded with Rick and Billy.
MC: Fleetwood Mac has this interesting way of taking in new members. On your last tour in support of the Tango in the Night LP, you had two new guitarists going out for months and months on the road. How did you get along, and how did you develop together on the road?
CM: Even in the rehearsal stage, we got on really well. As far as Billy goes, we’ve known him for years, and when we met Rick, it seemed like we’d known him for years, too. So, we didn’t have to really work anything out. We had a very warm, wonderful tour – both in American and Europe.
MC: Stevie, there were rumors during the last tour that you were leaving the band. What prompted this series of rumors, and what do you say to people who are constantly asking you that?
SN: Well, first of all, during the first tour, I was very sick. I had pneumonia and bronchitis and I was in the hospital in Denver for five days. And that had nothing to do with the rest of Fleetwood Mac. I was just very ill. But I’m not about to cancel. We canceled two concerts and that broke my heart. And we tried to make them up, too. I think people like to jump on people that stay together, and I think they like to find reasons why they shouldn’t stay together. The fact was, I was very ill, and no, I wasn’t in very good humor. I didn’t really feel like performing every night. I was sick. I should have been home in bed.
MC: Do you ever have time off?
MC: Does that mean we’ll never see your poetry publishing?
SN: I’m trying. I’m working on it, I really am. It’s just been so busy for the last year. I still write, but I don’t want to go back and edit it. I just want to keep writing. So, I suppose the only time that I’ll ever have to do it is when this all stops.
MC: How about your painting?
SN: The painting, I do in spurts. Like, on the first tour, I drew and painted every night. I was sick and that gave me something to do, because I had to rest. But I haven’t done any drawing for awhile.
MC: So do you think we’ll ever see a gallery show of your art?
SN: Oh, yeah. I have about 150 drawings that I’ve done in the last five years. But I don’t like to finish them, just like I don’t like to finish books. And I really don’t even like to finish songs, because then they’re done, and they’re handed over to somebody else. As long as they’re still not quire finished, whether it’s a song or a painting, or anything – it’s still mine.
MC: Tell me about the song “Rhiannon?”
SN: I hate to re-tell this story, because everybody already knows about it. It’s about a mythological Welsh goddess of steeds and maker of birds who came from the bright world above and decided to give it all up – being a queen – to marry a king from the mortal world. Because of that, she had a lot of trouble with the underworld. It’s an incredible story. Rhiannon live.
MC: Where does the next Fleetwood Mac studio album fit into your future plans?
SN: Well, I fit everything into everything. I manage because I want to. If I didn’t want to be in Fleetwood Mac, and tour, and make records, I wouldn’t be. In order to do both, I have to organize my time and make myself useful to both. If I’m going to do a half-assed job on both, then I might as well get out of the business.