On the phone from London is the smoky voice that caused millions of volume knobs to be turned up ever so slightly in the mid 1970s when “Over My Head” put Fleetwood Mac on the pop-radio map. No longer the Greta Garbo of rock ’n’ roll, Christine McVie sounds energized by the new album of music she has created with Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and what this musical relationship, interrupted by her 15 years in semi-retirement, may yield.
But she understands the question. She’s a Fleetwood Mac fan, too.
Her critically praised 10-song album, titled “Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie,” was recorded in the same Los Angeles studio where Fleetwood Mac made their 1980 album “Tusk.” In these new sessions, Buckingham and McVie were joined by Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, which would be four-fifths of the lineup that made Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours,” one of the top-selling albums of all time.
It has been nearly 30 years since that classic quintet, including Stevie Nicks, released a studio album, 1987’s “Tango in the Night.” So how close are we to a new Fleetwood Mac album? Sounds like it wouldn’t take much.
“It wouldn’t take much, in theory. But you’ve got to think about all the logistics,” says McVie, describing a tangle of projects that include her shows with Buckingham, Stevie Nicks’ tour in Australia, and imminent rehearsals for a 2018 Fleetwood Mac world tour. “It would have to be after the world tour, and that would likely take a year. Everyone is making plans, and you just don’t know. I don’t think anybody can answer that question.”
McVie’s focus these days is firmly on the present, how dramatically her life has changed since her reunion with Fleetwood Mac before the band’s massively popular On With the Show tour in 2014. She and Buckingham began recording McVie’s songs before rehearsals for that tour.
Who started the conversation between you and Lindsey Buckingham about recording an album?
I hadn’t really written anything in a long time, because I’d left the band for 15 years. I just sort of put my piano down. But I started writing songs again and I sent them to Lindsey. My demos are terrible, just piano, a drum machine, and me. He worked on them in his studio, and he said why don’t you come over before the rehearsals and we can go into the studio and record them. John and Mick were in town. We had no album plans at all. Just record some songs that I’d written. … And I loved what he was doing with them. I just put myself in his hands musically, and let him do his thing. … I trust him musically. I feel safe with him.
Did you go into the studio with any trepidation? Or was it like slipping on old shoes?
When you haven’t worked with someone for so long, you wonder, especially me, who had stopped playing pretty much altogether, would there be any chemistry left? I didn’t know how my chops were going to be, my voice or anything. But it was pretty instantaneous.
This was the same studio where Fleetwood Mac recorded “Tusk.” Did that have an effect on the music?
Nothing had changed. Absolutely everything looked just the same. Lindsey was quite emotionally moved by it, and Mick. I don’t think it affected me personally. I was much more in awe of being back in the music world, really. I saw the nostalgia of it, but I was more interested in the present than in the past.
Several songs on the album — “Red Sun,” “Game of Pretend,” “Too Far Gone” — sound like vintage Fleetwood Mac. Is there a new song that gives you particular pleasure to perform?
“Too Far Gone,” I’d say. It’s phenomenal, because it’s a real foot-stomper, and I get to stand up and sing, and it’s probably the raunchiest kind of thing that I’ve ever done live. The audience pretty much goes bananas, because the band sounds great. It’s a rocking band.
You also put a spin on some Fleetwood Mac songs, including “Little Lies” and “Hold Me,” on this tour.
“Hold Me” is more rock ’n’ roll [on tour]. It’s a little bit sweeter on the record, but when we play it live, it’s just a bit more foot-stomping. As long as I can stomp my feet, I feel young. And I make sure I wear comfortable boots to do it [laughs].
You took the long sabbatical from Fleetwood Mac. What did that space give you, and what did you miss about being in the band?
Well, now that I’m back, just about everything. The camaraderie, the music, the flamboyance. Lindsey and I on the road are quite just as you see us. Quite structured, I would say. The flamboyance of Fleetwood Mac is Mick and Stevie. And you never know. It goes in waves onstage, waves of drama, melodrama, God knows what. And you just pray that you get from the beginning to the end without anything going wrong. And I mean that in a good way. It’s chaos and flamboyance to the nth degree, but it’s fantastic.
Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham will perform 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, in Hollywood. Tickets cost $40-$155. Call 800-745-3000 or go to MyHRL.com.