The Philadelphia Daily News, March 17, 1993


by Jon Bream, Scripps-Howard News Service

With Fleetwood Mac, singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham had fame, fortune and no fun.

Now that he's on his own, Buckingham is selling few albums and playing to small audiences. But he's having a ball.

"I'm having much more fun than I ever had in Fleetwood Mac," said Buckingham. "I feel in many ways that period of time was sort of like thesis work; it was paying dues."

Buckingham was ambivalent even when he joined Fleetwood Mac, a moderately successful British blues band, in 1975. "I had more to give up than Stevie (Nicks, his singing partner) did.

"I had to adapt my guitar style to what already existed (in the band) and give up a certain amount of what I was about as a guitarist. That was not such a great thing, but you find yourself in a position and you have made a choice and you play team ball . . . I had moments of being fulfilled. I learned a lot and wouldn't have missed any of that."

"I always felt more ambivalent about the kind of success we had than anyone else in the group did," he added.

Not only was Buckingham one of the three singer-songwriters in Fleetwood Mac, but he also was considered the architect of the group's music. "I was someone who had studio ears, studio savvy, studio passion and studio visualization, who was able to take the raw material from the other two and fashion it into a sound."

Buckingham, however, was also interested in learning and long-term growth, which he said was difficult with a mega-selling machine whose 1977 "Rumours" album, with 14 million sales, is one of the biggest sellers in history.

Warner Bros. Records, some band members and fans wanted the band to repeat the successful formula; Buckingham wanted artistic challenge. Further testing the chemistry of the band was the fact that the two romantic couples in the quintet - Buckingham and Nicks and singer-keyboardist Christine McVie and bassist John McVie - had broken up, but continued working together.

After two monster-selling albums and then the experimental "Tusk" in 1979, Buckingham started to find the atmosphere in the band uncreative and unwieldy - it required five managers and five lawyers for the band to conduct business. So Buckingham quit after recording "Tango in the Night" in 1987, but Fleetwood Mac hired two new guitarists and pressed on. Buckingham joined the band for one song at two 1990 concerts in California and again last January for President Clinton's inauguration. (Clinton had adopted Fleetwood Mac's 1977 hit "Don't Stop" as a campaign theme song.)

Buckingham said it was fun and easy to play the one number at the inauguration party, and the optimism of the occasion "created a nice sense of closure for the group."

The one-night, one-song reunion also enabled him to patch up differences with band founder, drummer Mick Fleetwood, who wrote a tell-all book in 1990 that contained a couple of things Buckingham objected to.

Now Buckingham, 42, is going his own way: on the road with his own band for the first time. He still performs five or six Fleetwood Mac songs plus a few tunes from the two solo albums he put out while in Mac and much of the material from his 1992 album, "Out of the Cradle."

"Cradle" is a masterful pop collection recorded over the course of three years by a one-man band. Despite rave reviews, the recording hasn't been a best-seller. In fact, it's no longer listed on Billboard's Top 200 album chart.

Buckingham says he's focusing on art, not sales.

When he was in Fleetwood Mac, he craved the unexpected. One idea was to front a band that had six guitarists and six bass players. That concept was the seed for his current band.

For his first solo tour, he has six guitarists, three percussionists, a bassist and a keyboardist; six of the musicians sing.

Buckingham avoided hiring well-known session musicians. "These people are hungry and are enchanted by the idea of doing this and eventually taking this thing back into the studio," he said. "It really feels so much like a family."

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