I never realized John Mcvie was so good

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by duke2004, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    It's about 40 minutes til showtime... I'm hoping to catch Mark (John's tech) in a few minutes for a hello, and hopefully a peek at his road gear... looks like Laklands, and at least one Rick Turner.

    Here's what his "office" looks like. Pretty simple and spartan, kinda' like the man himself.

    Attached Files:

    slagheap likes this.
  2. Muddslide


    Feb 23, 2007
    Mobile, Alabama
    That's one of the cool things about the Buckingham/Nicks-era FM. Obviously the entire band should be credited but I always admired Buckingham's unique guitar style and his off-kilter pop sensibility. Some of his songs are so catchy, but there are just...unusual things going on beneath the surface.

    It takes real stones, in the wake of one of the biggest selling albums of its decade (Rumours), when you KNOW the record label was expecting the band to deliver Rumours Pt. II and instead they hand in the bizarro, sprawling Tusk.

    Whatever else you can say about them, and I know many people prefer their earlier, bluesier Peter Green-era work, the Buckingham-period FM was just one of the architects of The Sound of the 70s. I'd include Paul McCartney, Jeff Lynne/ELO and Elton John in that category too.

    And yes, McVie is a killer bass player who isn't heralded enough. This may be because one of his great strengths is supporting the song with interesting lines that accentuate the overall piece a great deal, but without much grandstanding or showing off...
    EdwardofHuncote likes this.
  3. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    I watched him so intently last night that my head hurt on the way home. For most it was a great show, but for me it was more like a 2-1/2 hour bass workshop on how to play in a pocket. Peter Green got it right when he named that band... that guy played his @$$ off last night. High points, "Sister of the Moon" for the sheer power, and during the extended "Gold Dust Woman" he threw in a buncha' those cool throw-off licks and fills, like a bass solo underneath the jam. I also never realized how busy the bass part is on "I Know I'm Not Wrong".

    I counted four rack-mounted Orange amps piggy-backed together, and a couple different preamps, but the triple stack of cabs on stage weren't badged. Not sure what all he was actually running... but it was plenty.

    He played 95% of the show on a natural finish, block-inlaid Lakland P, with (I think) EMG p'ups, the other bass I couldn't tell the brand, it was a graphite colored P/J that was de-tuned for "Chain", and a couple other tunes that are a step down from original recordings. Might have been a Carvin.

    With apologies for pretty lousy cell phone quality pictures, here's a couple shots from the concert...

    1. the complete Rumours Era band at work.

    2. in between tunes, (during one of Stevie's infamously long stories) John and Christine seemed to be sharing a private joke.

    3. Before encores, taking a bow.

    4. Gig's over, time to go.

    Attached Files:

    Alixinchains and old spice like this.
  4. vdbass


    Oct 22, 2013
    San Diego, CA
    I love McVie. Provides just what the number needs. I love the way he holds down the rhythm when Mick takes off on a tangent. They communicate with each other while not even looking at each other.
    KUDOS to Tom Flye from the Record Plant in Sausalito, Ca for his perfect mixing of FM songs!!!
  5. bswag

    bswag Guest

    Dec 21, 2013
    FWIW, I saw the Mac just before their late-80's breakup, and yes, McVie was a very solid player, one of those people you could say don't play a lot of notes, just the right notes! I wasn't even that big a fan of that version of FM, but they sure as heck-all put it over in concert. And actually, Mr. B. took a few more-than-one-note solos on that weird Turner gitty of his. But I think that edition of FM was much more about the songs than anyone being flash- like anyone would notice, when you had Ms. Nicks onstage!
  6. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    Got this deluxe box set of Rumours a little while back, and was mildly disappointed with the remix/remastered classic album. It *is* cleaner and more balanced but they left out some stuff too.

    Anyway, the set also included a cd of live performances from the tour that followed Rumours' release in '77, and yet another cd of out-takes. That totally made up for it! Listen to McVie on "Keep Me There", one of three songs that eventually became "The Chain".

    You can easily hear how he built the line around Christine's keys... Genius.
  7. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    If you go back to the original record and compare to later CD releases, and the stuff you hear on the radio, you'll notice that Buck has overdubbed or redone a lot of his original guitar work. Whether he was unhappy with it or what, I'm not sure, but since I originally heard it on the LP, I'm kind of used to those versions and don't actually think his new mixes are much of an improvement. The Nicks/B band's first 2 releases were darn near perfect. The only difficulty I ever had was with the final transition, the transmogrification from butt-kicking hard playing blues band to awesome prog guitar band to pop superstardom.

    If you made a list of who you thought their best guitarists were, I think LB would be last on my list. Let's face it, Peter Green live at the Boston Tea Party with Jeremy Spencer - Green rips the room apart. Terrific live band. Welch and Weston both had some great stuff going on, Miles Away off Mystery to Me is one of my personal faves of that FM iteration. However, the fact is that the Nicks/Buckingham vocal and songwriting collaboration totally broke through the charts despite what I considered to be (imho) an extremely weak guitarist in the line-up. And since I haven't sold 100 million records, much less one, don't take that to the bank by any means. ;)
  8. Parzival

    Parzival Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2013
    Just recently learned 'The Chain'. Such a fun song to play.
  9. Ageinghippie


    Jul 7, 2015
    Saw band at Leeds Sunday evening. And although I have major respect for John's recorded work I was totally underwhelmed by John at the gig. He had a very disappointing style, technique and sound. But major respect continuing to tour despite age and illnesd

  10. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    I will admit that I hated Fleetwood Mac during the Rumors era. But I started liking the band -- a little -- when Tusk came out. I recognized what a great rhythm section Fleetwood and McVie were. I would even ask myself occasionally, "What would John McVie do?" (But resisted the temptation to get a "WWJMD" wristband.)

    Two years ago, I bought my wife tickets to see Fleetwood Mac in Houston. I figured that I would enjoy watching the rhythm section, if nothing else, which I did. But, I was completely blown away when Buckingham and Nicks sang together. And I walked out of the concert in awe of Lindsey Buckingham. We saw them again -- this time with Christine -- last year. I had the same reaction.

    One more thing about Fleetwood Mac: Both times I saw them, after the band was done playing and people were walking out, both Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood came back out to the mike and thanked the audience for coming. I never saw another band do that, especially the former biggest band in popular music. I really believe that they are not taking it all for granted.
    Alixinchains and EdwardofHuncote like this.
  11. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    I was only 7 years old when Rumours came out, and 9 when Tusk made it's debut, and although the hit songs were in heavy rotation on the radio, I really have no specific memory of the time.

    Conversely, I was a senior in high school when Tango hit the airwaves... and all of a sudden Fleetwood Mac was Everywhere again. (pun intentional... :bag: ) With the fledgling MTV, we kinda' had a front-row seat to the drama that ensued when Buckingham quit the band right before the tour.

    I guess over the next decades their fan base dwindled but I remained fascinated with McVie's style, just as consistent through the less successful incarnations that followed Tango, with Burnette, Vito, Mason, Bramlett, just as efficient as with the early blues band days with Green, Kirwan, Spencer, Welch.

    Obviously I'm too much of a fan to do much objective criticism, but the last two shows I've seen, dude never missed a lick... pounded it solid for 2-1/2 hours, tipped his hat to the crowd, and went home. Class act. :thumbsup: 2

    And yeah, Mick and Stevie do that every night, after Fleetwood introduces the entire staff of support musicians, and stage crew. I never had the sense it was anything less than genuine.
    RHFusillo likes this.
  12. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    Hadn't bumped this thread in a while...

    18 years ago today, Fleetwood-Mac releases "The Dance", a live concert featuring the full Rumours-era lineup of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham. The album featured two brand new tunes:

    "Sweet Girl"

    and "Bleed to Love Her"

    John's bass lines on these two songs is just as fascinating to me today as they were the first time I heard them.
  13. Skokiaan


    Jun 19, 2004
    New Jersey
    I don't think anything was changed. What you're likely hearing are the original single (45) mixes of the songs. Some of their singles were mixed differently than the LP versions and include unique guitar parts.
    Thor likes this.
  14. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I heard an interview a while back with Mick Fleetwood and he described John McVie as being this guy who would disappear for months or even years at a time on a sailboat. When asked if he'd practiced during his long periods of disappearance he'd always reply "Not a lick" and then proceed to blow them all away with how well he played and specifically his compositions. Some guys just have that innate ability. I'm definitely not one of them, but am always impressed by those that retain their chops and composition skills with a minimal amount of woodshedding.
    Journey55 and EdwardofHuncote like this.
  15. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    @Skokiaan That's an interesting observation. I don't actually have any of their 45rpm releases, but I have to think there may be some on youtube. I do have the original release 33.3 rpm album. I just had my stereo redone, recapped (old Marantz 2275) and once I have it hooked back up, I'll drag those out and check it out. And against the compilations as well - notably 25 years The Chain which contains both single mixes and alternate remixes of some tunes.

    Mick Fleetwood did note in his newest bio that Lindsey was a real hard driver and perfectionist in the studio, and one can only assume that many good takes still exist in the vaults today. And, let's face it, to follow the footsteps of Peter Green or a Danny Kirwan, who was a noted perfectionist about tuning and technique, you're gonna get some blowback from the blues guitar hero crowd (like me). But Lindsey had a great set of skills and strengths to add to the band, and FM would never have broken through the way they did without his compositional ability, feel for mixes and hard work. Mick was very complimentary about that later in his book.

    But who cares about guitar heroes? This is a bass site where "Heroes Are Hard To Find". Sorry, just couldn't resist. :smug:
    EdwardofHuncote likes this.
  16. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    Of all the trivial things to notice, as far as I can tell, the breaking glass in Gold Dust Woman has been missing for years. Maybe since the original mix. :rolleyes:

    I remember in the Destiny Rules documentary, one of the few clips where he's being interviewed, McVie talks candidly about how the studio bores him to distraction after his bass parts are done. The whole thing is a testament really to the guy's reserved nature. He just doesn't like being out front. I like that, and try to be like that.
  17. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Does he have any biography in print? I'd love to hear his side of his years with FM.

    And the back story about working with John Mayall. Since he and Mick are among hundreds fired by Mayall, it's got to have some interesting moments.
  18. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    If such a thing ever was, I'd like a copy too, but I doubt it though, since John seldom even does interviews... he's very humble about his role in so much of the Fleetwood Mac years, just refuses to accept any praise for it.

    This 2004 Q&A interview is probably the most autobiographical I've ever read... very candid, and you kinda' get a sense of how low-key he is.

    John McVie Q&A Session, September / October 2004
  19. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    McVie's old house ( now owned by Mick)is about fifty yards from mine, very low key and nice guy. He has doesn't have book that I know of.
  20. BAG


    May 5, 2014
    New Zealand
    It must have been after you wrote the above post that you discovered it was a Godin Shifter Classic he used on "Chain" as you posted on my NBD thread.
    EdwardofHuncote likes this.
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