Chicago Tribune, Sunday, March 7, 1993

For single-minded Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac is distant history
By David Rothschild

As the first rock'n'roll generation heads over the hill and into the White House, many of the musicians they once cherished now seem destined for early retirement.  Some stars from the '60s and '70s have been relegated to the "classic rock" scrap heap; others now find themselves with a whole new audience.

Lindsey Buckingham, 42, still is a musician who bears serious consideration.  One of the driving creative forces behind Fleetwood Mac's most successful lineup, Buckingham is now taking a second crack at a solo career that faltered last April, when--after three years of recording--his "Out of the Cradle" album was released to favorable reviews but disappointing sales.

Aside from recent exploratory strides, Buckingham hasn't performed live for 11 years.  Always the most elusive member of Fleetwood Mac and a self-confessed studio denizen, the multifaceted musical perfectionist never toured to promote his previous solo albums "Law and Order" (1982) and "Go Insane" (1984).  When Buckingham appears on VH1's "Center Stage" live performance program Tuesday and performs live at the Park West
March 18 he will be starting from scratch.

Last December, when Buckingham was in town to tape "Center Stage," he seemed cautiously optimistic about his solo career but was taking nothing for granted.  In an interview, after his impressive comeback performance with a handpicked band of nine unknown musicians (including four guitarists and three percussionists), Buckingham spoke about the realities behind the performance magic.

"This kind of format is something that I've been wanting to try for years.  The format with the five guitars--in which you can properly orchestrate things that are on the record--was something that I could never do with Fleetwood Mac.

"It's taken me about two months of rehearsal with this group to get this far, and before that, about a month and a half of auditions.  You have it in your head, and you never know if it's going to work out."

Especially on television, "Something about the explosiveness of it gets condensed down...The unpolished aspects of it become a little more glaring on TV," he said.

Preparing for the "Center Stage" performance has given Buckingham's solo career new life.  Last November, after assembling and rehearsing the new band, Buckingham and manager Michael Brokaw decided to book two nights at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, two hours outside Los Angeles. The intention was to see how a small club audience would respond.  The show was not advertised but it sold out anyway.

The performance went well enough to convince Warner Bros. Records president Lenny Woranker and Creative Artists Agency's Tom Ross--both of whom were in the audience--that A Buckingham solo tour was worth banking on.

"That's the most gratifying thing that's happened out of all this," Buckingham noted.  "We will be touring and we have some very important people behind what we're doing, now that they've seen what it is."

"Let's face it," Brokaw said, "there is no more Fleetwood Mac.  There is no more band that he became famous in.  When you assess your life and find that you want to make changes in it, the cleanest break is to pick up the pieces and start over at a reasonable level.  That's what Lindsey is doing."

At the end of the post-"Center Stage" interview, when it was suggested that Buckingham must already have received plenty of praise for his recent efforts, the still youthful '70s West Coast pop wonder boy smiled, then shook his head.  "I don't hear it that often," he said.  "I don't get out that much."

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