Fans knew a Fleetwood Mac tour was imminent, but what they didn’t know was that new music was in the works. Two new songs, “Sad Angel” and “Miss Fantasy,” will come out before the tour kicks off in April. But longtime fans of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks might be even more thrilled with this development: They’re seriously considering reviving their pre-Fleetwood Mac career as Buckingham Nicks – and recently recorded a song that was originally intended for the follow-up that never came to their one self-titled album. Buckingham sat down to talk exclusively to MSN about the new (and old) recordings.
MSN: When we spoke last year about your solo album Seeds We Sow you said a Fleetwood Mac reunion would happen.
Lindsey Buckingham: “Did I say it was going to happen in 2012?”
Yes, but you said you wanted to do an album first. Stevie told me she wanted to do an album but people aren’t interested in them anymore, so you have just the two songs for now.
“Oh no, that’s not true. I don’t know what she’s talking about. She just didn’t come with any songs. She didn’t want to do an album. I said ‘Stevie, what do you think?’ and she said ‘No, I don’t want to do that.’ So I didn’t push it. I’ve got all this stuff sitting around. I’ll get John (McVie) and Mick (Fleetwood) over here from Hawaii and do a low-key, under-the-radar situation, producer-wise, just see what happens. We cut like seven, eight tracks with Mitchell Froom and the stuff turned out great. We did it all in the proper keys for Stevie’s range, and for her to drop in her parts. My hope she would hear some of this stuff and love it and get drawn in. She wasn’t really prepared to love it, so she didn’t. She’s starting to love it more now, now that she’s on a couple. She felt sort of put-upon and that’s fair enough I guess. She had her idea of not wanting to do it and here I was getting John and Mick over, doing this rah-rah thing. Come on guys!”
I have a feeling this interview is going to get the tour canceled before it begins…
“No, no, no, not at all. But I think probably she felt put-upon in the sense she didn’t have a lot of material sitting around to bring. Maybe there was a sense of pressure on her part. I was talking to Mick yesterday. At some point we’re going to be very glad we did this material. Something’s gonna happen with this. What that is remains to be seen. If we only use a couple of these for now, that’s fine. Stevie still needs to come with something. Who’s to say? I’m not pushing for an album. Down the line, maybe. I think it would be great. Stevie’s gotta be happy, she’s gotta be comfortable and that’s really the bottom line.”
How did you hook up with Mitchell Froom?
“I had never met Mitchell but spoke with him on the phone. I like the guy. I like some of his reference points that I was aware of. I also knew he was a very skillful string-arranger in case we wanted anything more outside the box like that. And to top it off he lives about five minutes from me. We did this whole thing in a very handcrafted way. I’d go into his house and gave him all my rough demos first, some of which were fleshed out, others just snippets of things hummed into my phone….we sort of agreed on what songs we’d do, worked on arrangements. We had the whole thing worked out before John and Mick showed up. Then it was pretty organic. It was interesting for him – the peculiarity of how we do things… for three weeks we came up with all that’s stuff. It’s all very pop. It hearkens back to the Fleetwood Mac classic feel. And John and Mick were just playing their asses off.”
With all your recent touring and solo albums and new songs are you in a particularly prolific phase?
“I’m not sure. It’s maybe the fruition, or something like that, of the choices I’ve been able to make and implement. You can take it way back if you wanna get really philosophical and go back to Tusk. Since 2005, we got off the road from doing the Say You Will tour. I was working on a certain level of frustration at having several attempts of solo projects being co-opted and turned into Fleetwood Mac projects. It happened several times. I asked for three years off in order to do two back-to-back albums, which I did, just trying to get it all out of my system … I did Under the Skin and Gift of Screws … I began to get a much stronger sense of myself by putting some chronological things together …confidence enters into it, I guess, but just focus and momentum.”
Let’s talk about the new music coming out. There’s another deluxe Rumours package coming out with more unreleased stuff. After the DVD-A and the previous deluxe release what’s left in the vaults for that?
“You’re asking the wrong guy (laughs). I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it’s a marketing thing. I don’t have much invested in that. What my function is when these things come out – someone else finds this stuff, finds stuff that hasn’t come out before. Then it’s my job to make sure it’s OK, that it’s something I’m comfortable with… that the whole thing makes sense or even relates to the Rumours album. Having said that I’m not a fan of repackaging things over and over again. I wouldn’t lose any sleep if this package didn’t come out, let’s leave it at that.”
It’s frustrating to fans to get that again while the surround-sound mix of Tusk is still sitting in the vaults.
“We did it! Getting Warner Brothers to put it out is another matter. And getting the band to want to put it out. That was my baby and there’s a certain subtext of it being the undermining factor of the brand. Maybe there’s a certain sublime level of suppression going on – not that anyone’s sitting around saying that, it’s just not on anybody’s A-list of things to do (laughs).”
Tell me about the new songs “Sad Angel” and “Miss Fantasy.”
“I was writing a lot of stuff. I was thinking about Stevie when I was putting these together. Many of the songs I came up with were directed at Stevie. They were a dialog to her. Both those are very much that. ‘Sad Angel’ – I think of her in all her traumatic splendor as having quite a bit of sadness that she still deals with. At the moment that it was being written I really was thinking about the fact that she and I were not agreeing on the idea of an album. The chorus is ‘Hello, sad angel, have you come to fight the war?’ It goes on to talk about ‘the crowd’s calling out for more.’ It’s sort of a cyclical look at our lives, the competitiveness of it yet the underlying unity of it. Each of our journeys has never been not a little about the other. ‘Miss Fantasy’ is more of the same thing. It’s a look back on….it’s talking about having a dream, recalling certain events that occurred years and years ago. The chorus is talking about ‘Miss Fantasy, it may be that you don’t remember me, but I remember you.’ That’s addressing all that’s happened over the course of time. You remember the person you were and the person I was back then? Is there any way to find any of that? Do we want to? Is it important to? Those are songs about Stevie and me.”
Doing the song “Stephanie” on your solo tour from the out-of-print 1973 Buckingham Nicks album raised fans’ hopes that it’ll come out on CD someday. You also made a comment on the BBC about working with Stevie again. I assume that meant this tour but it was interpreted by some as you saying you might want to re-form Buckingham Nicks.
“That’s not a misinterpretation. I would love to go out and do Buckingham Nicks. It’s sort of ironic because when Stevie came over here and started working we just had a great time, the best time we have had in years. She did bring in one song that was supposed to be her contribution to the Fleetwood Mac thing. After we were done with it she decided she wanted to put it on the Buckingham Nicks album (laughs). So that’s fine too. I don’t care. It’s an old song from pre-Fleetwood Mac. It was written sometime after Buckingham Nicks came out but before we joined Fleetwood Mac. We were working on a second possible Buckingham/Nicks album that never happened. So yes. The issue with all of that is once again a logistics issue. I have no problem with dropping a bonus track or one from her and one from me and putting out Buckingham Nicks finally on CD. …she said ‘We could do some dates between legs of the Fleetwood Mac tour.’ I’m thinking ‘No, I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s logistically possible.’ We’ve got a little less than 40 dates on the books, we’ll probably add a few more…we’ll do Europe and probably go down and do the summer in Australia and New Zealand. When the hell are we going to get together and rehearse a Buckingham Nicks show? So in my mind if she’s really serious what would be good to do is wait to put the (old) album out, or put it out and then do a new Buckingham Nicks album. The tour would have to wait till after that. Whether or not that will happen….she’s very heartfelt about what she’s saying, but it isn’t always clear. I don’t know what to say about that. But yes, to be very direct in response to your question if it were up to me… I would love to go out and do that again. That would be so cyclical and so karmically appropriate. If you see Stevie just tell her I said that.”
Mark C. Brown / MSN