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Tahoe Daily Tribune, Thursday, September 11, 2008

Phase 2 of the post-Fleetwood Mac Lindsey Buckingham is nearly complete. All that remains is a concert tour, which includes a show at Tahoe Saturday, Sept. 12, in support of his new album, “Gift of Screws.”

Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie plan to reunite in January to make a new studio album, then go out on a tour. A fifth member, Christine McVie, does not plan to come back.

Buckingham sounds so content now, however, that it’s baffling that he wants to rejuvenate the band. Fleetwood Mac comebacks thwarted his previous attempts to record on his own over a 14-year period. In that time, Buckingham remarried and had three children, finally setting aside time for himself.

“I chose to put a boundary around a three-year period and say to the band: ‘I want to make two albums and I want to tour behind them. Then, when we’re done, we can talk about what we want to do,’ ” Buckingham said in a conference call with music reporters. “That made the logistical side about it clear and easy to do. The old adage is, ‘Children are deaf to the artist,’ but I have found that to be just the opposite. It feels to me like I’m in the most creative period of my life right now.”

“Gift of Screws,” set for release Sept. 16, is a rock ’n’ roll answer to Buckingham’s acoustic “Under the Skin.”

“I wasn’t necessarily intending to make it so much more rock,” Buckingham said. “I was thinking it might be a step or two up from ‘Under the Skin’ had been, but it seemed to go in a certain direction on its own. That’s one thing you learn: You follow the work and let it lead you.”

The man who wrote “Go Your Own Way,” took that philosophy to heart when in 1979 he produced “Tusk,” Fleetwood Mac’s follow up to “Rumours,” by far the band’s top-selling album. Buckingham’s proclivity for experimentation and creativeness, often during times of Fleetwood Mac’s turmoil and drama, was not always appreciated.
“I realized not everyone was in a band for the same set of reasons,” Buckingham said. “The years after ‘Tusk’ were difficult knowing where to go as a producer and a writer for myself — increasing dysfunction of the band as they were conducting their life personally. It led to me just taking off for my individuality and my sanity. ‘Tusk’ has always been my favorite album. That was the album that defined how I still try to think today. The irony is many members of the band in retrospect look at that as their favorite album as well.”

“Gift of Screws” celebrates Buckingham’s fingerstyle guitar prowess. Buckingham, who was first inspired by music when his brother bought Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” is a self-taught guitar and bluegrass banjo player who was influenced by folk from the early ’60s, especially the Kingston Trio.

His singing style and experience as a producer further developed a unique sound.
“I enjoy taking anything and trying to convolute it beyond any sense of reality in one form or another,” he said. “I’ve never been one who’s been afraid to wear the artifice on the sleeve. Let’s have some fun. Let’s use the tools, and let the people know you’re using them.”

Buckingham said his public breakup with Nicks during the production of “Rumours” limited his creativity.

“Having to see her every day and do the right thing for her as a producer and not having the space for any closure, it was like someone picking at a wound all the time,” he said. “A way we dealt with it was to close off whole areas of your emotional landscape. I continued to work but the rest of my life was very narrow.”

“Getting a family … was almost like a big iceberg breaking up and melting. It just gave me a whole other basis for being creative and it gave me a support system to make decisions that I didn’t feel quite as enabled to make in years past.”

The stir Sheryl Crow created earlier this year when she announced that she would be replacing Christine McVie in Fleetwood Mac brought Buckingham and Nicks together for serious and productive discussions about the future of the group. Band members considered bringing Crow into Fleetwood Mac but never made an offer, Buckingham said.

Buckingham said reuniting with Fleetwood Mac is like going home.

“It’s comfortable, like seeing your parents, because you know each other so well,” he said. “It doesn’t mean you don’t have issues that can crop up. The agenda is to avoid things we’ve blown out of proportion in the past and to remind ourselves that we do love each other and are great friends.”