Friday, March 08, 2013

As Fleetwood Mac kicks off its first tour in four years, Lindsey Buckingham reflects on the band's drug-fueled nights

Surviving Fleetwood Mac
As Fleetwood Mac kicks off its first tour in four years, Lindsey Buckingham reflects on the band's drug-fueled nights, blowout fights, and unbreakable bonds.
By Brian Hiatt - Men's Journal [April, 2013 issue]


For Lindsey Buckingham, recording an album used to mean doing just enough coke to nail a guitar part at 3AM, getting in screaming fights with Stevie Nicks, and, in one case, allegedly throttling an engineer who erased the wrong track.  But that was all long ago.  These days, he wakes up at six, has breakfast with his three young kids, hits his home studio alone, and is done by dinner.  "It's a nice balance," says Buckingham, 63, who is reuniting with Fleetwood Mac for an arena tour beginning this month (and has a solo live album, One Man Show, out now).  "That's the whole lesson for me now.  For many years in Fleetwood Mac, it was a study in life out of balance."

You had your first child at 48.  Do you recommend late-life fatherhood?  

It depends on the man.  You could almost say I'm someone who doesn't practice age.  I went to a high school reunion a few years back, and all these people seemed 20 years older than me, physically and mentally.  So having kids late is good if you're the kind of person who needs to wait - though in 20 years, I may have a different perspective.

Your most recent studio album, Seeds We Sow, got great reviews but didn't sell.  Why?

There's a disconnect between the preconceptions that go with being the age I am and what the music is.  I sent the album to Daniel Glass, who runs [hip record label] Glassnote, and he loved it.  Then he played it for his staff, guys in their twenties, and they said, "Well, what are we going to do with it?"

What do you remember about the argument that led to your leaving Fleetwood Mac for a while in 1987?

All I recall is that Stevie ran after me crying and yelling and kind of beating on my back.  I don't remember any physical confrontation, not to say there wasn't.

Is it safe to say, though, that ou had a temper in the past?

Sure.  It's been well documented.  But we were doing all sorts of substances, too, that probably had something to do with blowing certain behaviors way out of proportion.

Has age calmed you down?

Some of it was situational.  You've got to understand, it was very difficult for me to have Stevie break up with me and to still be in a band with her, to never get a sense of closure.  It took its toll emotionally.

How come drugs never got too out of control for your?

The substances that were in the studio were not part of my lifestyle at home.  I had to take them so I could stay up till two our three, and even then, Mick [Fleetwood] would want to go later.  My MO if I really wanted to leave would be to say, "I'm going to the bathroom," and then walk out the door and drive away.

Now that pot is practically legal in California, are you tempted by it?

No.  I did a lot of that back then, and it was good for a certain kind of abstract thinking.  But we all thought we had to be altering our consciousness on a daily basis in order to be creative, which turns out to be crap.  It's just about finding your center, that quiet place.

You and Stevie broke up decades ago, but you have to deal with her forever. What's that like?

You get used to it. And for me, getting married and having children was a positive outcome.  I wonder sometimes how Stevie feels about the choices she made, because she doesn't have a relationship - she has her career.  But there are a few chapters to be written in the Stevie-Lindsey legacy.  There's a subtext of love between us, and it would be hard to deny that much of what we've accomplished had something to do with trying to prove something to each other.  Maybe that's fucked up, but this is someone I've known since I was 16, and I think on some weird level we're still trying to work some things out.  There will never be romance there, but there are other kinds of love to be had.

It's about as complicated as a relationship can be.

Oh, my Lord, yes.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks!! :)

you know linds, everyone thinks everybody else looks much older than them at their HS reunions... and even if true (we've seen those pics from his), you don't say stuff like that publicly ;)

KIML said...

I don't like his answer to the relationship with Stevie LOL They're too perfect but I don't know them personally.

Anonymous said...

aww leave him alone, he's just being honest about the hs reunion....also you can never deny the chemistry of attraction between these two even if he is married.....I believe you can love two people on many different levels.....and these two have experienced a life very unique that, alone, ties them together emotionally

Anonymous said...

So is Lindsey essentially admitting that he has beat women?

Anonymous said...

Guys shouldn't hit first - but they shouldn't do nothing if a girl is beating on them...some girls think it is perfectly fine to punch a man because they won't punch back. That's BS.

As far as what he admitted to doing in the past - he's no Chris Brown.

Anonymous said...

I think he danced around the subject there when talking about his temper. He doesn't remember any physical altercations, but there could have been? Either you remember or you don't. He says it's been well documented, but doesn't dispute it. I think Lindsey should come clean about that.

Anonymous said...

he does not have to answer to any of us, its just like u spilling your darkest moments to the world.

Anonymous said...

"Either you remember or you don't" - lol - he said he DIDN'T remember. Which seems very plausible (for both him, and others involved) considering how much drugs they were all doing. Seems like an honest answer to me.

He has no need to come clean to the public. But not denying what may have happened at the times of your life for which you probably have a complete void in your memory, and knowing you've had a temper, again - seems very honest.

I hope whatever happened in the past that he and the people who were really involved dealt with it and made peace in all these decades since.

Anonymous said...

He most likely doesn't remember a physical confrontation because he went into a blind rage when Stevie started hitting him. When that happens your conscious brain shuts off and your fight response takes over. People that have had blind rages say they don't remember anything about the fight they were in after it's over. With all the pent up anger he had a Stevie and the drugs he was doing at the time, I can definitely see him trying to choke Stevie out like the other members of the band say he did.

Faith Harding said...

Being a human under the microscope as much as the Mac continues to be will forever have their past as their greatest accomplishment which is like an abyss I am sure...he's a brilliant genius of a guitar player and producer...he's grown up too. No one was innocent of nasty behavior back then in that 5 some...Stevie, whom I adore and have an ongoing girl crush - was no wallflower herself during these really crazy times...now it's nostalgia and they're spending their aging years having a blast.

"it's only rock n roll but I like it."
~Rock on LB~

dzzz said...

Dear Linds, always always the ass!!!
And always manages to "back-hand" Steve.. Hummm couldn;t be a little jealousy there??

Anonymous said...

^Huh? Always "back-hand" Stevie?? Where? Because he said he there won't be any romance anymore?

Anonymous said...

It was really nice to finally see Mr. Buckingham recognized for his guitar playing skills last year... but now when FM advertising is back in full force it's all about the stupid affair that ended decades ago again. Kinda sad.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this, but Lindsey's comments about the fight he had with Stevie raise serious red flags for me. He manages to remember her attacking him, but can't remember what he did in response? This is classic abuser behavior, to blame the other party and obfuscate when it comes to your own actions. He flat out denied it when Mick's book came out, but multiple people have accused him of being abusive since then. I'd like to think he's changed, but his unwillingness to acknowledge it suggests he hasn't taken responsibility for his past mistakes. It would be one thing if he refused to talk about it in public, but clearly he's willing to comment on Stevie's actions while pretending he isn't sure what he did. Comments that Stevie has made about this incident are also telltale signs of someone who has been the victim of abuse. Blaming herself while never commenting on her partner's violence is pretty standard for battered women. The whole thing just makes me terribly sad and angry.

Anonymous said...

I dont' think Lindsey is an abuser. The only person that's called him that was Carol Ann Harris and 1) her motives are highly suspect, 2) Lindsey and Carol were strung out on drugs at the time, and obviously you don't react or think straight when your on drugs. Plus the people around them at the time have said they never saw any bruises on Carol Ann or never saw anything that would make them think Lindsey was abusing her. I don't doubt Lindsey is hard to live with, but If it was as bad as she said it was why wouldn't her friends Sara or Julie back her up about the abuse when people said she was lying. You would think in the 7 years she was with him someone would have seen at least 1 black eye or bruises on her neck at some point, if he was really beating up on her. As for Stevie, I don't think she was defending Lindsey as much as admitting she started a physical conferentation with him. She says he was walking away when she ran up to him and started hitting him. No, Lindsey should have never touched Stevie and what happend between the two of them was wrong, but Lindsey has said that at that time he was mentally messed up from all the drugs, fighting and emotional pain. Again, it wasn't right for him to attack Stevie like he did, but I don't think that from that one(verified)incident(unlike all of Carol Ann's incidents) you can call him an abuser.

Anonymous said...

Ken Caillat wrote that Lindsey punched a girl in the face during the Rumours sessions. Bob Welch said he believed Carol Ann's book was mostly accurate. Mick obvious wrote about the incident with Stevie, but he also insinuated that Lindsey had abused her on other occasions. At this point, the only conclusion I can come to is that Lindsey has a history of violence with women. I hope he no longer has these violent impulses, but he clearly was an abuser in the past. I'm beginning to think that if Rumours had happened during the age of the internet, Lindsey probably would have the same reputation that Chris Brown currently enjoys, instead of the "tortured genius" moniker people use to excuse his bad behavior.

Anonymous said...

Something to consider if we assume Lindsey's alleged women abuse to be true (which is by no means legally the case):

The last poster says that if Rumours happened during internet age Lindsey would be regarded similarly to Chris Brown, while he is not regarded in a similar way today. I'm not sure that is really the case. I have seen numerous internet posts scattered over all kinds of social media claiming exactly that - that Lindsey Buckingham / Fleetwood Mac and Chris Brown are same kind of abusers.

So my question is this:

If Chris Brown never abuses a woman from now on, will he 30 or 40 years from now still persistently be called woman beater and abuser? Or will he be called tortured musician, or something else?

Anonymous said...

Stevie bristled in a Rolling Stone interview during The Dance tour about going back with Lindsey again: something to the effect that she doesn't want to go back to that darkness again. I don't remember verbatim the quote; but the word darkness was used. An telling word to use when contemplating a former relationship.

Anonymous said...

what a pussy lindsey is,beating up on women!!!
uhhhhhh,big man...put him in a room with zakk wylde,lindsey would last about 2 seconds!!!
and the reason fleetwood mac doesnt talk about "STORMS,MY LIFE WITH LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM+FLEETWOOD MAC"by CAROL ANN HARRIS says it all!!!its all100% true...
one of the best+honest rock bios ever written on fleetwood mac.

Anonymous said...

I believe Carol. I think Stevie has taken her share of abuse at his hands. Own up to it dude.

Julie Chase Taylor said...

That certainly was a dance. just read Carol Ann Harris' book, Storms and Ken Caillat's book Making Rumours.

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