Buckingham was into Barbra Streisand and Patti Page
Rolling Stone Magazine
April 25th 2003
If it seems like there's a lot of good guitar playing on the new Fleetwood Mac album -- and there is -- that's because it began life six years ago as a Lindsey Buckingham solo disc. Say You Will is the Mac's first record of new material in eight years, and their first without singer-keyboardist Christine McVie in thirty-three. Buckingham took a break from rehearsals for the band's upcoming summer tour to talk about the time he spent in the Sixties as the one guy in the Fillmore West not on drugs. I didn't get a guitar until my brother brought home "Heartbreak Hotel," so probably that was the first song I tried to learn. That or whatever Patti Page song was around the house. Things were very Donna Reed for us back then.
Growing up, who were your guitar gods?
I really came in the back door. All the Jimi Hendrix and the Clapton types who were wearing their style on their sleeve were not the people I was listening to. It was probably people whose names I wasn't even aware of so much, like Chet Atkins and Scotty Moore. The lead playing you usually associate with the "rock guitar god" thing was the last thing I picked up. I couldn't even play lead for a long time.
But on this new album you've gone insane -- I've never
heard you play so much or so fast.
Yeah, for years we would always remark on the difference between our record-making approach and our stage approach. My songs for this album started off as a solo album, and I was trying to take that raw energy we got onstage with the band I took on the road after my last solo album, Out of the Cradle. I was lucky enough to have Mick Fleetwood and John McVie play on those tracks, even back when it was a solo project. So this stuff has a predestined three-piece feel. I think it also had something to do with trying to fill in for the lack of Christine.
What was your first concert?
It wasn't a rock concert. Maybe the Smothers Brothers. I remember I did see Barbra Streisand when I was about thirteen. She must have been around nineteen then. When I was a little older, I went to shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco, but even then I was this kind of zoned-out individual who wasn't partaking of a culture in the broad way that most of my friends were. It was a rare occasion when I would find myself sitting on the floor of the Fillmore.
What's the first song you wrote?
I started writing late. I met Stevie when I was sixteen. She was already writing songs and considered herself to be a young poetess. I was more a player. I didn't think of myself as an artist, more as someone who had guitar playing as a hobby and would go on to do something more sane and respectable. I don't think I even wrote a song until I was twenty-one. The first song I wrote, I think, was called "Butterfly," and it was in the vein of something off [James Taylor's] Sweet Baby James.
What song do you wish you had written?
Anything by Burt Bacharach, or Lennon and McCartney from a certain point on. No one will do those kind of things any better. But then on the other side, God, I wish I had written "Louie Louie."
Your new single, "Peacekeeper," is all too
timely, but you wrote it years ago.
Yeah, "Peacekeeper" in a strange way is about what's happening right now, but originally it was more about the whole idea of an ever-increasing desensitization to brutal events.
The new album ends with two farewells: your
"Say Goodbye" and Stevie's "Goodbye Baby." Are we to gather this is Fleetwood
Mac's swan song?
I hope not. There have been times when I have had my doubts. Near the end of the recording there were arguments, and it got a little tense. We had been looking at this as a long-term plan -- touring a lot and doing another record - and maybe it looked like that wasn't going to happen. If I had to guess, I would say that we will do another album.
What's the strangest thing in your CD
player these days?
The Tusk album redone by Camper Van Beethoven. I thought it was great. They took many, many liberties, which is as it should be, considering we were taking liberties of our own back then.
(April 25, 2003)
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