Lindsey Buckingham: A Time To Every Purpose The Fleetwood Mac singer says his solo work is like painting, while band work is like moviemaking.
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Lindsey Buckingham: A Time To Every Purpose

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Lindsey Buckingham helped make Fleetwood Mac one of the biggest rock bands of all time. He works mostly solo today. His sixth solo album, just released, is "Seeds We Sow."


LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM: (Singing) It's the end of time, the end of time. Can you feel it? Can you feel it?

SIMON: Lindsey Buckingham joins us from the studios of NPR West. Thanks so much for being with us.

BUCKINGHAM: Oh, my pleasure.

SIMON: And when I say solo, boy, I mean really solo. You - let me get this - you sang, produced, engineered almost every song. You played many of the instruments, all from your home studio?

BUCKINGHAM: Yes. You know, it's funny. You work in a band, and it tends to be more like moviemaking, I think, where it's a bit more of a conscious, verbalized and to some degree, political process. I think when you work alone - the way I do it, anyway - you could sort of liken it to painting, where you're going down by yourself and there's kind of a one-on-one with the canvas. And you get different results, you know, from different processes.

SIMON: Let me ask you about your distinctive style of guitar playing.


SIMON: You don't use a pick.

BUCKINGHAM: That is true.

SIMON: Let's listen to a riff we have here.


SIMON: So forgive me, doesn't that hurt?


BUCKINGHAM: Well, you know, there's a little bit of a callous built up on the fingers. No, it doesn't hurt.


BUCKINGHAM: (Singing) ... you on my mind...

BUCKINGHAM: I taught myself to play at a very young age, and that's just the - kind of the way I came up. I was listening to Scotty Moore, who was Elvis' guitar player?

SIMON: Yeah.

BUCKINGHAM: ?who used a pick, but also used his fingers. And then I was listening to some classical people and it just - you know, Fleetwood Mac, when I joined, they tried to get me to use a pick. But it was too late.



SIMON: Is there a theme that ties the songs of "Seeds We Sow" together?

BUCKINGHAM: I wasn't really looking for any subject matter in particular. It was only when I was done that I kind of looked at the group of songs and saw that there was, in fact, a thread. And I think that thread probably has to do with the choices we make, the fact that actions have consequences. And it's a - kind of a karmic element that runs through the album, and that's the idea behind the title track as well.

SIMON: Your very lucid explanation is kind of hard to put on a bumper sticker.

BUCKINGHAM: Well, let's hope so.


BUCKINGHAM: You know, I mean, we try to go for the left side of the palate with the solo work.

SIMON: Yeah.

BUCKINGHAM: We are certainly trying to delve into the esoteric a little bit more.


BUCKINGHAM: (Singing) Oh, the seeds we sow...

SIMON: Maybe I just don't spend enough time in California, but I got to tell you, I don't know what the left side of my palatedoes that the right side doesn't.


BUCKINGHAM: Well, you know...

SIMON: I just kind of swallow indiscriminately.

BUCKINGHAM: I guess the division for me is, Fleetwood Mac represents a more conservative, mainstream sensibility. And the solo work represents, you know, everything to the left of that - which is significant for me, you know.

SIMON: So the left side of your palate is closer to the heart?

BUCKINGHAM: I would say so, because it's not about selling. It's not about meeting anyone's commercial expectations. It's just about following your heart, taking risks, allowing yourself to grow in the way that you think is important.


BUCKINGHAM: (Singing) Sweet things, pretty things are dying in the penny arcade of Edgar Allan Poe. Medicine men have all gone spying. Oh, the seeds we sow.

SIMON: You're kicking off a 50-day tour, as I understand it.


SIMON: What happens if and when you're on tour and somebody shouts out, play "Big Love," or play "Go Your Own Way," or one of the big Fleetwood Mac hits?

BUCKINGHAM: Well, you go into a situation with your eyes open and you know that probably, they would run you out on a rail if you didn't cover a little bit of your body of work. And you know, ironically, both the songs you mentioned are in the set anyway.


FLEETWOOD MAC: (Singing) You can go your own way. Go your own way. You can call it another lonely day.

SIMON: So is there going to be another Fleetwood Mac reunion?

BUCKINGHAM: So yes, I think life without Fleetwood Mac would be less enriched. And we have been down a road as a band, and experienced things together, that really, no one else can understand and no one else has been through. And I think there are quite a few chapters left for Fleetwood Mac. And next year, I would be very surprised if we didn't reconvene and possibly even make an album.

SIMON: Mr. Buckingham, is there a song you want to point us to in this album?

BUCKINGHAM: There is one which I love a great deal, called "In Our Own Time." This is a song that was written about my wife. And I think one of the things you realize when you are in a relationship, is that the pendulum kind of swings back and forth, and that you have to approach a relationship with a great deal of faith that the pendulum will come back. And I think you need to have the grace and the wisdom to learn, quite often, to wait.


BUCKINGHAM: (Singing) Fire still burning, but in a while she'll make it rain.

SIMON: Mr. Buckingham, thanks so much.

BUCKINGHAM: My pleasure.

SIMON: Lindsey Buckingham. His new solo CD, "Seeds We Sow."

BUCKINGHAM: (Singing) ?couldn't stand the strain. I had the same old dream?

SIMON: And you can hear songs from "Seeds We Sow" at This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

BUCKINGHAM: (Singing) She used to come from time to time but not anymore. Still in my mind...

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