Fleetwood Mac fans have been hoping for years that Christine McVie would return -- and now that she's finally back in the fold, she admits she's been wanting to rejoin the band for quite some time.

McVie opened up about her recently announced reunion with the group during an interview with Rolling Stone, saying she started to realize she wanted to end her Mac exile -- which started when she quit the band in 1998 -- about two years ago. "I started to think, 'What am I doing? I really miss that camaraderie with those four people. I miss everything about it,'" she recalled. "I missed the music, to be able to create again. I couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone besides Fleetwood Mac. I knew that they were my musical family."

Although McVie wasn't entirely away from music during her Fleetwood Mac hiatus, releasing a 2004 solo LP that she joked to Rolling Stone "wasn't a very good album anyway," for the most part, she left that part of her life behind -- partly because, as she admits now, she had an intense fear of flying that made touring difficult. "It was a real phobia," she explained. "I also bought a house in England and decided, to a degree, I was really tired of the road. I wasn't just burned out, but I was tired of traveling and living out of a suitcase. I’m quite a domestic person by nature and the nomad thing had got a bit stale on me, really...Music left my life for a while, to be honest. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, but you know, I’m not really a solo player. I have always needed other musicians to bounce off."

After undergoing therapy to confront her fear of flying, McVie decided to take a major step by getting on a plane to Hawaii to visit Mick Fleetwood. As it turned out, he was planning on being in the U.K., so he was able to make the flight with her. "We chatted the whole way there. It took all the pain out of sitting on my own," she recalled. "Since then, I went to Africa, and have flown around in 12-seaters in safaris, of all things. I don’t even think about it now."

Now that she's back, plans call for the band to start rehearsing for a major tour in July and hit the road in September. "The tour starts in Chicago and we head west and come back east again, finish at Christmas and pick up end of January and complete America and we can do the world, really. And there’s a studio album somewhere in the mix too. We’re playing around in studios now...We’re really running through some demos that I sent Lindsey. My demos are rough, [but] we’re just trying to construct some proper tracks from them and the chemistry is magic."

John McVie's recent cancer scare could have put the band on the back burner just as Christine re-entered the lineup, but she insists things are looking good. "John’s health is on the up. He’s still doing chemotherapy and gets tired quickly, but he’s definitely been on the mend," she told the magazine. "He’s been such a man about this whole thing. I have renewed respect and love for him."

That "renewed respect and love" vibe seems to describe the band in general these days -- a long overdue development, considering all the infamous behind-the-scenes drama they endured during the peak of their commercial success in the '70s and '80s. "One thing that we definitely have is chemistry and respect for each other's music, and Lindsey and I play well off each other," McVie enthused. "We have great rapport; he loves working on my songs and I love what he does with my songs, not to mention the fabulous rhythm section. So I’m a pig in a pile of poo, really."

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