Sunday, October 05, 2008

Lindsey Buckingham vibrant sans Fleetwood Mac

I listen to a lot of new music, and much of it leaves me flat.

I don’t know whether it’s the music or my age, but I began to suspect the latter when I received Lindsey Buckingham’s new CD, “Gift of Screws.”

Wow, is it ever good.

Is it hip to admit you like the new Lindsey Buckingham CD?

Is it hip to say “Wow”?

Yes to both questions, as it turns out.

After all, the Fleetwood Mac frontman long ago moved beyond the California rock that made that once-famous band famous again in the mid-’70s.

The songs in “Gift of Screws” are catchy, of course, but they are also kind of crunchy.

There’s lots of fierce fingerstyle guitar and generally chilly atmosphere reminiscent of the late Chris Whitley’s full band recordings.

Only one song, “The Right Place to Fade,” sounds like it could have come off “Rumours.”

At the risk of using an adjective that is so overused it almost signifies its opposite, “Gift of Screws” is timeless.

In a phone interview, Buckingham said he doesn’t set out to make “timeless” music.

“I don’t think anyone writing music and putting together material does so with the objective of making it timeless,” he said. “We’re all just goofing around. Hopefully, in the process of that, we manage to make something that works.

“I just feel thankful when I get to the end of something that it is actually finished and it turned out OK,” Buckingham said. “ ‘By the skin of my teeth’ is always the sense I have.”

Buckingham performs tonight at the Murat Egyptian Room in Indianapolis.

These days, Buckingham has the luxury in his solo career of doing whatever pleases him: He doesn’t need the money and he doesn’t have anything to prove, he said.

But it wasn’t always thus.

“What really started me making solo albums was what I perpetrated in the wake of the mega success of ‘Rumours,’ ” he said. “Namely, the ‘Tusk’ album. That was a left turn.

“It was a bit risky and was, to some degree, confounding of people’s expectations.”

And how.

Where “Rumours” was filled with ingratiating hits, “Tusk” was a crazy quilt with occasionally cacophonous stuff that reflected the emotional chaos within the band.

“It wasn’t ‘Rumours 2,’ ” Buckingham said simply. “And because ‘Tusk’ did not fulfill someone’s idea of what the requisite number of sales should have been, the band decided it was not going to do anything like that anymore.”

“That decision created a line of solo material that was free of any artificial impositions about how things should be done and not be done,” Buckingham said.

If Buckingham’s words sound bitter, the man himself is not. He said he has mellowed considerably over the years.

“I have grown as an individual,” he said. “For a long time, I led a very emotionally defended life. Then I met my wife (Kristen Messner) and we had three kids. I have enjoyed the fruits of a lot of good karma.”

Buckingham has nothing but pride in the behemoth known as Fleetwood Mac, but he admits his outlook wasn’t always so upbeat.

When he first joined the band, he had to perform a lot of material that wasn’t his and mesh with people who had played together a long time. And then, of course, the band members decided (unsuspectingly) to mix business with pleasure, which led to a mix of business and resentment.

“The interpersonal dynamics were challenging,” he said. “It is difficult to break up with someone and see them move away slowly or not so slowly and then try to find it within yourself to keep doing your job in the band and doing it well, that job being constructing the music for everyone.”

“It wasn’t always easy to feel unconflicted about that,” Buckingham said. “Also, obviously, we lived in a subculture where no one was taking care of themselves very well.”

When the band reunited in 1997 for a tour and live album, there was still lingering bitterness. That began to dissipate only recently, Buckingham said.

What people have to remember, Buckingham said, is that Fleetwood Mac’s sense of itself is more about the relationships than the hits.

“All of that is something that remains and is more present to me now than any of the success,” he said. “Bands are a lot less connected to their success than what goes on behind the scenes.”

Buckingham said he has started finally to bury the hatchet with former lover Stevie Nicks, and the unwitting catalyst for this was singer Sheryl Crow.

In March, Crow announced that she would be replacing former member Christine McVie in Fleetwood Mac, and the band quickly unannounced it.

“That was ridiculous,” Buckingham said of the debacle. “We’d had a very hypothetical conversation with her.”

Buckingham said Nicks was craving for “more female presence onstage” in the wake of McVie’s departure, and the band floated a trial balloon with Crow.

Apparently, Crow floated away on it.

You can’t really blame Crow for her enthusiasm.

Well, Buckingham can.

“Sheryl took it upon herself to tell anyone and everyone that she was joining Fleetwood Mac, an announcement that wasn’t just premature, it wasn’t on solid ground,” Buckingham said.

But the misunderstanding led to “some good conversations” between Buckingham and Nicks.

“That’s one thing that came out of this Crow thing is that we started talking,” he said. “We acknowledged that we do need to approach whatever is going to come in the sense of caring for each other as people more than anything.”

Buckingham said it is unlikely that anyone will replace McVie at this point.

The band has none of the pressures it experienced in the ’70s, Buckingham said, and that frees it up to focus on more important matters.

“We just have to enjoy each other as people up there (onstage),” he said. “We don’t have to have any more musical agendas. It is absurd for us to try and keep competing with bands in their 20s.”

Friday, October 03, 2008

Bumped to '09!

Yet again... Both the DVD and CD versions of Stevie's Soundstage show have been pushed back to the new year. January 13, 2009 is the latest date, according to Amazon - which I'm convinced will be moved again. It's not that far off if in fact it's released in January - that's not the problem. The problem is that they KEEP MOVING THE DATE!!! Amazon has or had both the art work and the track list (cd only) up on their site. Orders were being taken for both. Even Warner Bros. Records had both items for sale in their online store... It was confirmed with Warners via email that the DVD was available now. They stated in their email reply that the DVD had been available since September 23rd (news to me), and that the CD was being released October 28th (subject to change). This was just yesterday. Today, they've removed both items from their online store... and Amazon is now showing January, 2009 as release date.

Go figure!

Great Day.. Great Day. Great Day.... Great Day.

Happy Birthday
Lindsey Buckingham.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Enter To Win Autographed - Gift of Screws

Enter to WIN an Autographed copy of Gift of Screws

Apple QuickTime is currently featuring Lindsey Buckingham behind-the-scenes videos.

Watch Lindsey give in-depth, personal takes on songs from his latest album, Gift Of Screws.

Watch the videos here: One lucky winner will also receive a signed copy of Gift Of Screws, which is available now on Reprise Records.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lindsey Buckingham: “Fleetwood Mac still have a lot to say”
The MusicRadar interview
by: Joe Bosso
Monday September 29, 2008

“Rumours was like climbing Mount Everest,” says Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham. “Once you’ve done that, you can’t go any higher. You just have to find other places to go.”

And in the three decades since the release of that worldwide favorite (which has racked up sales of over 30 million copies), Buckingham has indeed followed his own erratic muse. There have been band breakups, reunions, solo albums, and a general understanding that Fleetwood Mac will only come together only when the mood is right.

“We’ve been through it all,” Buckingham says. “I think the fact that we’re still standing is proof of how strong our bond is. It’s taken a while to get to this point.”

Buckingham states that 2009 will be a Fleetwood Mac year, but before he reunites with the band he’s on the road to promote his strongest solo effort in years, Gift Of Screws.

Back to the amps

Unlike 2006’s Under The Skin, which was a largely acoustic work, Gift Of Screws is a more rocking affair. “It just felt right,” says the guitarist. “For me to put out Under The Skin II wouldn’t have made any sense. It was time for me to amp things up again.”

While the new album is resplendent with moments of ethereal beauty and intensity - and virtuosic fingerpicking that will drop jaws to the floor - there are also cuts that recall the Fleetwood Mac at their most rhapsodic. Not surprisingly, on these songs, Wait For You and The Right Place To Fade, Buckingham is backed by one of the finest rhythm section in rock, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.

Lindsey Buckingham recently sat down with MusicRadar to discuss Gift Of Screws and to give us the lowdown on Fleetwood Mac.

“It’s been a twisty little road for the band,” Buckingham admits. “But nowadays things are a little easier and the line is a lot straighter. To be in this place is quite a relief.”

Lindsey Buckingham: Q&A

How does Gift Of Screws relate to your last solo album, Under The Skin? Could you have released this one without having released that one first?

“I could have. In fact, Warner Brothers would have much preferred this one. [laughs] When I turned in Under The Skin, their general response was ‘Yeah we’ll put it out, but don’t expect us to do too much.’ But Under The Skin was an approach I’m very interested in, which is to take the kind of energy that a single guitar and voice have and apply the manner in which they succeed on stage in a studio situation.

“So I would use one or two guitars and have them do the work of the bass and drums and lead guitars pretty much throughout. I was very happy with that album. In retrospect, it functions as an opening act for Gift Of Screws.”

You went through many years between solo releases, but Gift Of Screws and Under The Skin happened in rapid succession. Is this the sign of a new wave of productivity?

“To some degree. Some of that is reflective of my personal life, and a certain stability that I have been able to find, having gotten married and having had children. But it also is about the fact that I put a three-year boundary in terms of Fleetwood Mac. I basically said, ‘Guys, I need these three years to do solo work and tour. But the band has had a pattern of coming into the picture anyway. [laughs]

“That’s happened several times, the most recent being when I was poised to release a solo album and the band wanted to record, and so almost all of my solo material got folded into the 2003 album Say You Will. And I’ve just kind of made it under the wire here because I think Fleetwood Mac may start rehearsing some time in January.”

The return of Fleetwood Mac

Are Fleetwood Mac going to record an album as well as tour?

“We’ll do some dates and get comfortable again. And assuming all goes well, we’ll make an album and then tour. So we have a rough, long-term sketch going and everyone’s very excited about it. I think Fleetwood Mac still have a lot to say musically.”

Tell me about Sheryl Crow’s supposed involvement at one point. Did you guys rehearse with her?

“No. [laughs] That whole thing has been blown up so far out of proportion to anything that was real. The reason that there was even any consideration in bringing in someone like Sheryl was that Stevie, having gone through a tour in 2003 without Christine McVie, missed that female camaraderie on stage, and so she was looking for someone else to kind of share that with.

“We’re all acquainted with Sheryl and Stevie brought up Sheryl’s name. I was fine with the idea, hypothetically speaking. I did have some private reservations about it that I didn’t voice, like, ‘Hmmm, are we now going to be doing Sheryl Crow songs in a Fleetwood Mac set?’ [laughs] That would be something of a mixed message. So the idea sort of sat there and there was no decision on it.

“Then Sheryl had an album come out and, as I understand it, during interviews she took it upon herself to announce it to the world that she was joining Fleetwood Mac! [laughs]

“That was something I was distanced from, but I guess it bothered Stevie a great deal. It was weird, and I think it led to Stevie having a bit of friction with Sheryl. Plus, Sheryl then realized that we weren’t just talking about 40 dates; we were talking about three years. So, after that…it just kind of went away.

“To me, the best way to approach Fleetwood Mac is to take the four core people and work on our dynamic, and there are many positives to that. I think this is going to allow Stevie and I to explore a lot, musically and emotionally.”

How do you and Stevie maintain a relationship? She’s said in interviews that you’re still the great love of her life. Does that make you uncomfortable?

“One of the things about Fleetwood Mac is, when we’re not together, we don’t talk a lot or keep in touch. We keep a healthy distance. But a good part of what we need to approach this time around is the dynamic between Stevie and me. It’s intense. We’ve been down a long road and we’ve known each other since we were about 16. We need to honor that and dignify that story, and I think that we’ll do that on our next recordings.”

Guitars and production

On the new album’s song Great Day, you have a wonderful mix of acoustics, and you play a blazing electric solo. What guitars did you use?

“I use a Rick Turner Renaissance gut-string for playing those little bluesy kind of drop-D riffs. The solo is the normal Turner stage guitar. I like that song a lot because it’s almost like a potpourri of everything that follows on the album.”

Tell me about the Rick Turner guitar, your mainstay instrument. When did you start using it and what do you like about it?

“It was brought to me probably after Rumours and during the making of Tusk. Its funny, because I don’t play with a pick, and before joining the band I had used a Telecaster which was appropriate for my playing style, and yet the Telecaster didn’t blend with the existing sound of Fleetwood Mac - the fatness of Christine and John’s instruments. So I had to switch over to a Les Paul to get the tone that seemed to work. A Les Paul is not a very good fingerpicking guitar, though, so I asked Rick to make me something that was somehow a cross between a Les Paul and a Telecaster. The guitar he came up with delivered in every area and it’s worked for me since.”

On the song Time Precious Time your fingerpicking is unbelievable. Are there any particular exercises you practice?

“I don’t practice per se. I learned to play on my own, taught myself how to play. I’ve never really had a lesson and I don’t read music. So all the stuff that I do doesn’t come from the normal set of disciplines that they teach you where you sit down and run through scales for a particular number of minutes a day.

“I’m not that knowledgeable with the guitar - I just find ways that are pretty creative, but it’s all within the framework and the limitations of what I can do. As they say, it’s not what you got, it’s what you do with what you got.

“On that song, the actual finger pattern of the right hand is just an arpeggio back and forth between the thumb and three fingers. It sounds like a waterfall to me - that was the idea, at least. In order to get that, I had to find a tuning that was specifically geared towards the notes that I wanted to use and then to find the new thumb notes that needed to be used with those, which were a root and a fourth.

“I figured out a tuning that was more or less open so I didn’t have to do a lot of fretting. And then I taught myself the positions all the way up and down the neck that would that would get to those things. It was an interesting exercise.”

Some of the sounds on the album recall the edgy production techniques from Tusk (1979). Your fascination at the time with punk and new wave was a very big deal. Did that have a negative impact on the band?

“Yes and no. I always made the joke that I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Warner Brothers first put Tusk on and listened to it in their boardroom as a follow-up to Rumours. That was an interesting, defining moment for me. The idea of subverting the formula that led to the success of Rumours, because clearly we were poised to follow that same formula to try and recreate the same success.

“And yes, a lot of new kinds of music had flooded in during that time and I was quite intrigued by a lot of it and loved a lot of it and it reinforced a lot of my belief system anyway.

“For me, it still defines the way I think, which is to try and follow your own instincts and not the expectations of external forces that may be wanting you to do certain things for the wrong reasons.

“In terms of the band, it did have a negative impact in a way. There was kind of an arc in the whole process where they were a little bit alienated from what was going on because at first I was working at home and bringing stuff in, and I think they were a little bit threatened by the lack of status quo at that point. As the album unfolded and people became aware of what it was I think everyone got pulled into what it was and got enchanted by the fact that it was different and experimental.

“Of course, when it didn’t sell 16 million albums there was a backlash from within the band. Basically, it became, ‘Well, we’re gonna put it back on track and work in the manner in which we made Rumours.’ If you want to call that an in adverse effect on the band I guess you could.”

How do you feel now about the belated regard to Tusk? Now people are calling it a masterpiece…

“All of those events never affected my feelings on the album and what it was. It only affected my feelings for the politics and it gave me a little sense of disappointment in the sense that I guess I was feeling at the time. It drove in the point that not everyone in the band were doing things for the same reason. But that’s fair enough too because Fleetwood Mac as a fivesome was a very unlikely group of people to be together in the first place.”

On a couple of the new songs on the new record, you’re joined by Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. How aware are you that whenever they play with you, it immediately sounds like Fleetwood Mac?

“I’m a little too close to it to be completely aware. It’s really hard to hear because on some level I am close to it and maybe take it for granted a little bit. But I have so much regard for Mick, especially as a drummer. He’s completely unique. Nobody else in the world sounds like him.”

Of all of your solos, I’m So Afraid is a show-stopper. What goes through your head every night you play it? And how much room for improvisation do you give yourself?

“I’m no Jimi Hendrix. I don’t have the level of proficiency to just let myself go off into something completely different every night. Nor do I think I would want to. I am someone who values musical themes. Someone who feels there should be a consistency from night to night with something. I’m not one of those people that can slam out a completely different solo every night because I don’t have the skill to do that.”

Buckingham and Nicks

Let’s go back to you and Stevie. What do you think would’ve happened if the two of you never joined Fleetwood Mac?

“That’s a good question! [laughs] I don’t know what we’d be doing now. But there was a period of time where we both wondered what would have happened if we had passed on the offer from Mike Fleetwood, because after Stevie and I had done that one album together we started to play some shows in the South - and things started to happen for us there!

“It was weird: we lived in LA and we were starving, but in the South we were headlining for three and four thousand people a night, which is more then I can play to now! [laughs] To be honest, I don’t really don’t have any answers to that question. Who knows where we’d be?”

Fleetwood Mac became famous for the soap opera - the fights, the squabbles, the walkouts. Do you think you have all mellowed with age and the things that used to bother you don’t seem so important now?

“I think one of the reasons why everyone is looking forward to next year is that we’re at a point where we’re feeling the same thing, which is to go out and acknowledge that there is a great deal of caring and love between us and acknowledge that we’ve accomplished something significant; and to acknowledge that everything we do needs to be come from the perspective of us sharing something and enjoying that thing and keeping that particular individual agenda down to a minimum.

“Just to relax into it and have a good time. What I think is going to happen out of that is that feeling is going to translate on stage. So yeah, I think we have gotten there. We’ve mellowed, but we’ll still rock!”

Kansas City Review - September 28th

Back To Rockville

The line can get fine between surprise and mystery; there was some of both Sunday night at the Uptown Theater. The surprise: The size of the crowd — about 600 — which was about half the size of the crowd that showed up the last time Lindsey Buckingham was in town.

The mystery: why this guy isn’t regularly included in discussions of great rock guitarists.

He and his three-piece band played for two hours Sunday night. By all measures it was a good show. Sound was great. Nice light show. Great set list. Very entertaining.

I love the Uptown (which will be rocking tonight), but they could have slipped this show into Liberty Hall or the VooDoo and cut out some of the emptiness. The vibe is always a little off when the place is less than half-full.

Buckingham made the most of it. So did his fans, most of whom came as much for the solo material as they did for the Fleetwood Mac nuggets.

He started with two from his new album, “Gift of Screws,” then three tracks that were encore-worthy: “Trouble,” “Go Insane” and “Tusk,” the evening’s first Mac song.

He followed that with another “Tusk” track — a rollicking, amped-up version of “I Know I’m Not Wrong.”

He sent the band off stage towards the middle of the show for a solo/acoustic set that included one of three “Rumors” tracks, “Never Going Back Again,” and one of Fleetwood Mac’s last hits, “Big Love.” He pulled a couple tracks off the “Fleetwood Mac,” too: “I’m So Afraid” and “World Turning.”

The setlist blended plenty of new material with the old. Some of it dovetailed nicely with those Fleetwood Mac songs, especially “Did You Miss Me” and the “Screws” title track, both of which would have fit in perfectly on “Tusk.”

A lot of folks were familiar with those new cuts, but two tracks off “Rumours” got the biggest response: “Go Your Own Way,” which finished the set, and “Second Hand News,” which opened the encore. “News” sounded particularly sweet.

No matter what album or era he visited, Buckingham showed off his inimitable guitar style — plectrum-free — and prowess all night. His fingers are so quick and nimble, he can play rhythm and lead at the same time. During some of his more elaborate instrumentals, it sounded like two people were playing. He makes it look effortless –like a guy who still spends hours a day practicing. At the end of several numbers, he pulled his guitar to his chest and embraced it, as if it were one of his children.

His “smoke-and-mirrors” light show deserves mention for its simplicity and effectiveness: spotlights bouncing off mirrors, often with heavy wisps of fog drifting by in the background. The sound was as good as I’ve heard in the Uptown recently, even with the place about two-thirds empty. This was a show with a big-name, designed and equipped for a big theater. Too bad it didn’t get the kind of crowd it deserved.

Timothy Finn, The Star

Setlist: Great Day, Underground, Love Runs Deeper, Trouble, Go Insane, Tusk, 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, Come, World Turning, I’m So Afraid, Go Your Own Way. Encore: Second Hand News, Don’t Look Down, Treason, Time Precious Time.

[Photo Credit: Top Timothy Fin, Bottom two: Lisa1769]

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stevie's Soundstage Sessions Tracklist Confirmed

Amazon confirms Stevie's Soundstage Sessions cd track listing:

1. Stand Back
2. Crash(Dave Matthews Band cover)
3. Sara
4. If Anyone Falls in Love
5. Landslide (orchestra version)
6. How Still My Love
7. Circle Dance
8. Fall From Grace
9. Sorcerer
10. Beauty and the Beast

REVIEW: Lindsey Buckingham Gift of Screws Tour Stop #13 - Tulsa

By Brandy McDonnell
Staff Writer.
NewsOK.comPhotos by: katScratch Designs (click for more)

TULSA — A strange and beautiful chemistry exists between Lindsey Buckingham and guitars.

The rock ‘n’ roll legend surpassed his reputation as a musical wizard Friday night at the Brady Theater, blending his potent fingerpicking and keening vocals into a spellbinding performance.

The crowd at the historic theater was woefully small; the show drew an estimated 1,500 fans, leaving the intimate venue only about half full. But they were ardent and loud, wildly worship ping every song, solo and guitar flourish of Buckingham’s two-hour set.

The Fleetwood Mac guitarist/singer/songwriter opened with a pair of songs from his new solo album “Gift of Screws,” released last week. Even those not yet familiar with Buckingham’s fifth solo effort appreciated the throbbing insistence and blazing closing solo of “Great Day” and the pop ditty “Love Runs Deeper.” The latter sounded as if it only needed the three-part harmony of Buckingham, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks to slip neatly into Fleetwood Mac’s oeuvre.

After sincerely thanking the crowd for being there, the black-clad frontman promised more familiar material and delivered two of his biggest solo hits, “Trouble” and “Go Insane.”

He didn’t make the audience wait long for some Fleetwood Mac favorites, putting an eerie, subdued=2 0opening on “Tusk,” then suddenly morphing into the customary pounding rock treatment of the song, which got fans stomping their feet and bobbing their heads.

Buckingham’s fingers danced over guitar strings with seemingly easy precision, but sweat was dripping from his curly hair and bent limply to one side at the end of the raucous “I Know I’m Not Wrong.”

Guitarist Neale Heywood, bassist/keyboardist Brett Tuggle and drummer Walfredo Reyes Jr. accompanied Buckingham with impressive sonic synergy. But the frontman hit one of the show’s high points when he went totally solo for a three-song acoustic set, including the wistful “Shut Us Down” and the Fleetwood Mac standard “Never Going Back Again.”
He illustrated that acoustic doesn’t necessarily mean low-key with a frenzy of flamenco-flavored fingerpicking on “Big Lov e.” He referenced the band’s legendary interpersonal struggles while introducing the song, the first single off 1987’s “Tango in the Night,” “the last album I did with Fleetwood Mac before I went off for a little while to regain my sanity.”

Heywood and Tuggle joined their acoustic guitars to Buckingham’s to give a lush and lovely dimension to “Under the Skin,” and their harmony vocals elevated the mellow ballad “Did You Miss Me,” the first single from the new album.

But the show reached its apex as Buckingham’s guitar wailed and screamed with pent-up emotions on the scorchingly intense “I’m So Afraid,” and then abruptly shifted into the irresistibly bouncy Fleetwood Mac classic “Go Your Own Way.”

For his encore, he kept the crowd on its feet with the rollicking 0Second Hand News” and vibrant “Don’t Look Down.” He could have stopped there, sending his fans home high on adrenaline and nostalgia. Instead, he planned to close with the introspective new offering “Treason,” explaining that “it’s about the lies that we tell each other … and also postulates that there’s something better, which we all know.”

And when the fervent fans coaxed one more song out of Buckingham, he again picked a thoughtful new song, “Time Precious Time.” As his agile fingers moved with an almost magical delicacy over the strings, it proved a fitting choice that allowed the enchantment of the evening to linger.

Friday, September 26, 2008

2 Audio Interviews with Lindsey Buckingham for Gift of Screws

John Soeder of The Cleveland Plain Dealer interviewed Lindsey Buckingham at the beginning of September during his conference calls with reporters on the release of Gift of Screws. The interview is roughly 7 minutes long.

Also, today... and repeating again at 8pm this evening... is an interview with Lindsey at 90.9 KTBG The Bridge in Kansas City.