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Faces (03/1985), Lindsey Buckingham < Lindsey Buckingham < Main Page

Faces (03/1985), Lindsey Buckingham

Faces, March 1985

Lindsey Buckingham
Premiere Pop Colorist With A New Set of Paints
by Abby Shefflied

Itís not surprising that Lindsey Buckinghamís Go Insane LP is a multi-faceted showcase of technical prowess rather than just some solo venture from a guitarist who happens to be in a mega-successful pop outfit. The guitarist and co-producer/writer of the chart-topping Fleetwood Mac is not content to trade commercial appeal for artistic license, but given a choice between the two, itís the artistry that winds every time. As Macís chief risk taker steps out for his second try, it becomes crystal clear that the barriers might be there for the band, collectively, but not necessarily for the individuals.

While the title track of Go Insane did well on the chartsóread accessibleóthereís also material which shows just how experimental Buckingham can be.

Buckinghamís evolvement from a struggling singer/songwriter to a grand talent-at-large and purveyor of new ideas involves a series of lucky breaks and deserving rewards. When he and his partner Stevie Nicks abandoned their plans to remain as a duo, it was to join a somewhat successful blues band that was looking for a different direction to follow. Bingo! Fleetwood Mac emerged with hit after hit. When their experimental Tusk LP (Buckinghamís pet project) did not meet with the same commercial success of FMís earlier albums, Buckingham abandoned this quirky approach until his own debut Law and Order. His follow-up to that album also blazed some new trails.

Buckingham: I make an effort to depart, stylistically, from what Fleetwood Mac represents, always attempting to break through some of the limitations there are in commercial pop music.

FACES: Was commercial consideration in the back of your mind when recording the Go Insane album?

Buckingham: Itís hard to be objective about this. I think itís important to try to push what the limits are of traditional pop. I think itís important to, in a sense, even confound peopleís expectations as to what pop is or could be . . . to some degree. Of course you want to sell some records. You want the most number of people that could hear it, to hear it.

FACES: Everybody seems to be complaining about how tight the playlists are on the radio. As a recording artist, how do you feel about it?

Buckingham: There are good things that get through. There is a certain problem for something thatís "different" getting heard. Iím not going to conform for that reason alone. Itís harder to get heard now, thereís no doubt about it.

FACES: Was there pressure to release a certain kind of album?

Buckingham: (My first) LP was fairly well received critically. It wasnít a huge selling album. Go Insane was significant because for the first time I got out of the Fleetwood Mac circle of people. Richard Dashut who has worked all the way back to the album that Stevie and I did worked on all the Mac albums and worked on my other solo album. He and I worked on everything for so long, we were too much alike. The checks and balance system had fallen away. To get out of that little microcosm and work with people that I had not even met until six months prior to working on the project was a nice kick in the ass. It was a little uncomfortable at first, very reaffirming by the end. Life after Fleetwood Mac . . . .

FACES: Whatís this?

Buckingham: No. Weíre still together.

FACES: Speaking of the band, do you consider their songs to be your songs?

Buckingham: To some degree, Stevieís songís are my songs . . . Christineís songs are my songs. If I had to choose one function or contribution that I have brought to the band, the most important one, I think, is not as a writer or a guitarist but someone who creates records and who has a certain way of making records, and a certain vision of doing that. In a sense to be able to take a raw song of Christineís or Stevieís and to be able to arrange it properly, to make it into a finished product, is pretty much what Iíve always done for the band.

FACES: Would you feel unhappy by limiting yourself to studio work and not touring?

Buckingham: No. I donít think so. I have a good time on stage but the challenge of being on the road, the repetition of being on stage every night, is to try to appear fresh. Being in the studio is far more of a growing process or a creative process.

I enjoy working on my own as well. When youíre playing all the instruments like I do, itís a far more intimate relationship than a band situation. I think in a couple of years Iíll be producing more. I think the recording studio is just like another instrument . . . if you play it properly. Itís just like what Phil Spector was dong. He understood that. Itís very important to have that sensibility, in pop anyway. Iím a studio animal.

FACES: Was that the reason for an experimental album?

Buckingham: I consider myself to be a colorist. I use a Fairlight CMI all the time. I was using the colors that were there. I play guitar but I approach the music as the guitar is just one tool. Itís like a painting. Hopefully, you know when to stop.

FACES: By having solo projects outside of the band is the bond strengthened between you?

Buckingham: You spend eight years with four other people and youíre constantly thinking of the needs of the whole rather than the needs of the individual. Itís like being married to four other people. The pressures of that can be pretty immense. I donít know if solo works strengthens the bond but it does let off some of the steam, take some of the pressures off. Itís a safety valve in a sense. I think it helped to keep the band going.

Thanks to Lesley Thode for the submission.

Date: 1985-03-01         Number of views: 1355

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