Critics have called him everything from "the
Rodeo Drive punk" to "the man responsible for transforming Fleetwood Mac into of
the biggest groups of all time." He is singled out for his melodic, integral
guitar work: for his meticulous production on both solo and Fleetwood Mac
albums, and, perhaps, most importantly, for his determination in challenging the
rules and preconceptions of pop music itself. Lindsey Buckingham is an artist
who takes risks because he must, making him one of
rock' s most formidable originals.
As a major studio force since joining Fleetwood Mac in 1974, Buckingham was largely responsible for the production values on both the "Fleetwood Mac" and "Rumours" albums. Yet his prowess as a producer did not emerge publicly until 1979, when he shaped the direction of the experimental and controversial "Tusk" album. In 1981, he released the self produced, self performed Elektra album, "Law and Order," a critically-acclaimed work, which .once again confounded listeners' expectations.
Now Lindsey Buckingham returns with "Go Insane," an album that contains some of his meet accessible and certainly his most experimental work to date. "This record addresses the experience of having your sense of reality constantly tested," says Buckingham. "The lyrical and musical thread running from song to song is stronger this time, and there's more of a singular feeling about the album as a whole."
Among the songs on the album are the rollicking opener "I Want You," which, although sophisticated in its production, sounds as if it was performed by youngsters in a garage. A pair of haunting tracks, "Go Insane" and "Slow Dancing," provide an effective contrast, while "Play in the Rain," which ends Side One and continues on Side Two, is a musique concrete piece that evolves into a more traditional form, emphasizing Buckingham's versatility within a single theme. The "D.W. Suite," a seven minute piece of "musical cinema," using original music, recital and traditional melodies, provides an emotional conclusion to the album.
"There is an atmosphere about this record I haven't achieved before," says Buckingham, "probably because much of my previous work drew from the emotion of anger, while this album seems to reflect feelings of disappointment and understanding. Also, working outside the Fleetwood Mac microcosm (the band members and its engineers) for the first time was a learning experience."
The album was co-produced by Lindsey Buckingham and Gordon Fordyce, with Roy Thomas Baker, producer of artists such as Queen, Cheap Trick, Devo and The Cars, acting as executive producer. "The chemistry was great, and once we got comfortable with each other, things got very creative," Lindsey says.
Growing up in Atherton, California, a suburb of San Francisco, Buckingham has been involved with music most of his life. He took up guitar at age seven when his older brother started bringing home Elvis records, and he cites his primary influence as 1950's rock (notably Buddy Holly) and folk (The Kingston Trio).
In the late 1960's, he joined a local band where he met singer Stevie Nicks.
After working locally for several years, the two moved to Los Angeles where they
put out their lone solo album, "Buckingham Nicks," on Polydor. The record
produced by Keith Olsen, was not a commercial success, but it was through Olsen
that they met Mick Fleetwood. The result of that meeting has been the release of
five albums that have sold more than 35 million copies worldwide.
All in all, it's safe to say that Lindsey Buckingham will continue to be a potent musical force, and his new album "Go Insane" stands as his most ambitious and feeling work to date.