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Mercury News (10/13/1997), For Fleetwood, Yesterday Is Not Gone < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Mercury News (10/13/1997), For Fleetwood, Yesterday Is Not Gone
Penguin

Mercury News, October 13, 1997

FOR FLEETWOOD, YESTERDAY IS NOT GONE

Section: Silicon Valley Life
Page: 1C

BY BRAD KAVA, Mercury News Music Writer

TO HEAR guitarist Lindsey Buckingham tell it, Fleetwood Mac's latest comeback was almost an accident.

Buckingham told the story by phone, as the band was rehearsing in Los Angeles for what has been received as a favorable, if expensive, reunion tour that plays Shoreline Tuesday and Wednesday.

A decade ago, the former Menlo-Atherton High School student left the band feeling creatively stifled and exhausted with the failed romances and infighting.

But Smashing Pumpkins covered "Landslide" for the modern rock audience. "Don't Stop" became Bill Clinton's theme song in 1992. Mac wasn't entirely dead.

Earlier this year, working on a solo album, Buckingham invited drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie to back him on a few tracks (recorded by Green Day producer Rob Cavallo). Then, he wanted feedback on the vocals and he asked Christine McVie to listen.

News of the four of them in a studio together got back to their record label, Warner Bros., and the phone lines started burning.

Some of that was undoubtedly fanned by Fleetwood, says Buckingham. "His life's blood has always been Fleetwood Mac."

Cynical about tour

You can't blame people for being cynical about pulling the corpse of Fleetwood Mac out of its grave and putting it on the road for $75 a pop.

But, says Buckingham, "Everyone else had already agreed to do this and I was just kind of up working on my house, kind of burying my head in the sand hoping that nobody would call me. . . . I was a little cynical going into it. But when I got into rehearsals, I realized not only that I had come a long way, but that Stevie and Mick were totally different people than they were in 1987.

Began with the blues

"And suddenly here I was, able to appreciate the chemistry and the fact that this is one of those situations where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

People have long speculated on why this version of Fleetwood Mac took off 20 years ago. The band had been together in some form since 1967, starting as a blues unit and adding various writers and singers around the rhythm section of Fleetwood and John McVie over the decades.

In his autobiography, Fleetwood speculates that it wasn't just the romances and tensions (Buckingham and Nicks, and John and Christine McVie paired and unpaired), but the meshing of three very individual voices.

Stevie Nicks appealed to the flower children; Christine McVie wrote basic, radio-friendly, down-to-earth love songs; and Buckingham, their iconoclastic Brian Wilson, played over-the-edge, go-insane guitar.

He was largely responsible for the band's creative highlight, "Tusk," which followed the easy-listening pop of "Rumours," a 15-million seller. "Tusk" sold 3 million and was considered a commercial flop.

The creative highlight may have also led to the band's downfall, says Buckingham, 50, who was born in Atherton and played clubs around San Jose, along with Stevie Nicks, in the band Fritz. (He still has ties to the area: His mother lives in San Jose and he has a brother in Cupertino.)

"The failure didn't haunt me. I was sort of the culprit of that. I said, 'Let's not do "Rumours II." Let's not follow the formula [that] if it works, run it into the ground.' When I started coming into the studio with stuff that was quite a bit exotic, they were getting into it. There was a real sense of relief. It was only after the fact that there was this backlash from it," Buckingham recalls.

"It is more in the realm of what people are doing today. Could we have made a 'Rumors II' anyway? Repaint the painting for the sake of selling 16 million or 18 million? It seemed kind of asinine to me.

"It put me in a weird position, where I felt I was treading creative water from then on."

Will Mac stay together long enough to do new material?

"A year ago I would have said no," says Buckingham.

"In the 12 years I was involved in the band, there was so much agendizing and baggage and whatever was going on behind the scenes with the couples, it was very difficult to appreciate all that. It was all masked by a certain level of pain. Various levels of pain, quite a bit at times.

"And it was always a lesson in denial. You had to cram all your feelings here and get on with your creative thing here. That's all gone. I like just being able to see what is really there in front of me.

"The fact is, I'm having a good time."

Thanks to Karen for posting this to the Ledge and to Anusha for formatting and sending it to us.


Date: 1997-10-13         Number of views: 1338

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