Geeking Out with Lindsey Buckingham (by Alex Bleeker)
AB: It’s interesting that you mention the loop pedal, because I hear a lot in your record—things that possibly sound like they could be loops—like quick sort of guitar arpeggiations that are very repetitive. I was wondering if all of that stuff that you recorded is mostly played live in full takes or do you utilize things like a loop pedal or a sampler or anything of that kind, especially in some of your more recent albums?
LB: It’s all done live, all played live, all done in real time. I don’t really use loop pedals. You know I appreciate people and the way they use them and how they keep building on it, but it doesn’t seem to be something I [have] arrived at yet as an approach for recording live. There’s a little more that needs to go on, on a fanatic level. That’s what I think.
AB: It’s also relatively new technology, at least in the way that would be done so simply, but it is being utilized more and more by full bands these days. Which leads me to my next question: I have my own opinion on this, but have you noticed a younger audience showing up at your shows or showing an appreciation for not only Fleetwood Mac records but your solo work? Have you noticed any increase in that [demographic] in the past couple of years?
LB: Well, you know, I guess you can qualify anything I say by saying, “The longer you’re around, [the] younger people start to look.” But yes, I’d say that it’s probably true. Even if you were to take the solo work out of the equation and just talk about the body of work that Fleetwood Mac has. Sometimes it takes sowing those seeds and letting things take root and seeing what is going to make sense to people down the line. What’s going [on] in an album like Rumours makes sense to any number of generations on a mainstream level, but then you’ve got something like Tusk which is going to make sense to people that have a more indie sensibility. That’s been very gratifying because that’s what that album is all about.
If you now go back to just my shows, yes, I have noticed that. Well, first of all you have to notice who I pull in as a solo artist. I mean I’m playing to a thousand people a night, sometimes a little more and when you are doing this stuff which is way on the left side of your palette—to be more esoteric—by virtue of doing that, [you are] probably losing the lion’s share of the audience. You’re getting a certain faction of people who have a set of ears that are built a certain way [and] that are appreciating what I’m doing for a certain set of reasons perhaps; they’re appreciating why I’ve taken this sort of road that I have taken. In terms of balancing the small machine and the big machine, inherent in that process you certainly do get people who have been around for a while, but you [also] get a whole younger set of people, and I have seen that. So I would say yes, absolutely. There’s a good representation of audience members who seem to get what I do that might not make sense to a broader range of people.
AB: Well I don’t know if [ Relix ] told you anything about me, but I’m not a journalist or writer. I’m 26, I play in a rock band and I can confidently tell you that Fleetwood Mac and of course your solo work has had a tremendous influence and is particularly popular with musicians right now in a more countercultural community.
LB: You know, that’s one of the lessons you start to learn. And again, why being in Fleetwood Mac is so helpful and so meaningful is because I can go out there and undermine the brand, if you will.
AB: So you enjoy doing that!
LB: And I’ve been doing that for years. On the one hand, you’ve got this big thing that’s a selling machine. I mean not necessarily CDs or albums now, but just in terms of commerce, and then there’s this other thing, which has nothing to do with commerce. I sort of infer from the input I get from doing things [as of late] that my street cred has never been higher. The other lesson that you learn is that street cred and marketability don’t necessarily have anything to do with each other. And that’s nice to know, because really, at the end of the day, music is for sharing, it’s for passing down, it’s for helping to infuse other people with a sense of religion and a sense of possibility and a sense of spirituality. To know that [I’ve] had some impact on that level, that’s what I’m doing this for.
AB: Well, that’s happening. It’s interesting what you said about music—being shared, passed down and continued along—and this is sort of a two part question: What is your relationship to music on the internet and the idea of file sharing that’s happening? Particularly your relationship to the original cut of Gift of Screws that I know was made widely available through the internet, which was quite different from what I guess they call the bootleg version. I suppose that’s [also] pretty available, but how did you feel when that happened? Did you feel violated at all, like it wasn’t something that was ready to be heard or were you sort of ok with it?
LB: Well some of those things, they got out because at the time I wasn’t necessarily thinking where that material was going and CDs, when you have CDs sitting around, you never know what’s going to happen to them. It is a viral world out there, [and] you just can’t worry about it that much. I don’t know, how do I feel about it? I mean certainly you can say that everyone’s income has been diminished via the value of one’s catalog; how it can be exploited has been diminished. But that’s just one way to look at it.
Another way is as the model of the large company, which used to be our benefactor and our large supporter in the day when it had some level of accountability in the 70s and 80s, when someone like Mo Ostin was running Warner Brothers. He was a man who had economy, he was a record man, he was a man who could make decisions for the good. Yes it was a corporation, yes it was a big company, but it was still—and it still does, to some degree, do the same thing, but you know the model of the large company has now become somehow far more broken, not only by what happened to the internet but by the fact that the umbrella of ownership under which all these companies fall has become so big that autonomy to make creative decisions for the artist has sort of [given way] to the decision making of the boardroom. To balance that out you sort of have a new frontier of musical landscape. It isn’t necessarily a frontier of potential profit in the same way that it used to be.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist out there. I find it hard for someone who got in under the wire and has no complaints about how well the music business has treated me at a financial level; I can only be sort of philosophical towards where it’s going.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
Crystal Bowersox stops by Relix to perform a song from her new album, All That For This.
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