Friday, September 30, 2011

Lindsey Buckingham... Q&A on Seeds We Sow, Fleetwood Mac, Touring, Stevie Nicks & More...

Q&A with Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham
Lindsey Buckingham keeps making his own music, but Fleetwood Mac is always there, too.

By Heather Lovejoy - Sept 30, 2011
The Florida Times Union

There aren't many rock musicians who have performed to packed houses in the largest venues in the world. Lindsey Buckingham is one of them.  As part of Fleetwood Mac, the singer/songwriter/guitarist has experienced the pinnacle of popularity.  But when he plays at 8 p.m. Monday at the Florida Theatre, fans will see and hear a slighty different side of him.

Buckingham spoke to the Times-Union recently by phone about his solo work, Fleetwood Mac and more. Here are excerpts from the conversation:

How was your flight?

It was fine. You know, we're doing some commercial flights and some bus trips this time, [laughs] because I'm kind of spoiled.  The shows are going well, though. And I'm very happy with the way things are going.

Where are you now?

In Minneapolis.

You'll be in Jacksonville on Oct. 3; your birthday, isn't it?

That is my birthday.

What's the best present a fan could bring you?

That's a good question. [laughs] I don't know. Did you have something in mind?

No, no. It's just that when fans find out it's your birthday, they are probably going to at least make a poster or something.

Ah, well, we don't want to make a big deal of it. You know, I'm from one of those families that used to just give a Hallmark card. It's not a big deal, really.

What can the audience expect to hear at the show?

Well, we are doing a healthy amount of the new album, which is great, and I'm very happy with the way the songs turned out live and the way they've been received, too.... I am opening the show with something I love to do more and more, which is just get up with a guitar and play by myself, so I'm doing about five songs, sort of opening for myself in a way. ... That approach has become more and more important to me.... There's a nice healthy amount of material from previous solo work, and of course, you've got to throw in a few Fleetwood Mac jams. There will be those.

About the new album, "Seeds We Sow," what prompted the title?

I wasn't planning on making an album, and the time opened up and I filled it. ... It seemed like the songs were sort of arising out of nowhere or out of very vague notions while I was recording. The same is probably true of the subject matter. There was no preconceived idea of what I was going to write about. But at the end, I realized ... there was all this stuff about choices and changes.... It's the good or ill that exists in anything, whether it's the world or in something as small as relationships.... It turned out to be a lot about choices. Much of the album had to do with that kind of karmic thing. ...

[As a guitarist,] you mostly fingerpick. Over the years, has that been hard on your hand? 

... I can't keep nails and if I do they start to get sheared off. ... Before a tour, I basically cut my nails as short as possible. ... No, I don't think so. ... I've been playing since I was about 7. I never really used a pick very much. I mean, once in a while, if you're in a festive mood, you might draw a little blood, but nothing significant. ... But my hands aren't abused, really.

You've never been big on music theory, and you don't read music. Is that right?

I do not read music. I never had lessons. I basically taught myself by listening to my brother's records, the 45s he bought.... It's always been based around the song, and guitar-playing in the service of the song. ... The sensibility is about songs.  I like to think of it as kind of "refined primitive."

How do you think that has affected your songwriting?

That's a very good question, because there are a lot of things that I don't know. ... That is something that you have to let go of, because you can only aspire to be what you are on your own terms. You work with your strengths, your limitations. If I had some amount of schooling, maybe I'd be writing with more sophistication in the European sense.

The other way of looking at it, I think of myself as much as a stylist as a writer. I think of myself as somebody with something he can call his own. A lot of people who have gone to music school have gotten their individuality stomped out of them. It becomes harder to find those instincts. Really, it could go either way.

At this point, it's a little too late to worry about it. [laughs]

How does being on stage with your solo band compare to performing with Fleetwood Mac?

There are certain aspects that are similar. Certainly, whatever I learn while I'm out solo, I bring back to Fleetwood Mac. ... Clearly, the big machine and the small machine support each other creatively - although, that may not have always been the case, but it has become that now.... The last time Fleetwood Mac went out on the road, without an album, it was kind of a freeing experience. Generally speaking, the Fleetwood Mac audience isn't really that interested in hearing anything new. ... You get to a point when your body of work speaks for itself, and you can be down with that and just put it out there.  Obviously, in Fleetwood Mac, as a band, there's always going to be more chaos, more politics. We're people who maybe shouldn't even be in a band together, but the synergy is what makes it interesting, I guess. It also makes it more difficult sometimes.... Working with the solo situation, it's a little more brainier, I think. It's more academic, a more meticulous process. And I love that. I also love figuring out how to make it work on stage. ...

So a Fleetwood Mac reunion tour is in the works for next year.

Well, we never really use the word "reunion," since we never really broke up. We're just a band that takes breaks. People are always of doing other things ... but we come back together. There is talk of doing that; that would follow the pattern of the last 10 years. There is nothing on the books, certainly. But I would be surprised if there was nothing going on with Fleetwood Mac next year.

Of course, what everyone wants to know is, how do you get along with Stevie Nicks these days?

Oh great, great. I spent quite a bit of time with her when she was finishing up her solo album and helped her out with that. I've known her since I was in high school, you know. And somehow we're still evolving; it's hard to believe, but we are.


Anna said...

The Fleetwood Mac audience isnt really interested in hearing anything new?? Lindsey needs to step away from the crack pipe.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Anna!

Paul said...

I think he's talking about the Say You Will Tour. True it's not my FAVORITE FM album and they didn't really pick my faves from the album to perform on that tour, BUT I saw that tour in 3 different cities (long story) and when the new ones were played, people BOLTED to the bathroom and concessions. I felt kinda bad for the band!

Anonymous said...

Paul has a point. I would also add that on Unleashed Tour people headed to the bathroom and concessions during "Storms". ..the song I was most excited to hear live. I guess not all the 15,000 seats in an arena can be filled with the devoted.

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