Going Your Own Way
Easier Said Than Done
By Mark Brown,
Rocky Mountain News
July 9, 2004
In 1986, Lindsey Buckingham was getting ready
to release what would have been his third solo album. The other
members of famously tumultuous Fleetwood Mac, however, weren't
After a couple of knock-down drag-outs, his songs were hijacked for
Tango in the Night and he soon left the band.
More than a decade later, Buckingham was ready to release what would
have been his fourth solo album, Gift of Screws. And lo and behold,
it turns into yet another Fleetwood Mac album, Say You Will.
"Yes, there seems to be a pattern there, doesn't it? This kind of
intervention thing," Buckingham says.
And it wasn't supposed to be this way. In 1992, Buckingham embarked
on his first and only solo tour, firmly putting Fleetwood Mac behind
him for all time.
"Boy, was I wrong," he quips via phone from his home studio.
Things, however, have turned out for the best. Fleetwood Mac -
Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood - plays
Coors Amphitheatre (formerly Fiddler's Green) on Sunday.
It started with the '97 reunion tour, a venture Buckingham was
initially reluctant to do.
While Mick Fleetwood was helping Buckingham with the guitarist's
latest attempt at a solo album, the band stepped in again for what
Buckingham says was "probably the most blatant form of what you
might call an intervention-type situation."
"We actually had a dinner at Christine (McVie's) house where people
after dinner got in a circle around me and said, 'You gotta do this
thing.' I'm going, 'Oh my God, this is bizarre,' " he says.
The tour was a triumph, and afterward he was open to the idea of
using the material from the Gift of Screws project as the basis of
the band's 2003 album Say You Will (even if Christine McVie decided
to not come along for the ride this time).
That solo tour he embarked on in '92 had made it easier to see
himself again as part of Fleetwood Mac.
It had been crucial "not for perception in the public necessarily or
record sales for (his album) Out of the Cradle but finding and
putting together something that was not Fleetwood Mac and
represented a broader range of possibilities," he says.
"The whole tenure in Fleetwood Mac was difficult. It was
complicated, to say the least. The last few years were the most
difficult. Everyone was pretty much at their worst, I would say."
What became important was "reorienting myself and finally getting
some closure on Stevie after having to be around her all those
years, then putting something together with people I hadn't known,
really, and seeing myself in a different light through their eyes,"
"(It was) a very important year for my confidence and realizing
there was a lot that could be done out there. (It) brought me to a
point where I had a lot more to give when I was pulled back into the
Fleetwood Mac thing."
If you saw the band last year at the Pepsi Center, you'll notice
some changes. While many of the big hits remain the same, Gypsy is
out, Sara is in; Eyes of the World out, I Know I'm Not Wrong in.
One of the highlights of the show, Buckingham's blistering guitar
solo on the sexually explicit song Come, is still in the set.
"That's an interesting song because it was a fight getting that on
the album," Buckingham says. "Stevie did not want that on the album
for whatever reason. I guess the lyric was offensive to her, a
little explicit. I did have that reaction from my sister-in-law.
She's saying, 'What am I going to tell my 13-year-old?' Then the
same thing � it was a fight to get it into the set."
It has also been a busy time for restoring some of the band's old
albums. Rumours, Tusk and Fleetwood Mac have all been reissued in
deluxe versions with bonus tracks. Rumours has gotten the most
extensive makeover, with a 5.1 surround-sound version along with the
deluxe edition. Curiously, both of those have a different running
order from the original vinyl. What's the definitive version of
"Oh God. You have to go with the original, don't you?" Buckingham
says. "I'm torn there. On one hand, you have to assume the album,
the way it was made, in that time, in that moment, in that context -
there's a reason you put it out the way you did."
But he loves the surround-sound mixes, which completely open up the
songs. A 5.1 mix of Tusk is done but not in stores yet.
"Being someone who thinks of sound in terms of images, it's almost
like slopping paint on a canvas. I'm enamored with the spaciality or
whatever the word is of being able to take something that was locked
into stereo imaging and have it thrown all over. You're inside the
construction of it. My wish would be that had been the state of the
art at that time," he says.
Such revisions of the back catalog are difficult because "we are not
a group that gets in a room and sits and hangs out," he says.
"There's a kind of an all-over-town, managers-talking-to-managers
aspect, which has its downside."
So the definitive DVD of the band's career isn't in the offing just
yet, though Buckingham highly recommends the Fleetwood Mac Inside
Out documentary that airs from time to time on VH1.
Sunday's show will probably be the last around here for a long time,
maybe the last ever.
"Without another album, I think this is as much touring as the band
should be doing. We're probably bordering on it right now. . . . it
starts to look like you're really just going out for the money, and
indeed there are many people around the Fleetwood Mac situation who
value that far, far, far and away above anything else," he says.
"Once this is done, unless the band would somehow miraculously want
to get in the studio sometime in late fall, I don't think it would
be a good idea to contemplate touring next summer."
Besides, he says, he has his own album to do.
After nearly three years of not writing any songs, a flood of
inspiration hit him about eight months ago, and now he has another
solo album ready to go, "if I don't get intervened on again."
Thanks to Michelle for sending in this article