Music: Lindsey Buckingham in Two Worlds

Feb 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Blair Jackson



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How did Under the Skin affect Gift of Screws, if at all?
Actually, I’m going through the same schizoid thing right now with the new album. Under the Skin didn’t really have lead guitar and was pretty much an acoustic-feeling album, whereas Gift of Screws was the opposite, and I think it was not just a reflection of my own sense of the range that’s there, but also a reflection of doing one [album] for me and one for… Well, as soon as I turned in Gift of Screws, Tom Whalley [now-departed CEO of Warner Bros.] called and said, “This is exactly the album we wanted before!”

“Thanks, I guess.”
[Laughs] “Glad you liked Under the Skin, man!” I don’t think they really “got” Under the Skin, to be honest, because they’re looking for things that somehow resonate with the Fleetwood Mac brand. And that’s kind of the onus under which you have to function—or not. I’ve done pretty well at undermining that over the years.

I can’t believe I just heard you say “Fleetwood Mac brand.”
Yeah, well, this is what we have to rail against to some degree. That was the psychology behind Tusk—taking what was clearly a point at which we might get branded and never be able to find our way out of that, and to pull the rug out from under it before there was a chance for it to take [root]. You could argue whether that was a wise choice or not. I was saying to Irving Azoff recently, “There are times I sort of kick myself around the block on a financial level for not working the franchise more.” But that’s the trade-off. I’m the person I want to be now, so I have no qualms about some of those choices. I think other people might have qualms about some of those choices.

But it’s not their life.
That’s exactly right.

Tell me about the new album.
It’s still coming together. I did it here at the house. When we got off the road with Fleetwood Mac last December [2009], I wasn’t really planning on making another solo album. I had a lot of ideas, but I didn’t necessarily feel the great urge to do that. And there was some talk about Fleetwood Mac continuing after the first of the year, but that didn’t come together, and suddenly I found myself with this time. At one point, I thought about doing shows where it would be a whole hour of just me doing what I do on guitar, and maybe at the end you bring out Brett [Tuggle, bassist in his solo band] and Neale [Heywood, guitarist] or something. I thought that might be something people would find interesting, so I was basing a lot of the approach on this album in a way that would resonate with that kind of show. Then, of course, as time went by, drums started to creep in on a few songs and it got more and more schizoid.

Are you playing the drums?
No, it was machine drums and some [Apple] GarageBand stuff. And then there is also Walfredo Reyes [Jr.], who was on our last tour; he played on a few things. Some of it, there’s no drums at all. Then, once you start playing little bits of things for people, they tend to gravitate to the tracks with drums, so I said, “Okay, I’m gonna hedge my bets here, make sure that I’m covered if that’s where this album wants to go.” I wanted to be open-minded. It may very well be an album that’s closer in spirit to Under the Skin, but in a slightly rawer way. But I’ve also got other things that have some lead guitar on them. It’ll be interesting to see how it comes out. But I think it could be as good as anything I’ve done in a while.

How does Say You Will [the most recent Fleetwood Mac album] sound to you now?
I have not listened to that album recently, but my intuition tells me that I was quite happy with how that album turned out. I cannot say it was as unified a piece of work as it could’ve been, and that was down to the fact that much of the material I had at the time had been, once again, slated to be a solo album—stuff I had done with Rob Cavallo. So there was a certain amount of deconstructing going on in order to make it work in a band context. From Stevie’s end, she wrote four new songs and then brought in a bunch of stuff that had been laying fallow for a while. I think you could sense a dividing line in terms of style with my songs that were not only new and a little bit edgy, but also a bit off the beaten track from the Fleetwood Mac style, as much as we tried to backtrack on it. So whether those two sets of material found any common ground… that would probably be the one thing I could criticize about the album. Having gone through a process that was a little problematic like that, I was happy with my stuff and the overall outcome of the album and the effect it had. I was pushing for it to be something a little more art-y and more chance-y, and it had elements of that and we folded it into one CD and made it what it was.

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