Bucking The Norm – Chicago Tribune – Oct 2006

Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham talks about going his own way

Chicago Tribune
by Matt Pais
October 24 2006

It’s hard to find time to make an album when one of the biggest bands of the past few decades keeps calling you away.

That’s why “Under the Skin” is Lindsey Buckingham’s first new album in 14 years. The Fleetwood Mac guitarist/singer/producer put aside new material every few years to reunite with his former band, and he even turned some of his solo work into songs for the group’s 2003 album, “Say You Will.”

But now, the moody, terrific “Under the Skin” is out–and the album so exemplifies Buckingham’s commitment to going his own way that he says reps at Warner Brothers “wanted it to be more normal.” (The songs on “Under the Skin” are mostly meditative singing and guitar finger-picking. Buckingham says he plans to do a more “electric” album next.)

We know he has a ton of fans, so while Buckingham hung out in Cleveland, we asked him to address some of his detractors.

We love the record, but one publication said your voice is “a raspy yelling sound … like a wet cat stuck under a couch.” Ouch.
Well, that’s nice. You can’t please everybody. That was probably a Stevie Nicks fan.

What lessons did you learn in Fleetwood Mac as you and Stevie–and John and Christine McVie–endured breakups?
There are a lot of lessons … the whole idea of breaking up with someone and not really having the closure and having to make the choice to sort of take the high road or to at least damn the torpedoes; however you want to look at it. And push through. It wasn’t necessarily the best for one’s emotions–for one’s mental health, shall we say–but, you know, it was sort of a destiny that we had to fulfill. The lesson of all that is hold on and don’t let yourself sink to the bottom, and eventually things will get better.

The group played at Bill Clinton’s inauguration. Would you have played at President Bush’s?
Oh, sure! Yeah, right. No, no, not at all. I mean, I was not completely interested in playing at Bill’s–although he was a great guy–only because it was so out of context with anything that we’d ever done. It was a little bizarre. A touch of fear and loathing, being there in that world. But in retrospect I was glad we did. No, Bush, is … what can you say about Bush? Can’t say anything about Bush.

Well, can you say something about your college water polo coach, who said you’d always be a loser after quitting the team?
Two weeks in [to joining the team], I just realized that I was not that person anymore; I was sort of growing my hair out and it just wasn’t for me anymore. I was trying to be real nice about it. This was a guy who was actually a really great coach. He had coached my older brother who went on to be an Olympian. Like me and music, that was his world, water polo and swimming. So he couldn’t think outside that box. I said, “I just can’t do this anymore.” And he couldn’t grasp it. So that’s what he said; he thought I was just quitting. It was just the standard thing of losers never win, blah blah blah. It was almost a cliche. He said, “You’re a loser, and you’ll always be a loser.” And I said, “OK. Well, thanks.”

Has he heard your music?
Oh, I’m sure he has [heard it]. In fact, I think I met him once years later and he wouldn’t even give it up then. He was still pissed off.

Matt Pais is the metromix music and movies producer.

Originally published Oct. 25, 2006.

A new life for Buckingham I Star Ledger I Oct 2006

Thursday, October 12, 2006
Star-Ledger – New York

NEW YORK — Fleetwood Mac made Lindsey Buckingham rich and famous, or perhaps it was he — as studio whiz and perfectionist driving force — who made a journeyman blues band a rich and famous pop group. But for all the rewards, the singer/guitarist could seem constricted by the Mac’s soap opera, his artistic ambitions bound in the bubble of money and relationships.

On Tuesday at Manhattan’s Town Hall, Buckingham howled with the delight of a free man, seeming far younger than his 57 years as he unveiled songs from a new solo album and cherry-picked highlights from his back pages. While Fleetwood Mac’s silver linings often had a darker cloud where he was concerned, Buckingham’s music can take on a new edge and abandon in the flesh.

That new disc — “Under the Skin,” his first solo effort in 10 years and only the fourth in a fitful non-Mac career — features Buckingham’s most intimate work, mostly acoustic songs recorded at home. He noted to an adoring crowd that the album is about “growing up.” Certainly, it takes a kind of maturity to put forth “Not Too Late,” a manifesto of naked artistic ego that led off the show as it does the album.

Driving the song with the ornate, self-taught finger-picking that made him one of rock’s more distinctive guitarists, Buckingham sang of “feeling unseen … like I’m living somebody else’s dream.” Such verses could sound like embarrassing whines coming from someone of his station, but the mix of middle-aged fragility and fresh purpose in the refrain of “it’s not too late” had the disarming sound of someone whistling in the dark.

Buckingham was joined by a stylish three-piece band for the “Rumors” kickoff track “Second Hand News.” Even if listeners missed the harmonies of Stevie Nicks, the rollicking tempo and male bonding brought a helpless grin to Buckingham’s face. And that face is as handsome as ever; if the Californian didn’t make a deal with the devil for his talent, he surely did for his looks.

Solo again, Buckingham played an ultra-intense version of the latter-day Mac’s “Big Love,” his keening vocals as emotionally unhinged as those of any punk singer. He also gave his ’80s rococo’n’roll hit “Go Insane” — more romance as psychodrama — the definitive treatment. With its slow-tolling guitar figure and poetic world-weariness, the song could’ve been by an Elizabethan troubadour. But at the climax, Buckingham strummed furiously and yowled at the moon, “I call her name, she’s a lot like you.”

Buckingham is a contented family man these days, and such lovely new songs as the “Under the Skin” title track reflect intimacy without mawkishness. But he obviously had a great time channeling those old demons. Back alongside the band, he sang the primal “I’m So Afraid” sotto voce before exploding the early Mac song with an epic electric solo that had him pummeling the fretboard as if his very expensive custom guitar couldn’t produce all the sound in his head.

From “Tusk,” Buckingham aired a quick-step rendition of “I Know I’m Not Wrong” that came closer to realizing his new-wave vision than did Fleetwood Mac. After ripping through his timeless breakup song “Go Your Own Way,” Buckingham coerced the band into taking a shouted encore request. They worked up an arrangement of the plaintive “Tusk” tune “Save Me a Place” on the spot. It wasn’t something one could imagine Fleetwood Mac doing, with Buckingham’s look of surprise and delight saying as much.

Lindsey Buckingham – Going his own way with solo album, tour, Boston Globe, Oct 2006

Going his own way with solo album, tour

By Jonathan Perry
Boston Globe Correspondent
October 11, 2006

At age 59, Fleetwood Mac singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham has been many things: long-haired singer-songwriter from Palo Alto, Calif.; worshiped rock star; introspective solo artist; and, most famously, a principal architect behind Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 dysfunctional masterpiece, “Rumours,” one of the best-selling albums of all time, and still the soundtrack to countless breakups and makeups.

Buckingham has just released “Under the Skin,” a luminously intimate, reflective work and his first solo album in 14 years. Friday night he’ll bring a three-piece band with him to the Orpheum Theatre to play the new songs, and probably a few older ones too. We caught up with Buckingham by phone from a tour stop in Washington, D.C., where he chatted about the bad old days and the good new ones, and promised a reissue of 1973’s pre-Mac debut, “Buckingham Nicks” (now long out of print). Who knows, he says. He may even tour with his past and future songwriting foil, Stevie Nicks.

Q. Even though you have another little band that you occasionally play with, how does it feel to be back on the road for a solo tour after 14 years, and how different is the experience when it’s your name on the marquee?
A. Well, you’re playing for less people. (Laughs) By far! It’s a whole other exercise from being out with Fleetwood Mac.

Q. What inspired this collection of songs, which sound as personal as anything you’ve done?
A. One idea was to make an album that was very scaled down instrumentally. The other thing is, since the last time I recorded a solo album [1992’s “Out of the Cradle”], I had gotten married and had three children. And for someone like me who has maybe defined himself to a fault through his work and has taken any number of years to get to a point where he was ready to be a father and a husband, and then to be lucky enough to have that actually happen, it puts everything else that your world has been about into a completely different context. It allows you to look at what you’re writing about with a certain wisdom that maybe you didn’t have before.

Q. You’ve said that working on this album enabled you, finally, to put your past in a context that you could understand. Was part of the difficulty in finding that context a product of how mythologized your history with Fleetwood Mac has been?
A. I think it’s partly that. I think with people who are, to some degree, defined by the outside world, there can be difficulty [figuring out] who you are or what’s important. But beyond that, with all of those years in Fleetwood Mac, I don’t think any of the four people that were part of the two couples at the beginning of the “Rumours” album ever really worked any of that [strife] through in a way that was particularly healthy. We all rose to the occasion in order to be successful, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have clarity about the path you’ve taken. And to some degree for Stevie, I think she still does not have the luxury of that. I was lucky enough to be ready to find someone who could help me get to the next point in my life.

Q. You’ve put your solo work on hold to record and tour with Fleetwood Mac. Is that frustrating as an artist, to know that at some point you’re going to have to sing “Go Your Own Way” again?
A. You could look at it as a burden, but you can also look at it as a blessing. At some point, you just have to realize that a certain body of work has become part of the fabric and you should be happy about that. It doesn’t necessarily have to threaten anything in the present. But if there was a problem with Fleetwood Mac, it was that we didn’t always want things for the same reason. When you look at the “Tusk” album, in my mind it was an opportunity not to run something into the ground as the record company would have wanted, or to just get trapped into a formula, but to take the freedom and exposure that we had and be a little bold and take chances. If everyone had wanted that same thing, who knows what we could have built upon that idea?

Q. Was the emotional fallout over that album between band members ever resolved?
A. It was and it wasn’t. At the time, I had to go in and say, “Let’s try this,” and there was a certain amount of resistance or skepticism, and it was only after the fact that everyone was quite happy with the album. I’m not sure [Mac’s record label] Warner was. I always have this vision of them sitting in the boardroom listening to it and everyone’s seeing their Christmas bonuses flying out the window. But I’ve never regretted it. And now, I do have Mick [Fleetwood] saying to me, “I couldn’t hear it then, but `Tusk’ is now my favorite album.”

Q. The word “visionary” gets used a lot when people talk about you. It even comes up in a lyric on the new album’s first track, “Not Too Late.” So, what is a guy like you most insecure about musically?
A. I’m a primitive. I don’t read [music] and I’ve never had any lessons. It’s funny because that song was inspired by a Bud Scoppa review . . . and it made me realize that what I have been striving for probably is based on feeling a little bit unseen or misunderstood. It would be nice to find a larger audience as a solo artist.

Q. Guess that’s the price you pay for being the mastermind behind the scenes. Besides, Stevie got all the good outfits.
A. No comment.


Lindsey Buckingham – Rocks New York’s Town Hall | Rolling Stone, Oct 2006

The former Fleetwood Mac frontman thrills with old gems and new tunes

by Patrick Berkery
Rolling Stone Magazine
Oct 11th 2006
live-nyc-rollingstone-slargeLindsey Buckingham wears many hats, and he displayed them all during his stand at New York’s intimate Town Hall last night. Throughout the ninety-minute set, the former Fleetwood Mac frontman morphed from one persona to another, whispering about the pangs of cult status during “Not Too Late,” bopping through the family-man ballad “It Was You” (both culled from his stripped-down new solo disc Under the Skin), howling and prowling the stage during “Tusk,” or quietly strumming the meditative “Go Insane.” Amid such schizophrenic hijinks, you could walk away wondering who this man really.

No matter. The boisterous crowd let it be known this was exactly the Buckingham they
paid to see, calling out for solo and Mac obscurities (particularly those from Tusk ) throughout the show. Offering a “We haven’t really worked it up” disclaimer, Buckingham rewarded the faithful with a sublime encore reading of the ballad “Save Me a Place,” complete with the Brian Wilson-style harmonies he worked out with his backing trio right there on the spot.

While Buckingham seemed comfortable with that guard-down spontaneity, the studied perfectionist did rear his head. (This is, after all, the meticulous sonic architect who presided over three-day piano tuning sessions during Fleetwood Mac’s indulgent Seventies heyday.)

During a stormy “Big Love,” Buckingham watched his fingers intently, carefully measuring each breath. He wrung perfect silence from the crowd for his “You don’t know what it means to win” breakdown on the peaceful, easy “Never Going Back Again.” Even something as playful as the sunny highway shuffle “Holiday Road” was done to the letter, right down to the enthusiastic dog barks. “I maintained my dignity there, right?” he asked the crowd after an authentic fit of growls, woofs and snarls.

Whichever incarnation Buckingham decides to inhabit onstage, one thing’s for certain: he’s out there, man.

Catch Lindsey Buckingham at one of the following dates…

October 13th: Orpheum Theatre, Boston
October 14th: Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, CT
October 15th: Borgata Hotel/ Casino, Atlantic City, NJ
October 17th: Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, WI
October 20th: Lakewood Civic Auditorium, Lakewood, OH
October 21th: Taft Theatre, Cincinnati, OH
October 22nd: Emerald Theatre, Mount Clemens, MI
October 24th: Park West, Chicago

November 1st: Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ
November 2nd: Viejas Dreamcatcher Showroom, Alpine, CA
November 3rd: The Grove of Anaheim, Anaheim, CA
November 5th: Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA
November 6th: Palace Of Fine Arts, San Francisco
November 10th: The Wiltern, Los Angeles
November 13th: Paramount Theatre, Denver
November 16th: Newmark Theatre, Portland, OR
November 17th: Moore Theatre, Seattle
November 18th: Centre for the Performing Arts, Vancouver, BC

Mac-less Lindsey Buckingham back on road

Minimalist ‘Under the Skin’ departure from singer’s Fleetwood Mac work

Damian Dovarganes

8efac6b0-c5d5-40dd-a5d6-bfa4d26c78aa.grid-4x2Lindsey Buckingham says his decision to produce “Under the Skin” himself and handle almost all of the instrumentation had more to do with the sound he was going for than any desire for total control.

LOS ANGELES — Thirty-one years after he joined a foundering band of British blues rockers and transformed it into one of the biggest hit-making machines of all time, Lindsey Buckingham is still going his own way.

This fall finds Fleetwood Mac’s on-again-off-again lead guitarist and producer back on the road, touring behind his first new solo album in 14 years.

Minimalist and almost entirely acoustic, “Under the Skin,” is a radical departure from nearly everything Buckingham has done. At the same time, it maintains his reputation for creating lushly beautiful instrumental arrangements, not to mention taking control of projects from start to finish, something that hasn’t always endeared him to the other members of Fleetwood Mac.

Soft-spoken and self-deprecating, Buckingham says his decision to produce this album himself and handle almost all of the instrumentation (Fleetwood Mac namesakes Mick Fleetwood and John McVie perform on two tracks) really had more to do with the sound he was going for than any desire for total control. Continue reading Mac-less Lindsey Buckingham back on road

The Buck Stops Here I Nashville Tennessean I Oct 2006

Fleetwood Mac front man Lindsey Buckingham shows off his solo Skin at the Ryman

Friday, 10/06/06
Nashville Tennessean
Staff Writer

Somewhere, presumably, a man named Fritz Rabyne still exists. He’s of German descent, roughly 57 years old, and, many years ago, as a joke, some high school classmates named their band after shy, quiet Fritz.

In 2006 in Nashville, there is no reason why you would know of this individual. However, in 1966 in Atherton, Calif., chances are the name was not so foreign, courtesy of something called The Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band. If you’d seen the group — they opened up for Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, among others — you would have been watching what was to become the core of one of the biggest groups in rock.

Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, to be precise. To fast forward to the present: The pair quit the Fritz combo, recorded demos, moved to Los Angeles, got a deal, got dropped, joined Fleetwood Mac, made millions.

Now, as Herr Rabyne continues to keep a low profile, Buckingham has released his third solo effort. Under the Skin, his first solo recording in 14 years, is a stunning example of the offbeat pop that the singer/songwriter/ producer creates by himself when he’s not making not-so-offbeat pop for Fleetwood Mac. The 11 songs (recorded mainly in hotel rooms) are spare, and the structures deceptively simple. The arrangements consist largely of guitar and vocals, the latter layered and awash with effects. In other words, Under the Skin may not get under everybody’s skin, but Buckingham’s goal was not to plop out a batch of hits

“I don’t even know what that means now, with Top-40 radio doing mainly hip hop and Aguilera kind of stuff,” he says. “I haven’t geared the album to that, and I’m really not interested so much in that. You have to go into it with realistic expectations, especially with an album like this. If something nice happens, that’s great. You’re dealing with the masses out there, and there’s a certain boutique echelon of people who are going to appreciate what I do, and if that’s what it is, then that’s fine. I can’t worry about that at this point.”

Over the years, most of what Buckingham has written for solo projects has found its way onto Mac albums. When he started writing the Under the Skin material some two years ago, the music flowed — “It was like taking a laxative,” he reveals. A brain laxative; as opposed to some writers who jot constantly, that’s where the musician keeps his ideas.

“I do think a lot of the difference between writing a song and not writing a song is committing the seed to a tape or to something,” says the California native. “Then again, I would never want to be one of those guy who walks around with a little recorder saying, ‘Idea to myself!’ I carry ideas around in my head, and when it’s time to go in and actually commit stuff to recording, you trust that there’s going to be stuff there. There usually is.”

Buckingham’s lo-fi recording ethos — an inexpensive portable 16-track Korg, in this case — is part of the charm of Under the Skin.

“If you have something in your head, you can get to it any number of ways,” he offers. “One may be cleaner than the other, but it’s my belief that people are probably going to like dirty before they’re going to like clean. Yeah, you can hear some hiss on some of the vocals and stuff, but that’s what it is, and certainly, it doesn’t get into the way of anything. That’s always been my approach, make it have soul, and make it feel good and the rest will follow.”

Buckingham has a voice to be reckoned with, as all those millions of Mac fans know, but in his solo work, he coats his pipes in echo, reverb and delay. It may seem odd, but another guy with a great voice, John Lennon, used to demand that producer George Martin drench his vocals with effects. Why?

“Well, it’s the same problem. John Lennon and I are both Libras, and we both have low self-esteem, and I don’t like the sound of my voice,” Buckingham states. “But it’s not just that. I think on some level I find the manipulation of voice interesting. And this particular collection of tunes, probably because there was so much space — I wanted to make it really just guitar and not much else — part of the theory was to make it sound like you were playing in the living room. In order to do that, one of the things was putting various delays on the voice, which come through a crappy stage delay pedal you should be running a guitar through, not your voice. But it was something I tried and I liked it and it took on its own life, so of course I used it beyond any level of taste.”

Buckingham’s signature finger picking guitar style displays a level of wonderfully economical taste, and owes a debt to Nashville. “You could say that a lot of the finger style that I do on guitar is based in the Merle Travis pick, which is a standard rolling folk pick,” says Buckingham, who also admits considerable admiration for Chet Atkins. “I started playing guitar soon after my older brother brought home ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ and when that first wave of rock and roll started turning into Fabian or whatever, I started getting into folk, and also some pedestrian level of bluegrass banjo; all those things relate to the way I play.”

Is he a country fan? “Not in the current sense,” Buckingham admits, “but I am in the Hank Williams sense, and Ferlin Husky and people that go back a ways, though you start to sound like an old fart when you date yourself like that. But I don’t know how you top Hank Williams.”

Lindsey Buckingham – In From the Cult I Washington City Paper, Oct 2006

574.x231.mr.buckinghamWashington City Paper
October 6, 2006
By Mark Jenkins

The unrepentant folk-rocker ripples an acoustic guitar and contemplates his place in the pop universe: “Read in the paper/Saw a review/Said I was a visionary/But nobody knew/Now that’s been a problem/Feeling unseen/Just like I’m living/Somebody’s dream.”

That could be Robyn Hitchcock, reflecting on 30 years as a cult artist. But it doesn’t sound like him, does it? The former Soft Boy rarely expresses himself so directly; when he sings “I,” he’s usually assuming the persona of someone or something he couldn’t possibly be. Besides, all indications are that Hitchcock likes being a cult artist. He’s worked hard to stay semisubmerged, despite spending more than a decade (mostly in the ’90s) contracted to one of two indulgent major labels. Whenever mainstream acceptance beckoned, Hitchcock bolted—usually to make an album of stripped-down sorta-folkie songs that relied on acoustic guitar and a few friends.

Eventually, though, his pop-rock instincts would recuperate and he would record an unexpectedly accessible set. For example, the shimmering new Olé! Tarantula, his most outgoing release since 1991’s Perspex Island.

So it’s not Hitchcock who’s gazing into the mirror, considering his obscurity. In fact, the self-styled visionary who’s all alone with his guitar and voice is a man whose cult-artist status is arguable: Lindsey Buckingham. The guy’s actually had a few Top 20 solo singles, and if his albums are occasional at best, that’s because he keeps canceling them and ceding his new songs to his other project, Fleetwood Mac, which just happens to be one of the most commercially successful rock bands ever. If Buckingham’s feeling unseen, it must be because Stevie Nicks’ scarves keep fluttering in front of his face in the 20,000-seat arenas.

“Not Too Late,” which contains the career analysis quoted above, opens Under the Skin, which is Buckingham’s fourth solo album, and his first since 1992’s Out of the Cradle. The tune, which is nothing but voice and finger-picked guitar, is typical of the album’s style. Although some of the songs are lushly stratified, notably with layer upon of layer of vocals, the overall vibe is intimate. Reverb is one of Buckingham’s favorite studio embellishments, and Under the Skin is a sort of echo chamber in which the singer-songwriter can achieve a private grandeur. Fleetwood and Mac (drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie) play on two of these 11 tracks, and there’s a horn section on one, but the rest is all Buckingham—glossy, melodic, and a little too airtight.

Hitchcock once released a version of the Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” in which he recalled where he was the year the song was released. That was 1966, apparently also a crucial moment for Buckingham. Under the Skin includes two covers, both from that year: the Rolling Stones’ “I Am Waiting” and Donovan’s “Try for the Sun.” Both are showcases for Buckingham’s production skills, and touchstones for his vision, which melds British-invasion rock with California studio-pop perfectionism. Yet neither qualifies as an interpretation, let alone a personal one. They’re just well-constructed and plushly textured.

Sometimes, that’s enough. Such Under the Skin numbers as “It Was You” and especially “Show You How” transform elementary rhythmic hooks and complex vocal arrangements into the stuff of rapture. In that sense, Buckingham has recaptured the spirit of ’66: His songs sound fresh, vital, and enchanted with the possibilities of multitracked, amplified timbres. What they don’t do is reveal or—their sonic invention aside—surprise. Buckingham is a master of the gleaming surface, but he never quite goes where his album title promises.

Lindsey Buckingham – Three Under The Skin Reviews

“Under the Skin”
Friday, October 6, 2006
Washington Post

“WHEN THE STAGE IS DEAD and empty,” Lindsey Buckingham asks on his new album, “. . . what’s it all about, sitting there on your own?” For the man who led Fleetwood Mac to some of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest commercial and artistic triumphs, the stage has been empty for a long time.

Before this year, he had released just one solo album, one Mac-reunion live album and one Mac-reunion studio album. What was he doing on his own all those years? Well, for one thing, he was making the homemade demos that became the weird, often flawed, often exhilarating solo album “Under the Skin.”

It resembles neither the classic Fleetwood Mac albums nor anything on the radio today. It is a stripped-down production in which Buckingham plays one or two guitars against maybe a rhythm loop and his own whispery high tenor. The lyrics, which often suggest bad high school poetry, are no more than hints about the real drama that lies in the music. But that music is often magnificent, even in the claustrophobic confines of this one-man band. Like his hero Brian Wilson, Buckingham has a knack for composing captivating melodies that he can then harmonize to suggest expansive hopes or crushing frustration.

When he asks, “What’s it all about?” on the song “Show You How,” his wife answers by telling him to slow down, but she does so in a syncopated, ricocheting melody that is more dizzying than calming. The title track is an intoxicating tug-of-war between the swooning vocals and the layered strumming guitars. He similarly stretches the harmonies on two obscurities from the ’60s: the Rolling Stones’ “I Am Waiting” and Donovan’s “Try for the Sun.”

Buckingham handles every instrument and vocal himself except on two tracks, when he is joined by his old bandmates Mick Fleetwood and/or John McVie. On one of those tracks, “Down on Rodeo,” he seems to muse on his old band: “We never took quite enough chances / We never had quite enough time.” On this album, Buckingham has taken some chances and has certainly taken his time.

— Geoffrey Himes

Appearing Monday at the State Theatre.

– –

“Under the Skin”
By George Lang
The Oklahoman
Oct 6th, 2006

Whenever I talk or write about Lindsey Buckingham, it always requires too much explanation that borders on apology. Fleetwood Mac’ s retroactive cool quotient took an upswing thanks to Midlake’s recent musical homage, “The Trials of Van Occupanther,” but Fleetwood Mac’s hipness factor generally hovers at the level of khakis and sedans. Consequently, Buckingham’s reputation as one of popular music’s most peculiar and fascinating talents suffered when in fact he belongs on rock ‘n’ roll’s Mount Olympus.

“Reading the paper, saw a review / Said I was a visionary, but nobody knew. Now, that’s been a problem,” Buckingham sings on “Not Too Late,” the first track on his first solo disc in 14 years, “Under the Skin.” This kind of self-referential ego exploration might seem distasteful coming from other quarters, but Buckingham earned the right to wonder about this long ago. Part of the problem is the specter of his former band.

Under Buckingham’s leadership, Fleetwood Mac made complicated music that went down easy. When he joined the group in 1975, the former blues band that had been trying to find a new direction started enjoying giant commercial hits such as “Rhiannon,” “Dreams” and “Go Your Own Way,” but this was not typical soft rock. Listen intently to any of Mac’s hits from 1975-87, and chord progressions, counter-melodies, bass lines and production touches leap out that barely make sense. “Go Your Own Way” is especially squirrelly for such a huge hit: The rhythm and melody seem to be fighting with each other, and given the context of the song and 1977’s “Rumours” album as a whole, that might have been the point.

As chief arranger for the group, Buckingham took fairly conventional song structures and wove counter-intuitive modalities into them. Stevie Nicks’ “Sara,” from 1979’s “Tusk,” has a pretty basic doo-wop melody for its chorus, but then Buckingham would snake some chords around it that were beautiful but off-the-charts eccentric. Buckingham seems to hear music differently than most of his peers, and that’s obvious on “Under the Skin.”

Since his last solo disc, 1992’s “Out of the Cradle,” Buckingham has supercharged the finger-picking style he employed on earlier songs such as “Never Going Back Again” — he plays unfiltered acoustic with flamenco-like speed, intricacy and fluidity on “Shut Us Down,” “Not Too Late” and his brilliant reinterpretation of Donovan’s “To Try for the Sun.” Those suspecting Buckingham of overdubbing should check YouTube for the rendition of “Here Comes the Sun” he played after George Harrison’s death. Purists might not like it, but his full capability is on display.

But what was so frustrating for Buckingham fans was the popular perception that he was simply Fleetwood Mac’s weirdest member not wearing lace shawls or bugging out his eyes behind a drum kit. When he left the band in 1987, the band had to hire two fairly great session musicians to do his job. But proficiency is not the same as invention, and Fleetwood Mac quickly fell apart. Nicks fans always thought their favorite witch was the indispensable one, but arguably, the band needed all three of its principals to sound like Fleetwood Mac: the semi-reunion, 2003’s “Say You Will,” sounded tense and shrill without the warmth of Christine McVie’s vocals to balance out the sharpness of Buckingham and Nicks.

Now that Fleetwood Mac seems to be history, it appears Buckingham has finally settled into a solo career where credit is clear and the full extent of his creativity can flourish without concerns about paying someone’s mortgage. But “Under the Skin” isn’t simply Buckingham’s attempt to recalibrate his standing in rock history — he can still make music that sounds like sunshine. On the awe-inspiring closer, “Flying Down Juniper,” he creates a piece of guileless California pop that rivals any of his most recognizable past confections.

The paper was right: Buckingham is a visionary. Perhaps now, everyone will finally know.

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“Under the Skin”

Never one to rush his work, Lindsey Buckingham made sure Under the Skin was worth the wait.

October 6, 2006
St. Petersburg Times

In between albums, fights, sex, drug binges and more fights with his bandmates in Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham has released just four solo albums in 25 years.

It’d be fun to blame former flame Stevie Nicks and her witchy spells for his stretches of solo silence. But the truth is that Buckingham is an intense studio perfectionist.

With the Mac, he’s meticulous behind the soundboard. On his own, however, the 57-year-old L.A. fixture is a freak, a beyond-ambitious artist who sweats over every acoustic pluck and dramatically layered vocal.

Parallels to Beach Boy Brian Wilson? You betcha. There’s always been a dark lining to Buckingham’s complex Golden State sunsets, especially on the new Under the Skin, an album that manages to sound both very familiar (the lush, sunset harmonies of Down on Rodeo) and extremely odd (the frantic-pluck paranoia of baroque opener Not Too Late). It’s not always easy listening, but it’s never boring.

Buckingham created most of the disc using nothing more than his voice and his guitar, one man layering and layering himself until he sounds like a chorus of world-weary thousands all trapped in a lonely, echoey room.

You won’t find catchy, quirky hits a la Go Insane, Trouble or Holiday Road on this 11-track rumination about love and aging in La-La Land. And if you’re waiting for the guitar man to shred out a searing solo, there’s no air guitar opportunities here, either.

But Under the Skin has much to like and plenty to wow at. On first single Show You How, Buckingham’s backing vocals on the chorus dart like dive-bombing birds. Playing what sounds like a lute, he turns the Rolling Stones’ I Am Waiting into a creepy-cool medieval meditation perfect for halftime at a joust.

And on album closer Flying Down Juniper, this father of three young tykes sets aside his neuroses and soundtracks his children playing silly games. The result is contentment rather than sap, a big-brained rock star trying to process, and enjoy, life as just a regular guy.

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Lindsey Buckingham
Under the Skin

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Lindsey Buckingham would consider collaboration with Stevie Nicks I Oct 2006

Thursday, October 05 @ 06:22:33 MDT
Topic: Rock News

The Rock 106.7 – Wenatchee, Washington

Lindsey Buckingham is currently promoting his new solo album, Under The Skin, but that doesn’t mean he’s eliminating future collaborations with Fleetwood Mac. He also hasn’t ruled out a possible joint venture with ex-girlfriend and Fleetwood Mac member Stevie Nicks.

Buckingham told that he would think about doing something based around the Buckingham-Nicks album, which the pair released in 1973: “I think there are things Stevie and I could do, if we could find the common ground to coexist, you know, which is probably more up to me than it is her. The Buckingham-Nicks album, which has never been released on CD, you know, who’s to say that we couldn’t go out and tour that, that would be an interesting concept.”

Buckingham told that no matter what’s in store, he hopes to remain on good terms with Nicks: “Whatever happens with Stevie, I would just wanna, with the band in general obviously, but I mean with Stevie in particular, because I’ve known her for so long, since I was about 16, one thing that would be very important to me by the time we say ‘we’re not gonna do this any more,’ would be that Stevie and I end up in a really good space together, you know.”

Buckingham and Nicks met in high school, and later became a couple while working together in a rock band called Fritz. After that band broke up they recorded an album together as Buckingham-Nicks, before a chance encounter with Mick Fleetwood led to them joining Fleetwood Mac. Their subsequent breakup inspired many of the songs on the band’s most popular album, Rumours.

Under The Skin is Buckingham’s first solo album since 1992’s Out of the Cradle.

Buckingham will shoot an episode of the CMT series Crossroads with the country group Little Big Town today (Thursday, October 5th) in Nashville.

This article comes from The Rock 106.7 – Wenatchee, Washington

Lindsey Buckingham – The rock star hits midlife (LA Times Oct 2006)

The rock star hits midlife

Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham offers an intimate self-portrait on
his first solo album in 14 years.


By Ann Powers
Times Staff Writer

October 3, 2006

Lindsey Buckingham, the sonic architect of Fleetwood Mac, has been through a lot: megastardom during the decadent 1970s; a split with bandmate and girlfriend Stevie Nicks that defined the rock ‘n’ roll breakup; 20 years of balancing pop stardom with an irrepressible avant-garde urge; the only band reunion by presidential request (for Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration); first-time parenthood at 48. But he never expected to live in Brentwood.

“I was living in this Neutra-style house way up in the hills in Bel-Air,” Buckingham said, chatting in his comfortable den just west of the San Diego Freeway. “I’d had that property for 30 years — it was my bachelor pad. Fleetwood Mac cut ‘Tango in the Night’ there in 1987, and Mick [Fleetwood] lived in a Winnebago in the front yard.

“When my wife and I started having children, I decided to knock it down,” continued the 57-year-old father of three. “We built a Spanish. But it’s not a great area for kids, you can’t really go outside the gates or you’ll fall down the hill. So we decided to get into a more ‘Father Knows Best’ environment.”

Soon the Buckingham clan will inhabit a freshly built fairy tale home — complete with turret — a few blocks away from this rental. The children will have space to run circles around their dad. But Daddy will certainly also claim a room with a locking door, where he can protect his other progeny: his well-nurtured songs.

Today, Buckingham releases “Under the Skin,” his first solo album in 14 years. Recorded mostly in hotel rooms during Fleetwood Mac’s reunion tour in 2003, using little more than a guitar delay pedal and an acoustic guitar, it includes material dating 10 years or more. Two songs were recorded in the studio with Mac drummer Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, and one features Memphis-style horns arranged by Beck’s father, David Campbell. Otherwise, it’s all Buckingham, chasing that part of himself that life’s responsibilities often steal away.

“I spent a long time focusing on something very narrow, probably in reaction to being part of such a large machine,” he said of these songs. “With Fleetwood Mac, I walled up a lot of things. Part of the process is taking down those walls to see if there’s anything left inside.”

“Under the Skin” is a locket portrait of the pop star at midlife, trying to honor but also escape a weighty reputation. “Cast Away Dreams” and “Not Too Late” confront the conflict between domesticity and the artist’s way. “Hearts will break with the choices we must make,” Buckingham sings, sadly noting the rift that often arises in a family (including that other kind of family, the band) and the individualism that inspires enduring art.

On this quiet, intense album, Buckingham’s guitar lines form delicate knots around incantatory melodies, and the echo of heavy delay helps his quavering tenor capture the full-court press of time. Buckingham finds the cadence of one of life’s most difficult passages — the journey into unequivocal adulthood.

Artists have a particularly hard time with that transition; Buckingham’s personality, friends say, is quintessentially artistic. That may be why his music so vividly captures the tension between imagination and real life. “His driven sensibility — it’s almost childlike,” Fleetwood said in a separate interview. “Lindsey protects his own innocence. You think he realizes something, and then you see he really doesn’t. He’s in his studio, focused, and that’s that.”

Having children blew open Buckingham’s well-guarded self-absorption. “As a parent, there is a push-pull,” he said. “When I was trying to finish, and one of my kids would say, ‘Dad, you wanna … ?’ I had to make a choice, and not a very good one. I was either shaming myself as a father, or shaming the idea of following through on something that’s been in motion for many years.”

Buckingham has been tormented by conflicting loyalties before. After the record-breaking success of Mac’s 1977 album “Rumours,” he felt coerced into generating hits. “Tusk,” the double album that came next, was Buckingham’s act of resistance. It’s a benchmark of experimental rock.

” ‘Tusk’ was an impulse,” he said. “Over time, everyone in the band got drawn in. And then, because it didn’t sell 16 million albums — it sold four or five — there was a backlash. There was a meeting. The band said, ‘Lindsey, we’re not going to do that anymore.’ That’s the only reason I started making solo records.”

Buckingham made three fantastically odd solo albums. He also stayed in Fleetwood Mac for one more decade, then left the band, returned and repeated the cycle. It was a Fleetwood Mac song, “Big Love,” that set the template for “Under the Skin.” It became his spotlight number during Mac shows, a whorl of guitar picking and swooning vocals.

He began exploring other artists’ songbooks in search of similarly powerful guitar vehicles; two, the Rolling Stones’ “I Am Waiting” and Donovan’s “Try for the Sun,” appear on the new disc. His own material began to coalesce. But the machine asserted itself again, when Buckingham found himself at odds with his label, Warner Bros., over the album’s focused sound.

“They didn’t want me to put it out,” he said, quickly adding that he’s on good terms with the company now. “They wished me to put some rock material on, to make a hybrid, normal album. It might have been easier for them to market. But for 14 years I’d been trying to get something out from my heart, and I’m sorry, this is it.”

The final version of “Under the Skin” is an innocent thing, more in sync with the experiments of younger artists such as Sufjan Stevens and Joseph Arthur than with typical rock-legend side projects. He hopes new fans will find him on tour. “I don’t know who my audience is,” he admits.

He does know where to find the old machine, and the fans who keep it well-oiled. Fleetwood Mac will tour again, and Buckingham is planning an electric record, maybe with a producer, probably with input from Fleetwood and McVie. The world may not have to wait a teenager’s lifetime for his next release.

“After Christmas, we’ll start, in theory,” he said, not letting this project peep too far out of the cocoon yet. “I think it’s going to rock. I don’t know what it’s doing yet.”