RUMOURS

Rumours took about a year, and that isn't unusual by today's standards, but that was one of the most intense years that I've ever spent.
Classic Albums: Rumours, 1997

[Y]ou have to remember, there was also a very unhealthy emotional situation going on between two couples who had broken up, and were trying to say, "OK, we don't want to see each other, but we're going to have to do this anyway. You stay way over there, and I'll stay way over here." So it was kind of a mess from the beginning, at least emotionally. I think that professional jealousies were probably actually less of a problem than just the inherent dynamics between two ex-couples. Which never really went away. I mean, Rumours truly was the musical soap opera on vinyl.
BAM, May 1992

[Y]ou start writing songs about what's happening to you. You've got these dialogues that are directed at other members of the band and that are about what's going on while you are recording the songs. It was just such a crazy time. We started up in Sausalito. I don't know why Mick wanted to do it there, but Sausalito was filledwith freaks back then and is probably still pretty crazy. And there was a lot of pressure. Over My Head, off the Fleetwood Mac album, had become a hit. And then when Rhiannon kicked in, it really raised the stakes for us. But we didn't want to repeat the previous album's formulas. Wewanted to break away and find the unexpected through chaos a little more. And clearly there was chaos. That's the way the album felt. After Sausalito, we worked in Florida for a while because we were still touring and working on the album between legs of the tour. Then we came back and worked at Wally Heider's in Los Angeles. It was a long haul. And I don't think we necessarily realized how close to the bone the music was until we started assembling it. The whole process had been a challenge. Like with Stevie's music. I'd always been this kind of soulmate who always somehow knew what to do with her music - how to complement it and bring out its best. But there were times when I really had the urge not to do that, you know? So I had to keep checking myself - keep challenging myself to be a better person than I felt like being at times.
Guitar World, September 1997

It was incredibly difficult, you know. You had...Stevie and I were writing songs about each other...as Christine was about John, and there were just these dialogues shooting from member to member, which really crackled on the record and was part of the appeal that i think went beyond the music itself. You know, you just had to get on with it.
BBC 2 Radio: Rumours, November 1998

We looked back on the success of the Fleetwood Mac album, and, under most circumstances, most couples would have just said, "Later." But this thing had become such a large thing, had taken on such a life of its own, that I had to go through this exercise in denial in terms of not really being over Stevie and having to do for her everyday and work for her everyday. That went on for years. We had to persevere on a professional level. But it was very difficult to persevere on a personal level. You had to sort of kill off parts of yourself....
Chicago Sun Times, June 2003

A lot of people react first to the sunniness of it on a purely musical level, especially if they don't really listen to the words. I don't want to use the word "Californian" [laughs], but under that sunny surface the underpinnings are very dark. And I think that is the reason it holds up - it covers the whole gamut of emotions. So, depending on what you're looking for, you can probably find it.
Guitar World Acoustic, No. 25, December 1997

When Rumours went crazy, I just couldn't bring myself to feel that strongly about the album. At some point, all the stuff surrounding it started to become the main focus. There was a gap between what I felt was important internally - what I had accomplished musically - and the popular acclaim.
Rolling Stone, October 1984

Quite often I felt I was an outsider watching this happen. I was always ambivalent about that kind of success.
Long Beach Press, June 1992

[A]s exciting as it [Rumours' success] was, it was the music that was most important to me. The phenomenon of it selling 16 million copies far outweighed how strong the music was in my opinion, so you have to keep it all in perspective. It's not like Rumours was "the best album ever made" because it sold the most copies. It did well for a lot of different reasons, many, I'm sure, that had little or nothing to do with the music. If I'm going to believe it sold so well because it was so great, how am I supposed to interpret Tusk selling so many fewer copies? I like Tusk better. I just can't take it too seriously. Sales are not necessarily indicative of quality.
BAM, January 1981

A lot of the sales of that, beyond a certain point, it seemed to have more to do with the personalities in the band, and people going, "Ah! Hu-huh, look what's going on with these guys!" And then you get to that, sort of, Garth Brooks syndrome and you go out and buy it even if you don't want to because you're going, "Well what's this all about?"...It was a well made album, it was a very good pop album. I can listen to that and hear things that make me cringe now, but that's just me. But God, who can say? What do you think? Do you think it would do as well today? I mean, it's such a less innocent world now than it was back then.
Up Close, 1997

Yes, it was a wonderful album. It hung together, but you have to question, well ok, when Elvis hit, I mean that was a revolution! I mean Patty Page was dead forever, you know, [laughs] and the waves from that are still going. When the Beatles hit they were returning that and adding a whole element to it and they were growing with the technology, which was part of the thing they were able to do. Those things were very profound and they were spontaneous and they were first time things. You know, I never felt that Rumours was...and I'm not saying it wasn't a wonderful piece of work. [But] I never felt that Rumours was anything other than a restatement.
BBC 2 Radio: Rumours, November 1998

Who knows how much of that element was responsible for the phenomenon that was Rumours? At what point did the music itself, which was very good music, sort of give over to the musical soap opera element? If you want to look at it in a cynical way, that's part of the gimmick of the band and always has been. It's a hook. There's nothing wrong with that, because it's not a pretense. It's not something where we sat with a PR person and said, "Well, this would be a good thing to try" [laughs]. Our real lives laid bare, not just in terms of the media, but in terms of the vinyl. There was a great appeal to that, not just in terms of the voyeurism of it. It was a very touching thing - the fact that we would go through all forms of denial to really allow ourselves to become quite dysfunctional as people. Not that the whole rock genre doesn't make you that way eventually anyway [laughs], living in the subculture of drugs and all that at the time, but I think with us it was bitter and it was sweet and it was tender and it was brutal all at once.
Performing Songwriter, May/June 2003

TUSK

I loved it. That's my favorite album.
Up Close, 1992

We wanted to do the double album, but I'm not sure at that point we knew what it would sound like. Speaking just for myself, it was important for me to depart and express a certain amount of individualism both as a songwriter and someone who casts a certain amount of color on the others' songs. But we didn't sit down and say, "Hey, let's make a strange album." The evolution of the tone of the album presented itself gradually after we'd started making it.
BAM, January 1981

For me it wasn't really a question of changing tastes, but of following through on something I'd believed in for a long time and hadn't had a means of manifesting. For a number of years it's been a process of being in the back without....I mean, making the choice of joining Fleetwood Mac was a very strange decision. It's been a very human sort of journey.
Trouser Press, 1979

[M]y songs are probably more of a departure than Stevie's or Christine's, but even theirs, the arrangements are slightly different. There's been little effort made to fit them into a single mold, whereas on Rumours every song was more or less crafted as that kind of song.
Musician, Player and Listener, No. 33, June 1981

If you pull my songs off, they sound like a first solo album. You've got these tracks by various members, which run toward the more conservative side, and you've got all (my) stuff that sounds real abrasive.
Los Angeles Times, June 1987

The Tusk album was a rebellion against the machinery that was created by Rumours. When the phenomenon of sales starts to outweigh the work, it's a danger zone. To me, you've always got to concentrate on the work, you've always got to improve yourself - stardom or no stardom, the craft is what's important. I mean, we were in this place - you know, the Michael Jackson zone - where the music was really secondary to being number one. The Tusk album was a way to break that down. We didn't want to do Rumours II - or I didn't anyway.
Rock Express, June 1987

It was a bizarre left turn, but I knew if we made Rumours II that we'd have to make Rumours III and Rumours IV.
Rolling Stone, June 1992

If Tusk becomes an influential work over the next decade, then that's the measure of success. Whether it sells three million or five million is neither here nor there.
People, November 1979

When it came time to go into the studio, I just had to stick my neck out. I told Mick that I wanted to put a machine in my house, to work on my things there. I had to pursue things that were in my head, and not be intimidated into thinking they were the wrong things to do.
Rolling Stone, February 1980

[Paraphrasing his meeting with Mick] Look, I know we're gonna do this record. I'll be in, but I'm gonna spend some time doing some stuff at my house. If that's a drag, I'm sorry. I'll still be here, but I've gotta go in my bathroom and hit a kleenex box!
Up Close, 1992

[Lindsey from his home recording setup during the recording of Tusk in 1978] What I'm basically trying to do is take a track that we cut in the studio, which has very, very dry sounds on it - no ambience, no echo at all - selectively...take the snare drums and the vocals, and run them through the speakers. [Then] mike the bathroom which is right across the hall, which has an amazing sound - 1927 bathrooms, believe me, rock and roll all the way! And uh… mike what is being recorded in there and record it back on some empty tracks, so that the whole song takes on a much more atmospheric feel to it.
Disney Going Home, 1993

[Walk A Thin Line] was one where we were trying to get almost a march even though it was a ballad. That was me on the drums. Mick was appalled. He was appalled that these drums were going out and people would think that it’s him because it offended the finer points of his sensibilities. And I understand that. I was really going for slop. And trying to cut through the slickness in some ways. And if you listen to old rock records, they’re terrible but they’re appealing in some way....They’re left and right drums, and the kick and snare on either side, and these military press fills, which is really what the song is built on.
Songwriters On Songwriting by Paul Zollo, 1997

[Save Me A Place] was bordering on the Hawaiian, even. It had these great harmonies: [sings] “Save...me...” These really wide things that Gabby Pahinui used to do.... I remember Brian Wilson was kind of hanging out then; he had a crush on Christine, and was not doing too great then. I think he’s doing better now...He came in and listened to Save Me A Place and said, “Bob Dylan would like that.”
Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo, 1997

[Not That Funny is about] going through a life cycle and realizing you’re not in control of all the things you once were - and it isn’t very funny!
Innerview with Jim Ladd, 1979

Oh, yeah. I like that [That's Enough for Me]. Yeah. That’s like Stray Cats meets something from outer space. That’s a really heartfelt thing. I don’t know what to say about that. Sometimes it’s hard to comment on subject matter because it may have a specific reference for you and you sort of compose that over somebody else’s and it may just take away....That must have something to do with Stevie. This was something that was done in my bathroom. I think I had just gotten the bug from the New Wave stuff that was coming over. It wasn’t any particular artist but just the spirit of that, which is why Tusk came out the way it did. [T]hat’s an interesting song because it’s so fast. It couldn’t be any faster. And it’s really raucous but it’s sad. That was kind of a reference to a rockabilly sensibility that had gone all wrong, kind of bubbling over with guitars.
Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo, 1997

The Ledge was crazy…there are about four or five vocals there that are not particularly tight, and all of them were sung in my bathroom. I stuck the mike on the floor and did them down on my knees. I did it just because I liked it. Because it sounded weird.
Rolling Stone, February 1980

[T]hat’s [What Makes You Think You're the One?] one of the classic drum tracks! I love that. That’s one of the great drum tracks that I’ve ever heard. That’s up there with Instant Karma. That was a great moment. That was just Mick and myself late at night in the studio, me at the piano. We put a cassette player that has one of those really cheap mikes in it, we put that right under his snare, and it was so explosive the way he heard it in the cans, he got off on it, and he just turned into an animal. And it was just two-piece, there was no Christine or anybody putting any constraints on what could or couldn’t be done. That has to rate as one of my top-five moments with the band.
Songwriters On Songwriting by Paul Zollo, 1997

[The USC Marching Band on the title track] was Mick’s idea. It was a stroke of genius. I had the song Tusk,and we had it all done. I don’t know how he came up with the idea of adding a marching band to it, but it was brilliant. The challenge of that was getting the marching band on the existing track, in sync with the other instruments. Mick had this whole idea where he wanted to film it. We went to Dodger Stadium and got the band out on the infield. They had a remote truck there.
Guitar World, September 1997

If you listen closely, you can hear someone saying something like, “How are the tenors?” It’s a combination of about twelve people all talking together way in the background and then repeated over and over so it comes out as this weird noise.
BAM, January 1981

By using all the state-of-the-art technology, it's easy to get away from what rock and roll has always been. The rawness on Tusk was a necessity and I, in my own mind, had no choice in the matter.
Hit Parader, April 1981

[Y]es, part of the idea of Tusk was to shake people up and make them think. What is so weird about wanting to do something slightly off to the right or to the left of what people expect? I think it makes a lot of sense. It's interesting, too, because when we go back into the studio to make our next album people aren't going to know what to expect. I like that. We're now in the position where we can really make something we believe in instead of what the public expects us to make. You should have a respect for your audience and appreciate their appreciation of you, but you cannot dictate your own taste through them, see yourself through their eyes, and you shouldn't be boxed into a format simply out of fear of not selling records.
BAM, January 1981

The one thing I felt bad about was that I had gone home and done all the songs on my own and I think that aspect of the process was a little hurtful to the other members of the group - that I wasn't there, that I was being selfish. So I said to myself, if I'm going to be in this group, I can't do that anymore.
Rock Express, June 1987

So you come off of Rumours and you come off of Tusk and maybe Rumours sells sixteen million and maybe Tusk sells four. That's perceived as a failure. Not only from the company but at some point within the group. So there were elements that maybe had dug the way it was being done when it was being done, and yet when it was clear that it wasn't going to be another sixteen mil, there was a certain backlash. It was almost impossible for me within the group to say, "I don't care, I'm going to keep doing that" because it was like hitting a brick wall. And there was really no place to go but back.
Songwriters On Songwriting by Paul Zollo, 1997

I didn't perceive tons of backlash from, like, the press. It was more like, from the band.
Up Close, 1992

The rest of the band had a cynical view towards the way Tusk was made and the reasons why I thought it was important to move into new territory. It wasn’t just negativity. There was open hostility.
Uncut, May 2003

Did you see that article in US that quoted Stevie as saying that doing the album was like being held hostage in Iran with Lindsey as the Ayatollah? [Laughs] That wasn't the feeling there at all! I mean, she wasn't even there most of the time. She'd come in to do her song once a week and that would be it. Hostage? [Laughs] Mick has said since then that maybe I was getting too carried away with some of my music. It's hard for me to look at it that way. It's weird because everyone was very supportive at the time.
BAM, January 1981

I do think there was a time when everyone in the band was quite carried away with the spirit of experimentation. But when it began to come apparent that it wasn't going to sell 15 million copies, then everyone from the band looked at me and went, "Oh, you blew it, buddy."
Rolling Stone, October 1984

Mick would say to me, "Well we went too far, you blew it." And it was very hurtful. We were out on the road and I'm going, "Oh my god, how am I gonna react to this?" So, the Mirage album...there was a direct correlation between that pressure and that album.
Rock Express, June 1987

It wasn't like the people around me at the time were saying, "Hey, Lindsey, let's keep going in that interesting direction where we sell a lot less records than we used to." I really had the wind taken out of my sails, and I felt set adrift for a while.
Rolling Stone, June 1992

It was a political thing. That's why I made the solo records....It was a really enlightening and exciting time for me. I felt as if I had taken a little bit of a risk and was coming up with some really surprising things. But they were a little too surprising for people. At least that seems to be the case. I over-estimated the number of people who were willing to look at that in the spirit in which it was intended, and maybe thinking of it as a ballsy move and a move of integrity and not doing a Rumours II just for that reason....
Songwriters On Songwriting by Paul Zollo, 1997

In retrospect, I find more and more people appreciating the album for the reasons I was hoping it would be appreciated for originally.
Innervew with Jim Ladd, 1981

It was a moment and we lost the moment. After that there was no going back to Rumours II. But there was no going back to Tusk either. And that was really my high-point in the band for me feeling a sense of discovery and explosion. But, hey, that's band politics.
Songwriters On Songwriting by Paul Zollo, 1997

In retrospect, I've heard everyone in the band say, "Gee, Tusk was a really cool album." But it took a long time.
Guitar World, September 1997

It didn't sell X million records, but Tusk remains my favorite album for a lot of reasons. It sort of led me to the way I still think, which is, you got to do the work for the work. There is a lot of pressure out there to follow that adage, "If it works, run it into the ground." Now I'm totally free of that. I don't feel any pressure to succeed on that level, and in fact, I would hope and pray that I never do succeed on that level. I think once in a lifetime is plenty for anybody.
St Louis Post-Dispatch, June 1993

Maybe that goes against our idea of what capitalism's all about, but I think the only way you have a long-term career is by being true to what you believe is right, to your true intentions.
Guitar World Acoustic, No. 25, December 1997

LAW & ORDER

This album is dedicated to my mother Rutheda, and to my brothers Jeff and Greg, all of whom represent the spirit of this album.
Album dedication

I hope I never get to the point where I say, "I'm as good as I want to be," and that's it. Law and Order has to do with making commitments. The title only relates to law and order in terms of trying to establish order in your life and certain laws or values by which to live your life. Making commitments to whatever you believe in and trying to follow through on it. Everything in society today seems to be disposable. Whenever you're confronted with pain, you chuck it. You go on to something else. Rock today promotes the escapist point of view. It seems like there's a set of values that are slowly - or not so slowly - disappearing from America altogether. I've been with the same girl for five years now and it hasn't all been a bed of roses. Trying to make this kind of music also requires a certain amount of discipline because there are a lot of people who wish you weren't making it. Basically because you're not in the mainstream.
New Times, June 16th-June 22nd, 1982

[T]he people who do enjoy this or enjoy my stuff on Tusk are enjoying them for the reasons, hopefully, that I want them to enjoy it for...They're appreciating the fact that I'm caring about what I'm doing and I'm taking chances. I mean, you have to take chances.
The Source Special, 1982

Someone said, "well why did you call it Law and Order?" And I said, "well first of all, it has nothing to do with the contemporary context in which that term is used now. It has nothing to do with the society aspect." It's more specifically, I would think, the theme of how to retain innocence. How do you keep your innocence while experiencing pain, basically. Because, I mean, everyone is born with innocence but as you get older and experience pain, you tend to close off your feelings more; you tend to become more cynical; you tend to become more self-aware, less giving. And the album, in some ways, is asking the question, "how do you keep those innocent eyes through which beauty - real beauty - is seen?" And uh, I think it really comes down to choices. I mean, do you reject a situation or do you reject a person because you are confronted with pain, or do you accept pain as part of the whole? And learn to get through it to the other side.
Innerview with Jim Ladd, 1981

Law & Order is really just about personal codes and disciplines. You know, rock and roll has always represented a sort of escape for people, but it’s also a discipline, something you have to really try at. My life seems to have come down to committing to a small number of things that I try to do well, and that takes a certain amount of discipline - not clean living, necessarily - but a certain amount of order and law that may not be represented in what people imagine goes on in rock and roll. So it’s about commitment and what that requires. A lot of the songs are about commitments to relationships, and that’s another thread that runs through it.
BAM Magazine, November 1981

[Somebody wrote about you saying you have "a boyish innocence and a penchant for old-fashioned romance," that you have an "anti-want-to-get-laid attitude." And since you're always surrounded by anarchy and promiscuity in rock and roll, that's difficult. How true is that?] Well, a lot of the music promotes that. I think a lot of it is, "Let's go get laid." "Let's go get high." "Let's escape." Let's not commit to anything. Everything seems so disposable today. If you're in a relationship and it starts confronting you with any sort of pain, you just chuck it - most people these days just move onto somebody else. I have been with the same girl for five years. And I have been faithful to her all that time. Can you believe that? I think it creates a deeper meaning for a relationship if you can do that; put all that energy into writing another song.
Interview, 1982

[My father] had a very extensive collection of - I wouldn't say necessarily a knowledgeable collection - but he just loved dixieland and he liked jazz, and he had 78s going back to the 20s really up through the 40s. When he died in '74, he left them...he left them for me, and they'd been at my mother's all that time. I knew there would be a point...there would be a time when I would be able to make some real use of those. And so I waited until I thought the time was coming up, and I figured the time was gonna be right before starting my own album.
Off the Record with Mary Turner, 1982

They'd been at Mom's place, up in Northern California, since he died, and I just got around to picking them up last Christmas, not long before I started working on the album. I remembered hearing most of them when I was a child, but I wasn't really able to appreciate them then. I wanted to sit down and listen to them again in a more knowledgeable context to see what I could learn from them now - not lyrically so much as the roles the various instruments played, and the style in which they were recorded. It took me a while to find a turntable that takes a 78 needle, but it was worth it. There's a certain style about 40s music that's very romantic, and I tried to include a little of that in a lot of the tunes I wrote.

If you turn the radio on these days and listen to what's going on, you'll find that everything's already been done, pretty much. I think people are looking for something fresh. When I started listening to my father's old record collection, they sounded fresh immediately. It wasn't just the style of the songs. It was the way they were recorded, too. Everything about them seemed new.
Chicago Tribune, December 1981

I didn't want to do a swing album. I didn't want to be that literal. I wanted to put some of the freshness, lightness and romantic feel swing has into a rock 'n' roll or pop aspect.
San Antonio Express, February 1982

That whole album [Law and Order] had a touch of the camp and tongue-in-cheek to it... That's one of those things that was almost a cartoon, in a way.
Songwriters On Songwriting by Paul Zollo, 1997

We tried an interesting experiment on this album with lyrics. Richard Dashut [Fleetwood Mac’s engineer] and I and whoever’d be in the room at the time would take a sheet of paper and I’d write down the general idea of the song, maybe one line, pass it on to Richard and he’d write a line that responded to my line without thinking too heavily about it. Then he’d fold over the first line so the next person could only respond to theline that had just been written. We came up with some interesting stuff that way. It didn’t work that often but it was fun and different. Very different.
BAM Magazine, November 1981

I'm trying to be original from a production standpoint, trying to retain the values of rock in the 50s -- the innocence. Law and Order has a certain 40s element, too, that I picked up from the 78s that I got from my father. I want to retain a certain urgency and freshness in the music, and an individuality which you just don't hear too much these days. Take this record by Quarterflash (Harden My Heart). It's got the formula: it sounds like Pat Benatar, and it sounds like early Fleetwood Mac. It's got all the elements that are acceptable to the broadest number of people, and therefore it's doing well. I don't think that's a healthy thing. I'm in a position where I don't have to do things strictly to feed myself. I want to have that freedom and still have a certain vision of individuality and wanting to challenge people's preconceptions of what music should be.... It's a process -- hopefully a lifelong one -- of learning, followingintuition and trying to keep fresh.
The Record, April 1982

It’s not the size of the billing, it’s the quality of the work as far as I’m concerned. I’m a long way from stardom and I’ve got a long way to go before I have any laurels as a solo artist. Most people don’t know who the hell I am. But that’s not really important.... I’m not really concerned with the outer success. I’m in the position where I don’t have to make commercial music to feed myself, so I have the luxury of being more experimental if that’s what I choose to do. I guess I’ve earned the right by being in the business for a while and paying the dues and taking the lumps. That’s why I feel that Law and Order was an inner success for me. It’s a question of quality work and not really going for the money.
New Times, June 16-22, 1982

Every song has a bit of its own identity.
Song Hits, May 1982

The idea of many of the songs is to commit to something, whether or not it causes you pain, and to accept pain and happiness as parts of the whole.
The Record, April 1982

It Was I basically is a very adolescent theme. It's about someone who's probably first experiencing pain in a relationship and he's explaining what has gone wrong, but his conclusion at the end is one of commitment still. Saying, "Let's keep trying. Let's keep going and get through this." The sense is really very optimistic for future happiness. If you go on to September Song, it's sort of the inverse of that, the opposite. It's someone who is in the declining years of his life, who can look back and has already gained the perspective of the good and bad and what it really...how it really relates to each other, as opposed to maybe beginning as in It Was I. And he is able to see that perspective and yet, he is able to feel that still the most meaning that he is going tobe by sharing it with his partner. Um, Satisfied Mind is a more general thing just basically about choosing between the pursuit of materialism or the pursuit of respect and affection and love of other people. And if there is a choice to be made, obviously the latter is the better choice.

Now all three of these ideas may seem a little fundamental or obvious, but when you think of rock and what it is today, I mean, much of rock really promotes a totally different view point.
Innerview with Jim Ladd, 1981

[It Was I] Besides reminding me a little bit of some early Beatles tunes, this 1959 hit (by Skip & Flip) seemed fairly obscure to me, something I've carried in my memory since I first heard it years ago. The original version is quite amateurish, and therein lies its charm. I wanted to retain that innocence, and I think I did.
Song Hits, May 1982

[A Satisfied Mind was] one of my father's all-time favorite songs, and it's for him.
Song Hits, May 1982

My brother, Jeff, had a 45 of Red Foley doing it, and I always loved it. It was one of my dad’s favorites, one of my favorites, and it just seemed to be in the spirit of the album. I think my version is very, very close to the original, as much as I can remember it. I don’t actually have a copy of it. I think my liking of country music has sort of been hiding for a few years and is just starting to come out in strange ways. Don’t worry, though, I have no plans to make a country album [laughs]. [The message of that song makes it an appropriate one to end with – “It’s so hard to find / one rich man in ten with a satisfied mind.”] The philosophy in that song is a very religious one in a way, and I think to a degree that feeling runs through the whole album. [The obvious question is, are you that one rich man in ten who’s satisfied?] In some ways, yes, I am satisfied. I like to think that I have not had to compromise very much to get across the music I wanted to make. I’m not satisfied with everything I’ve done. I’m not even completely satisfied with this album – the running order could have been different – but certainly I’m satisfied that I did the best job I could and I’m satisfied with many aspects of my life right now.
BAM Magazine, November 1981

Satisfied Mind is about choosing between the pursuit of materialism and the pursuit of affection and respect and love. Obviously, the choice is clear. [It's easy to know how obvious the choice is once the materialism part is taken care of.] Yeah, but you've still got to have a commitment to work and to relationships. I may not always be right, but at least my intention is a pure one.
The Record, April 1981

Shadow of the West is sort of, I suppose you could say, the sad side of September Song. September Song he's looking back at his life, and realizing that he's had a rich life - good and bad times - and is ready, more or less, to accept the final years of his life. Shadow of the West is someone who may not have been able to reconcile his life. And uh, he's still not living in the present. Maybe he made the wrong choices. He's alone. It's like he's in a desert emotionally. The sun is slowly going down, he's watching it, and he knows it's going to be dark pretty soon.
Innerview with Jim Ladd, 1981

[Regarding Shadow of the West] Musically, I had wanted to record a Sons of the Pioneers song for a while, and then Richard [Dashut] said, "Why don't you write one yourself?" So I did.
Song Hits, May 1982

There is no person named Mary Lee Jones, at least not as far as I know. My girlfriend Carol heard this one and said it reminded her of herself about a year ago, but it wasn't written with her in mind. It could be about any of us during certain times in our lives. Musically it's pretty straight ahead, though the guitar solo at the end is fairly unusual.
Song Hits, May 1982

There's something about the taste and attitude of '40s music that's very romantic. A few tunes on the album have a '40s flavor but they're handled in a rock 'n' roll context. This is one of them. Bwana is quite a melodic song, but it also conjures up images of a sort of jungle cartoonland.
Song Hits, May 1982

[I'll Tell You Now] is the oldest song on the album. In fact, had it been written a few months earlier it probably would have gone on the Tusk album. It deals with experiencing depression, the sense of isolation, feeling weak after having felt strong…the feeling of needing to communicate but not having the emotional momentum to do so. The singer promises to "tell you now," but he never does.
Song Hits, May 1982

[Johnny Stew is] one of the tracks that we'd completely finished except recording the vocals. One night we were looking for lyrics, and John Stewart happened to drop by the studio. Somehow we started singing about Johnny Stew, joking really. It went from there. This is also a song on which I tried for an impression of trumpet and sax sections in the instrumental part, though played on guitars. The Boris Karloff stuff on the vocals in the break section has a bit of humor to it -- I just started clowning around in the break section while I was doing the lead vocal, probably just to relieve the tension that sometimes builds in the studio. This time it added a different dimension to the tune. When good accidents such as this happen, you leave them in.
Song Hits, May 1982

[The inspiration for Johnny Stew] John [John Stewart] had a very successful album with Bombs Away Dream Babies. He had a couple of hit singles off of it. He had a subsequent album to that which didn't do that well, and he was off the label [snaps fingers], just like that. And here's someone who I believe in and through whom I've learned a lot all the way back to the Trio days, the Kingston Trio. So it's, "Hold on," you know? "It takes a worried man to sing a worried song."
The Source Special, 1982

There is a song called Love From Here, Love From There in which I tried to recreate the roles of the three horn parts - the coronet, the clarinet and the trombone - which were the three typical roles of improvisational, small combo jazz.....I tried to choose the type of guitar that would represent more closely a brass versus a reed. I mean, I used a Stratocaster for the clarinet. I used a Gretsch for the trumpet or coronet sound, and uh, you know, it's just taking the abstraction and reapplying it. It was a lot of fun. I mean, that's sort of a novelty song, really. I don't think the melody is really the most important thing. The important thing for me about that song is those instrumental sections. I would lift a few lines from there and work it into a format to where the trombone is coming in at a certain place in the major, and the clarinet on the top sort of twinkling over the whole thing, and the trumpet or the coronet more or less providing a sense of melody.
Innerview with Jim Ladd, 1981

A definite influence from my father's 78s can be heard here [Love From Here, Love From There]. He loved all the small six- or seven-piece Dixieland combos, lots of Kid Ory and Bunk Johnson. Despite recording limitations of the time, those are great records because the performances are so hot. Love From Here… is definitely a cop of one of that type of song, again in rock 'n' roll context.
Song Hits, May 1982

[That's How We Do It In L.A. is] the closest thing to Fats or Jerry Lee or Little Richard on the album. People seem to think the song is gonzo, but it's no more so than many rock 'n' roll songs from 25 years ago. The accepted definition of rock has certainly changed. In terms of atmosphere, the attempt of many of these songs was to achieve a throwback sound, a rejection of 1981 "state of the art" in favor of a sound may be less correct technically but far richer aesthetically. This song is a prime example of that. Can you imagine how the atmosphere of '50s rock'n'roll would suffer if it had to be recorded under today's so-called "perfect" conditions?
Song Hits, May 1982

[Trouble] was just one of those things that we thought we should put on an album, otherwise it would have never seen the light of day at all. [laughs]....I like it a lot. But it's really poppy.
Songwriters On Songwriting by Paul Zollo, 1997

GO INSANE

"I lost my power in this world cause I did not use it" - that power is the power of discipline, the power to progress. There was a time when I really did think I'd lost it. But in the end, making this album was a reaffirming experience. I think I'm gaining some of that power back.
Musician, November 1984

I think it's almost a weekly occurrence. You go from feeling strong and feeling really good to times when you just don't. That song is not about going insane for all time but for the fact that we all go insane from time to time. There are times when we tend to go out a little bit and you're walking on that edge.
Song Hits, May 1985

I think insanity is fairly relative as a term, fairly political as a term. Acceptable behavior within the world of a rock band may be enough to get yourself committed if you worked in a bank. If the majority thinks something is wrong, then that's what's wrong. That's politics, right? I mean, how can you use that collective perception to manipulate a situation? I mean, people who are being put away are doing so because they're being a nuisance - to somebody else.
Creem, February 1985

Go Insanehas more to do with dealing with all the grays that there are to deal with in situations you find yourself in where your reality is sort of severely tested. A lot of the subject matter on this album just deals with having broken up with somebody and having someone who exhibits behavior that is hard to deal with daily. Not that things should be black and white, but if all the blacks and whites are gone, and everything is gray...gets hard to function, sometimes, in this world.
Creem, February 1985

I guess I'm not a well boy.
Musician, November 1984

If you want to look at whatever is autobiographical about Law and Order...perhaps at that point in time, I was starting to experience some things personally that were not as pleasant as they should have been, and yet I wanted to follow through with a commitment....If you make a commitment to a person, you say, "well, I'm going to see this through to it's completion and the cycle," and hopefully things will work themselves out. And that's what, in my mind, having a sense of laws and a sense of order that you live by. That's what that's all about. So perhaps Go Insane is the completion of that...the cycle was never really completed - it just sort of kept going in the same direction, and I finally had to sort of break off.
Off the Record with Mary Turner, 1984

To me, it’s about a point in time, waiting around as long as you can for things to work themselves out, which you can do for an awfully long time. And at some point, that commitment can become no less than a form of self-destruction. At some point, you’ve gotta let go, and, especially when you’re stuck in all those grays, it’s hard to know when to turn it back into black and white. But there is a point, when you have bonds like that, where, if you don’t cut them, they’re gonna burst.
Music Connection, September 1984

This album is for Carol Ann.
Album dedication

[A] lot of the subject matter had to do with a real live break-up. Actually it wasn't a break-up per se. It was a sort of slow deterioration of a relationship which had four wonderful years and a couple of sort of very gray years. That's, in a sense, what is being talked about - the effect that watching that has on you and has on both people from their perspectives. Everything can be very gray. The black and white just seems to go away and it's hard to tell what's even wrong sometimes. It can be a kind of trying situation.

It's hard to know when to call it quits, yeah. You hope that things will get from one side to the other and things will hopefully start working themselves out again, but you can only take that so far. All the intense emotional presentation that's on the record was not performed per se. It was going on a year or two previous to making the record and it was still not resolved when the album was being made.

I feel that having addressed a lot of these things and having gotten them down on vinyl was quite cathartic and helpful to me. Halfway through the album things got pretty resolved I'd say. Not resolved, but pretty much finished. So I feel pretty good. I've got a lot of material and I'm looking forward to just getting back in the studio.
Song Hits, May 1985

She got pulled into this whole little world that maybe she wasn't ready for. She's a girl from a small town who found herself in a world of people who were not particularly responsible...I don't really want to talk about that. I don't think it would be very fair. I think it would hurt her. It got to the point where she had to move out. She's still not working. I'm still supporting her, for the time being. We worked out an agreement where I would sort of keep her afloat for a couple of years. I don't mind doing that.
Rolling Stone, October 1984

[I Want You] The way in which "I want you" is meant, really, it isn’t in the sense that I want you physically or sexually. It's more - “I want you..the way you were..when I met you.”
Innerview with Jim Ladd, 1984

[Slow Dancing] is more uh, like a fantasy. It's not a reality. In the same sense that you might assume the I Want You would be a physical song, and in fact isn't, Slow Dancing - "want to slow dance with you all night" - is more or less an analogy for just wanting to see someone and touch someone and make love to someone, and make them a part of you. Almost in a fantazing way. Someone that may not exist.
Innerview with Jim Ladd, 1984

It's a human album. It talks about the fact that it is alright to get a little mad from time to time and, probably, everyone does. That can be a learning process as long as you sort of reel yourself back in after awhile, as long as it doesn't get you in trouble. If you're committed to a relationship or situation in which that's happening, you're going to experience a second-hand insanity whether you want to or not....The definition of just about everything falls away when your sense of reality is being tested daily. You don't know where right and wrong starts; you don't know where love stops and starts.
Rockbill, November 1984

I don't know where all of this has left me, and that scares the shit out of me in a way.
Detroit Free Press, November 1984

Things are simplified right now, partly because I'm a bachelor again. And I don't even want to see anyone in the sense that if you make a decision to be alone, and sort of bind your heart up, I think it allows your spirit a few more liberties. That's not necessarily an answer to anything, but for the time being that kind of simplicity is quite attractive.
Record, November 1984

That was a bit of a darker period. I think Law and Order was more like a Lindsey Buckingham variety show. But with Go Insane, there were a lot of not-so-great things happening in my personal life and I really felt I had been drifting a little bit creatively. The band was getting crazy, and personal things were kind of crazed, and that was the product of a very stressful time. I remember I was back East, and some girl called me up and said, "Why do you have to write about such down stuff?" Because that's what was happening.
BAM, May 1992

[T]here is a disappointed painful side but I felt that it had a certain optimism to it, certainly by the end of the record anyway. I feel like it was healing for me in some senses. I make the joke flippantly but it was probably a lot more fun and a lot cheaper than say, going to a shrink.
Song Hits, May 1985

Go Insanewas significant because for the first time I got out of the Fleetwood Mac circle of people. Richard Dashut who has worked all the way back to the album that Stevie and I did, worked on all the Mac albums, and worked on my other solo album. He and I worked on everything for so long, we were too much alike. The checks and balance system had fallen away. To get out of that little microcosm and work with people that I had not even met until six months prior to working on the project was a nice kick in the ass. It was a little uncomfortable at first, very reaffirming by the end.
Faces, March 1985

I make an effort to depart, stylistically, from what Fleetwood Mac represents, always attempting to break through some of the limitations there are in commercial pop music.
Faces, March 1985

I feel my emotions have deepened and the lyrics are far more important running through this album than they ever have been to me in the past. I didn't say, "This is a lyric I want to have," but then I realized the lyrics were so close to what I was feeling, it became more important for the whole album to have that train of thought running through it.
Hit, No. 10, Fall 1984

This album is...I see it somehow as being a very high tech folk album, if that makes any sense. In the sense that the tools were actually far higher tech than on Law and Order - Fairlight computer keyboard system - and even the people that were involved could be perceived as being more into that, into the high tech sort of way of looking at things. And at the same time, the actual content is very high touch. Folk music is a music of the people and I feel like most of the stuff on this album is very folksy, very people-oriented, very human, even though the way it was done, it has sort of a icy exterior to it. The inside is very, very warm.
Off the Record with Mary Turner, 1984

For every little bit of high technology that's imposed in people's lives, they're gonna need the human contact to balance it out....And I think that's something we did well on this record....
Creem, February 1985

Usually my producers say, "You can't do THAT - we've got to sell some records." But this time, I was trying to keep myself covered commercially, and Roy [Roy Thomas Baker] encouraged me to do more of my oddball stuff.
Rolling Stone, November 1983

I see the whole...certainly the piece on side one, Play in the Rain, as sort of a musique concrète piece. There's some Stockhausen in there, you know. It's just using anything you can find and calling it music [laughs]. Which is fine! I mean, you know, that's a left field sort of thing. That's by far the most left field thing on the album, I'd say. But you know there's...you gotta to sort of cover some ground. [I get the impression you might have had the most fun with that one, personally-] Well, if I were to do a whole album of that it would be called self-indulgent, certainly [laughs].
Off the Record with Mary Turner, 1984

[About his friendship with performance artist and fellow Fairlight experimenter, Laurie Anderson] We've got a lot to talk about. We talk about our work. We talk about the fact that sometimes we're miserable and sometimes we're not. She's someone from the art world delving into music and I'm someone from the music world delving into art. Hopefully. I'm actually using that keyboard in a more fundamental way. Laurie's way ahead of me, but maybe I don't want to use it that way. I want to keep a certain amount of musicality-or at least what I perceive music to be. The definition of music is fairly relative anyway. Everything is music.
Illinois Entertainer, November 1984

It's a lot of work, isn't it? [laughs] If I have one complaint about the way the album turned out, it's probably that at times it tends to be perhaps a little bit dense. Too dense. I'd like to take the whole thing down just slightly. Sort of bring the camera in a little closer, so to speak.
Illinois Entertainment Weekly, November 1984

Basically, I used only a few instruments. For the guitar parts - and I played a lot more solos than usual - I mainly used the ’63 Stratocaster I’ve had since I was nineteen and an Ovation acoustic. I have a ’79 custom-made Turner for live work, but I prefer Strats and Telecasters for recording. I played a Turner bass on just about every cut, and then there’s an antique pump organ on Bang the Drum, a lap harp that Mick Fleetwood gave me for my birthday a few years ago, and no synthesizers. I used the Fairlight computer to manipulate colors and textures, but I didn’t depend on it for everything. Some of the zany bits were just a matter of finding things lying around that made noise - found sounds. The sitar you hear on Play in the Rain, for instance, is actually my Strat tuned way down so that I could bend the strings to approximate that sound.
International Musician and Recording World, December 1984

The concept for breaking up the vocals is something that is repeated on several different songs on the album, and the idea of that was to depersonalize the performance - not the message, or the emotion that is created, or the energy that is created - but to try to orchestrate the vocals and sort of have them become a part of the track a little more. Those were not done strictly by turning a pan pot - those were performed separately. We broke the syllables down and I sang them in half-words.
Innerview with Jim Ladd, 1984

We originally had the version [of Play In The Rain] that ends side one, but it seemed like it would be very interesting to continue that particular thing, which is probably the most experimental piece on the album. That, as the beginning of side two, and the next song on that side are rhythm pieces. Then it goes into Bang The Drum, for which we sent John, the second engineer, into a schoolyard to record kids playing. The song is certainly influenced by the Beach Boys' use of vocals, and it is a prelude to DW Suite. It shifts from being non-melodic and purely rhythmic into harmonies in major keys. In fact, the whole second side is pretty much in that frame of mind, going from minor to major keys.
Hit, No. 10, Fall 1984

Go Insane, that was kind of a strappo period for me and I think that's reflected in a pretty dark album which actually does go insane. It starts off fairly well structured and by the end of side 2, it's totally falling apart [laughs].
Off the Record, 1992

Working on the album was one of those fateful things where you're being pulled along without really having control over it - which are the times when the best work is done. I can remember feeling that way toward the end of Rumours, sort of "God, something is going on here." Which isn't to suggest the end result will be similar in any way. But the feeling is there.
Record, November 1984

OUT OF THE CRADLE

It's very strong and optimistic about things to come, but only by virtue of having lost some baggage and been able to, through hindsight, gain a little wisdom and understanding about the past.
VH1 to One, 1992

Holing up in the studio was a defense against the creative situation in Fleetwood Mac. I took a year off after I quit the band, getting off that treadmill. It took three years to lose the demons, get rid of the baggage. I had spent 12 years in a group that was a selling machine. That's a double-edged sword: In exchange for freedom, there are financial benefits. People want to place you in one area and keep you there. They always wanted us to make the same album over and over. I kept my money. I don't have to think about mortgage payments. Now I can make the choices I want.
San Francisco Chronicle, March 1993

I have a studio in my house. We had recorded almost all of Tango In The Night up here. And right towards the end of that, when I knew I was going to be leaving, the band was in the studio recording and I was across the hall in my bedroom writing Soul Drifter. It's a song about jumping over into some new territory - "out of this town, ain't no use hangin' round." And there's something very symbolic about that. In a sense that song is very much representative of the emotional thread that runs through the album. It certainly has a nod to the tin pan alley style of writing which I was very interested in. And uh...the song itself, being the first one, because it really was dealing with that emotional tone, was pretty much a springboard for everything else, I think, on the record.
ABC In Concert, 1992

There's an attitude, it's just not a bad attitude. There is a naivete in the music, but I hope people are ready for that. Though there's a lot less tension on this album than on some of my previous work, there's always a dark undertone to me and my music that makes things interesting. It's just the way I am. But what's really most prevalent on this album is a sense of relief. I felt I worked my way through a lot of personal adversity and now I'm taking responsibility for my own happiness. The music is a reaction to that.
Daily News, 1992

This was just more catharsis really...doing the record, Tango, and then not touring seemed like a good and fairly classy place to jump off. Just getting to the point of making that decision wasn't that easy, and having made it and not regretting it, and then moving forward through the explosion of...up, and of feel and optimism...it was just more of a cathartic experience, for sure, than I've had before.
Off the Record, 1992

The whole atmosphere around this album is of optimism, but bittersweet about leaving one situation and moving on, feeling good about it and yet kinda scared.
Q, September 1992

Out of the Cradleis from a Walt Whitman poem. The full title is, "Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking." So that has a little double meaning. Sometimes I look back on my career and I'm still rocking...beyond that, it was really just the idea of making the decision to leave a situation that perpetuates certain things and allows you to not be accountable for some of your actions. It allows you to really not grow in ways that you need to grow in a more gradual sense.
Up Close, 1992

I think that poem was something I ran across probably 10-15 years ago. The gist of that poem really has more to do with the child that remains in all of us. Even when you're a grown man or woman and walking around...you still have a certain amount of this small child rocking inside of you.
Words and Music: A Retrospective, 1992

Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the mocking bird's throat, the musical shuttle,
Where the child, leaving his bed, wandered alone,
bare headed, barefoot,
Up from the mystic play of shadows,
twining and twisting as if they were alive,
From out of the patches of briars and black berries,
A man - yet by all tears a little boy again,
Throwing myself on the sand, confronting the waves,
Taking all hints to use them, but swiftly leaping beyond them,
A reminiscence song
- Whitman excerpt Lindsey wrote out in the Out of the Cradle liner notes

That poem is partly about the child that remains in all of us, although I think it's more about death. That was something that struck a certain resonance with me. The album is about the thing that dies and finding other things that replace it.
Rocky Mountain News, April 1993

[T]his album - not specifically the subject matter, but the emotional tone, is about distancing yourself and trying to put any period of time that has good and bad things going on for you in the healthiest possible perspective. So in some ways there was some tie-in between early family life, real family life and the family life of Fleetwood Mac....
BBC Radio One (with Johnnie Walker), June 1992

Fleetwood Mac was a shrouded, pampered existence. The songs aren't per se about that, but they are about the feelings of living through that and looking back on it in humorous and even sentimental ways. Which is not such a bad thing, even though sentimentality is supposed to be a no-no in art. I wanted to go back to my earliest days as a child and get a little of that in the work. I wanted to include as many areas that are really me as possible and not necessarily things that are perceived as contemporary.
Spotlight, August 1992

As I distanced myself from the band a little bit, I realized how shrouded a situation it had been and how un-supportive of personal growth it had been. It was nobody's fault, though. I just realized that by the time I left there was a real lack of unity and it was time for me to leave. Although, at age 42, there's a certain irony for me in "leaving the cradle."
Rocky Mountain News, April 1993

There is an innocent quality to it....Even the packaging has an innocent quality. It's almost bordering on precious [laughs], but I've got old family photos in there and all that, and the whole thing has kind of a "Remember this?" sense to it.
BAM, May 1992

For Mom.
Album dedication

[My mom] loves it a lot more than Go Insane. [laughs] That wasn't her cup of tea. She went, "Oh, so unhappy!" That was another reason for doing This Nearly Was Mine. [S]he knew that was one of my father's favorite songs and he's been gone a long time, so that made her cry and she liked that. But she just likes some of the general tone and it is...it's up.
Off the Record, 1992

[On why the instrumental, This Nearly Was Mine, is on the album] The soundtrack to South Pacific was one of the first albums I ever heard, when I was maybe was three. It's stayed in my heart all these years. It was my father's favorite song, so, yes, I guess it is personal. There's an element of family to this record, with a lot of it coming from my personal history.
Out of the Cradle press kit, 1992

[About the inclusion of All My Sorrows on the album] It was a Kingston Trio song, although it's been done by any number of other groups. I'm fairly sure that was an authentic...you know, probably a slave song. I changed the melody and the chords of that a little bit and made it into something a little jazzier. But also, one of the members of the Kingston Trio had died of cancer the year that I chose to do that - Dave Guard who was the leader of the Kingston Trio, and a friend of mine, died - and I just thought that would be something nice for him.
Centerstage, 1992

Recording this album was a revelation. I realized that I'd almost forgotten about the guitar. There are some instrumental songs on the album that sort of frame the songs, and they complete the album for me.
Daily News, 1992

Countdown is just...if there's a point where you feel that you have accumulated a certain amount of information and a certain amount of knowledge and power and try to put them together and make your own thing out of it - and make a statement out of it - that can come at any time of your life.
Words and Music: A Retrospective, 1992

[W]hile my songs are not about a specific world view, they address the current lack of idealism or the inclination to act on that emotion.
Billboard, May 1992

The process of making Out of the Cradle was the process of tearing down blocks of the wall. It put me in a slightly more open place; in a tender place.
VH1's Behind the Music, 2001

I'm as hungry now as I've ever been, or more so, to express myself and to look into what I want to look into. And I wanted the other people (in my band) to feel that way, too.
Dallas Morning News, April 1993

Contemplating the road was really only contemplating it with the band at that point. We’d had sort of a struggle keeping everybody unified during the making of the album (Tango). And it just didn’t seem like it was the right thing for me to do. Touring on my own terms a little bit more is a totally different game, really and uh, it sounds great. I think it could be the best thing for me. You know, I’ve been in the house for the last few years.
Off the Record, 1992

I'm dying to get on the road. In the Fleetwood Mac days, I got a reputation for not liking to tour. It's not that. I didn't want to tour with Fleetwood Mac. I couldn't really effect much change. No one was interested in trying anything radical.
San Francisco Chronicle, March 1993

There's a lot of new people here...a lot of talent in Los Angeles that never gets tapped. For a lot of these people it's a first chance, first break. These people haven't had a chance to get jaded, which I like. I don't need that. We've got Steve Ross, an old friend of mine, on guitar; another guitarist Neale Heywood; two female guitarists, Liza Carbe and Janet Robin, who also do vocals; myself; and then on bass Kevin Wyatt; keyboards is Dan Garfield; and on percussion is Michael Tempo - you think that's his real name? - John Wackerman; and lastly Scott Breadman. Yeah, that's it. We're just trying to break through a barrier, get out and get heard. This band is taking on a life of its own, and I want to see where that goes.
Seattle Times, March 12, 1993

Beyond skill, I handpicked them from the chemistry. I like the idea of the multiple guitar effect approach, and it helps get near the nuance that you hear on the record. And the small-scale Busby Berkeley effect intrigued me.
Rocky Mountain News, April 1993

The other reason for having this many people is that you can double up on three- or four-part [vocal] harmonies. When you've got seven people singing at once, you get a lot of strength. And it's a concept which nobody's really doing, and that in itself appeals to me.
Live Sounds, June 1993

Well, I'm really excited about it. It's the first time I've had a chance to put together a band on my own terms. In the making of the record I was able for the first time to get close to what I thought I could do, and now with this group I can take that sound out on the road and not have to paraphrase it down to a couple of instruments. We have four other guitarists besides myself in the group, and three percussionists. It's a group of pretty much unknowns, who are all very hungry, and we've created a real family atmosphere.
San Jose Mercury, March 1993

The contrast from having done whatever I left off with -- which was probably arenas -- to getting down to being able to lean over and sweat in somebody's face, I think it's been great. I've been having a ball. I wouldn't think of going out and trying to fill an arena at this point, but beyond that, you really lose touch with how distant you are from the audience and how distant they are from you and how much less the show becomes because of the idea of playing to 20,000 people a shot.
Arizona Republic, April 1993

I'm kind of interested in getting close, making as much contact as possible.
Billboard, March 1993

It's been fantastic. I thought it would be nerve-racking, but it isn't. I was afraid I would be up there trying to do something that is more current and, in many ways, more important to me, and people would be shouting out, Go Your Own Way! But that doesn't seem to be the case.
The Pioneer Press, March 1993

I really needed to do this. Obviously, after not touring for so long and working in a fairly isolated situation in my studio here at the house, the sense of release has been tremendous. Making the album was more of a cerebral thing, like being a monk for a few years. To be able to get out and sweat and manifest the music live again is just great.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 1993

The thing is, I love this group of people so much, and I'm having more fun now than I ever had with Fleetwood Mac.... This is like phase two for me, and thank God it's on a smaller scale.
News Tribune, March 1993

[Touring with my own concept of a band] was something I'd been wanting to do for a long, long, time. So that was one of the most satisfying things I've ever done, really. It was a family. This time it wasn't a dysfuntional family. It was a group of people who just wanted to see these ideas get done in the best possible way.
VH1's Behind the Music, 2001

SAY YOU WILL

I felt like completing this project was vindication for going away.
New York Newsday, May 2003

Mick and I decided we would rent a house, and we called up Stevie, who was on the road, and got her to send over a bunch of material...We started cutting tracks as a three-piece [with John]. Everyone had a little more room to maneuver. That's part of the reason the playing is more aggressive--not just the guitar playing, but the drumming. It's a more masculine, aggressive thing that's going on. It was like a Robert Bly seminar! We were male bonding all over the place. And it was great. Stevie showed up after she finished her tour and realized something very potent was going on. Then she went home and wrote four new songs, and that led us to this.
Acoustic Guitar, October 2003

I used many of the things I had learned while I was away from the band. It sort of vindicated my decision to leave in '87. Not that I ever felt that I had made the wrong decision, but sometimes you wonder if you could have worked it out. But by taking the time away, getting myself off the treadmill, and just slowing down and learning, I felt I had so much more to give back. And maybe that was something that needed to happen for all of us. [What were you learning?] I was learning how to engineer, more about production, more about my own abilities to write lyrics and melody. And improving my guitar playing in terms of how it relates to the record-making process....I also learned to be more confident, to trust my instincts more. The 12 years I was in Fleetwood Mac before were not particularly happy years. I was not in a very good place, psychologically, when I left. I didn't have a lot of confidence in what I was doing. Even though I had pushed through the Tango album, it was not a very good environment to be in on a daily basis. In many ways, this is the best time of my life.
Acoustic Guitar, October 2003

With this record, I'm actually euphoric. This project, for me, has been kind of an epic effort, more than anything I've ever done in terms of length of time involved to keep the eye on the ball, the ways in which it could have come out as a solo album, and finally what it ended up being, and somehow still maintaining its integrity, in terms of my songs and Stevie's songs. In many ways, I feel like I've been working for the last 25 years of my life for this, not just the last six years that it's been literally worked on. A level of maturity, a level of creativity and a vision that I've been trying to get to have now infused into the whole thing, with a great rhythm section, and Stevie, who I've known since I was 16. It's just a very exciting and profound thing.
Performing Songwriter, May 2003

When Mick and I started working in the studio, there was this incredible release of energy between the two of us. I guess it was because we hadn’t played together in a long time, and my last few years in Fleetwood Mac, before ‘87, hadn’t been much fun. So when we got in the studio this time, there was just this great energy there to kick it. There’s a real live feel to the tracks, and in many ways my guitar playing was just a response to that.
Guitar World, June 2003

[Mick and John are an unbelievable rhythm section. Describe what it is that they do.] Mick is a diamond in the rough. He does what he does, and after all this time, he still doesn’t know quite how he does it. He doesn’t want to know! There’s a real Zen feel to that: he knows he has a feel. But he’s just the ultimate in "dumb" - in the best sense of the word! He values that: he values the idea of feeling loose and having a groove that sits appropriately behind the beat. John is sort of an enigma. He’s a strange combination of [Charles] Mingus and [Paul] McCartney. He doesn’t talk about it, but he’s extremely smart and extremely melodic with what he does. It’s very easy to underestimate what he does - until you really listen to it. Through all the incarnations of the band, those two guys have been the thread.
VH1, May 2003

In a way, we’ve done the best playing I’ve ever heard on a recording. So it was about reeling that out and not worrying about anything other than what we do best.
VH1, May 2003

[Steal Your Heart Away is] just a song that is basically about all of the things that we all go through in order to find love of some kind. And how often those attempts are removed from the directness of person-to-person...that you try to sell yourself through a series of mechanisms. Artists do that all the time. You have to assume many, many artists are doing what they do because they didn't get enough love at point time in their life. It's a little bit convoluted. I think there's a much more direct way to do it. And I think that applies to what's wrong with the world, quite often, in general.
Virgin Radio - Captain America, December 2003

I will never be a political writer, but you can look at the world and put what's out there in a subjective way...Things like Peacekeeper and What's the World Coming To, those songs are just human cries. They're not about anything that's happened in the past couple of years; they were written well before that. They're just about the loss of individual voice and the desensitization that seems to be expanding, about the detachment that goes along with power -- these things that you look at out there and hope will somehow find a balance. And I think having a family -- to some degree buying into middle-class life -- that changes what you are concerned with and write about.
The Oregonian, July 2003

[Murrow Turning Over in His Grave] Murrow allegedly gave a great speech when he left CBS, saying "If we don't do the right thing with television as a tool, then it's going to do us in." That's basically what's going on now: Everything is propaganda. He would be completely shocked if he saw TV today.
Interview, June 2003

[Come] Quite honestly, Stevie really didn’t want that on the album. Too bad! [laughs] She objected when I sing, “Think of me sweet darling every time you don’t come.” She thought people would think it was about her -- it isn’t.
Interview, June 2003

[Say Goodbye] was written quite a long time ago, after I had left the band. I don't know if I was going for anything in particular, but I was in a place where I could feel compassionate, understanding, and nonjudgmental about the other people in the band, and about everything that had happened. The lyric was really important to me, and the fingerpicking part makes it a really nice guitar piece.
Guitar Player, April 2003

[Red Rover] The speed and aggressiveness in my fingerpicking is a big part of what I have to offer these days. Here, the very percussive, fingerpicked part was doubled, and then I slowed down the tape machine and bounced the double to another track. This allowed me to control the doubled part with a fader, and I moved the fader back and forth in time with the music. It almost sounds like some of that gating stuff they did in the 80s - that on-off kind of thing-except this method is more organic. My idea was to create some negative space to take the place of the drums, and I had to slow the tape machine way down to get the rhythmic manipulations as precise as possible. It's all about being in the pocket.
Guitar Player, April 2003

There's a lot of stuff going on [in Red Rover], but it's not too loud. It's kind of a rumble undertneath. It's all about letting the guitar part have so much presence and melodicism on its own that I just let it do its thing and then find a melody to go over that.
Acoustic Guitar, October 2003

[Which of Stevie’s new tunes touches you the most, as a fan of hers?] I like Illume a lot. I like Thrown Down a lot, too, sort of for my own petty needs because I felt I helped [articulate that tune]. Say You Will is real catchy, and will probably be the next single.
VH1, May 2003

This was going to be a double album. We ended up - in the process of the confrontations we were having about the (songs') running order - pulling back and making it an aggressive single CD.
San Diego Union Tribune, April 2003

[Why cut it from 2 CDs to 1?] Some things conspired to force me to rethink that: politics in the band, certain things that were said. Then we had a confrontational experience in getting a running order everyone was all right with.
USA Today, April 2003

[Stevie's manager] Howard has his formulas and he’s very much in control of certain aspects of the business side. He’s not really concerned with anything creative, he’s concerned with getting this project up and running and making Stevie the money that he feels he wants to make her. There’s a strength to that, but there’s also a weakness to it. That approach was less of a problem with something like The Dance, but with an album like this, which I feel transcends all of that… well let’s just say I sense there’s something large looming up ahead. Whether that turns out to be that case, I don’t know.
Classic Rock, June 2003

As it neared its conclusion it started to get—for lack of a better phrase—kind of warm and fuzzy, and reflective of this whole journey that the band has been on, including the mistakes that we’ve made. Without getting into specific lyrical interpretations, the tone of the album seems to be about resiliency, about valuing things that at certain points in time seem like they’re easy to devalue—people, relationships. In some ways, it’s a little bit of a miracle that we did this at all—especially with the kind of resolve and regeneration and energy that there seems to be. I think that’s what people seem to be responding to when they hear it.
Guitar World Acoustic, No. 59, April 2003

I can't speak for Stevie. I can't predict how she'll feel in a year. All I can do is try to cultivate the right feeling and the right atmosphere for us to go on. We had some disagreements toward the end of the album, but we found common ground. Can we survive the land mines that may exist down the road? I hope so, because I would love to do another album. There's so much promise if we hang in there.
USA Today, April 2003

I think now we're doing the best work we've ever done. Whether or not that's recognized yet is irrelevant to me. I know how I feel about it.
Acoustic Guitar, October 2003