Lindsey Buckingham paid a visit to L.A.’s University Of Southern California 37 years after recording its USC Trojans Marching Band live at Dodger Stadium for the title track to Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 Tusk album. Rolling Stone reported on Wednesday night (April 29th) at the University’s’s Bovard Auditorium, he took part in a moderated chat, which kicked off with footage of the band recording “Tusk” with the marching band, and during the evening, Buckingham performed the song and the Rumours lead single “Go Your Own Way” with the college’s current marching band. Buckingham also treated the audience to a trio of solo acoustic cuts — “Never Going Back Again,” “Bleed To Love Her” and “Big Love.”
He spoke about the current state of affairs for Fleetwood Mac — which has wrapped the first 82 dates of its world tour and includes Christine McVie after a 16-year hiatus — admitting to the student heavy crowd, “It’s a great time for Fleetwood Mac. It’s a very karmic time for the band, in that if you look at this perhaps as the beginning of the last act then it’s very appropriate for her to return. We’re playing to many generations of people and they all seem to be enjoying it the same.”
In addition to being one of the band’s three songwriters, Buckingham also served as the musical director and producer for not only his songs, but those of Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks’ as well: “You have to look at what Rumours was, what drove the subject matter. You had two couples who were broken up or breaking up. And probably you could say success we had achieved was the catalyst for those breakups. Normally in a breakup, you create distance and time to create closure. We had to live in selective sets of denial.”
Buckingham also talked about the state of the music industry in general, saying, “I actually like Taylor Swift. I admire what she’s been able to do on some levels. . . There are a ton of really good people out there. I don’t think music is any less vital. I think it’s a little harder to churn out interfaces with sociology. When I was a kid and Elvis Presley broke through to a middle class, white audience, it was a sociological phenomenon that lasted through the Beatles and even a bit through Fleetwood Mac.”
He spoke frankly about his choice to quit the band following the release of Fleetwood Mac’s last “five-man” studio album, the 1987 multi-platinum Tango In The Night, explaining why he felt he needed to bolt from the band: “If everybody wanted to follow the left side of the pallet like I had on Tusk, there would have been no need for me to do solo work, (but) by the time we got done with Tango In The Night it became very difficult to get things done and that’s why I took off.”
Lindsey Buckingham quit the band just prior to the Tango In The Night tour, and explained to us that it had gotten to the point where he had to submerge too much of his creativity to keep the commercial continuity of the band in motion: “In ’87, you had a working atmosphere that could not really be called ‘creative’ — I mean, everyone was so zonked out, for one thing — and there was very little unity. Somebody had to make up for the lack of what should have been happening more naturally as a band, and wasn’t. It was really a challenge just getting anything to happen.”
Fleetwood Mac kicked off its overseas dates on May 27th and 28th in London, England at The O2 – London.