Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Lindsey Buckingham Q&A

by Michael Senft - Sept. 8, 2008
The Arizona Republic

Stevie Nicks may be the most recognizable face in Fleetwood Mac, but the mad genius behind the band’s massive hits is Lindsey Buckingham. Since he and Nicks joined Mac in 1975, Buckingham has placed an indelible stamp on the group’s pop sound, from hits like Go Your Own Way to guitar workouts like I’m So Afraid and the acoustic Big Love. But right now the gifted singer-songwriter, who visits the Orpheum Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 18, is concentrating on his solo career. After his critically acclaimed 2006 album, the subdued Under the Skin, Buckingham has returned with Gift of Screws, which hits stores on Sept. 16.

We recently spoke with Buckingham about his solo career, as well as the future of Fleetwood Mac:

QUESTION: Gift of Screws seems to encapsulate your entire career into a single album. Some parts echo the sound of older Fleetwood Mac albums like Tusk or Rumours , while others have the acoustic feel of your last album, Under the Skin. Can you talk about the recording process for the disc?

ANSWER: When I did Under the Skin, I was planning on doing a bit more fuller arranged second album, although not necessarily as rocking as Gift of Screws turned out to be. I just started recording with my road band from the last tour and Gift of Screws came naturally. There are also a few tracks on it that go back a few years, like the title track and Wait for You. They were songs that I had cut with Mick Fleetwood and John MacVie that were intended for a solo album that I had planned for 2001. I looked back at some of those straggler tunes that were looking for a home and they fit perfectly. There was no method to it, but everything seemed to come together.

Q: The disc does sound remarkably cohesive considering its diverse sources.

A: Especially spanning such a long time period. I probably wouldn’t write a song like Wait for You with the mindset I have now. But even more interesting is that there are songs that are new like Love Runs Deeper that somehow reference back to familiar Fleetwood Mac songs and styles from the ’70s. And I think that’s why the record company is so excited about it as well. They liked Under the Skin but they were scratching their heads about how to market it - it’s sort of a boutique, artsy album.

Q: In the past there have been decade-long waits between your solo albums. Did the positive response to Under the Skin lead to the short period between it and Gift of Screws?

A: I was happy with the way the album turned out, as well as the response for it. The tour was one of the best experiences I had, as well. And it left us in a really positive, creative space. But there were other reasons.

The pattern in the past has been when I get started working on a solo album, Fleetwood Mac swoops in and takes the songs. It’s happened three or four times. The bulk of the songs for that planned 2001 album ended up getting turned into the last Fleetwood Mac album, Say You Will. And I don’t really object to that - I’m a member of the band and have responsibilities to the group

But this time I put a three-year boundary around my time and asked Fleetwood Mac not to come knocking. That was how I was able to get the two albums out in a relatively short time. Had I not done that in all likelihood Fleetwood Mac would’ve come in and said let’s do something.

Q: So what is the status of Fleetwood Mac right now?

A: We’re getting together in the middle of January to start rehearsals. We’re planning on doing some dates starting in April. We decided it would be better to go out and do some dates, to hang and get to know each other again, rather than just go into the studio cold. I think the mantra this time is to relax and enjoy ourselves and see what comes naturally. It will give us a chance not only to get to know each other again, but also to shoot some ideas around in anticipation of going in the studio.

Q: Is the band going for more collaborative songwriting? In the past, Mac’s albums have had the Nicks songs and the Buckingham songs, and it was easy to tell who wrote what.

A: Well I don’t think we’ve really defined it on a musical level. Right now we’re really looking at the personal level. For a long time, Stevie’s and my dynamic was somewhat guarded, but we’ve been having a lot of positive conversations lately. I can only define it on those terms. I don’t know how it will play out in the studio yet.

In the past, there have been a multitude of agendas going into every Fleetwood Mac album. The politics tend to be pretty convoluted. We want to cut through that and acknowledge that we’ve been down a rather profound road together and we do actually care about each other.

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