Lindsey Buckingham on the Most Fulfilling and Dysfunctional of His Career
By Devon Ivie - Vulture
It’s long been theorized that it takes two other guitarists to cover one Lindsey Buckingham, which was proved back in 2018 when the fingerpicking deity was unceremoniously fired from Fleetwood Mac and had to be replaced with a duo of rock elders for the band’s ensuing tour. (You thought playing “Never Going Back Again” night after night would be easy?) Unsurprisingly, there was the requisite gossipy domino effect of headlines for the next few years. But after bringing a lawsuit against the rest of the band, the subsequent settlement, his emergency triple bypass surgery, various reconciliations, and a maybe/maybe not divorce from his wife — phew — Buckingham now finds himself in a fulfilled state of mind, enjoying the September release of his newest solo album, Lindsey Buckingham. During a break in his touring schedule, Buckingham spoke from his California home about the highest highs and lowest lows of his career. Oh yeah, and about Stevie Nicks.
Most underappreciated Fleetwood Mac song
It wasn’t so much about the song than it was the whole album Tusk and the fact that everyone was expecting Rumours II. We gave them something totally different. When Tusk came out with the song and the album, people either got why we did it and appreciated the departure we’d made, or it alienated them. You might make the case for saying that Rumours as an album was overrated, and it wasn’t. It was just the success detached from the music, and it became about the success at some point. You lose maybe a certain faction of people when you move that far to the left.
I always joke that I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall when Warner Bros. first sat down in their boardroom and put the whole album on and played it collectively. And they were probably going, What the hell is this? Because they didn’t really know what they were getting. I think that that was probably part of the reaction from part of the audience too — it was alienating in a certain way, which ultimately turned out to be constructive. I think Tusk has stood the test of time and it’s one that resonates with fellow artists more in a lot of ways. It also has become understood in terms of why it was done and is appreciated for that. But in the moment, it definitely divided up the room.
Guitar solo that makes your fingers hurt the most
The stage version of “Big Love.” [Laughs.] It was the first single from Tango in the Night, but it was an ensemble piece at the time. That was one of the things that began to evolve after I left the band — I realized I wanted to try to address that finger style in a more complete way. “Big Love” evolved from what it had been as an ensemble to a single guitar-and-voice piece onstage and became the template idea for quite a few other songs to follow, in terms of making the statement both onstage and on recordings. Like, basically having one guitar do the work of a whole track, and wanting to include that as one approach in the making of an album. I don’t think it ever got more rigorous than “Big Love” with the actual demands of the part required. It’s a finger-hurter, for sure.
I don’t really do any finger exercises, by the way. I have no discipline whatsoever other than to remain calm and centered and just trust that my impulses are going to be correct. All around me in Fleetwood Mac, you could hear through the walls of the dressing rooms, people going, La, la, la, la, la, la, stuff like that. I was never interested in vocal exercises. I would hear Mick Fleetwood trying to play the guitar to keep himself calm so that he wouldn’t be too nervous. I was blessed with never having been nervous going onstage. I think by virtue of that, I never felt like I needed to prepare on a nightly basis in any way, whether it was vocally or exercises for the guitar. I just go out there, plug it in, and hopefully become psychically plugged in as well.
Most fulfilling album