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Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham Content With Solo Work for Now

Lindsey Buckingham
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

a Fleetwood Mac‘s Lindsey Buckingham is clearly more concerned about his art than he is about playing the big arenas such as those his one-time love and musical partner Stevie Nicks books for her solo tours.

Instead, the much-lauded guitarist is content to tour medium-sized venues as he promotes his latest solo album ‘Seeds We Sow.’ The album, which Buckingham wrote, produced, engineered and recorded, has won him critical kudos for the songs’ richly textured tones, which find Buckingham at the top of his musical game. It’s also made him laugh at himself a bit. People might think he’s a control freak because of the solitary process he uses on his solo work, compared with the collaborative effort that is part of what he calls the “big machine” — Fleetwood Mac.

“I do the solo work and you get to a certain point, in terms of how old you are and in terms of who you are, that street cred doesn’t translate into marketability, though some eventually work their way in and are appreciated,” Buckingham told Ultimate Classic Rock. “I’m doing as good or better work than I ever have. This is the small machine and the things that step up to meet it are also modest by comparison. That is how it is and that’s how it has been for my entire solo career. I do this for the love of doing it. I don’t make any money doing these tours. But as an artist I want to hold onto the ideal and [make music that has] a transcendent, religious quality.”

After becoming ensnared in a love of music as a kid and spending “hours and hours and hours” of his childhood teaching himself guitar, Buckingham is now looking at his life and how the cause-and-effect of various choices have allowed him to once again make the music he loves. Yes, he said, Fleetwood Mac is still very much a living band and one that he predicts will eventually come together again to tour (although, as he told us here, possibly not in 2012) and record music. But he’s in no great hurry for that to happen.

“Fleetwood Mac is not the Rolling Stones. We are coming together from different places and you could make the case that we shouldn’t be in a band together,” he said. “That’s the synergy that makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts. That process can have a few landmines floating around and it can sometimes be an overly political process. I guess the idea is looking toward another way to work in tandem with the big machine and the small machine and those two distinct ways of working help inform themselves.”

When asked about how he makes musical decisions on his solo work, such as how he chooses the style of guitar playing on each song, he repeats his oft-quoted statement that he considers solo work akin to a painting process.

“I don’t know,” he sighs in an affable way when asked to analyze his musical decision process. “I was not formally taught and I figured it all out myself. That ‘s my strength and also my weakness. In a way, I don’t analyze it. I’m a refined primitive and…I can’t really say how something ends up being one way. When you are working by yourself, it’s more like painting. Half the time ideas don’t need to be fleshed out before you begin that process and take a notion, throw it on the canvas and keep it going. It becomes kind of a meditation.”

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