The Ledge

Go Back   The Ledge > Main Forums > The Early Years
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Mark Forums Read


Make the Ads Go Away! Click here.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-20-2011, 03:11 PM
michelej1 michelej1 is offline
Addicted Ledgie
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: California
Posts: 25,156
Default Bob Welch Interview 1978

Bob Welch
Sandy Robertson, Sounds, January 14, 1978

BOB WELCH is a hit. After stints in Fleetwood Mac and H. Metal outfit Paris he is enjoying chart action/success with his French Kiss album and the singles lifted from it ('Ebony Eyes' here; 'Sentimental Lady', the revamped Mac toon, in the States).

Why is this happening amid the supposed ascent of all things punk? Why is all this soft-pop/rock still selling? Could it be that some of it is ACTUALLY QUITE GOOD!!!??? The investigation starts here:

What didja do pre-Fleetwood Mac?

Bob: The first band I was ever in was a rhythm 'n' blues showband, like a James Brown revue in '65. We got very popular in a local club in Los Angeles, and these very wealthy people used to come down...this one guy saw us and he had been building some hotels in Europe, very exclusive luxury hotels. So he flew us over and we'd play in these private clubs in Geneva and St Tropez. Every summer we went over we'd stay for a longer time, until we were staying half a year at a time. And by 1969 that band broke up, but by that time we had more work available to us in Europe than we had in the States so we decided to all go over there to live. So I formed this trio which lasted till I joined Fleetwood Mac in 1971.

Fleetwood Mac got really big in the States but for a long time they meant nothing here.

Well, when I joined them they had been very successful the previous two years with things like 'Oh Well' and 'Albatross'. At that time the English record scene was very fickle, and Peter Green had left...that was a big thing in the English papers, 'Peter Green leaves, Fleetwood Mac no longer means anything'.

When I joined Peter had been gone for a year and Jeremy had just left, and they were in a strange situation where they were just beginning to be accepted in the States, but they had already been big stars in England and had gone down from there. So most of the work we did from the time that I was in was in the States, yeah...and the band was quite successful in the States even before their enormous success of the past three years.

And why did you eventually decide to leave them?

Well, at the time...particularly the last year that I was in the band was very rough...there was a lawsuit that meant that we didn't do any work at all, not just gigs...we didn't record or even rehearse...for six or seven months. What had happened was that this former manager had put a band on the road, called it Fleetwood Mac. The year had been really exhausting, and it came time to do another album and I just wanted to stop for awhile, so I said that I was gonna leave.

Paris were a radically different band, a more heavy metal concept.

The reason it was heavy metal was that the producer had worked at Electric Lady Studios in New York in the Jimi Hendrix days and he'd been assistant engineer on Led Zeppelin stuff, and he was really fond of that genre. He's now my brother-in-law, and he was seeing my sister, so we were all three kind of living together. I called Glenn Cornick, who was living in West Berlin, and asked him if he would like to come over and do it. He was a hard rock fan, and he was interested in it provided it was hard rock specifically.

So, from the very outset with Paris we decided that it'd be hard rock, and I was the songwriter and I started writing songs toward that concept. That was interesting for a while, and then the entire thing became very strained, not just financially, but there were so many gaps...Paris went through four managers in a year and a half. We'd just get to the point when it'd start to work and something would happen. October '76, the last manager of the group wanted me to move to New York and put together a bigger band and still call it Paris, do a new record...but it just didn't feel like the right thing to do. So I started writing songs for French Kiss.

Did you always want to do a solo album?

No, not really. I played the songs to John Carter at Capitol (producer/A&R chief) and I said, 'I don't know what it's gonna be' and he said, 'Well, don't worry about what we're gonna call it. We can get the money, go in and do a record.' Some people wanted to keep the name Paris, but we finally decided that everything I do from now on is gonna be called Bob Welch...I have no band to fall back on.

It's an unusual sounding record, like an amalgam of all your previous styles. You have heavy guitar but soft songs with monolithic, Spectorish strings...

That's just the way I wrote the songs. I did 'em on a TEAC 4 track with my equipment set up and headphones on. What Carter did was to transfer the feeling of what I did at home to a studio, but the songs were in the same style. Maybe it is odd to have strings with heavy guitar, but Paris was too heavy and Fleetwood Mac was the opposite extreme, very soft, melodic, floaty stuff...and I like to get somewhere between that.

What do you think of the criticism that comes in, when someone's praising the Sex Pistols say, that bands like Fleetwood Mac and Heart are hip easy listening?

Well, Fleetwood Mac used to be a pretty outrageous band when they first started. They'd come onstage with condoms filled with beer hanging off guitars and huge dildos hangin' outta their pants, staggering around spewing beer all over the stage and each other. So many punk bands'll go through three years of bein' the way they are, but they'll get it all out, and maybe some of 'em'll start to get a little successful...and slowly but surely they'll find themselves having toned down.

Hunt Sales, the drummer from Paris who now plays with Iggy Pop, went with me to CBGBs in New York. We saw the Dead Boys and other American groups. I kind of enjoyed some of the attitudes, the sheer energy, like the Who were in their early days. It's another turn of the wheel for another generation. Sex Pistols remind me of like in the old hippy days of a band like Blue Cheer. A wall of sound.

I think it's down to the individual band...a few years from now there will be no thing like punk, just as in during the San Francisco/Haight Ashbury days all music that wasn't Tommy James and the Shondells was called progressive. Janis Joplin was progressive, Chicago were progressive, Blue Cheer were progressive, Frank Zappa was progressive...but nowadays it's not that at all. Chicago has to be considered pop. What starts out as one definition will end up as ten definitions.

I guess if none of this was happening I might have felt the need to go out and...But it's like two football teams, you don't know who's gonna win beforehand, that's part of the fun. So on one side you got Richard Hell or someone with a razorblade in his cheek...and over here there's me.
Reply With Quote
.
  #2  
Old 03-21-2011, 09:33 AM
sharksfan2000's Avatar
sharksfan2000 sharksfan2000 is offline
Addicted Ledgie
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 982
Default

Interesting interview, thanks for finding and posting it.

Bob's response to the last question showed Bob Welch to be quite perceptive in seeing how music changes. Though I doubt that many people would have realized it, the original punk period was already drawing to a close at that point - in fact the date of the interview publication is also that of the final Sex Pistols show at Winterland in San Francisco - and much of what Bob predicted would happen did in fact take place over the next few years.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-21-2011, 11:31 AM
bretonbanquet's Avatar
bretonbanquet bretonbanquet is offline
Addicted Ledgie
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 1,950
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Welch
So many punk bands'll go through three years of bein' the way they are, but they'll get it all out, and maybe some of 'em'll start to get a little successful...and slowly but surely they'll find themselves having toned down.
Spot on! I agree that Bob really had a great handle on how the music industry was evolving.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-21-2011, 12:11 PM
MacShadowsBall MacShadowsBall is offline
Addicted Ledgie
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 2,792
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by michelej1 View Post
And why did you eventually decide to leave them?

Well, at the time...particularly the last year that I was in the band was very rough...there was a lawsuit that meant that we didn't do any work at all, not just gigs...we didn't record or even rehearse...for six or seven months. What had happened was that this former manager had put a band on the road, called it Fleetwood Mac. The year had been really exhausting, and it came time to do another album and I just wanted to stop for awhile, so I said that I was gonna leave.
I imagine that whole situation was hard on everybody, but Mick, John, and Christine managed to get through it, yet Welch couldn't.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-21-2011, 01:57 PM
dino dino is offline
Addicted Ledgie
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 635
Default

That was a very perceptive answer to a question probably meant to provoke.

Brainy Bob!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-23-2011, 08:10 PM
aleuzzi's Avatar
aleuzzi aleuzzi is offline
Addicted Ledgie
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 4,149
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacShadowsBall View Post
I imagine that whole situation was hard on everybody, but Mick, John, and Christine managed to get through it, yet Welch couldn't.
Even Mick admits in his book that the band relied heavily on Welch to front them, write most of the songs, co-produce, and act as "de-facto" manager when he went to Hollywood before them. The situation is not too dissimilar to Buckingham in 1987, when he felt absolutely exhausted in his role as guitarist, musical architect, and front man.

As laid back as Mick, John, and Chris are, they need someone who is high energy to spark off of them.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-23-2011, 10:20 PM
MacShadowsBall MacShadowsBall is offline
Addicted Ledgie
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 2,792
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by aleuzzi View Post
Even Mick admits in his book that the band relied heavily on Welch to front them, write most of the songs, co-produce, and act as "de-facto" manager when he went to Hollywood before them.
1oo people on the Stevie forum crashing the Ledge!

Anywho, yeah I guess Welch was sorta "carrying" the band. They should have replaced Walker/Weston when they left. A five member band seems to be what works best with the Mac.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:02 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
© 1995-2003 Martin and Lisa Adelson, All Rights Reserved