Fleetwood Mac is having tremendous success on its current sold-out tour. The band is playing its classic hits with verve and enthusiasm, plus, since the recent release of 4-song EP, "Extended Play," the quartet has new material to sink its teeth into. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham spoke to HitFix about the current state of Fleetwood Mac, the delight he takes in his still dynamic connection to Stevie Nicks, the latest on a full album from the band, and if Christine McVie will join her former band mates when they play London in the fall.
Hitfix: I saw the band two weekends ago at Jazz Fest in New Orleans and it seemed like you were on fire. The band was playing in daylight without any of the bells and whistles of an indoor arena show and no one missed them at all.
Buckingham: There’s a lesson there. We’ve all come to feel that we need to rely on the constructions of quite elaborate set design and the backdrop that changes from song to song and, really, this band, because we are a band of musicians and a great singer, we could go up there and with a couple of spotlights prevail probably just as well. It should be about the music first and, of course, with us, it is.
“Extended Play,” a four-song EP with your first new music in 10 years, came out on April 30 and landed in iTunes top 10. How gratifying was it that people were so eager to hear new music?
I haven’t paid too much attention to how things are going with it because, really, Mick [Fleetwood] and John [McVie] and I got together last year and we cut a bunch of tracks and then Stevie came to the table later. Even early on, Mick and John and I felt that the songs that we were doing were some of the best stuff we’d done in quite a while.
I am also happy with what it represents with the subject matter. The dialogues to Stevie that are, miraculously, still going on back and forth between Stevie and myself after all these years, I find that to be quite touching and somewhat surprising— something that neither one of us would have predicted years and years ago that we’d still somehow be driving each other’s motivation from a distance, and so I’m very happy with the way the EP turned out and it’s great to be doing some new things on stage.
You wrote one of the new songs, “Sad Angel,” for Stevie. What was her reaction when she first heard it?
I was not there, but I believe she latched onto it immediately. [When] that song was written, I was trying to reach out to her a little bit... she had a very good experience making her solo album [2011’s “In Your Dreams”] and it took her awhile to kind of sort of ease into the mentality of being in Fleetwood Mac again this time... That was a song to help lure her in a little bit, not that there was an agenda to do that, but it just seemed appropriate to what was going on at the time... “Hello Sad Angel, have you come to fight the war” and “Here we are, we fall to earth together/the crowd calling out for more.” It’s really sort of sweet that all of this is still taking place.
With piano ballad “It Takes Time,” you’re pleading for patience to someone who wants to heal you. What's that about?
I guess the reflection is that I’m actually looking at some of the actions that I’ve taken over the years and maybe judging them more objectively and maybe getting to a point in one’s life where you can look back and say, “Hmmm, maybe I could have done that differently” and acknowledging that much of the motivation that has driven certain creative actions and certain decisions has come from that dialogue that seems to have unfolded in slow motion over a period of many years. We are still somehow on a road of evolvement.
Is that one about Stevie?