The riffs of Lindsey Buckingham

I still think in the grand scheme of things that Lindsey Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac is a very under-rated guitar player.

His playing has always been unique and inventive, he’s probably the only guy in a huge rock band that doesn’t play with a pick, and the guy had enormous cajones to write a bizarre, experimental album with almost no hit singles like Tusk to follow up Rumours, which was the biggest selling album of all time right before the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

What’s also amazing about Buckingham today is he’s been able to straddle both the major label world, and the indie, experimental world of his solo career. 

Where Stevie Nicks’s solo album In Your Dreams went to the iTunes top ten, Warner Brothers, Mac’s label, wasn’t totally nuts about Buckingham’s solo album, Seeds We Sow, so as Variety reported, Buckingham decided to release it independently through his own label Mind Kit, which he can do very easily in today’s iTunes world.


Although it was a disappointment compared to the enormous success of Rumours, which has sold 19 million copies to date, and it went to #2 on iTunes after the songs were featured on Glee, Buckingham told Guitar Player that Tusk is probably his favorite Mac album “because it was the point at which I was able to fully define the way I think as an artist. The success of Rumors offered a tremendous amount of freedom and credibility – but I felt that freedom was only valid if we used it.”


With filmmakers of the ’70’s, there was a hope that a big hit like The Godfather or American Graffiti could help you finance the uncommercial movies you wanted to make, the saying going, one for them, one for you. 

As Buckingham told Sound + Vision magazine, “I think of it by making an analogy to film. You have this large mainstream film that is Fleetwood Mac, which has a certain set of considerations and a process that is very specific. And then you have the independent film that you’re making over here, which is where you tend to live more and where you’re able to take risks and grow from more. The trick is in keeping the tension between those two in balance and  maintaining both sides.”


Buckingham also tried to explain to his 13 year old son the concept of how an album’s supposed to flow, and how the right songs flowing into each other can work great, or can go wrong if they’re in the wrong order, again using film terms. “If you don’t edit the film properly, you don’t have a good film,” to which his son said, “You’re out of your mind.” 

After a good laugh, Buckingham told writer Mike Mettler, “He’s an iTunes guy who listens to songs one at a time. The idea of an album – of listening to a whole album – is something that eludes him.”