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Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie talks about new LP with Lindsey Buckingham

By Jane Stevenson, Postmedia Network

Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, lef, talks about a new LP with Lindsey Buckingham. (John Russo)

Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, lef, talks about a new LP with Lindsey Buckingham. (John Russo)

Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie got a whole lot more out of her 16-year break from the group than she bargained for.

When the 73-year-old British singer-songwriter-keyboardist came back for the band’s 2014 On with the Show trek, she also started writing songs with band mate and American singer-songwriter-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham.

The end result was their first-ever duo collaboration in an over four decade professional relationship, Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie, which brings them to Toronto’s Budweiser Stage on Wednesday, July 5, for the only Canadian show of their North American jaunt.

“When I first rejoined the band I sent Lindsey my demos of songs,” explained McVie, who lives across the pond in England.

“I came over early before the Mac rehearsals started and he said, ‘Well, why don’t we go into a proper studio on that level and see, first of all, if there’s any magic there?’ It was obvious within the first week that the chemistry was even better. So that absence we’d had all those years sort of sparked something.”

We caught up with McVie down the line from Atlanta recently.

What were you doing for 16 years?

Gardening and I think in my mind I was playing the role of the retired rich lady in the country, baking cookies, raising my two dogs and driving my Range Rover. And that kind of world ended up being inconsequential in the end, and just nothing. It didn’t have any meaning at all in the end, which slowly lead to a bit of a dark place for me. I became very isolated.

Did any one thing or person make you come back?

I went to a great psychiatrist who got rid of my fear of flying and made me buy a ticket to Maui and go and visit [Fleetwood Mac drummer] Mick Fleetwood. But I didn’t even have to do that ‘cause Mick phoned me – this is where the serendipity comes in - and said, ‘I’m coming to England Chris, are you going to be there?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I am. Where else would I be?’ And he says, ‘Wait for me and then we can both fly back [to Maui] together.’ So that’s what happened. I ended up playing in his little blues band in Maui and I got the bug.

Both Mick and your ex-husband-Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie ultimately ended up playing on your new record with Lindsey but not Stevie Nicks, who sings and writes in Fleetwood Mac too. How come?

We asked them to come and play bass and drums on it. And it just became, ‘Oh, it’s a family event.’ It was fabulous. [As for Stevie], we sometimes like to lead separate worlds. This way there was no melodrama involved. It was just straight ahead, Lindsey and I, doing our musical thing. I just think that’s the way the band has always been. You know, little shoots off the tree. You go do little projects here and there. This one happened to be me and Lindsey.

But you have Stevie’s blessing?

We definitely have her blessing. I saw her in L.A. just recently. We had dinner.

Could it have been a Fleetwood Mac album?

We came back to those songs after the world tour, listened to them, and said, ‘You know what? This just feels like a duet album. Why don’t we just do that?’

Are you feeling about Fleetwood Mac playing the Classic East and Classic West two-day festivals next month on July 15-16 in L.A. and July 29-30 in New York City?

It’s going to be really a kind of psychedelic.

Why psychedelic?

Because of the sheer size of the audience. And then the fact that you’ve got Mick who’s got a drum kit the size of New York and Stevie running around on stage in front of us. So there’s a flamboyance to that which there isn’t in Lindsey and I.

I've seen Lindsey really let loose vocally and on his guitar solos too.

He’s an animal! He’s an animal!

And then will Fleetwood Mac tour again next year?

Yeah, I only know we’re meant to start rehearsing in springtime next year. And it will be a world tour.

And how’s John doing following his 2013 colon cancer diagnosis and treatment?

He’s doing great. He’s in complete remission. But he has slowed down a little bit. Obviously, he is completely healthy. He loves sailing now. One has to wonder, this next tour, this might be his last. We’re just looking ahead one year at a time.

And what about another Fleetwood Mac album?

I don’t think anyone knows that. But one lives in hope that it could be possible.

Twitter: @JaneCStevenson

JStevenson@postmedia.com