Tag Archives: Under The Skin

MAC Daddy – Lindsey in Q Magazine (Apr 2007)

The Mac Daddy

Lindsey Buckingham talks of going back to basics, Fleetwood Mac, and showing off.
By Paul Elliott
April 2007

“I have a genuine need to get all this music out,” says Lindsey Buckingham. Fifty-seven and a father of three, he could be talking it easy these days. It’s not as if he needs to work: his on-off tenure as guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer for Fleetwood Mac has seen to that. But Buckingham is as busily creative now as he’s ever been, having recently released his fourth solo album. Written, recorded and mixed in hotel rooms during the last Fleetwood tour, Under The Skin was both critically lauded and in harmony with neo-folkers like Vetiver or Devendra Banhart. He has its follow-up already written, and admits he’d like to make another Fleetwood Mac album too. But with the Mac on indefinite hiatus, Buckingham the free-standing artist is flourishing. “I love that innocent idea of presentation on those great old ‘70s records,” he muses.

How did you find time to make an album during that Mac tour?
Simple. We’re lucky if we do three shows in a week, because Stevie [Nicks] needs time to rest her voice. So we had a lot of days off, and there are only so many movies you can watch on the hotel TV.

Under The Skin is very much a solo album, just your voice and guitar.
I’m very happy with it, because in one sense it’s a departure, but in another sense it’s going back to an approach I was more in touch with before I was in Fleetwood Mac. On the last tour, I’d played simpler versions of some old songs like Big Love, and I wanted to translate that style to this record. It’s like Blue by Joni Mitchell. There’s so little on that record. There’s a real purity about it, a very intimate feel.

It’s markedly different to your previous solo records.
I went back and listened to them recently. I’m not crazy about the first one [Law And Order] but Go Insane is better, even though Roy Thomas Baker [producer] spent most of the time just barking orders. I’d have to smoke a big joint to be able to listen to all of it, and I haven’t done that in a long time. I hope nobody is listening in to this conversation… I’m clean, look in my bag!

Three solo albums in 25 years – and now, perhaps, two inside a year? And the next one a rock album?
Yeah, let’s rock! Well, that’s what some people are saying, haha. There’s maybe more interest in the idea of a conventional rock album, and it would certainly make the marketing strategy easier. But those things come second to doing something that’s true to myself.

Was that the thinking behind the autobiographical lyrics on Under The Skin, like when you speak of being a “visionary” on Cast Away Dreams.
That was inspired by a review in Rolling Stone of the first Fleetwood Mac albums that myself and Stevie were on. It referred to me as the misunderstood visionary. I don’t think of myself as that so much as someone who learned to be his own biggest fan.

In the same song you also reflect upon the impact your musician’s ego has on your family life.
That’s an overstatement for the drama of the song. But, I’ve seen my kids look disappointed and even now, they don’t always understand my work. They were with me on the Fleetwood Mac tour, and my youngest son said something about daddy showing off in front of all these people. I guess he had a point. I was playing a lot more rock guitar, and there was definitely more testosterone going on – well, what little I have left.

Have you seen the rest of the band since that tour ended?
I speak to Mick [Fleetwood] a few times a year. I saw Stevie a few months ago. She gave me a setlist of what we should play the next time we’re on the road. It’ll happen. But when, I’m not sure. We may make another record, but it’s difficult to tell.

Nothing is ever simple with Fleetwood Mac.
That’s true. But hey, that’s what makes it so interesting. We’ve never all been on the same page, taste-wise. We really have no business being in a band together.

Lindsey Buckingham – Taks to Performing Songwriter Magazine, Nov 2006

Lindsey Buckingham – The guitarist sheds some ‘Skin’ and reflects on his two families

Performing Songwriter
November 2006
Volume 14, Issue 97

It’s the last day of Lindsey Buckingham’s Hawaiian vacation, but the 57-year-old California native seems happy to discuss his first solo album in 14 years, Under the Skin. It’s an intimate, intricate, mostly acoustic effort – and a significant departure from the sound of his legendary rock band, Fleetwood Mac. Here, Buckingham talks about the future of the mighty Mac, as well as the impact that wife Kristen and children William, Leelee and Stella have had on his life and art.

How has having a family changed what you write about?
Well, they’re all happy love songs now (laughs)! No, but you’re able to look at the world in a more grateful way. It’s funny, a lot of people I knew in the 1970s and ’80s who got married and had children weren’t necessarily around for them very much, and the children suffered. I didn’t want to do that, because I had such a great upbringing. So I waited, and by the time I was ready, it seemed like it was getting a little late [Buckingham was 48 when oldest child William was born]. Luckily, it did happen. It just reminds you that you should have faith in the line that your life is taking.

A couple of times, you’ve turned what was going to be a solo project into material for a Fleetwood Mac album [1987’s Tango in the Night and 2003’s Say You Will]. Do you regret that?
No, not at all. I don’t regret anything. I consider myself very lucky to have even found myself in the situation I was in. Obviously we [Fleetwood Mac] have all paid certain emotional tolls, but then again, who hasn’t?

Continue reading Lindsey Buckingham – Taks to Performing Songwriter Magazine, Nov 2006

Lindsey Buckingham – Original Skin | Guitar World Acoustic

Original Skin

Lindsey Buckingham goes his own way on Under the Skin, his most acoustic album to date

by Kevin Scanlon

November 2006

“I’m not a finesse guy,” says Lindsey Buckingham. “I’m more damn-the-torpedoes.” He’s actually referring the the way he deals with others, but you could argue that same applies to his guitar style. Anyone who’s seen the hyper-aggressive way his right hand claws at the strings of his Turner Model 1 electric would have a hard time describing him as a “finesse” player. At the same time, it’s equally difficult to claim that Buckingham’s unique fingerstyle approach (he’s never used a pick) lacks precision or taste. And it’s impossible to deny the dazzling musical results. Just listen to any of the albums he’s made during his two tenures with Fleetwood Mac, from 1975 to 1987 and from 1997 to the present. Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks may have written more of the band’s biggest hits, but Buckingham’s playing-along with his backup singing, arranging and production genius-is the magic ingredient that helped make songs like “Rhiannon,” “Say You Love Me,” “Dreams,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Think About Me” and “Gypsy” so memorable, and so successful.

Of course, Buckingham’s own songbook is also studded with gems-“Monday Morning,” “World Turning,” “Never Going Back Again,” “Go Your Own Way,” “Second Hand News” and “Big Love,” to name just a few. But his pop sensibilities have always coexisted with that “damn-the-torpedoes” spirit, which has propelled him into plenty of left-field ventures. First there were the songs he cut by himself in his home studio and contributed to Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk (1979), twisted lo-fi rock oddities like “Not That Funny” and “The Ledge.” Then there were his solo releases-Law and Order (1981), Go Insane (1984), and Out of the Cradle (1992)–on which he backed up his alternately howling and cooing vocals with an army of varispeeded guitars that sounded like they’d been injected with performance-enhancing drugs.

You won’t find anything quite as bizarre on Buckingham’s new CD, Under the Skin (Reprise), his first solo album in nearly 15 years. (His previous two attempts to make a solo record turned into full-blown Fleetwood Mac projects). The primary instruments are acoustic guitar and voice, and overt studio trickery is shelved in favor of stripped-down songcraft. But stripped-down doesn’t mean conservative-Buckingham goes for broke the same way he always has, only more quietly. All 11 tracks have a dark, almost creepy vibe, with lyrics so personal that you feel you shouldn’t be listening to them. And yet you’re somehow compelled to do so. A big part of the draw is Buckingham’s intricate fingerpicking, which he showcases on the hair-raising opener “Not Too Late” and a drastically altered version of Donovan’s “Try for the Sun.”

Between rehearsals with a four-piece band for a fall tour to promote Under the Skin, Buckingham chatted with Guitar World Acoustic about his new material. His modesty regarding his own abilities comes as a surprise; his obvious devotion to his art does not.


GUITAR WORLD ACOUSTIC Why did you decide to make such a predominantly acoustic album? There’s hardly an electric guitar to be found on the record.

LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM Well, there are a couple, but certainly no leads [laughs]. It’s because I have plans to put out a more rock album in the near future, probably about 10 months from now-a fairly close amount of time and, given my track record, way closer than normal. So I’ve actually been working on a pair of albums. And for this one, I really wanted it to hold a certain line. I’ve been interested for quite a white in trying to distill my fingerpicking style down to its bare essentials, and the album is very much about keeping the production as minimal as possible while style having it sound like a record.

GWA You play the great majority of the instruments on Under the Skin, but not all of them. Who else was involved?

BUCKINGHAM Mick Fleetwood played percussion on “Down on Rodeo” and “Someone’s Gotta Change Your Mind,” John McVie played bass on “Down on Rodeo” and David Campbell did some orchestration on “Someone’s Gotta Change Your Mind.”
those two songs were recorded quite a long time ago, almost 10 years ago, at Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood, and they were under consideration for [the 2003 Fleetwood Mac album] Say You Will. But that’s really it. The other songs are all from the last three years. I recorded them by myself, either at home or on the road with Fleetwood Mac, and they’re mostly guitars and vocals with a little rhythmic support. And lots of echo.

GWA For sure. One song, among many, with “lots of echo” is “I Am Waiting.” How did you get that pretty, filtered delay-type sound on the acoustic guitar?

BUCKINGHAM That’s an old Roland synth, driven by one nice-sounding Turner thin-bodied acoustic rather than one of those cruddy Strats that you might normally plug into a Roland. The guitar sound is clean, but the synth give it a chamber-orchestra effect.

GWA “I Am Waiting” is a Rolling Stones tune, and you also do a cover of Donovan’s “Try for the Sun” on the new album. Any particular reason you recorded those songs?

BUCKINGHAM As far as the Stones song goes, there was actually a point where I went through this whole spate of Stones songs that I loved from a certain period-mainly ’65 and ’66-and tried recording them. All obscure stuff: “The Singer Not the Song,” “Gotta Get Away,” which will be on the next album, “She Smiled Sweetly,” which was another one I cut with Mick [Fleetwood]. They all turned out fine, but I was looking for vehicles for a certain kind of acoustic playing, and “I Am Waiting” seemed the most successful. It was more about the arrangement than the song itself. And the Donovan song was just something I remembered fondly from when it came out, when I was 14 or 15. Its melodic structure is very generic folk-song, but it was close to my heart, and it was a reference point for what I later ended up writing.

GWA You arrangement of it is very different from the original, the most obvious change being that it’s in 6/8 time instead 4/4.

BUCKINGHAM That was to suit my own petty guitar needs. It’s funny-one of the guys I work with was also working with Donovan at the time I was cutting it, and he mentioned to Donovan that I was doing one of his songs. When he heard which one it was, he said [imitating an angry Scotsman], “‘Try for the Sun’? What’s he doing that one for?” So if he ever hears my version, he’ll probably go, “He fucked it up!” I don’t know how well I succeeded in putting it together.

GWA It sounds like you wrote it, which must qualify as some kind of success.

BUCKINGHAM Gotta get away from that 6/8 thing, though. Been doing that too long.

GWA What about those crazed arpeggios you play throughout the first track, “Not Too Late”? How do you play those?

BUCKINGHAM It’s my usual extended Travis picking kind of thing. It sounds rapid-fire, but it’s really not that hard to play. I’ve done it live a couple of times in very small settings, and so far I haven’t screwed it up.

GWA I imagine that it’s difficult to sing while playing that part.

BUCKINGHAM No, because first of all, that guitar sticks to the same pattern all the way through, and I’m almost talking through the verse. And the chorus is basically one note. With a lot of these songs, I didn’t want to get too coy with brining more instrumentation in on the chorus and then taking it out for the verse, because if you were sitting around, playing the song on the guitar for somebody, that wouldn’t be happening. So I was trying to make the music be produced but more real, if that word even applies in this day and age.

GWA The chord progression in “Not Too Late” somehow reminds me of music by French Impressionist composers like Debussy and Ravel. Have you listened to a lot of classical music? Many of your songs-“Eyes of the World,” for example, and the instrumental segments on Out of the Cradle-suggest that you have.

BUCKINGHAM Well, that influence is in there, but I’m far from being well-versed in any kind of classical music. It’s more like I heard a piece here and there and got a
flavor for it. Someone who’s played guitar by himself in his room for years will tend to come across things and find ways to incorporate them into his style. But because I was never formally taught on anything, I’m basically a refined primitive. I don’t read music, and I just found my own way on guitar. I’m more knowledgeable about rock music than any other kind, but even there it’s only to a point. By no means am I a musicologist.

GWA The sound of the acoustic nylon-string continues to be central to your music. Are you still using the same Rick Turner guitars?

BUCKINGHAM Yes, and a couple of Chet Atkins models that Rick modified, along with the occasional Taylor. My setup’s never been too elaborate. I’m not trying out new guitars or looking at what else is out there. I tend to find things that work and stick with them for a long period of time, as long as I can get to what I want to get to. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

GWA Is that rhythm part in “Under the Skin” played on a Taylor?

BUCKINGHAM Can’t say for sure, but I think that was recorded on one of those ¾-size Baby Taylors in a hotel room while I was on tour with Fleetwood Mac. It’s in open G, and I used a bunch of maj7 chords.

GWA The chords sound very high and sparkly, as though the guitar was in Nashville tuning. Were you using a capo?

BUCKINGHAM Yes. It’s probably moved up [three frets] to Bb or… or whatever. I don’t know what key it’s in. That’s where my skill ends. I’m not someone who can transpose into different keys all over the place. I just have my things that I do. I’m sort of like Irving Berlin in that way. He could play in only one key, so he had his piano customised so that he could turn a crank and change the key even though he was still playing the same chords. It’s a little easier to do that with guitars.

GWA The last tune, “Juniper,” has a slight Brazilian feel to it.

BUCKINGHAM My wife calls it the Love Boat song. Thank you, dear [laughs]. It was originally written in a much slower, straighter tempo, and it wasn’t something I’d planned to put on this record. But when I was finishing the album I went back to it, and the lyric struck me as more appropriate than it had been when I wrote it. It was a remembrance of growing up [in Palo Alto, California]. Juniper is the name of a street that ran right into the street my family lived on; we used to ride our bikes down Juniper when I was a kid. Not I’m a father, and when you become a parent you see your own parents differently-you can maybe see them in a wiser light. Also, because it was another maj7 song, I thought it would be a nice mate to “Under the Skin.” A lot of people said, “Don’t put that on there, it’s terrible!” And I thought, Well, okay, maybe it is, but you can get away with a lot when it’s the last song on the record.

GWA Parts of the new album are so self-revealing that they make the listener feel like he’s eavesdropping on a private conversation. The lyrics cut pretty close to the bone.

BUCKINGHAM Very much so. But there was certainly a precedent set for that kind of writing during a certain time with Fleetwood Mac, and back then I don’t think anyone thought about what the specifics of any given song were or what the overall effect on anyone else would be. The aim was just to make it as true as we could and as skillful as we could, and the same holds true here. My life has changed so drastically since the last time I made a solo record. If you go back three years to the last Fleetwood Mac album, there was such a lag time for my material on that because it was all a holdover from what was supposed to be my own electric solo album. I got that off the books, and started fresh and addressed my life as it is now-I’m finally married after so many years of living in a semi-dysfunctional social world, with three beautiful children and the kind of perspective that gives you, combined with whatever goes on in the mind of someone who can see himself healthily, as a mature artist, not trying to be someone he’s not. That’s what came out on the album. Many of these songs seem more truthful to me than anything I’ve ever done.

GWA Say You Will wasn’t the first Fleetwood Mac album that started out as a Lindsey  Buckingham solo project. There’s a long history of that kind of band usurpation, starting in the mid-80s with Tango in the Night. It reminds me of Michael Corleone in the Godfather movies: Every time you want to go off and do your own thing…

BUCKINGHAM They pull me back in! [laughs uproariously] Before we got back together for The Dance [in 1997], they even performed what might be called an intervention. We were over at Christine [McVie]’s hosue, and everyone was literally standing around me in a circle saying, “You’ve got to put the solo work down and do this with us.”

GWA Was there any danger of that this time?

BUCKINGHAM There wasn’t in terms of the material getting folded over. There was a little bit of pressure about my carving out a sufficient time frame to do this album, tour it, then finish the other one and, in all likelihood, tour that one too. But I talked to Stevie [Nicks] and everybody about it, and I don’t think anyone at the end of the day begrudged me the time to do what I felt I needed to do. The way they’re looking at it, I think is that at least I’ll get it out of my system: “He’ll be a nicer guy after he finishes this.” [laughs]

GWA You mentioned your tendency to allow many years to pass between solo albums. Is that because you find it hard to let things go? You’re certainly fond of recycling parts of songs. For instance, some sections of “Not That Funny” and “I Know I’m Not Wrong,” both on Tusk, are nearly identical; one of the verses in “You Do or You Don’t” on Out of the Cradle shows up again-words and music-as the bridge in “Bleed to Love Her” from Say You Will…

BUCKINGHAM And the acoustic guitar line in “Eyes of the World” [from 1982’s Mirage] came out of an instrumental piece on Buckingham Nicks [recorded in 1973 before the duo joined Fleetwood Mac]. That’s almost like a running gag, though it’s not meant to be. I’ve never had a problem with taking an element from another song-as long as it’s my song and I’m not gonna get sued for it-and reusing it in a different way, if if it has its own integrity in the new context. It’s like leaving little clues for the people who are really paying attention. Again, I don’t set out intentionally to do this. I hate to admit it, but it’s about expediency. I say, “Oh, that old bit would be cool there.” Some people might think it’s not cool to use it again, but my feeling is, as long as you don’t do it all the time, who cares?

GWA So that has nothing to do with some obsessive need you have to keep tinkering with a part until it’s perfect?

BUCKINGHAM Oh, not at all. It’s more just being lazy. [laughs]

GWA Speaking of Buckingham Nicks, will it ever be reissued? At this point, it’s got to be one of the most famous albums to have never been released on CD.

BUCKINGHAM I know, isn’t it ridiculous? Stevie and I own the 24-track masters, and one of Stevie’s managers has them at her house. I actually didn’t know where they were for a while; that’s one of those little power plays that goes on. It’s become almost an extension of Fleetwood Mac politics, convoluted as they are. Everyone agrees that the record needs to come out, but everyone also agrees that it needs to come out at a time when there can be some kind of event to promote it, and no one knows what that is. Do Stevie and I go out and do dates as a duo? What are we talking about here? So it’s in the ether. But the thing is, we’d better hurry up, because pretty soon it’s going to be a little late.

GWA You’re very much a pop songwriter, but at the same time you have this radical experimental streak. Has it been difficult for you to strike a balance between your two

BUCKINGHAM It has been, in the past. Say we’d done Tusk, never mind how much it sold or didn’t sell, and the rest of the band had been on the same page about the musical
results-because believe me, they weren’t enchanted with the music, it was only years later that people started to acknowledge that it had some worth-I probably would never have
even thought about making solo albums. The palette would’ve been so wide at that point that we would’ve felt there was room for everything within Fleetwood Mac. As it was, Tusk didn’t sell 16 million [as its predecessor, 1977’s Rumours, had], and I’d set the stage for the backlash that occurred within the band to disallow that experimental mindset.

So, to answer your question, yes, that kind of backlash put me in the position of having to be a bit bipolar, and that wasn’t always easy. When I listen to the Go Insane album, where you’ve got all these things right off the Firelight [synthesizer] like “Play in the Rain”–I love it, but the gesture of it is what you notice more than the actual music. What I’m trying to do now is keep the experimentalism in play, but in as much of a personal and centered context as possible. There’s a lot of room for experimentation without having to go out and wear it on your sleeve.

GWA Where do things stand with the other solo record?

BUCKINGHAM I have nine songs that I consider finished tracks, which were done at my house in the last year and a half. And I’ve also got a ton of new material that hasn’t been formally cut. During the next month we’ll try to set up a game plan, and then when I get off the road we’ll start working on it. After that, we’ll hopefully get it out in a remarkably short amount of time, for me. That would be the hook: What’s he been doing all this time? Answer: Putting two albums out within the course of a year. And then after that… [sighs] I think it’s just Fleetwood Mac for a whole. That’s what I’m hearing, anyway. We’ll see. Nice to keep busy, though-gotta pay for my kids’ private schools and all that!


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.