St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 20, 1993


by Daniel Durchholz

   NO ONE can accuse Lindsey Buckingham of not thinking big. When he performs at the Riverport Amphitheatre next Thursday night as the opening act for Tina Turner, Buckingham - the noted guitarist, songwriter and sonic architect of the '70s and '80s supergroup Fleetwood Mac - will front a band featuring nine pieces in all, including four guitarists and three percussionists, and six singers. "Basically, I'm going for that Busby Berkeley effect," Buckingham said in a recent interview.  And why not? Buckingham's three solo albums, the latest of which, "Out of the Cradle," was released last year, have all been opulent affairs, full of lush guitar orchestrations, clever hooks and complex vocal harmonies.

An avowed studio rat, Buckingham is able to play and sing nearly all the parts himself on record. But taking his music to the stage is another matter entirely. "I've wanted to work with a few more guitars for a long time," he said. "I don't think that is really a reaction to being the lone guitarist in Fleetwood Mac; it's just a specific idea I had to try. And I also wanted to downplay the idea of just having a kit of drums by adding sort of a percussion community to lace through all those guitar parts, to lighten it up a little bit. "A lot of the things that I've done on record and even some of the Fleetwood Mac things were always really hard to do live and had to be paraphrased onstage. Being able to get a number of musicians to really go in and play all those parts is a gratifying thing to see come to fruition."

Equally gratifying for Buckingham has been the ability to get back to playing live concerts - this is his first tour in a decade. Having split with Big Mac just before their "Tango in the Night" tour, Buckingham's last go-round was the band's "Mirage" tour of 1982-83.  "I really needed to do this," he said. "Obviously, after not touring for so long and working in a fairly isolated situation in my studio here at the house, the sense of release has been tremendous. Making the album was more of a cerebral thing, like being a monk for a few years. To be able to get out and sweat and manifest the music live again is just great." "Out of the Cradle" was a watershed album for Buckingham, creatively if not commercially. "Having left the band and, in a sense, working without a net, I consciously took myself off the treadmill and was able to spend three years making a record and letting things rise to the surface that maybe hadn't been exercised in a long time. I think during the time in Fleetwood Mac that I was making solo albums, I was consciously looking into the very left side of my musical vocabulary as a balance to the more mainstream situation. Now that seems a little labored. What I'm about is things that move to the left, sure, but also things that are more accessible. I think this album covers more ground stylistically." Despite its anemic sales, the album boasts some of Buckingham's most engaging songs, such as the should-have-been-a-number-one-hit "Countdown, " the rocking industry send-up "Wrong," and the cheerfully optimistic "Soul Drifter," to say nothing of several lovely, fleet-fingered guitar interludes that show off Buckingham's considerable instrumental prowess.  "I can't say I tailored this album to sell millions of records," he said.  "But then, if I were trying to do that, I'm not sure what I would do these days. It would have been great if it had sold more, but a lot of people have that problem."

Buckingham's live show, which he was able to try out recently on a brief headlining tour of small theaters, contains a satisfying mix of his solo work and the best of his Fleetwood Mac songs, such as "Big Love," "I'm So Afraid," and of course, "Go Your Own Way." "I don't know how much the audience is fixated on the Fleetwood Mac stuff," he said. "I was worried at the beginning of the tour that the people who were going to come would be coming specifically because of their association of me and Fleetwood Mac and wouldn't be that aware of 'Out of the Cradle,' but that turned out not to be the case.  "A lot of people who have had a previous career or whatever you want to call it will just shun that altogether and pretend it didn't happen, but that doesn't make sense. This is the beginning of a new phase for me, but to ignore that body of work is unrealistic and probably inconsiderate of the audience - at least at this point." As Buckingham points out, he can be an obliging fellow. Such was the case earlier this year when he agreed to a one-time reunion with the band to perform at Mac fan Bill Clinton's inaugural. "I was happy to do it," he said. "It was one of those things I'll look back on and say, 'That was kind of cool.' But it was one of those things that would have been very awkward not to do. The odd thing was that, getting up there and doing it, it felt very much like - at least from my perspective - a group of people who didn't belong together anymore. Despite having been away from it, it was all so much the same. There was no sense of the moment anymore."

Asked the inevitable question about Mac reunions further down the road, Buckingham replied, " 'Why?' is the question I would ask." Indeed, Buckingham seems most comfortable now that the pressure of blockbuster hit records and endless stadium tours is off his back.  "The thing is, after 'Rumours,' 'Tusk' broke the mold of any possibility of doing 'Rumours II.' It didn't sell X million records, but 'Tusk' remains my favorite album for a lot of reasons. It sort of led me to the way I still think, which is, you got to do the work for the work. There is a lot of pressure out there to follow that adage, 'It it works, run it into the ground.' Now I'm totally free of that. I don't feel any pressure to succeed on that level, and in fact, I would hope and pray that I never do succeed on that level. I think once in a lifetime is plenty for anybody."

Thanks to Anusha for the submission.