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Q&A

Mac man Lindsey Buckingham on how Brian Wilson and
Gang Of Four shaped the pinnacles of �70s MOR

 

Uncut Magazine
April 2004


UNCUT: What kind of impact did punk and post-punk have on you and the way you felt Fleetwood Mac�s music should be going?
BUCKINGHAM: Although punk had a fairly huge impact on me, its influence on Tusk wasn�t so much on the music but more that it gave me a little room to deprogram and reaffirm things - to retrieve my own style, which I had when I joined the band in �74 but which I had then given up to the situation of the group�s collective femaleness. I was inspired by the honesty, integrity and sensibility of bands like The Clash and Gang Of Four.

How did the band feel about this intended new approach?
It started out as a shouting match at Mick�s house but they gradually came to accept my ideas about redefining the band�s style. I was very intent that we shouldn�t just reproduce the Rumours formula. I was very aware of punk shaking up the status quo.

Can you take us through the homemade approach to your Tusk songs and some of the strange recording techniques you used?
I wanted to work on my songs alone with a tape machine and then bring them to the group. More eclectic ideas came out as a result. It�s the difference between one-on-one canvas painting, where the artist takes off in a more meditative, subconscious direction, and movie-making which always carries a political aspect because a bunch of other people become involved, which I found counter-productive. So I went ahead and ran the status quo into the ground! The Kleenex boxes as drums, the mics taped to the bathroom floor - these were all just experiments in the mode of Brian Wilson. There was no great plan behind it. Only after this did Tusk become a �band thing�- although I also worked hard to make sure Stevie and Christine�s songs were produced and arranged as well as they could be.

And then, unfortunately, Tusk sold a fraction of what Rumours had sold.
Only three million in the States, though I�m surprised and thrilled that you told me that �Tusk� was our biggest UK hit single of the �70s (No 6 in 1979)! After that, we had a band meeting and agreed we had to return to functioning on a more realistic level. Maybe there was, to an extent, sand in my eyes in so far as getting songs done the way I wanted, though I feel, with Say You Will, we�ve become a lot more focused as a group, even if I did originally intend it to be another solo album!
 


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