Go Your Own Way
Fleetwood Mac should be preparing for their farewell tour but, true to form, their epic saga has taken on another complicated turn. Introducing, then, the dynamic duo of Buckingham McVie – “a nice splinter off the main artery of Fleetwood Mac.” In this exclusive interview, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie reveal all to Stephen Deusner about their unexpected side project, and about how it fits into the storied past, present and future of Fleetwood Mac. “It’s that umbilical cord that can’t be broken,” says Christine. “It just pulls you back.”
“THERE WAS SOMETHING COSMIC about it.” says Lindsey Buckingham. He’s sitting at the head of a long table in the brightly lit conference room of an anonymous office building in the Westwood neighbourhood of L.A, talking about Buckingham McVie, the new album he wrote and recorded with his Fleetwood Mac bandmate Christine McVie. Even as they are preparing for a Fleetwood Mac farewell tour in 2018, these two members have emerged as intimate collaborators proving there’s still a lot of life left in the band. “She and I kept saying to each other, ‘Why did it take us so long to think that it would be cool to do a duets album?’ I guess it was logistics – just getting to the point where the stars all aligned.” It’s a record with a lot of history behind it: more than 40 years of hook-ups and break-ups, marriages and divorces, drug abuse and recovery, departures and returns, hits and misses. It’s a story that begins with pub gigs in the late 1960s and a fateful Tex-Mex dinner meeting in the early 1975 and ends with a final arena tour in the late 2010s, spanning nearly every continent (even Antarctica, if you count the band’s penguin mascot) and almost every style of rock, including Buckingham’s early acid-rock and McVie’s beloved blues. And yet, these two musicians, both so embroiled in their own dramas, never really had any drama between them.
“The idea of us working together wasn’t about what kind of album we were making, at least not initially. It was just about getting together and finding some common ground. The fact that she had stuff she wanted to work on was really intriguing, and as soon as we got in the studio – maybe a week in – we looked at each other and were like, Holy shit, this feels like… something… I don’t want to say a ‘duets album’, but it felt like something substantial. It had never occurred to us to pursue anything like that.” As he speaks, Buckingham glances out the window, which offers a perverse panorama of L.A swallowed up by low clouds. “It’s been raining for a while,” he says, “but we need it.” That might be an understatement. The city with which he and Fleetwood Mac have long been associated is under siege: it’s been pouring for hours, with a strong wind coming in off the ocean. Meteorologists call it a bombogenesis, or a weather bomb. Streets are flooding all over town. Traffic lights are going out. Fallen trees are blocking roads. There are reports of sinkholes opening up and swallowing cars whole. The scene is apocalyptic – if California is ever going to sink into the Pacific, today might be the day.
“I’ve grown up since I last worked with her”
Buckingham, by contrast, looks the model of a gracefully ageing Golden State rock star, tanned and animated, his grey-green eyes still lively and his salt-and-pepper hair still standing on end. He’s sporting a black leather jacket over a plunging black V-neck and blue jeans: something of a uniform for the singer-songwriter-guitarist, producer. His hands fidget at the table, as though he’d much rather be playing guitar than talking to a journalist. Who wouldn’t?