Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lindsey Buckingham And Fleetwood Mac

NIN, QOTSA, Dave Grohl And Lindsey Buckingham To Perform At Grammy Finale
(By Jem Aswad, Spin.com, January 21 2014)
Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl, and special guest Lindsey Buckingham will give the closing performance at the 56th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night, SPIN can exclusively reveal.  "We're incredibly excited about this number," Grammy executive producer Ken Ehrlich said in a statement. "There's nothing better than when the Grammys can rock out, and to have these artists all together on one stage, doing a number that, when they presented it to us, knocked us out, is going to turn out to be one of those Grammy moments that people talk about for a long time. Long live Trent, Josh, Dave and Lindsey and these great bands!" It will be the first-ever Grammy telecast performance for Nine Inch Nails and QOTSA.
Thirteen-time Grammy winner Grohl, as usual, is the connective tissue, having performed extensively with both bands, most prominently on QOTSA's 2002 LP Songs for the Deaf and Nine Inch Nails' 2005 album With Teeth. Fleetwood Mac guitarist/singer Buckingham, of course, is the wild card, and his role — singing a kickass version of "Tusk" or "The Chain," maybe his solo hit "Go Insane"? — remains to be seen. Buckingham appears in Sound City: Real to Reel, the Grohl-directed documentary about the legendary, now-shuttered L.A. studio where many classic albums were recorded; his Fleetwood-Mac-mate, Stevie Nicks, appears in the film and also joined Grohl on the Sound City Players album and tour last year.
While the Foo Fighters did not release any new music during this year's window of eligibility, Grohl has two nominations, both connected to Sound City: Best Rock Song for "Cut Me Some Slack" (with Paul McCartney and the other surviving members of Nirvana, a group often dubbed "Sirvana"), and Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media; separately, he appears as a songwriter (again, with Nirvana) on a Best Rap Song nominee, Jay-Z's "Holy Grail." Queens are up for two awards: Best Rock Album (for …Like Clockwork), Best Rock Performance with the album's "My God Is the Sun," and, indirectly, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. Two-time Grammy winners Nine Inch Nails' Hesitation Marks is nominated for Best Alternative Music Album. Buckingham is not nominated but is featured on the Delta Rae song "If I Loved You," which garnered Rob Cavallo a shot at Producer of the Year, Non-Classical.
While there's no official word yet on the latest rumor – that Madonna and Beyonce will perform on the show – Sunday's telecast, to be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, already boasts formidable star power: The most recent official additions were Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr — who will accept a Lifetime Achievement Awards for the Beatles — plus performers Jay Z and Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Kacey Musgraves, John Legend, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Keith Urban, and Sara Bareilles (with Carole King). They follow previously announced performers Daft Punk (with Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams, Stevie Wonder, and several Random Access Memories session players), Kendrick Lamar (with Imagine Dragons), Lorde, Metallica (with pianist Lang Lang), Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Pink (with fun.'s Nate Ruess), Robin Thicke (with Chicago), and multiple country legends (Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson, with current nominee Blake Shelton).  The Grammy Awards will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Stay with SPIN all week for much more on the show, the performers, the parties and beyond.

Fleetwood Mac's John Mcvie Faces Cancer As Band Cancels Shows
(By Marc Hogan, Spin magazine, 28 October 2013)
Fleetwood Mac have scrapped their Australian and New Zealand tour dates as co-founder John McVie seeks treatment for cancer. McVie, the Rumours hitmakers' bassist and the "Mac" in their name, didn't reveal the type of cancer in an official statement from the group. But Fleetwood Mac said the 67-year-old will be receiving treatment during the time of the band was previously scheduled for a 14-date Down Under stint.  "We are sorry to not be able to play these Australian and New Zealand dates," Fleetwood Mac said in the statement. "We hope our Australian and New Zealand fans as well as Fleetwood Mac fans everywhere will join us in wishing John and his family all the best."
The news comes just months after the release of the four-song Extended Play EP, Fleetwood Mac's first set of new material since Say You Will a decade ago. Christine McVie, keyboardist and singer of some of the band's better-known tracks (as well as being John's former wife), briefly rejoined the group in September during a London show.  Fleetwood Mac members have also been active outside their band recently, with Lindsey Buckingham playing guitar on Nine Inch Nails' Hesitation Marks and Stevie Nicks taking part in Dave Grohl's Sound City: Real to Reel project.

Stevie Nicks And Lindsey Buckingham Reveal Lingering Tensions In Fleetwood Mac
(By Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, January 2013)

As previously reported, Fleetwood Mac will head out on the road next year for a massive world tour. It turns out the tour was originally scheduled for 2012, but Stevie Nicks decided to take an extra year for her own solo trek. The rest of the group decided to make the best of things and use the time to cut a new album, but that ultimately fell apart, too.  Rolling Stone spoke at great length to Nicks and Lindsey Buckinham about all the drama, their disagreement over how to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their long out-of-print collaborative LP, Buckingham Nicks, and how the ex-lovers manage their fragile partnership. They got on the phone separately, about a week apart.
Stevie Nicks
Is there any chance that Christine McVie might guest at some point on this Fleetwood Mac tour?
I would say there's no more a chance of that happening than an asteroid hitting the earth. She is done. You know when you look in somebody's face and you can just tell? She doesn't want to do it anymore. She doesn't want to fly. She doesn't want to come back to America. When she left, she left. She sold her house, her piano, her car. She went to England and she has never been back since 1998, so it's not really feasible, as much as we would all like to think that she'll just change her mind one day. I don't think it'll happen. We love her, so we had to let her go.

I've been hearing rumors of this tour for a couple years now. How did it all come together?
In 2010 I made a record, and I toured all that year. Then I decided to take this year and give this record that I'm really proud of one more year. I thought it deserved it, and now I'm done and I'm letting it go. I'm ready to go into Fleetwood Mac. In my opinion, whenever we work we should be off the road for three years. It feels special when you haven't seen us for three years. You didn't just see us a year and a half ago. That's why I make an effort to not do it every two years.
Are you thinking about making any new material with Fleetwood Mac before the tour?
Well, we don't have a lot of time. We go into rehearsal on February 15th. We do actually have two new songs. I went into Lindsey's house two weeks ago and spent four days there. We also recorded a very old Buckingham Nicks song that we loved and couldn't figure out why it didn't go on the album. It got brushed under the carpet somehow. We recorded it, so that's a third song.

Next year is the 40th anniversary of Buckingham Nicks, and we're hoping next year to get the record out. Then we'll take that lost song and put it on the record. That's kind of exciting, though it doesn't have anything to do with Fleetwood Mac. People have been waiting forever for that record to come back out. Fleetwood Mac is totally good with us doing that. They know.
It was great spending time with Linds. We're old enough now that we've laid down our weapons. We started this whole thing in 1968 and we're proud of what we've done. We look each other in a slightly different light now. It's a good light.

Do you think the set list is going to be very different than the last tour?
What we do is go through our entire catalog and everybody makes a list of the songs they want to do. There's about 10 songs we have to do no matter what. You have to go "Go Your Own Way" and "Landslide" and "Dreams." You can't get out of that, but when you're Fleetwood Mac you do a two-hour-and-20-minute set. It means you have eight or nine other songs you can pick from your catalog. That's what we do. We put them all up on a board, like in school. We play all of them and see what works.

A lot of your peers have been playing their classic albums straight through on recent tours. Has there been any talk of doing Rumours straight through?
Well, no. But we do a lot of songs from Rumours. If we did that, we would really be left with only a certain amount of time to do the hit songs that people want from all the other records. So that would be a very different tour. That's not to say we couldn't do it, but that's not the tour we're doing this year. It might be fun at some point though. It might even be a good idea to film that. Then we could talk about each song and all the experiencers that went along with them.
Do you envision Buckingham Nicks coming out as a deluxe edition box set?
It is the 40th anniversary, because it was released in 1973. We have this new version of an old demo. So, we should put the album back out, and if we can make that happen then Buckingham-Nicks should go out on the road next year. It would be great to do it in the 40th anniversary year. This might not just be the year of Fleetwood Mac, but we might throw in the Buckingham Nicks album for a special, sparkly, extra present.

So you might actually reform the original band and take them out on the road?
There's always a possibility. That is a situation where we would actually go onstage and do the complete Buckingham Nicks album. It would be a trip to bring it back with Waddy Watchtel and some other people from San Francisco. It would be trippy for Lindsey and I to revisit those songs.
Do you think a new Fleetwood Mac album is possible at some point in the future?
We did record two songs when I was at Lindsey's house those four days. He and the boys recorded in the beginning of the year. I didn't go because my mom had just died and I wasn't in the frame of mind to go into the studio or write songs. They recorded some songs, which turned out great. So I chose one and Lindsey chose one and I put my vocals on them. They came out great. I'm really proud of them. They tried hard to pretend I was there recording with them.

We have two new Fleetwood Mac songs and one Buckingham-Nicks song. We have new product, but I don't know what we're going to do with them. Maybe we'll throw one of them out in January and the second one in February. The music business is very different right now. I don't understand it. I don't have Internet. I don't have a MySpace Face page. I don't have all that and I don't want it. Nobody is really interested in buying albums with 14 songs on them anymore. It breaks my heart, but that's the way it is and I have to accept that.
Maybe the thing to do is release five or six songs at some point during the year. We can record four new songs and throw them out when the tour is done. I don't really know. I'm so not a part of today's music scene. I really couldn't tell you because I just don't know.

I could be wrong, but I'm sort of sensing that lots of the drama from the band's past is gone. Things seem pretty functional right now.
Well, don't seriously fall for that. We're a dramatic bunch, but a lot of the anger is at least tempered now. There was a lot of anger and resentment and crazy things that went on for a long time. It's always going to show up here and there, but we're not focusing on it right now. We're going to try and never focus on it again. But that does not mean we aren't full of drama.
I guess it's mostly behind the scenes these days.
You might see a little of it onstage. That's who we are. We're dramatic. Lindsey and I will always be dramatic. When you were almost married for seven years, and then you've been in a band for 30 years, it's never not going to be dramatic. We are who are are and we were dramatic kids going together. That never really goes away.

I guess it's a very complicated relationship, to put it mildly.
Yeah, mildly.

Lindsey Buckingham
I spoke with Stevie last week. She said she wanted the band to be gone for three years, because anything less would make the tour seem less special.
There might be a little bit of rationalization to that. We had actually planned to tour last year. We hadn't done any routing yet, but there had been a commitment from everyone, and then it got put off. Stevie had done her album and I had done mine as well. Hers came out a bit later and, to be fair, someone is always causing trouble in the band. She would look at me doing these small, solo things where I nurtured myself and brought that back into the band. I don't think she had one of those experiences, whether it was an album or touring behind an album for a while. She needed to have that experience.

It was fair enough for her to want to extend that until she felt it had been played to her satisfaction. There's no judgment on putting the tour off for a year, but it was a surprise to everyone. We had planned on it for a while, and she had planned on it. But things change, and that's a part of Fleetwood Mac. We're a moving target. We're a group of people who, you could make the argument, don't belong in the same band together. It's the synergy of that that makes it work.
It also sort of makes us the anti-Eagles, in terms of never, ever being on the same page. One thing I admire about the Eagles is they always seem to know what they want. They always seem to know why they want it. They always seem to want it at the same time. We're just the opposite. It's kind of a political minefield out there. It's interesting.

It's interesting that the drama is now entirely out of the public eye. Back in the 1970s, it was all laid bare for everybody to see.
We're still doing what we're doing, but we're not this year's model, per se. We're in the fabric and people want to see what we're doing and we can do business. But we're not in the public eye. Can you imagine if we'd done Rumours in today's media climate? Oh my lord. But the thing about that album is that we were laying bare out personal lives through the subject matter of the music. It became detached from the music and became more about the success and the tabloid-ism. That's fine, but it's not something you want to do everyday.
Speaking of Rumours, have you thought about playing it straight through on this tour? It might be a nice way to switch things up.
That's not a bad idea. That would be pretty cool. I'll bring that up, see where it goes. It could cause problems in terms of how you make the arc of a set that works and isn't too long. You'd have to frame it somehow and it would potentially disruptive to the bigger picture of what we're trying to do. But, hey other people do it. Why can't we? What do they do? Do they come out and play the album and that's their set? Do they do other things too?

It varies, but usually they do the album in the second part of the show. They do an hour or so of other material, maybe take a break, and then do the album straight through, followed by encores.
Well, let me think about that. The only problem I can see with that, and I'm just shooting the shit with you here, is that it was vinyl. Side A builds to a crescendo with "Go Your Own Way." Then it sat back down with the piano song by Christine. Side Two starts off strong and then tapers off into a . . . it doesn't have a . . . unless we mixed up the running order. I suppose we could do that, but that really isn't in the spirit of what you're talking about here. It'd be problematic, unless you followed it up with some other stuff. Ending the set with "Oh Daddy" and "Gold Dust Woman" doesn't sound right to me.
Maybe there's something inherently unfriendly about that for that album. It certainly worked as an album and it worked very well as something that was resonant with all of our personal lives whimpering out at that time, too. I'll give it some thought. I will.

Stevie didn't think it would work for this tour.
Of course she didn't. [Laughs] Well, that may be not be a fight I want to fight then! I gotta pick my battles here.

How do you envision the set being different from the last tour?
Good question. Good question. It's kind of a mystery. You have to understand you do come to a point where people aren't . . . where it isn't a prerequisite to go out and do things people haven't heard before. In a way, they don't want to hear anything new. They are coming to hear a body of work. When you come to terms with that, it's kind of freeing.
For right now, I don't have a particular vision of what this tour is going to be. I don't have an agenda for it. Knowing Stevie, she probably talked about this one track she wants to put on Buckingham Nicks, right?

[Laughs] What did she say about it?
It's the 40th anniversary, so it's time to finally put it out on CD and maybe do a tour with the old band, possibly including Waddy Wachtel and the other guys.
Oh, the old band with Waddy Watchtel. Wow. Well, listen, I would love to do a tour with Stevie. I think that would be very appropriate. She was talking about doing it in between legs of a Fleetwood Mac tour, which is not going to happen. It's logistically impossible. It's economically suicidal because you can't do enough touring it make it worthwhile.

Putting out Buckingham Nicks, I'm totally down with that. To do what she's talking about, we need some bonus tracks. We need to do one from each of us. I'm totally down with that. I'm not necessarily opposed to doing that in a Fleetwood Mac set, although it hits me a little bit like we're going off message. But did she mention any other new material to you? I bet she didn't.
She said you cut one new Buckingham Nicks song from an old demo, and two new Fleetwood Mac songs.
Here's what happened. She was on the road. I was aspiring to do a new Fleetwood Mac album, because that would have been really nice, wouldn't it?

Yeah. It's been almost a decade.
It would have been really appropriate at this point. Stevie wasn't really into doing it. She wasn't into it at all. But I went ahead and got John and Mick over from Hawaii and we cut eight new songs of mine. All of them were done in the proper key for Stevie's voice, if she were to sing the songs. I had no ideas for what she could sing.

My intention was that she would come in, hear the songs and then get engaged and want to bring some material to the table and we could have a new album. That didn't happen. I really just think she didn't want to do an album. And that's OK. I think the reason probably was she didn't feel like she had a bunch of material sitting around that she wanted to give up, or she didn't have any material sitting around, period, any new stuff. That I don't know.
I think she felt maybe a little bit intimidated by the fact that all this stuff just showed up. I mean it really was pretty spectacular, I thought. John and Mick were playing their asses off. I wanted to use a really under-the-radar producer to help me, because I didn't want it to seem like a big deal. I really wanted Stevie to be engaged with it without it being anything that there was any public awareness of at the time, so we got Mitchell Froom in. I had never worked with him before.

It kind of languished there. I think she was very defensive against the idea of making an album. When she came over here with this song that she's talking about for Buckingham Nicks, she really had initially brought it in as one of her contributions for a Fleetwood Mac bit of material. Now, originally someone had said, "Let's just put out two tracks, one of yours, one of Lindsey's, and it'll be downloadable at time of ticket sales." And I said, "Well let's at least do an EP. If Stevie doesn't want to do an album, let's at least do an EP. It's got more credibility. It is something of substance."

I got her to sing on two of my songs. We had a great time, by the way; we had a really fun time hanging out. It was just so much fun, which was just really reassuring and we hadn't had that much fun together in a long time. But, in the meantime, she decided to take this track that was supposed to be for Fleetwood Mac, and put it on the Buckingham Nicks album. At that point I sort of glazed over. In my mind, she still needs to come with a few things for Fleetwood Mac. She's vacationing in wherever she is, Key West or wherever. Is that where she is?

I don't know where she was calling from.
Somewhere in Florida . . . In theory, she is going to come back with a couple of tracks to balance it out. We've got these two great things that she's singing and she likes very much. They should be something we do in the set. If we decide to put out an EP, maybe around the time we hit the road, we have a lot of time. That's in April. I'm hoping that will happen. We'll see.

But you definitely think that Buckingham Nicks tour is not going to happen this year?
How could it? Let's look at the logistics. We've got about 40 dates right now on the books for America, starting April 3rd. We're running into the middle of the summer, and they may add more dates. We're going to take a break, maybe a month, I'm going to go vacate with my family in July probably. I'm thinking probably then, obviously if things are going well we're going to go play in the U.K. There are a ton of places we've never played that we could play, but let's just say we play only the places we have played, which is Germany, Scandinavia, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand. Let's just leave it at that. I mean . . . now we're into . . . Obviously you do maybe Australia last, because the weather's going to be better down there in the fall. So how do you even contemplate doing a Buckingham Nicks tour anytime in 2013?
I guess you can't. Will the album finally come out at least?
Well, she's all big on that and I don't have a problem with that. I mean, I don't know how many people actually care that it's the 40th anniversary. If it were up to me, and it may be to some degree . . . this is just something that was an idea off the top of Stevie's head, in the same way she brought in a song for Fleetwood Mac and turned it into a Buckingham Nicks song in a couple of days. 
You can't follow this stuff because it's a moving target. It complicates a set of preconceptions you already have about Fleetwood Mac, which is really the message we're on now. But, okay, if it were just you and me I would say it doesn't matter it's the 40th anniversary.

Stevie, if you're serious about touring behind Buckingham Nicks, let's wait. I would have two scenarios. One would be to wait and put it out close to the end of the Fleetwood Mac tour. When the tour is done and go rehearse a proper show and do it. Another thing would be to go ahead and put out Buckingham Nicks as a sort of secondarily level of awareness around a Fleetwood Mac tour. It's a little off message, but that's fine. When the tour is done we can go into the studio and cut a new Buckingham Nicks album. That would be the most credible thing you can do. Then you'd have to enough material to do a whole show.
There's nothing expedient about any of this. It's a total commitment to the idea of the past and the present as regards Stevie and Lindsey. Again, if you contemplate doing shows as Buckingham-Nicks, there's only nine songs on that album. Even if you do the whole album, you don't have enough for a show and you're back to doing your other stuff. That isn't necessarily bad, but it isn't a huge statement. I don't know. There are a lot of questions surrounding how we'd do this. Stevie said to me, "We could do five shows." Five shows!

That's a lot of work for five shows.
And what are you accomplishing by doing that?
The two of you have a very complicated relationship.
Now that you've talked to the two of us, are you starting to feel like a shrink?

A little. I'm just hearing different visions for the future of your partnership.
I've been saying to Stevie for years that we should revisit Buckingham Nicks. I know there's a market for it. I'm not saying . . . I know we're not going to go out and play arenas . . . I think something elevated happens with the two of us and there's an interest in that . . . It's a bit of an intangible. But I've been saying that for years. To me, if you're going to do it, do it properly. I just feel like a lot of what she's talking about is kind of skimming and isn't necessarily well thought out. She does things from the heart, but you have to do things that have logic, too. And make some sort of sense on any number of levels. I don't know what she's thinking even. She's going to take Waddy and all these people out? We can't do that. We have to reinvent that whole thing.
[Publicist: Alright Andy, can you ask your final question?]

You can make it long. I have nothing else to do today . . . Is this article going to get me in trouble?
No, of course not.
[Laughs] Oh, it's funny. You know what's really funny is that for so long we've had to keep all this stuff under wraps. Then the two of us start talking on the phone, and she's talking about it . . . everything just comes out. It's almost like the old days where we were talking to each other through songs, and now we're having conversations through you. It's very strange, isn't it?

Yeah. I've been here before. A couple of years ago the guys in Aerosmith were all yelling at each other through me.
[Laughs] That's very funny. Well, you're doing a good job then.


The Rock Star Hits Midlife
(By Ann Powers, Washington Times, Oct. 3, 2006)

Lindsey Buckingham, the sonic architect of Fleetwood Mac, has been through a lot: megastardom during the decadent 1970s; a split with bandmate and girlfriend Stevie Nicks that defined the rock 'n' roll breakup; 20 years of balancing pop stardom with an irrepressible avant-garde urge; the only band reunion by presidential request (for Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration); first-time parenthood at 48. But he never expected to live in Brentwood.  "I was living in this Neutra-style house way up in the hills in Bel-Air," Buckingham said, chatting in his comfortable den just west of the San Diego Freeway. "I'd had that property for 30 years- it was my bachelor pad. Fleetwood Mac cut 'Tango in the Night' there in 1987, and Mick [Fleetwood] lived in a Winnebago in the front yard.  "When my wife and I started having children, I decided to knock it down," continued the 57-year-old father of three. "We built a Spanish.  But it's not a great area for kids, you can't really go outside the gates or you'll fall down the hill. So we decided to get into a more 'Father Knows Best' environment."  Soon the Buckingham clan will inhabit a freshly built fairy tale home-  complete with turret-  a few blocks away from this rental. The children will have space to run circles around their dad. But Daddy will certainly also claim a room with a locking door, where he can protect his other progeny: his well-nurtured songs.

Today, Buckingham releases "Under the Skin," his first solo album in 14 years. Recorded mostly in hotel rooms during Fleetwood Mac's reunion tour in 2003, using little more than a guitar delay pedal and an acoustic guitar, it includes material dating 10 years or more. Two songs were recorded in the studio with Mac drummer Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, and one features Memphis-style horns arranged by Beck's father, David Campbell. Otherwise, it's all Buckingham, chasing that part of himself that life's responsibilities often steal away.  "I spent a long time focusing on something very narrow, probably in reaction to being part of such a large machine," he said of these songs. "With Fleetwood Mac, I walled up a lot of things. Part of the process is taking down those walls to see if there's anything left inside."

"Under the Skin" is a locket portrait of the pop star at midlife, trying to honor but also escape a weighty reputation. "Cast Away Dreams" and "Not Too Late" confront the conflict between domesticity and the artist's way. "Hearts will break with the choices we must make," Buckingham sings, sadly noting the rift that often arises in a family (including that other kind of family, the band) and the individualism that inspires enduring art.  On this quiet, intense album, Buckingham's guitar lines form delicate knots around incantatory melodies, and the echo of heavy delay helps his quavering tenor capture the full-court press of time. Buckingham finds the cadence of one of life's most difficult passages- the journey into unequivocal adulthood.  Artists have a particularly hard time with that transition; Buckingham's personality, friends say, is quintessentially artistic. That may be why his music so vividly captures the tension between imagination and real life. "His driven sensibility — it's almost childlike," Fleetwood said in a separate interview. "Lindsey protects his own innocence. You think he realizes something, and then you see he really doesn't. He's in his studio, focused, and that's that."  Having children blew open Buckingham's well-guarded self-absorption. "As a parent, there is a push-pull," he said. "When I was trying to finish, and one of my kids would say, 'Dad, you wanna ... ?' I had to make a choice, and not a very good one. I was either shaming myself as a father, or shaming the idea of following through on something that's been in motion for many years."

Buckingham has been tormented by conflicting loyalties before. After the record-breaking success of Mac's 1977 album "Rumours," he felt coerced into generating hits. "Tusk," the double album that came next, was Buckingham's act of resistance. It's a benchmark of experimental rock.  "Tusk was an impulse," he said. "Over time, everyone in the band got drawn in. And then, because it didn't sell 16 million albums — it sold four or five — there was a backlash. There was a meeting. The band said, 'Lindsey, we're not going to do that anymore.' That's the only reason I started making solo records."  Buckingham made three fantastically odd solo albums. He also stayed in Fleetwood Mac for one more decade, then left the band, returned and repeated the cycle. It was a Fleetwood Mac song, "Big Love," that set the template for "Under the Skin." It became his spotlight number during Mac shows, a whorl of guitar picking and swooning vocals. 
He began exploring other artists' songbooks in search of similarly powerful guitar vehicles; two, the Rolling Stones' "I Am Waiting" and Donovan's "Try for the Sun," appear on the new disc. His own material began to coalesce. But the machine asserted itself again, when Buckingham found himself at odds with his label, Warner Bros., over the album's focused sound.  "They didn't want me to put it out," he said, quickly adding that he's on good terms with the company now. "They wished me to put some rock material on, to make a hybrid, normal album. It might have been easier for them to market. But for 14 years I'd been trying to get something out from my heart, and I'm sorry, this is it."  The final version of "Under the Skin" is an innocent thing, more in sync with the experiments of younger artists such as Sufjan Stevens and Joseph Arthur than with typical rock-legend side projects. He hopes new fans will find him on tour. "I don't know who my audience is," he admits.  He does know where to find the old machine, and the fans who keep it well-oiled. Fleetwood Mac will tour again, and Buckingham is planning an electric record, maybe with a producer, probably with input from Fleetwood and McVie. The world may not have to wait a teenager's lifetime for his next release.  "After Christmas, we'll start, in theory," he said, not letting this project peep too far out of the cocoon yet. "I think it's going to rock. I don't know what it's doing yet."

Gentle Goes The Old Mac Mainstay
(By Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, Oct. 11, 2006)

     Lindsey Buckingham's intimate new solo album, aptly titled "Under the Skin," sounds like it might have been recorded inside the echo chamber of his own head. Monday night at the State Theater, the Fleetwood Mac mainstay started in the same mode, singing the album's opener, "Not Too Late," accompanied only by his classical-style acoustic guitar and lots of reverb.  The vibe barely shifted when Buckingham was joined by his band, a percussionist and two singer-guitarists. The additional musicians merely simulated the multiple Buckinghams of multitrack "Under the Skin" tunes like "Cast Away Dreams."  This spare approach might have been enough for the enthusiastic audience, especially since Buckingham mingled Fleetwood Mac standards ("Never Going Back Again") with the new material. The arena-rock veteran wasn't taking any chances, however. Two-thirds of the way through the show, the guitars went electric and the gestures got broader. In a five-song blitz that included several guitar-hero flourishes and even a drum solo, the group drove toward the climax: one of Mac's biggest Buckingham-penned hits, "Go Your Own Way."  It was an effective assault, but a predictable one. The concert's highlights came earlier, and during the encore, with gentler numbers (the new "Show You How") and a slow, stark version of the once-playful "Go Insane."  Not that these introspective moments ever suggested that Buckingham is losing it. Whether peering inward or rocking out, he was always the canny old pro.

Lindsey Buckingham's List Of Music You Should Hear
(From Amazon.com, 2007)

Lindsey Buckingham's new album, "Under the Skin," is a distillation of all his previous efforts, both with Fleetwod Mac and as a solo artist. Recognized as the musical visionary behind one of the biggest-selling groups of all time, Buckingham approaches his art as a balancing act between the considerations of a mainstream group and the more esoteric approaches to solo work."Hopefully at the end of the day," says Buckingham, "the equation makes sense, and I think it has. We've been touring in support of the album (which will continue on and off through the summer), and I sense that the understanding and appreciation of my choices has hit a kind of critical mass."  "Under the Skin" is Buckingham's first solo project in nearly 14 years. "A lot has happened, a lot of questions have been answered," he says. "I've been waiting all my life for this time."  Here are a few songs Buckingham feels helped define and chart the evolution of rock and roll. (Find more artists' picks on our main Music You Should Hear page, http://www.amazon.com/mysh)

Lindsey's List

1. Of all the artists who pioneered styles that would be built on by others, Chuck Berry is probably the most essential. His country/rhythm and blues hybrid was copied by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and countless others. Even punk could be said to be a restatement of Chuck Berry. One song that deviated from his usual tone and drew from the New Orleans sound was "You Never Can Tell" (from the album The Definitive Collection), a marvel of light touch and Creole atmosphere down to the use of French in describing the marriage of a teenage Cajun couple.

2. Johnny Cash always cut across style lines. He was just Johnny Cash. Many of his greatest achievements were on Sun Records at the beginning--glorious conceptions of minimalism and slap echo performed with his band, the Tennessee Two. Yet it's a later song, after he signed with Columbia, that I always come back to. "Ring of Fire" (written by his wife June Carter, from the album The Legend of Johnny Cash), with its staggered time signatures and completely committed use of mariachi-style brass, could have been overly camp, but Cash's dominating authenticity and Carter's background vocals propel "Ring of Fire" to a magical place that, again, transcends categorization.

3. A great sense of possibility was ignited by rock and roll's impact on a mainstream audience. While pioneers such as Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis and their labels took a song-for-song approach based on the idiosyncrasies of their artists, some to follow would reverse that role, in an approach that was philosophically closer to Tin Pan Alley or the movie studios of decades earlier. Lieber and Stoller were a writing and production team known for sophisticated "adult" production, unsurpassed string and vocal arrangements, and sonic quality that was ten years ahead of its time. "Save the Last Dance for Me," by the Drifters, is one of these quintessential efforts. It's also a song in which the meaning is greatly deepened by the knowledge that its writer, Doc Pomus, was in a wheelchair.

4. Another figure whose vision mattered more than the artists he produced was the great Phil Spector. His legendary "Wall of Sound," created by using multiples of instruments, was a blurring of the edges, a surreal soundscape that was still youthful, "teenage," like a symphonic garage band. One song I really love is "Walking in the Rain" by the Ronettes (from the album The Best of the Ronettes). It's an unearthly ballad of great emotional and sonic range, and one that demonstrates the strange quality in much of Spector's work: the tension between heaviness and innocence.

5. I first became aware of Burt Bacharach as the writer of a song performed by Marty Robbins, a fairly straight ahead country shuffle. Within a few years, Bacharach had found his definitive style, using angular, surprising combinations of time signatures, chord shifts, and melodic range, all somehow still true to the sensibilities of rock. Burt Bacharach and Hal David are one of the greatest writing teams in popular music. Many of their best recordings were performed by Dionne Warwick, whose emotive, soulful vocal style was the perfect vehicle for their material. Particularly fine is "Anyone Who Had a Heart" (from the album The Dionne Warwick Collection: Her All-Time Greatest Hits).

6. Jumping to the other extreme, one of the important subgenres in rock history is one that could be labeled "Dumb." From the beginning, an aspect of rock and roll's validity, its power to liberate, its point of departure, was the fact that it was heard differently, responded to differently, judged differently. It was about feel, not skill. Artists such as the Rolling Stones or Neil Young would have been much less without elements of "Dumb," but there were many other "garage" type bands who took this concept to its ultimate conclusion, certainly not as an intellectual choice. My favorite is the rock classic "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen (from the album Louie Louie: The Very Best of The Kingsmen), with its unintelligible vocal and one of the great raw drum tracks in rock.

7. "I Want You," by Bob Dylan, never fails to bring tears to my eyes. It seems to me to be a complete emotional picture of a young man, alienated and in need, cruel and tender, in the center of a world of pretense and hypocrisy--a world he'd wished for and helped create, but could not anticipate.

8. John Lennon's first solo album, "John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band," is one of the great albums of rock. In a masterstroke of raw minimalism, producer Phil Spector broke all his own rules to help Lennon define this psychologically charged work, which looks at the dynamics of family and how those dynamics are impacted by society. Though the album is generally up-tempo, reflecting his recent experiences with primal scream therapy, there are ballads as well. "Working Class Hero" is a powerful, haunting song that laments the cookie-cutter society imposed on us from a young age--a society that rock and roll has thumbed its nose at and offered escape from. Yet Lennon observes that even those escaping may yet find the same kind of tyranny in another form.

9. In the wake of Brian Wilson's failure to get his band to rally around "SMiLE," the Beach Boys were fragmented, losing momentum. The album "Surf's Up" (released on CD as Sunflower/Surf's Up) was inconsistent, and it felt as if Brian were on the verge of withdrawing and the others taking over. And yet, the title track, "Surf's Up," is a masterpiece, among a handful of Wilson's greatest efforts.

10. Joni Mitchell's genius was never more clear to me than on the album "Blue." She had left behind too optimistic a landscape for one a bit more ambivalent, but was still working with instrumental simplicity. The oneness, the personage that comes through on "A Case of You," for example, is stunning and completely moving.

11. The Clash was one of the greatest bands to come out of the new wave/punk scene. For me, at a time when the success of Fleetwood Mac had become at odds with taking creative risks, they were one of the groups that meant a great deal to me. "Train in Vain" (from the album London Calling) is a wonderful example of their simplicity and buoyancy.

12. Bruce Springsteen built an image on a kind of East Coast gypsy bravado, and much of the music, especially given the nature of his band, reflected that. Yet after a short marriage that quickly became a crisis of trust and identity, he pulled himself in, recorded an album virtually alone, and released "Tunnel of Love." The whole back half of "Tunnel of Love" [it was called Side Two when it was released] is a quiet, transcendent reflection. "Brilliant Disguise" is the defining song, and also the pivot with which Springsteen turns the mirror on himself.

13. Given its limited melodic and rhythmic range, rap has had an extraordinary run. Two things I can think of that have contributed to this are that it has trained people to pay more attention to the constructions of the tracks, where most of the melodic content is (creating a kind of inverted listening experience), and that it tends to be more connected to authenticity in a world increasingly resembling a house of mirrors. Eminem is an artist I like. His nasal, adolescent voice has an undertone of sweetness that deepens the feeling of his lyrics and is very musical with the tracks. "I Just Don't Give a F*ck" (from the album The Slim Shady LP) is a great example of his extreme musicality, to the point where it begins to transcend the genre.

14. Anything by Radiohead from "OK Computer" on (including Kid A, Hail To The Thief, and I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings).


33 Things You Should Know About Fleetwood Mac
(By Adam Higginbotham, Blender Magazine, 2005)

1. Fleetwood Mac were named for their rhythm section.
Legendary (and legendarily nutty) British blues guitarist Peter Green formed the band in 1967 around drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie. “None of us would be here without Peter Green,” Fleetwood says.

2. Green, the band’s first guitarist, left after taking too much LSD.
After a 1970 show in Munich, Green went to an acid party thrown by a group of rich German hippies. “I just sat around thinking and thought about everything,” he said. “I was thinking so fast; I couldn’t believe how fast I was thinking! And I ran out of thoughts. I must have been thinking solid for about an hour.” Afterward, Green announced that he wanted to join a commune, and insisted that the band donate all of its earnings to charity.

3. The star of early Fleetwood Mac shows was a dildo.
A pink, 16-inch rubber dildo named Harold. “Our roadie would bring out Harold on a big platter, as if he were the butler delivering tea,” Fleetwood says. “Harold would be attached to my bass drum by way of a suction cup at his base and would spend the evening quivering and vibrating in an erect position at the ladies in our audience.”

4. Mick Fleetwood never plays without his balls.
Two wooden balls hanging from his belt. “My drum solo consisted of me stepping out in front of the kit and dancing while clacking my balls together. I still have these wooden balls, and I never play without them. If I didn’t have them, I’d be very loath to play at all.”

5. John McVie is fascinated by penguins.
When he lived near the London zoo, he spent hours watching the flightless birds. On the Mac’s 1972 album, Future Games, there’s a photograph of a penguin where McVie should be. The following year, the band named an album Penguin. Fleetwood Mac’s publishing company was named after a species of penguin, as was McVie’s yacht. Finally, McVie went out one night, got extremely drunk and had a penguin tattooed on one of his forearms.

6. They lost their second guitarist to a freakish Christian sect.
The day before a gig in Los Angeles in 1971, Jeremy Spencer said he was going out to a bookstore and never returned. Road managers combed the streets for him; the FBI, Interpol and a renowned psychic were involved in a lengthy search. Eventually, the band’s manager found Spencer in a warehouse with the Children of God. He had shaved his head, renounced his possessions and taken the name Jonathan.

7. Their third lead guitarist left because nobody would talk to him.
In 1972, the band was touring America in a pair of station wagons, but everyone had stopped speaking to Danny Kirwan. Five minutes before one show, he went into the bathroom and repeatedly smashed his head against the wall, spattering blood everywhere. He then destroyed his guitar and refused to go onstage. Instead, he watched from the audience as the band struggled to play without him. He gave Mick Fleetwood a critique of the performance afterward. Then Fleetwood fired him.

8. And the fourth guitarist was fired for having an affair with Mick Fleetwood’s wife. On tour.
“I couldn’t take it,” Fleetwood says, “mentally.”

9. Next up: the Phony Fleetwood Mac.
After yet another tour disaster, their manager, Clifford Davis, announced he was fed up: “I fucking own Fleetwood Mac,” he explained, and with the real band scattered around the world, he promptly assembled his own version to tour the U.S.: the New Fleetwood Mac. Nobody was fooled. “At a few gigs,” recalls road manager John Courage, “people threw shit at the musicians.”

10. Peter Green told the manager to stop sending him royalty checks - or he’d shoot him.
The manager reported the threat. British police arrested Green, who was committed. “I don’t think it was a real gun,” Fleetwood says. “But he made quite a bold statement.”

11. Before they joined the band, L.A. folkies Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks released an album of their own.
They were both topless on the cover. Nicks bought a new blouse for the shoot, but Buckingham didn’t like it, so he made her pose with nothing on. “I spent my last $111 on that blouse,” Nicks says. “I didn’t eat for days. I was crying when we took that picture.”

12. Success did not make them happy.
The 1975 album Fleetwood Mac made them millionaires. But by the time they began to record Rumours, the couples — John and Christine McVie, Nicks and Buckingham — had split up. Fleetwood, too, was getting divorced. The band spent 18 hours a day in the studio but didn’t speak. “Making Rumours was an exercise in denial,” Buckingham says. “Trying to get the music done, minimizing the distress of having to produce songs for Stevie when I didn’t even want to see her.”

13. Drugs made recording Rumours a rather painstaking process.
For instance: The band required four days, nine pianos and three tuners to find Christine McVie a keyboard that “sounded right.” They enlisted the help of a blind man and someone known only as the “Looner Tuner.” “We felt that the piano was not holding tune,” Fleetwood says. “Whether the piano was wrong, or whether we had lost our marbles — ” Buckingham cuts in: “That’s what it was.”

14. They can’t remember how or why they started taking cocaine.
“Everybody across the board was indulging in cocaine at that time,” Buckingham says. Notes Fleetwood: “I wandered into it — and then I turned around and I was in the middle of a train wreck. It was in my life for a long, long, long time. About 25 years.”

15. Fleetwood wanted to give his coke dealer a credit on the album.
“Unfortunately,” he says, “he got snuffed — executed! — before the thing came out.”

16. “The Chain” is the only song ever written by all five members of the band.
“John does not write,” Buckingham says of McVie. “His contribution to that was so fundamental: The riff that starts the whole tag — boom da-dad-doo-da-da-doo-doo-doo — was so thematic and dramatic.”

17. Without all the relationship drama, Rumours would not have been nearly so successful.
Buckingham: “A great deal of the appeal was that people could look at the whole soap-opera aspect. It’s like being a voyeur and looking into people’s bedrooms.”

18. And it made Fleetwood Mac the “soap-opera band.”
“We were pigeonholed into a clichéd way of being looked at,” Buckingham recalls. “Two couples: two chicks, two guys, breaking up, writing songs to one another.”

19. But it also made them very powerful.
Mick Fleetwood was even able to broker a record deal for Peter Green. The deal was set until Green sat down with record-company executives. “And then, in the office,” Fleetwood says, “he suddenly said, ‘I can’t do this. It’s the work of the devil.’ ”

20. In 1977, the whole penguin thing got really out of hand.
The band designed a giant dirigible version of the flightless bird, 70 feet tall, intended to rise up from the back of the stage at the climax of stadium shows and then float out over the audience. “It would never fully inflate — it must have had leaks or something,” Buckingham says. “This thing was limping and floundering at the back of the stage. It never flew.” Adds Fleetwood: “It was a disaster.”

21. Not all of the band embraced Buckingham’s “new direction” on the 1979 album Tusk.
He discovered punk and New Wave. He recorded vocal parts on his knees in a bathroom. The rest of Fleetwood Mac, however, did not become fans of Talking Heads or the Clash. “You could say that,” Buckingham says. “Nobody did. Nor are they now. But what are you gonna do?”

22. They built an entirely new studio to make Tusk.
Everything was built to the band’s specs: echo chambers developed to Buckingham’s requirements (including a special tiled room because of his fondness for recording in bathrooms) and English lager on tap in the lounge. When the meter stopped running, their bill for studio time was $1.4 million. “By the time we got out of that studio,” Fleetwood recalls, “we could have bought it.”

23. But that still wasn’t enough for them.
Fleetwood wanted the song “Tusk” to feature a brass band as accompaniment. He hired the 112-piece Trojan Marching Band from the University of Southern California and recorded them outdoors at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. He still plays with the USC band from time to time. “Even Lindsey’s done it with me,” he says. “I’ve done it quite a few times. They still play ‘Tusk.’ And now they play ‘Don’t Stop’ as well.”

24. They practically invented prerelease album bootlegging.
In 1979, before the release of Tusk, Fleetwood Mac staged a landmark event: The entire double album was broadcast on the radio network Westwood One. “They played it from top to bottom,” Fleetwood says, “without interruption.” From all across California came the click of tape recorders being switched on. Who thought up the idea? “That would be our record company. It wasn’t a very good idea at all, actually,” Fleetwood notes. “They,” Buckingham points out, “were doing cocaine, too.”

25. On a European leg of the Tusk tour, they spent three weeks traveling in Adolf Hitler’s old train.
“It was beautiful,” Fleetwood says. “Like those train trips you get around Europe now, all velvet and walnut.” Says Buckingham: “We didn’t ask for Hitler’s train.”

26. The Tusk tour proved to be very, very expensive.
There were limousines for everyone — even the lighting guys. Hotel rooms were redecorated in advance to make the color schemes suitable for Nicks and Christine McVie. Nicks had to have a piano in every suite she stayed in. Fleetwood: “We were all crazy. I remember a piano winched up- ” Buckingham: “Nine floors up.”

27. Buckingham finally succumbed to the curse of Fleetwood Mac guitarists.
At one show in New Zealand, as Nicks sang “Rhiannon,” he pulled his jacket over his head and began performing a grotesque imitation of her. Christine McVie slapped him. “I might have chucked a glass of wine over him, too,” she says. “I didn’t think that was the way to treat a paying audience.”

28. Eventually, Fleetwood Mac had to introduce drug rationing.
Their road manager handed out one Heineken bottle cap full of cocaine to each member of the band before they went onstage. “Even in the lunatic days,” Fleetwood says, “there was a sense of responsibility. We would rein ourselves in. I would not want to walk onstage completely coked out to the point where it was … not acceptable.”

29. In 1984, Mick Fleetwood went bankrupt.
“People were saying that I’d put $8 million up my nose, but if I’d done all the things they said, I’d have been dead long ago.”

30. Buckingham has never attended the “Night of a Thousand Stevies.”
Nor will he be turning up for the annual New York gathering of drag queens and Nicks look-alikes anytime soon. “She gets a lot of people at her shows who dress like her. I don’t know if I could handle that, though.”

31. Even the President had a hard time getting Buckingham back into Fleetwood Mac.
When asked to rejoin the band to perform “Don’t Stop” for Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993, Buckingham couldn’t make up his mind. “I called Lindsey,” Nicks says, “and said, ‘If you cheat me out of this moment, I’ll never speak to you again.’ So he did it.”

32. But Clinton didn’t join them on sax.
“No. I’m a little surprised,” Fleetwood says. Adds Buckingham, “He probably wanted to.”

33. Making their first new studio CD in 16 years, Say You Will, was not at all like Rumours or Tusk.
“Mick and I both have little children now, so we can’t live, nor would we want to live, the kind of lives we did,” Buckingham says. “It’s more meticulous. And the hours are better.”


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