Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wait for You (Track Commentary)

Gift of Screws TV Ad

Get Screws...Out Today


Buckingham's new solo album
Released Tuesday September 16, 2008

Get ready for a Mac attack - Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham is going to bring back the sounds of the famous rock group in his fifth solo album.

Buckingham has in the past has given up many of his own individual songs for the group to perform and produce.

But this time around he put his foot down and made the band fully aware of his intentions to release another album on his own.

'Gift of Screws' has 10 songs - some new and some written years ago - and includes playing by John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.

Buckingham is currently on tour in support of the new release.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Lindsey Buckingham's latest is a 'Gift' indeed

By Mark Brown
Rocky Mountain News
Monday, September 15, 2008

Gift of Screws has taken years and various U-turns to finally make it into stores today. The album became a bit of a legend among Lindsey Buckingham fans when bits of it were played live with Fleetwood Mac in 1997. Bits of it slipped out around 2000, five years after he'd started it.

But the album got derailed twice, first when songs were cannibalized for much of the Fleetwood Mac album Say You Will and again when a few more tracks turned up on Buckingham's solo album Under the Skin.

So, what fans hear now may be far from how this album was conceived all those years ago, but despite coming in dribs and drabs, the finished album is worth the wait.

Out of the Cradle, his third solo album, from 1992, hit the high mark for many Buckingham fans. It kept his quirky nature but mixed in more lush, traditional songwriting in gorgeous tracks like Don't Look Down and You Do or You Don't. His past couple of solo albums have been sparser and more experimental, with Buckingham at times exploring what his fingers could do on the fret board (and how fast they could do it) rather than putting melody first.

That can be fascinating on tracks like the opening Great Day, but the finger-picking style that Buckingham has become partial to over the years can be a bit excessive at times, impressive as it is.

But Gift of Screws comes closer to that Out of the Cradle sound than anything else he's done since. Love Runs Deeper could have found a spot on any Buckingham solo album (and would have sounded great on Say You Will), filled with classic acoustic guitar as well as warm harmonies and sweet, melodic electric leads. Underground could have fit on Rumours or Tusk, a sweet melody with simple voice and guitar.

Gift of Screws gives an explicit idea of where Buckingham's mind is these days. "In my younger days / I was mistaken for a whore / I guess you could say / I lived in chains," Buckingham sings in Bel Air Rain, a slap at the record industry that once championed him but of late has stymied his creativity.

He takes a look at the bigger picture in the title cut, classic off-kilter Buckingham, a rock song pierced with the occasional maniacal laugh and lyrics like "Authority makes us bleed, bleed, bleed ... Authority keeps us down, down, down," and in the equally political closing cut, Treason.

With 10 tight songs and a more focused viewpoint, Gift of Screws ends up being his second-best solo album - very good company to be in.

Lindsey Buckingham
Gift of Screws
Reprise Records
Grade: B

Lindsey Buckingham's 'Gift'

Washington Times

Lindsey Buckingham
Gift of Screws

At every turn, "Gift of Screws" reminds the listener of Lindsey Buckingham's eclectic brand of pop songwriting.

Some of the 10 songs on this new album have been in progress for the better part of a decade. Some reprise themes of songs from the 2003 Fleetwood Mac reunion album, "Say You Will." Rather than sounding like retreads, however, the recordings feel vibrant and contemporary for the most part while retaining the familiar sounds of Mr. Buckingham's virtuosic guitar playing. It's all the more familiar because the Fleetwood Mac rhythm section (Mick Fleetwood on drums, John McVie on bass) joins in on a few tracks.

"Time Precious Time" is an acoustic ballad that opens with a frenzy of finger picking and a soaring vocal line. There is a muddled intensity to it, like a prelude struggling to transform into a theme. The rapid-fire arpeggios race harplike up and down the fret board as the singer repeatedly intones the title.

"Love Runs Deep" opens with an acoustic guitar and quick bass line - and until the electric guitar picks up, it could pass for a semisweet Coldplay song. Then the Fleetwood Mac vibe quickly intrudes in the form of harmonized vocals and a gritty guitar solo.

At 58, Mr. Buckingham seems eager to assert that he hasn't lost a step as a guitarist. He turns in another blisteringly fast acoustic picking effort with "Bel Air Rain," a speedy but downcast minor-key lament. More upbeat is "The Right Place to Fade," which opens with a cheerful cross of acoustic strumming and an electric solo.

The album's title track originally was scheduled for inclusion on "Say You Will." It's a weird, alluring mix of new-wave pop and garage rock with a peculiar squealing chorus that sounds as if it could be a B-52s outtake. It's also oddly out of step with the rest of the album, if only for its punkish bass line and shouted vocals.

"Did You Miss Me" is the most memorable track on "Gift of Screws."With its distinctively Coldplay-like intro, it's a sweet and rueful pop song with honeyed accents concealing a bitter core. (Indeed, the resemblance at times is so pronounced that it might be worth inspecting Chris Martin.) On the chorus, plucked guitar notes play over the rhythm guitar like a bell sounding over an orchestra. Mr. Buckingham sings, "Did you miss me/ In the evening/ When everyone is bound to dream?"

Fans probably didn't miss Mr. Buckingham all that much. He weighed in just two years ago with the impressive acoustic album "Under the Skin." If anything, "Gift of Screws" is a more impressive outing. It's typical of older rockers to return to the spirit of their glory days on late-career albums. It's impressive, then, that Mr. Buckingham has produced a recording that looks forward as much as it looks back.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gift of Screws is a 'cobbled-together bunch of leftovers'

Lindsey re-gifts
Gift of Screws is a 'cobbled-together bunch of leftovers'
Winnipeg Sun

Gift of Screws
Sun Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

Sometimes, you have to look a gift horse in the mouth -- if you don't want to get screwed, that is.
Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham's fifth solo CD seems like one of those occasions. As he admits in a press release: "This album is a distillation of a number of periods of time, some false starts to make albums, certainly some songs that go back a number of years, that took a while to find a home here, combined with brand-new songs and a whole other outlook."

Translation: It's a cobbled-together bunch of leftovers, demos and fleshed-out ideas -- some cut at home and on the road in the wake of his 2006 CD Under the Skin, with others dating back perhaps as far as 2001, when the album title Gift of Screws became a rumour in the Lindseysphere.

But even if it's mostly secondhand news, it's not all bad news. Buckingham also claims this disc rocks more than his last one. And it does -- on the cuts that feature Mac bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. The rest of the time, it's all about Lindsey, his spiderwebby vocals and his precise, intricate guitar work.

Sure, it has its moments. But frankly, most of these tracks sound more like technical exercises and home-studio experiments than songs. So unless you want to pay to hear Buckingham dump out his hard drive, you might want to go your own way.

Great Day 3:12
Over a bare-bones beatbox that sets a brisk pace, Lindsey layers gently throbbing arpeggios and flamenco flourishes with his acoustic guitar, crowning the affair with echoing vocals.

Time Precious Time 4:25
Buckingham fingerpicks at breakneck speed, stitching together a needlepoint backdrop for another echoing vocal line. This one sounds like Peter Gabriel and Robert Fripp.

Did You Miss Me 3:55
Finally, an actual song -- a slice of breezy, bittersweet California folk-pop complete with a suitably laid-back beat, a chiming guitar line and an actual chorus.

Wait for You 4:58
Fleetwood and McVie boogie on the bottom while Lindsey slings some bluesy juke-joint slide licks and brays like Stevie Nicks. A nice hypnotic groove in search of a bigger hook.

Love Runs Deeper 3:56
It starts out an understated, strummy little pop ditty -- then busts open on the chorus into a big Mac-style acoustic rocker. Not brilliant, but not half bad either.

Bel Air Rain 3:49
The cascading waterfall of glistening tones that flows from Buckingham's flying fingers is superb. The rainstick and soaring vocals, not so much. Enough with the echo, already.

The Right Place to Fade 4:02
Another decent acoustic rocker, with a lilting melody, memorable hooks and (we presume) another visit from McVie and Fleetwood. This one could end up on a Mac album.

Gift of Screws 2:52
A scrappy number that walks the line between British Invasion pop and garage-rock. It's not bad -- until Buckingham begins laughing like a hyena in the chorus.

Underground 2:58
Dreamy and wistful without being too ethereal, this folk-pop number features a throbbing guitar and some quietly popping percussion.

Treason 4:26
After all that frantic fingerpicking, Buckingham finally runs out of steam, lazily strumming his way through this downbeat, Dylanesque folk-rock ballad.

Gift of Screws Tour - Tour Stop #3 (Portland)

Third stop on the Gift of Screws Tour.... Newmark Theatre in Portland, OR on
September 10, 2008 (pictured right - Photo by Debra - Celtic Gypsy). No change to the setlist.

20 song set:

Great Day
Love Runs Deep
Go Insane
I Know I'm Not Wrong
Gift of Screws
Never Going Back Again
Big Love
Shut Us Down
Under The Skin
Did You Miss Me
World Turning
So Afraid
Go Your Own Way


Second Hand News
Don't Look Down
Time Precious Time

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Big CD: Lindsey Buckingham - Gift of Screws

By John Mulvey
The Times
4/5 Stars

It is rarely edifying to hear a multimillion-selling rock star whinge about lack of credibility. But on his previous solo album, Under the Skin, Buckingham just about got away with it. Buckingham, remember, was the man who had propelled Fleetwood Mac to their commercial zenith in the mid-1970s. And consequently, he was also one of the prime musical enemies of anyone who had invigorated their record collections with punk rock.

In the past few years, however, Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac have undergone something of a critical rehabilitation. Buckingham's obsessive perfectionism in the studio, his occasionally deranged sonic experiments, and the excruciating emotional honesty that he shares with all his old bandmates are seen as fine things. On Under the Skin, a little bit of praise seemed to have pushed Buckingham into a doggedly solipsistic display of his leftfield chops. The album began with him noting: “Reading the paper, saw a review/ Said I was a visionary, but nobody knew,” and mainly consisted of him constructing nervy guitar loops in what may well have been his bedroom. A lovely album, but one of strategically limited appeal.

Gift of Screws is a more varied affair. There are fantastic solo workouts, such as Time Precious Time, on which Buckingham yelps harmoniously over some frantically intricate acoustic guitar. But then there are also pop songs - Love Runs Deeper and Did You Miss Me - that are blessed with the same combination of stadium thump and spiritual fragility that proved so lucrative for Fleetwood Mac.

Since that band's venerable rhythm section - Mick Fleetwood and John McVie - contribute to Gift of Screws it is tempting to wonder why Buckingham did not save these songs for the next Fleetwood Mac album. But then an earlier solo album, also entitled Gift of Screws, was aborted, and a good few songs from that turned up on the Mac's Say You Will in 2003. Maybe this time, Buckingham anxiously wants to prove that he can do it all himself, from avant-garde guitar noodles to fabulously airbrushed pop. The critical acclaim is in the bag these days. Now, if only he could sell millions without the Fleetwood Mac brand name.

Gift of Screws Tour - Tour Stop #2 (Seattle)

Second stop on the Gift of Screws Tour....
Moore Theatre in Seattle, WA on September 9, 2008 (pictured right - Photos by Mooner). No change to the setlist.

20 song set:

Great Day
Love Runs Deep
Go Insane
I Know I'm Not Wrong
Gift of Screws
Never Going Back Again
Big Love
Shut Us Down
Under The Skin
Did You Miss Me
World Turning
So Afraid
Go Your Own Way


Second Hand News
Don't Look Down
Time Precious Time

The album is packed to the gills with guitars (Review)

By Jeff Giles

Wait, what’s this – a new Lindsey Buckingham record, just two years after his last one? Is Fleetwood Mac’s on-and-off guitarist finally learning how to make an album without disappearing completely up his own ass or what?

Well, yes, mostly. Although Gift of Screws takes its title from the album Buckingham spent most of the ‘90s working on – and subsequently parted out for Fleetwood Mac’s last album, 2003’s Say You Will, as well as his last solo effort, 2006’s Under the Skin – it consists mostly of new songs and new recordings, and provides a more-or-less full-band complement to Skin’s heavily acoustic song structures. It sounds, in other words, pretty much like a Mac record minus Stevie Nicks’ bleating. This is not a bad thing.

Aside from Skin’s minor detour, Buckingham’s sonic template hasn’t changed much in the last couple of decades, so if you’re familiar with his work, you know what to expect here – namely acres of fingerpicked guitars, towering stacks of vocals, and lyrics that occasionally border on the darkly paranoid, with wiry needlepoint solos draped over the whole thing. It’s a sound that inspires slavish fandom as often as it provokes confusion and/or disgust; for a guy who’s been essentially absent from the Top 40 for the last 20 years, Buckingham remains a surprisingly polarizing figure.

You probably already know which side of the fence you’re on, and have no intention of changing positions. If you’re a Buckingham fan, though, consider Screws another pleasingly Byzantine, solidly entertaining addition to the catalog, with all of Lindsey’s quirks and charms on full display. The album is packed to the gills with guitars – possibly only the vocal overdubs outnumber them – and although Mick Fleetwood and John McVie appear on some songs, Buckingham produced most of the record, so the bottom end is, politely speaking, an afterthought – he’s never met a bass player he couldn’t make disappear in the mix.

Lyrically, it’s darker than Under the Skin – where that album found Buckingham in an uncharacteristically warm and domestic mood, Screws is as conflicted as its title. Here, Buckingham seems to be preoccupied with seclusion and distance – the lyrics are rife with references to being underwater, or underground – but the album’s other recurring theme is making your way back, either to someone (as on the single, “Did You Miss Me”) or from a catastrophe (“Treason”). The melodies reflect this dichotomy, balancing between sweet and expansive to dense and angular – or sometimes, as on the title track, swerving between extremes in a single song.

In the context of Buckingham’s frustratingly meager solo work, Gift of Screws falls a notch below 1992’s brilliant Out of the Cradle, and depending on your favorite side of his work, it may not be as satisfying as Under the Skin. Still, it’s apparent that at an age when many of his peers have run out of things to say, Buckingham’s artistic pace shows no signs of slowing – just the opposite, actually. That’s some Gift.

4/5 Stars

This album is a gift indeed (Review)

by Chris Jones

Lindsey Buckingham, chiselled, unsmiling guitarist with Fleetwood Mac, first began recording Gift Of Screws between 1995 and 2001. In the intervening period nearly half the songs recorded were hijacked for the reunion album by the band, Say You Will, as well as various other projects including his own acoustic album, Under The Skin (2006). Luckily Mr B is a very talented man, and despite what may have seemed the cream of the crop being diverted for the greater good, the remaining ten songs are pure gold dust. This album is a gift indeed.

The title comes from an Emily Dickinson poem. The bulk of the material is self-played and self-produced. (with two songs co-written with wife Kristen and one with brother Will). Oh, and on another three songs some blokes called McVie and Fleetwood turn up to provide the rhythm tracks. It’s one of these (The Right Place To Fade) that Buckingham approaches the classic sound of the Mac, but elsewhere he’s his own man and the results are revelatory.

Most know the stories of Buckingham’s love of new wave bands that seemed at odds with the West Coast fare that his band epitomised. And indeed, Gift Of Screws approaches the avant garde in places. The opener, Great Day is quite some statement of intent. Fuelled by furiously plucked nylon strings it’s a fever pitch dash through whispered vocals and an incendiary guitar solo. Next up, Time Precious Time is no less startling. Over massed strings he intones like some alt folk hero a third of his age. From here it’s a brief (just over 39 minute) ride through pure Californian pop (Did You Miss Me, Love Runs Deeper) gonzo rock (Gift Of Screws), alien folk (Bel Air Rain) and so much more.

His voice is lithe, his fingers insanely nimble and his songwriting chops simply awesome. Really, anyone from the ages of 15 to 65 would find Gift Of Screws exhilarating. Quiet simply, a masterpiece.

This is more than just a Mac album (Review)

By Dave Simpson
The Guardian
Friday September 12 2008

At the height of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours supernova, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham suddenly started listening to Talking Heads and the Clash. Gift of Screws’ harder moments suggest these influences remain, though Buckingham has returned to the ethereal pop-rock songwriting that spawned the band’s classic hits. With the trusty Mick Fleetwood-John McVie rhythm section giving lots of sonic wallop, this is more than just a Mac album without the female vocalists: Buckingham seems to be rediscovering some sort of idealism. Time Precious Time addresses life’s urgency with virtuoso brilliance. Did You Miss Me, with its uplifting hook and lyrics about dreaming and loss, is the best pop song he has written since Go Your Own Way.

4/5 Stars

Lindsey Buckingham mixes the old and new

Fleetwood Mac legend Lindsey Buckingham mixes the old and new

Lindsey Buckingham tells our correspondent how he found happiness after the madness of Fleetwood Mac

Miles beyond Sunset Strip, beyond the Hollywood sign and Laurel Canyon, a familiar sound is coming from a rehearsal stage.

The opening couplet of Go Your Own Way wafts across the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank, California: “Loving you/ Isn’t the right thing to do . . .” The Fleetwood Mac legend Lindsey Buckingham is in final rehearsals for a six-week solo tour. A tour de force of Californian angst, the song first appeared on Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album – whose smooth curves masked a partner-swapping, drug-snorting epic of dysfunction. Those songs still resonate today – in recent months both Vampire Weekend and Fleet Foxes have covered Mac songs.

“Our first show is in two days, but I don’t feel like we’re quite ready,” he says, but that’s just the perfectionist in him speaking. In truth the show is an exhilarating mix of the old and new, reworked Mac classics combined with lost solo singles and tracks from his new album Gift of Screws. It’s a career-spanning set at a time when Buckingham is, he declares, “the happiest I’ve ever been”.

Buckingham today is a far cry from the hirsute, heartbroken pin-up of 1970s Fleetwood Mac, or even the lone, studio-bound experimental egg-head of the 1980s. He is married to the photographer and LA society belle Kristen Messner (with whom he has three children) and domestic contentment has reinvigorated his erratic solo career. Fourteen years had elapsed between Out of the Cradle (1992) and Under the Skin, and now Gift of Screws appears. His fifth solo album is as dense and engrossing as you would expect.

The best bits are classic Buckingham – mixing arch LA pop with avant-garde touches. The results are even more impressive live. Good Day channels Radiohead’s Idioteque with bluesy licks direct from The Chain, while Love Runs Deeper bops about joyfully, like a reconstructed new wave hit from 1982. His state of mind is reflected in the banter with band-mates. The vibe among the group, he says with a grin, is “camaraderie central”.

We go to chat in his office, which is feng shui-tidy – three identical white shirts are lined up next to three identical black leather jackets. A vintage Beach Boys poster hangs behind his see-through wardrobe. Through the door the bassline of FloRida’s Elevator can be heard.

“Is thatus?” he asks, half-joking, as the track blasts from the adjacent sound stage where the high-octane reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance? is being shot.

He is impressively well preserved for a 58-year-old rock survivor. The “blue-grey” eyes that his former paramour Stevie Nicks longingly sang about in Blue Denim radiate a fresh Californian glow. In conversation he’s forthright and relaxed. Interviews in the past have reflected the self-help books that saw him through the turmoil of Fleetwood Mac. But there is no trace of that now.

A Californian boy through and through, Buckingham was born in Palo Alto. There were early ambitions to be a professional swimmer (his brother Greg won a silver medal in the 1968 Olympics) but he was galvanised by music after hearing his brother Jeff’s copy of Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel.

“I was eight when I first started playing guitar,” he recalls, “because Jeff would bring home all these records. Not much later I got into acoustic, finger pickings, but I couldn’t read music.”

After meeting Stevie Nicks at high school (“I was playing California Dreamin’ and she came along and harmonised”), the two formed a duo, first with the band Fritz (“We opened for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin”) and then on their own as Buckingham Nicks.

A chance encounter with Mick Fleetwood followed and he asked them to join his faltering British blues band, with Buckingham as lead guitarist. His predecessors had either fallen into drug-induced schizophrenia (Peter Green), left to join cults (Jeremy Spencer) or became violent alcoholics (Danny Kirwan). Was he worried about being afflicted with the “Curse of the Fleetwood Mac Guitarist”?

“I knew about it, it was almost a joke,” he laughs. “I loved Peter’s work but when I met him . . . Well, let’s just say that he was less nice than he could have been. As for me? I’m still here – I didn’t join a cult and I didn’t go crazy. At least I think I didn’t . . .” His solo work has always been an escape from the debauched, multi-platinum madness that Fleetwood Mac involved. He cites Tusk, the eccentric follow-up to Rumours in 1979, as the “lightning bolt” moment.

“I consider it to be my first solo album – I recorded things at my home and brought them in to the band,” including, he says, percussion parts banged out on Kleenex boxes.

“With that album I was trying to accomplish stuff to the left of what Fleetwood Mac had become.”

Today, there is no tension between his solo work and working with Fleetwood Mac. “Being a father and a husband I realised that there are more important things than music. Solo work is a boutique effort for me; it’s a labour of love. I long ago gave up the idea that it would be appreciated on a commercial level. Fleetwood Mac is the golden carrot and my solo work is kind of indulged by the record company.”

And, he says, unlike Nicks, the needs of Fleetwood Mac always came before his solo records. “Stevie was always able to pull back from the Fleetwood Mac machine and say ‘OK, now I’m doing my solo stuff.’ But I wasn’t in a position to do that, nor would I have felt comfortable to do that and call myself a band member – possibly because of my role as an arranger in the band.”

Indeed, Buckingham was twice poised to do albums that became Fleetwood Mac projects instead. “It happened with Tango in the Night [1987] and in 2000 with Say You Will. But this time I put my foot down and said I wanted three years when I’ll make a solo album, tour, then make another solo album.”

So after this six-week solo tour, he is due to reunite with his main band for a tour in 2009 and then possibly an album. “In Fleetwood Mac nothing is certain until you actually see it,” he notes wryly. “But it’s up to us to not shoot ourselves in the foot.” The band is still very much a “work in progress”, by which he means both emotionally and musically.

“Happily they are still part of the fabric of my life,” he says. “I’ve known Stevie since I was 17, which is something to cherish – and why it’s still worth working on getting rid of all the bulls*** between us. Because there still is after all this time, would you believe.”

Bel Air Rain, a song from Gift of Screws, looks back at the decadence of Fleetwood Mac and contrasts it with the relatively calm life he is living now. “I lived in Bel Air for a number of years as a bachelor with some crazy girlfriends. I also built a house there when I started my family. Fame is really funny, it gives you lots of freedom but then at the same time it takes away a lot of yourself.”

After all the madness, it’s good to see that he has managed to retain what made him so special in the first place.

Gift of Screws is released by Warners on Monday 15 September 2008