Billboard, March 13, 1993

Buckingham's out of the cradle again

By Chris Morris

Lines Up Dates With 10-Piece Tour Band

LOS ANGELES--Warner Bros. is optimistic that a tour by singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham's 10-piece band will ignite fresh sales of Buckingham's much-lauded 1992 Reprise album "Out Of The Cradle."

The group, which performed two shows at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., in December and a concert at the Wiltern Theatre here last month, launches the month-long first leg of a national tour of clubs and medium-sized halls Monday (8) in Solana Beach, Calif.

On Tuesday (9), the Buckingham band will be showcased on the half-hour VH1 show "Center Stage"; an hourlong version of the broadcast, co-produced by the cable network and PBS and taped live at WTTW-TV in Chicago, will be aired on the public broadcasting network later this spring.

Westwood One aired 90 minutes culled from the group's Dec. 10 and 11 Coach House performances (Buckingham's first-ever live solo shows) on its Feb. 27 "Superstar Concert Series" broadcast.

Although two singles from "Out Of The Cradle" failed to chart last year, the company will release a third, "Don't Look Down," within the month to coincide with the tour.

Says Buckingham of the tour, "Best-case scenario is that we might pump life into the record, and this is basically what (Warner president) Lenny (Waronker) and Warner Bros. would like to do. I think it's to their credit that they're even willing to do that at this point, because it would be just as easy for them to say, 'Yeah, go out and do the (tour) leg, and then make another album.'"

While "Out Of The Cradle" won wide favor in critical circles--it came in 10th in BAM's poll of national critics and 33rd in the Village Voice's Pazz & Jop Poll-the eccentric pop album stalled commercially following its release last June.

It spent only nine weeks on The Billboard 200, peaking at No. 128 in August. The first two singles, "Countdown" and "Soul Drifter," failed to hit the Hot 100 Singles chart; the track "Wrong" logged seven weeks on the Album Rock Tracks chart, peaking at No. 23.

Buckingham had enjoyed some solo success in the early '80s, when he was still a member of Fleetwood Mac. His 1981 Asylum album "Law And Order" hit No. 32 and spawned a top 10 single, "Trouble"; that album's 1984 successor, "Go Insane," on Elektra, rose to No. 45.

But Buckingham admits that his past association with Fleetwood Mac may not have done any good for his own distinctly different brand of music: "On the one hand, the name is gonna get your foot in the door, but maybe it's the wrong foot."

Buckingham says that the promotion of "Out Of The Cradle" focused on "normal publicity stuff ... and then we ended up going out for like five or six weeks and doing what I call radio ass-kissing."

Buckingham didn't begin to audition band members until late last summer. He says, "I didn't really expect that the thing would take as long to put together as it did. There was sort of a lag time, which obviously didn't work to our advantage, but I guess better late than never."

The 11-piece touring unit, including Buckingham, which features five guitarists and six singing voices, was designed to parallel the detailed, heavily overdubbed sound of Buckingham's albums that the studio-obsessive musician has essentially recorded by himself.

He says, "(Rather than) having to paraphrase that (sound) down to the point where that had very little relation to what the recorded idea was, I wanted to get into a position where you had the flexibility to get into at least some level of nuance (on stage) ... It's a level of orchestration that was never possible in Fleetwood Mac."

Waronker says, "He's actually got a guitar orchestra up there, which is something he's talked about for as long as I've known him--maybe not completely seriously, because I'm not sure he felt he could do that."

He adds, "The idea of taking his guitar parts and orchestrating them, giving each guitar player a part, really makes it special, and it gives you a little bit more insight into the record, too."

Buckingham is sticking to clubs and theaters during the first leg of his tour because "we need to reintroduce ourselves out there. I'm a little disenchanted with the larger places. I'm kind of interested in getting close, making as much contact as possible."

He says that later dates on the tour will be booked into "slightly larger places."

Even if the tour fails to fire sales for "Out Of The Cradle," Buckingham says his experience with his big band may bring about a change in his record-making style.

Thanks to Les for posting this to the Ledge and to Anusha for formatting and sending it to us.