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Denver Post (10/18/2003), Mac is Back < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Denver Post (10/18/2003), Mac is Back

Denver Post, Friday, October 18, 2003

Mac is Back
Buckingham leads band to rockin' revival
by G. Brown, Denver Post Popular Music Critic

Does it matter when an influential band's appeal is limited to nostalgia-hungry veteran fans?

Fleetwood Mac doesn't care if pop radio shuns its new album. Those growing up in the late '70s recall the wonder of "Rumours." Full of irresistible soft-rock and passionate hard pop, it remains the second best-selling rock album of all time.

"It's hard to interface rock in a social context in the way it was then - how it changed the world and the way people were thinking, what kind of force it was," Lindsey Buckingham said recently. "I wonder where all that's gone? I don't know if rock will ever mean that to us again. It's a pretty broad issue.

"At the same time, if you look at any genre ... you can find a lot of examples of people who didn't even hit their stride until they were 50. So anything else is a cliche. This is definitely the best time in my life, which is a trip."

The band's most successful lineup - Buckingham, singer Stevie Nicks, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie - has reunited for "Say You Will," the first new studio album in 16 long years. A much-anticipated concert tour in support of the release will hit Pepsi Center on Saturday night.

Midwifing a new Fleetwood Mac album is something no one imagined after Buckingham's acrimonious departure following 1987's "Tango In The Night," but the consummate musician engineered and produced or co-produced all the songs on "Say You Will."

"We're still managing to be fairly neurotic, having something to prove. I just turned 54 - at that age, you figure, 'What's wrong with him?' I have a family, a 5-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter and another one coming in April. There's that balance in one's life."

To fully understand rock's longest-running soap opera, a fan must rewind through Fleetwood Mac's record of inner-group marriages, divorces, affairs, animosities, band defections, drug abuse and alcoholism. Buckingham joined the ever-morphing British ensemble in 1975, with partner Nicks in tow. During his 12-year stint, the lanky singer/guitarist/songwriter helped transform the group from respected also-rans to the embodiment of platinum-selling dysfunctional rock royalty.

Inspired by his romantic turmoil with Nicks (as well as the disintegration of John and Christine McVie's marriage), 1977's "Rumours" sold 17 million copies. How such tensions could produce such mad genius remains one of the most enduring and endearing mysteries surrounding Fleetwood Mac.

"Say You Will" originally started as Buckingham's fourth solo disc. It evolved into a Mac reunion when a regime change at Warner Bros. Records forced Buckingham to reconsider releasing his project amid the corporate uncertainties.

Buckingham had invited Fleetwood and McVie to help lay down some tracks. While waiting for the dust to settle, Nicks became involved. Buckingham rented a house in Bel Air to record.

And the harmonious-sounding "Say You Will" is a rewarding, solid comeback. Buckingham and Nicks are given nine songs apiece over the course of the lengthy album. Buckingham's guitar takes center stage, with some of the most fluid and biting work of his career.

The single "Peacekeeper," which bristles with alluring harmonies and a chugging beat, easily could be about Iraq.

"It was eerie how it fit in, for sure, but it certainly wasn't intended that way," Buckingham said. "I wouldn't have been comfortable knowing I was writing about something like that. It's not really my bag."

The song did not get on the album without some controversy.

The closing line of the song "is 'Take no prisoners, only kill,"' Buckingham explained. "Someone at Warner Bros. was uncomfortable with that. We changed (the single) to 'break their will.' ... I didn't have a problem with that. It's ironic. They're going to release that song in England now. They were squeamish about it when it was a single here. Now they don't seem to have a problem with 'only kill.' I don't know what goes on in people's minds."

The vitality of Fleetwood Mac always has been the potent chemistry between Buckingham and ex-paramour Nicks, who have known each other since high school. Though they each have indeed gone their own way personally, it's apparent there still exists some expected unease for the pair.

"What gets people about the old stuff is that it'll take them back ... it's all about a context and associations," Buckingham said.

There is one valued link missing. Christine McVie, the elegant songstress whose writing credits include such Fleetwood Mac favorites as "Don't Stop," "You Make Loving Fun" and "Say You Love Me," opted out of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle after 1997's "The Dance" tour. In hindsight, Buckingham thinks it was perhaps for the best.

"Not to take anything away from Christine, because she has her own legacy, and we all miss her. But in a way, her not participating in this album was a way to redefine the band.

"It allowed John and Mick to unleash their chops in a slightly more assertive way, which is even more apparent onstage. And it allows Stevie and me to face off - have our styles, which are somewhat on opposite ends of the spectrum, somehow work together.

"In some ways, I never really wanted to be in a band like Fleetwood Mac. I would have much rather been in the Clash or something like that!"

Thanks to tgee for posting this to the Ledge.


Date: 2003-10-18         Number of views: 1226

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