April 2, 1993, Friday, HOME FINAL EDITION

NOT JUST secondhand news;Going solo suits former Fleetwood Mac member Lindsey Buckingham

Tom Kessler, Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News

In its roughly 25-year history, Fleetwood Mac has experienced personnel crises that defy the laws of probability.  Co-founder Peter Green became an acid victim who reportedly grew 3-inch fingernails and eventually lived in a deserted rail yard.  In 1971, then-member Spencer disappeared before a concert only to turn up four days later after joining the Children of God sect.

So when guitarist Lindsey Buckingham -- amid highly public intergroup squabbles -- released a 1984 solo album titled Go Insane,his mother had good reason to worry.

"I hadn't been real happy the last few years in Fleetwood Mac, and think an album like Go Insane scared the (expletive) out of her,'says Mr. Buckingham from New York City, where he was on tour for Out of the Cradle.

The album, his first solo work since quitting the band more than five years ago, is Mr. Buckingham's keenly observed study of a tattered rock life -- his own.  But out of its exploration of "this obsession of fear and revenge' emerges a theme of rebirth and a sense of serenity --and sanity -- regained.  All of which is good news for Mr. Buckingham's mother, to whom the album is dedicated.

"She took this as a sign that things were getting better,' he says.

"So she's been able to embrace this one a little more. '

Having extricated himself from the "dysfunctional family' that is Fleetwood Mac, Mr. Buckingham says, "I'm probably having a better time now than I've ever had. '

As well he should.  His new album, while not approaching previous sales, has been uniformly praised by critics as masterful.  He has assembled a nine-piece band and, having recently performed on VH-1's Center Stage, is three weeks into a tour that will take him to more than 25 cities.

All this is a fresh experience for a man who, despite writing the majority of the hits on such multi-platinum selling Mac albums as Rumours and Tango in the Night, was always a sideshow performer in the Fleetwood Mac circus.  It was Stevie Nicks, Mr. Buckingham's former longtime girlfriend, who received the spotlight.

Ironically, it was Mr. Buckingham's unwillingness to tour that reportedly led to his departure from Fleetwood Mac.  His decision resulted in a screamed argument in a parking lot that shattered his remaining relationship with Ms. Nicks.  She told writer Timothy White at the time: "Lindsey and I had been going together from about 1971 to1976.  But we never really broke up until that moment. '

That interview apparently never made its way to Mr. Buckingham.

"Oh, really.  Did she say that? ' he asks.  "That surprises me.  She went through quite a number of men, ah..I'm surprised to hear that actually. That's very interesting.. '

But Mr. Buckingham dismisses any notion that he dislikes touring.

He says he acquired that reputation with Fleetwood Mac because he was frustrated that "there was never a chance to make any sweeping change sin the show over a period of years.

"The politics would be that it just wouldn't happen.

"And plus, as people (band members) moved into darker sides of themselves, and darker habits, that manifests itself most on the road.

And I just wasn't up for that, I guess. '

Mr. Buckingham says that long-brewing frustration fed his creative comeback.  It also was the motivation for him to choose a group of unknown musicians as his new band.

"I'm as hungry now as I've ever been, or more so, to express myself and to look into what I want to look into,' he says.  ".And I wanted the other people (in my band) to feel that way, too. 'Despite his desire to be successful on his own, Mr. Buckingham makes it clear he will not acquiesce to record industry pressures.

"I'd be lying if I told you I didn't want to sell some records,' he says.  "But it's just a question of what you're willing to do for that.

You see a situation like Rumours (it sold 20 million copies) where people are trying to make you buy into the thing -- if it works, run it into the ground -- as opposed to making what you find interesting and what will represent growth. '

One of the areas that he wanted to explore was his guitar playing,which he felt was under utilized in Fleetwood Mac.  And having worked through the traumas of life inside Fleetwood Mac, Mr. Buckingham say she's happy and optimistic about his future with a new band: "Now I'm in what feels very much like a family, but it's not dysfunctional. '

Mr. Buckingham is even comfortable enough with his former Macaques -- Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie and Ms. Nicks-- that he join them for President Clinton's inauguration.

"When you distance yourself from a situation and you're able to get clearer idea of what it was and what it wasn't, and get a clearer idea of what problem you might still be having with it -- you try to put everything in a healthy perspective.

"It's pivotal between being sad about things that have basically died for you and being able to move forward and find other things that are alive for you. '

The title of his new album comes from a Walt Whitman poem: Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking.  For Mr. Buckingham, that says it all.

Thanks to Anusha for the submission.