The Arizona Republic, April 4, 1993

THINKING ABOUT TOMORROW: Fleetwood Mac Defector Lindsey Buckingham Savors Life, Career As Solo Artist

by Salvatore Caputo

Lindsey Buckingham played to tens of thousands of people a night when he was with '70s superheavies Fleetwood Mac. Going his own way, he's playing to mere hundreds on his first solo tour -- and is much happier.

"The contrast from having done whatever I left off with -- which was probably arenas -- to getting down to being able to lean over and sweat in somebody's face, I think it's been great," he said, calling in from a Washington, D.C., tour stop.

"I've been having a ball."

Buckingham brings an unusual band -- a 10-piece unit featuring five guitarists -- to The Roxy, which holds about 600 people, on Friday.

"I wouldn't think of going out and trying to fill an arena at this point," he said. "But beyond that, you really lose touch with how distant you are from the audience and how distant they are from you and how much less the show becomes because of the idea of playing to 20,000 people a shot."

He's also glad to have a band that can play the multilayered music from Out of the Cradle, his first album since leaving Fleetwood Mac in 1987.

"As a general thing, it was always a little frustrating (with Fleetwood Mac) to get into certain levels of nuance or layering or detail and then have to paraphrase way down with just one guitar. . . . This particular configuration (the current band) allows you to do just about anything you want to do, vocally as well . . . we've got seven people who sing. It is something I've been wanting to try for a long time just as a concept, too -- just the idea of doing something that's that different and that has a function, that you're not doing it just to be Busby Berkeley or something."

Buckingham has worn many hats -- guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and record producer -- often at the same time, as he did on Out of the Cradle.

Yes, the title (taken from a Walt Whitman poem, Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking), does refer to his decision to leave -- partly.

"In the last few years (with Fleetwood Mac), there was a lot of disunity, and there were personal problems with people in the band and such, (so) that it was really not even a creative atmosphere anymore for me."

But, he said, the title is also about "finally becoming an adult, finally taking the responsibility for my happiness, for my creativity and rejecting all of the things that that (Fleetwood Mac) had become, which really were not very nice anymore."

So don't expect a long-term reunion even though he joined his Fleetwood Mac mates in January to play Don't Stop for President Clinton.

Out of the Cradle's tunes include Wrong, where Buckingham takes a slap at Mick Fleetwood, who wrote a tell-all Mac book.

Buckingham also wrote Street of Dreams and included an instrumental version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "This Nearly Was Mine," in tribute to his dad.

"That was a favorite song of his, and it's kind of a mate to . . . 'Street of Dreams,' which was written about a time when I was kind of unsure why I was doing what I was doing creatively. My father had died a long time before that, and I used to go up to my hometown and carry on conversations with him and try to imagine what advice he'd give back."

Buckingham was responsible for such big Fleetwood Mac tunes as Go Your Own Way and for Fleetwood Mac's left-turn album Tusk.

Following up on 1977's Rumours, at that time the biggest-selling album by a band ever (14 million copies), Tusk was bound to sell less.

So Buckingham, who helmed the project ("I guess you could consider Tusk my first solo album," he once said), decided there was no harm in taking a risk.

He pieced together Tusk, a quirky album that went way beyond the band's four-instrument format. The title cut, for instance, included backup by a marching band, and it was a top-10 hit in 1979, peaking at No. 8 on the Billboard chart.

Piecing together and forming music has always been the point for him.

"I can remember being about 4 and my mother had Nutcracker Suite on. I was asking her, 'What's making that sound there? And what's making that sound?'. . . .

"The way things fit together is as much the message as anything else. I'm concerned about the shape of things in the sense that Classical music is that way. You're not listening for words or a message. You're listening for the form, for the dynamics, for the way the pieces fit."

That's why it took so long to put together Out of the Cradle, another risky album that, he admits, is not likely to turn on many radio programmers.

"When you're doing it the way that this album was done - which is to play almost everything - it's like painting: going in every day and you may paint over what you've done all week sometimes, you know? Or sometimes the canvas will pull you off in other directions that you never expected to go. . . . At that point, you really find that it's difficult to separate the process of writing from the process of recording, at least in the way this particular work was done. Everything can evolve simultaneously. It's exciting."

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