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Behind the Masks (1990), (Book Excerpt) < Lindsey Buckingham < Main Page

Behind the Masks (1990), (Book Excerpt)

Behind the Masks, 1990 (Book Excerpt)
by Bob Brunning 

Lindsey Buckingham had precisely the same needs as Mick in 1981. A break from the road, followed by the chance to channel his creativity into a solo project. Buckingham had a backlog of song compositions which he wanted to see released. Like Mick, he had also worked on other recording projects outside Fleetwood Mac, including several with Mac colleagueas Christine McVie, John McVie, Mick himself and Stevie Nicks, but the chance now presented itself to record his work as an entirely free agent.

Even on the gruelling 'Tusk' tour, he had been preparing for the project. Preferring to stay in his hotel room with his two loves, girlfriend Carol and his Teac tape recorder, working on songs and sounds, Lindsey was busy composing and creating. Finally he was ready. 'Law And Order' was born. Why that title?

'Someone said, "Why did you call it 'Law and Order'?" and I said, first of all it has nothing to do with the contemporary context in which that term is used now, it has nothing to do with the society aspect. It's more specifically the theme of how to retain innocence and how to keep your innocence while experiencing pain. Everyone is born with innocence, but as you get older, you tend to close off your feelings more, you tend to become more cynical, more self-aware, less giving and the album is in some ways asking the question - how do you keep those innocent eyes through which real beauty is seen? It comes down to choices - do you reject a situation, or a person, because you are confronted with pain, or do you accept pain as part of the whole, and learn to get through it to the other side? I've experienced a bit of that in the last year and I'm getting through it, and I think in order to keep that sense of innocence, you really have to instil a sense of discipline in yourself and a sense of commitment - commitment is a key word - to something you care about, and that's how the title came about.'

In spite of the fact that Lindsey's relationship with the rest of the members of Fleetwood Mac had certainly somewhat soured, his choice of musical partners for his musical venture spoke volumes with regard to the strength of 'family' ties. With the cream of the rich field of Los Angeles session players available at his bidding, who did Lindsey choose? Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood of course. Plus associate George Hawkins and Buckingham's girlfriend Carol Ann Harris.

The musical collaboration between Lindsey and Mick could even survive a swipe. One track, 'Bwana', seemed to refer to Mick's album 'The Visitor' in a none too complimentary way. Was there a reference?

'Well, there is, actually - Mick and I were having a little tiff one day. This particular song was almost recorded, all those crazy, cartoon-background vocals. At that point it really had no reference to "Bwana". Richard Dashut, who was helping me through the second phase of the album said, "Why don't you go out and sing it sort of fifties style?" I went out and started singing a different way, and a whole new melody evolved and at that point the lyrics went with the new melody. There's really nothing negative about Mick in there - it was just on my mind at the time! Mick and I are real close - close enough to make references to one another in songs without having to worry about it.'

'Trouble', one of the tracks on 'Law And Order' would be released as a single. Mick Fleetwood's drum contribution, as usual, was important.

Lindsey: 'Mick and I recorded for several hours but nothing seemed quite solid enough as a whole track, so we picked a short section, cut the kick drum into itself, took it out of the machine, shut the motors off so it wouldn't be spinning and looped it around a microphone stand - and put the parts on to that. It still sounds like Mick - still has a certain tension, something to do with where he places his kick, he always lays the snare further back than the kick - and it has that creep to it.'

That 'creep' not withstanding, 'Trouble' was not a hit, and neither was the album.

Like Mick before him, Lindsey was undeterred by the disappointing sales of his solo venture. Two years later Mercury would release his second project, 'Go Insane'. Following the painful break up of his relationship with Carol Harris, the album was at least partially inspired by the angst-ridden emotions Lindsey was experiencing at the time.

Never a man to use one-syllable words when lengthier ones would do, Lindsey commented: 'The lyrics were to some extent inspired, if that's the right word, by the slow disintegration of a six-year relationship I had with a young lady. I tried everything I could to maintain a commitment to this person, but she began to display non-constructive behavioural patterns and I just reached a stage where no more allowances could be made. So, a lot of the songs on "Go Insane" have something to do with various aspects of what happened.'

There was another interesting track on the album: 'DW Suite' dedicated to Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. It addressed itself to the parallels between Dennis's role within the famous sixties West Coast band and Lindsey's own role within Fleetwood Mac, as he perceived it. Yet another connection existed. Dennis had been Chritsine McVie's lover.

Lindsey: 'I wrote "DW Suite" as a personal tribute to Dennis Wilson, the Beach Boys' drummer, who drowned last December. It's divided into three distinct segments and contains a number of musical themes, both traditional ("Loch Lommond" is one noticeable strand) and modern. I also did it as a way of tipping my hat to Brian Wilson who was the driving force behind the band. I've always identified with Brian because he has spent years attempting to take what was essentially a successful early sixties pop band into a more adventurous and challenging direction. Yet the pressure put upon him by the other members of the BBs and even his own family because of the desire to experiment and change has been incredible. In fact the only way he's been able to handle it is to revert to a childlike mental existence, which is tragic. Maybe by including this track I've managed to exorcise a demon that's been haunting me for years concerning my own position with the Fleetwoods.'

The album was produced by Roy Thomas Baker. (Richard Dashut, Fleetwood Mac and 'Law and Order' producer declined the job, saying after his protracted work on Mick Fleetwood's 'Visitor', 'I am so burnt out that I just cannot bring myself to go back into the studio.') Lindsey, in an overtly theatrical gesture, had flown to London to present his demo tapes to Baker, who was embroiled in his Queen and Cars projects at the time.

Lindsey's second album had proved to be an interesting, thoughtful and in many ways innovative piece of work. But it fared little better than its predecessor in the record racks of the world's music shops.

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


Date: 1990-01-01         Number of views: 1761

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