GO YOUR OWN WAY

[Upon hearing Go Your Own Way on the radio for the first time] I just want it to be so good that I get paranoid. I have to relax, get this whole time behind us....
Rolling Stone, March 1977

Go Your Own Way was a song basically uh... directed at Stevie.
History of Rock'n'Roll, 1995

The spark for the song was that Stevie and I were crumbling, and I'm sure I was at a Holiday Inn somewhere, sitting in the room with the guitar, addressing what was going on. It was totally autobiographical. I remember very clearly that when Stevie first heard the lyric she objected quite vehemently to the brutal honesty of it, or what she thought was exaggeration, but to my mind, it wasn't.
Rolling Stone, December 2000
 
I remember putting that together on our first tour. We were still staying at Holiday Inns back then. I remember writing it and playing it for the band and I remember having Mick respond to it right away. We were in Florida. God knows why. And I also remember the first time I heard it on the radio, which was kind of funny. There was a DJ down here named B. Mitchell Reid who was very established. That was out as the first single and we were still mastering the album. And I was driving to mastering on the 101. And B. Mitchell Reid comes on and said, "I'm going to play the new Fleetwood Mac single." He plays it and says, "Well, that was the new Fleetwood Mac single. Uh, I don't know about that." [Laughs] It's probably not something I would do today, but I got to Capitol for mastering and I called him up. And I said, "B., hi this is Lindsey Buckingham. I just heard you say you didn't like Go Your Own Way." He said, "Well, I can't find the beat." And I realized that it has this guitar going on, and four-beat back-stroking guitar leading you without a clue until the first chorus. Which, I think, turned out to be something appealing about it. But at the time that would have never even occurred to me.
Songwriters On Songwriting, by Paul Zollo, 1997
 
[T]he acoustic guitar part. I'd added it at the eleventh hour; up until a few days before we mixed it there was no acoustic. The song was good, but something was missing. As soon as I came up with the acoustic part, the whole song came to life for me because it acted as a foil for the vocals and a rhythmic counterpoint. So when it comes in, you don't have a reference point for where the "one" is, or where the beat is at all. It's only after the first chorus comes in that you can realize where you are.... The acoustic brings in the right brain, the feminine aspect, to complete the emotional landscape of the song. It's funny: Stevie once said something like, "Well, Lindsey's songs were always kind of negative and my songs had a note of hope in them." I think that's open to interpretation... you listen to the solo and whatever set of emotions you can label from that is not pessimistic at all. Also, there's a lot of humor in that song. [Stevie] still doesn't like that line ["packing up, shackin' up is all you want to do"], but some things will never change. And my feeling was that that line, in particular, was pretty funny. Which, of course, was just my way of making fun of something that was painful on other levels.
Guitar World Acoustic, No. 25, December 1997
 
It was a little sarcastic [chuckle]. I was calling a spade a spade, you might say. There was no pulling of punches lyrically in that song.
Dateline, April 2003
 
To place it [Christine's Songbird] right after Go Your Own Way was just so great. I actually remember when the album was done…and one of the local radio stations had played the whole album and took a break between sides. And Richard Dashut and I were in our car when we still lived on Putney, and listened to this. I can remember when Go Your Own Way came in and we were so aggressive at the end and it was a great thing. That song came off , and then Songbird came on. And the masculinity and aggressiveness that was the end of Go Your Own Way transformed into that intimate female, introspective side of Songbird which followed. I honestly remember that the DJ that addressed the listeners before playing Side Two, you could tell she’d been crying! And that was the combination of Go Your Own Way into Songbird.
Rumours DVD, 2001
 
[I]t's sentiment is fairly self-explanatory. It just clicked, I mean the first time Mick and John heard it, they started just playing it exactly right. It was just one of those things.
The Source Special, 1982

NEVER GOING BACK AGAIN

I remember writing that when we got off the road. It was written about a girl that I had met in New England and spent a very short amount of time with. Someone who really, initially, didn’t want to spend time with me, and I talked her into it. And of course, “been down one time, been down two times, never going back again” is really a sweet sentiment. It’s a naïve sentiment. Because every time you are happy, you create this illusion for yourself that you’re never gonna be unhappy again. Life doesn’t really work that way, and you have to learn to accept that you’ll have ups and downs your entire life. So that was really the sentiment of the song for me.
Rumours Audio DVD, 2001

This was at a time when Stevie and I had pretty much parted company. This was near the end of the making of Rumours that we did this. I had met a young lady - it didn’t turn into being anything heavy. But what it did do was sort of put a little wind in my sails in terms of the sense of having a sort of a regenerative spirit about things, and being able to sort of move on, which I hadn’t really been able to do for a little while.
Classic Albums: Rumours VHS, 1997

This song was written a few years ago when I was...well, all of us were actually a lot less happy than we are now. You're telling me! And though we are a lot happier now, the song still makes us miserable when we sing it. It's called Never Going Back Again.
In concert in Baton Rouge, 1978

Been down one time, been down two times, been down three times...never going back again.
The "third time" added to live performances during the Tusk tour in 1979 - 1980

This is a very good, positive time that I’m coming into now and things go in cycles. There are times when you feel happy...you get the illusion created that you’re never gonna be unhappy again, and that’s never the case. But this song, in a sense, has taken on a second meaning because when I wrote it, I felt that way, and I’m feeling that way again, so it’s nice to know that things come around more than once.
Rockline, 1992

We weren’t clear initially on how we wanted to approach it. I think Mick had put some brushes on it and therefore we had the working title of Brushes. Eventually it got paired down to just two guitars, a left and right guitar. It did go through it’s own evolution of trying other things. I think the initial attempt was going to be a more orchestral approach, a more layered approach. But I think eventually we came back to a simple approach with was suited to the sentiment of the song.
Rumours Audio DVD, 2001

I think the guitar work was inspired by something I heard by Ry Cooder. The lyric as I recall was very much a miniature perception of things.... You think about how naive that was and very much in the context of not particularly being about something that was even more important. And maybe that's why it's sweet - it was just a frivolous little thing. Of course, it seems to take on more sweetness and a deeper feeling when it's placed on the album with all the other songs [laughs].
Performing Songwriter, May/June 2003

THE LEDGE

Actually one of my favorites [laughing] is a crazy tune called The Ledge, which no one...you know everyone...even people that I respect in terms of their open-mindedness...there’s a guy named Ben Edmonds who works over at Capitol now and he’s been around us for a long time. He’s been one of our biggest fans - one of my biggest fans and one of Stevie’s for a long time - and he came up to me and he said, “What is that song?!” What could I say? [laughs] It made sense to me. Finally about four months later he called me up on the phone and he says, “Hey I finally listened to that and I really...I got it!”
The Source Special, 1981

On The Ledge it’s...a bass and a guitar that has been tuned down half an octave. And that is just a snare. I did that song at my house. It sounds to me like it was put in a cement mixer and almost spat out. It’s actually one of my favorites on the album because it goes by so quickly that it almost sounds rushed, but if you try to get inside it, there’s a lot there. People are expecting to hear something else and it catches them off guard.
BAM, January 1981

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

BWANA

[Is there a reference in Bwana to Mick Fleetwood and his trip to Africa to record his The Visitor album?] There is actually. Mick and I were having a little tiff one day and uh...it's funny, this particular song was written and completely recorded - all those crazy, cartoon background vocals that are on there and everything. At that point, it really had no reference to bwana. And Richard Dashut who was helping me through the second phase of the album, said, "Why don't you go out and sing it sort of 50s style a little bit." And I went out that started singing a different way and really in a short period of time, a whole new melody evolved. At that point, the lyrics just sort of went with the new melody...don't ask me how [laughs]. There's nothing really negative about Mick in there, it was just that it was on my mind at the time [laughs]...Mick and I are close enough to make reference to one another in songs without really having to worry about it.
Innerview with Jim Ladd, 1981

[Was Mick’s trip to Africa the inspiration for Bwana?] Basically. It’s pretty light-hearted. Again, there’s a song with some of the ‘40s influence on it. It really isn’t very African at all, musically. It has some of that Lion Sleeps Tonight in it. The lyrics were actually written at the very end, after we’d done the tracks and the backing voices. The drum track for Bwana started out as being something very different. Eventually, that track turned into another song called Eyes of the World, which may be on the next Fleetwood Mac album. That happens to me a lot. Songs turn into other songs. Parts of one song are right for another. You never know.
BAM Magazine, November 1981

[The lead solo near the end sounds like a guitar synthesizer combined with some sort of distorted vocal.] It’s not a guitar, but you’re right about the vocal being distorted. What I did there was sing into a mike and then run the vocal through a cassette player in such a way that it would totally distort so it would sound like it was somewhere between a sax, a kazoo, and a guitar.
BAM Magazine, November 1981

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

TROUBLE

Trouble was the first song that was a hit for me as a solo artist, off Law & Order. That was fun....That was a lot of fun. I think that one came together really well.
Lindsey Buckingham, Words and Music, 1992

This is the first single from the album, and the only song on which I didn't play bass and drums. I had tried playing the drums on this but it wasn't happening, so we asked Mick to play. He came in one night and we stayed 'til four in the morning doing takes. But when we came in the next day, there wasn't one take we felt was solid enough from start to finish. So we decided to cut a short tape loop of the drum track, only four seconds, I think. The irony of that was that the original reason for having Mick play on the song was to approach the track completely live, as opposed to my usual technique. Ultimately, we achieved just the opposite, using the same four seconds of Mick's drums over and over again. I overdubbed the drum fills and cymbal crashes to create a live feel. George Hawkins, who played bass on Mick's The Visitor album, put the bass on, and I played some very pretty half-speed guitars in the choruses. I'm also quite pleased with the Spanish guitar solo.
Song Hits, May 1982

[What kind of commercial expectations do you have for Law & Order?] I have absolutely no idea, to be real honest. I guess it’ll depend partly on how the single, Trouble, does on the radio. Radio has gotten so it doesn’t matter who you are – if they don’t want to play your single, they won’t. That’s something we’ve got to live with. I think Trouble is certainly the safest choice on there. Maybe people will buy the album after hearing the single and think it’s a soft, MOR album. [Laughs] There’ll be a few surprised people!
BAM Magazine, November 1981

That was the hit, the obligatory hit. That was Mick, actually. That was a loop of Mick, actually, maybe two bars. I think he was having a bad night, actually. We couldn’t get a full take, so we made a loop. That happens! The bane of a drummer’s existence is having a bad night. Because it’s so microscopic what you can get away with live and getting a real tight drum track in the studio. Especially the way he plays, cause it’s always a little bit behind, he’s got that little hesitation like Charlie Watts, and that tends to open you up to be a little more sloppy. That was just one of those things that we thought we should put on an album, otherwise it would have never seenthe light of day at all. [laughs]....I like it a lot. But it’s really poppy. It is very well crafted, as I recall.
Songwriters On Songwriting, 1997

HOLIDAY ROAD

The Holiday Road song for the movie Vacation. . . we kind of put this thing down in the studio as a rough, and it was very rough compared to what it ended up being. And we went up to the Warner's offices...and he was going, "Uhhhh, weelllll...Okay! Let's go with it, okay!" You could tell he was not too sure about it [laughs]. And then when we'd worked on it and really gotten the melody out of it...he was really happy when he finally heard it. That was a nice situation...that worked out very well.

Ivan Reitman, I met not too much after that. He wanted me to try the Ghostbusters thing. But my attitude was, well, I don't want to get . . . loop-holed into this kind of thing. I mean, obviously, we did it well once. I think, at least for now, let's leave it at that.
Words and Music: A Retrospective, 1992

I WANT YOU

That song is interesting for a number of reasons - first of all, it opens the album with a recitation, which is...which I sort of perceive as a body rhythm. It’s like an obsession that you might have - an idea or a rhythm that you carry around with you. It’s something that you might fall asleep to at night, and then in the morning, the alarm goes off and it’s the first thing you’re thinking about. I think that’s something we can all relate to. The production in general on that song, although it is quite layered and sophisticated...the general tone of that song - I wanted to make it sound pretty much like a bunch of 16-year-olds in a garage [laughs]. I mean, you’re into the point where the sound is almost...bordering on being substandard on that, you know, as if it were recorded in a garage. And the performing is almost at the point of being out of control.
Innerview with Jim Ladd, 1984

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

The concept for breaking up the vocals...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

DW SUITE

The D.W. Suite thing, which was written a couple of days after Dennis Wilson died, was done when we were still working in the garage. I just called up Gordon Fordyce, my engineer, and said, "I'm gonna take a week off and work up here by myself." And I put that whole piece together in about six days up there. I can't say it's totally about Dennis Wilson, but the way I reacted to his death brought about a whole set of feelings having to do with him, with Brian, with myself, even, on some levels.
Music Connection, Vol. VIII, No. 19, September 13-September 26, 1984

Dennis wasn't really a friend, but he dated Christine for about three years so I knew him fairly well. He created for me a window into the inner workings of the Beach Boys. Of course, Brian Wilson had always been such a big influence on me that when Dennis died, it got me thinking about the Beach Boys and the rough time that they've had all around, really, and the fact that Brian went from a very commercial format into a far more experimental vein and how he suffered for it. That, plus the things I'm trying to do, were all sort of floating around... Basically I wanted to remember him on vinyl.
Illinois Entertainment Weekly, November 1984

I see Bang the Drum and the D.W. Suite as being a pair that really had to be together because they're both about wanting to preserve hope. Bang the Drum is about someone who is afraid that they just can't do that anymore - that maybe they're gonna sink. They’re trying to swim and they feel they're gonna sink. And, I think, D.W. Suite is sort of the aftermath of that - someone has literally sunk. And in this case, literally - considering the inspiration for that song....D.W. Suite really was written right after Dennis Wilson died. And uh, about two days after that happened - and I was quite upset by that - I locked myself in the studio and recorded this whole thing. I emerged a week later with the D.W. Suite. It was, to me, the visual that I had - it can refer to anything obviously - "going insane together" can refer to anything and anyone can relate to it in their own specific way. But I was thinking in terms of the Beach Boys, really, and the death of Dennis Wilson inspired the composing of this particular tune. Actually, you can't really call it a tune because it is a suite. It's three different movements and it's very cinematic. I like to think of it in that way because the threads that bind the three movements are quite cinematic.
Innerview with Jim Ladd, 1984

It starts off and ends with traditional Irish music and, in the middle, there's a piece of my own. That traditional non-American folk music element appealed to me as did the idea of a song as a serial with three separate movements - the wish, the prayer, the reflection - as if you were watching something on television, and you changed the channel.The first part is like a "wish" to get away, or to go insane. Then there's a transitional thing with a crowd and an introduction into the "prayer" part, and all these things sound like the Beach Boys with a lot of harmonies. Then it goes to the "reflection" part - this is the traditional Irish music with a flute, getting faster and faster like the realization that life goes on, and it ends as an Irish jig.
Hit, No. 10, Fall 1984

It starts out almost with a death wish, which is D.W., and says "If we go insane, we can all go together." I see all of the Wilsons as having gone insane together. The whole group started out at such a young age, and Brian was under such pressure, not only to be everything to the band but to be financially responsible for his whole family...I always felt Dennis was a very good person who didn't have much direction, because he didn't have the tools that Brian had. He was always an outsider. "Shadow all your hopes with love," [is delivered] from Dennis to everyone else, as if he were talking to his children: "Do your best." By the end of the song, you've got this sort of Irish wake sound, which turns into a jig. The message is, "Well, let's pause for a moment, but then life must go on."
Musician, November 1984

I knew him pretty well - he even had an affair with my girlfriend! (laughs). But he was a good guy. He was kind of lost, but I thought he had a big heart. I always liked him. He was crazy just like a lot of other people, but he had a really big heart, and he was the closest thing to Brian there was, too. He was halfway there.
BAM, May 1992

BIG LOVE

[Big Love is a] lustful mid-to-uptempo number featuring love grunts.
Rolling Stone, March 1987

It surprised me there was a whole lot of interest in who was doing the female side of the song's “love grunts,” or whatever you want to call them [laughs]. That was actually me - with VSOs, variable-speed oscillators. There's a lot you can do in terms of your arranging and voicing with slowing and speeding tape machines. It was odd that so many people wondered if it was Stevie on there with me. I guess it just follows the same thread as everything that was brought to the public in "Rumours" - you know, the musical soap opera.
Rock Lives by Timothy White, 1989

Poem Lindsey read between Big Love & Go Insane on his solo tour in 1993 and on tour with Fleetwood Mac in 1997:

Sardonic World
The world was calling you away
and your leaving was just your way
of staying with what you'd come to say
This pain is the poem slowly written
torn from the book
and cast into a corner of the attic
where no one could look
This rage for all to see
caught fire and burned all around me
till their was nothing left to burn
Now I stand alone in these attic bones
and reread that poem all yellowed with age
Tears heal such as healing is
so I cast that page into the flame
And there is no blame, only shades of regret
And those too will fade
as the world calls me away.

It seems like everything goes in cycles. When I wrote this next song, I was right at the end of my tenure in Fleetwood Mac, and that leaving was kind of a survival move both physically and emotionally. But it was also in response to the need to grow. And um...I think we’ve all grown. And I know I’m a different man than I was then. I’m doing the song differently than I did then. And I guess all of that kind of re-enforces my faith in cycles.
The Dance VHS, 1997

I started doing "Big Love" very fast, in a Leo Kottke-meets-classical on acid (laughs), whatever you want to call it. It got such a strong response, and it got me back to reminding myself that whatever I can do as a producer, this is the center of what I do, and it's not something to be taken lightly. This is somewhere I want to go now, to take that element, the energy of that, and the singularity of that, and build on it in a much more sublime way.
Performing Songwriter, May 2003

This next song, uh, it was the last single that I had with the band before I took off in '87, and uh, at that time it was about a lonely guy living up on a hill. And uh, some times miracles occur long after you think they're possible. And uh, I'm still living on the hill, but life is a whole lot better with a beautiful wife and two beautiful children. So I'm going to dedicate this to them. It's called Big Love!
Song dedication in concert, Columbus, OH, May 7, 2003

SOUL DRIFTER

That song is about taking off and leaving it up to fate as to what will happen.
Rocky Mountain News, April 1993

Soul Drifter is one of the more personal things on there. That just kind of spewed out, I don't know what to tell ya. Most of the good ones...a lot of the good ones come out all at the same time, and maybe you hone the words down a little. But that was quick.... That was also the first song that was written for this record and maybe there's some strength in that. Because we were still mixing Tango In The Night at my house and I was off in another bedroom putting together this. And I guess there's certainly a tie-in with coming to the realization that you're not going to be doing this anymore.
Off the Record, 1992

There are certain songs, such as Soul Drifter, that was kind of blocked out and completed, wordswise, before ever committing it to tape. It was done with a Tin-Pan Alley sensibility in mind.... Actually, Lee Hirschberg, who used to work with Sinatra a lot downstairs here at Warners, he was making some copies for us. And when that song came on, he said, “Oh, a real song!” [Laughs] It’s also the song my mom likes the most. You’ve got that tradition there, which is a nice thing to be able to do. And it seems kind of fresh against the non-melodic things you’re hearing nowadays.
Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo, 1997

I don't know if you'd call them roots. But that was some of the first stuff I heard, because in the early 50s, before Elvis hit, that's exactly what parents were listening to. But those songs really were great, and they hold up so well. Writers like Rodgers & Hammerstein and George Gershwin really knew what they were doing. And really, when you get down to it, the Beatles, and maybe just a few other artists from that time were the exception of someone who could do something on that level without having to train to do it. Everyone since then has tried to pull that off, but it's really hard to do without musical training and knowledge. I mean, I can't even write or read music, so I really don't know. But I do think there's a lot to be looked at in that type of music. I tried to get that traditional, Tin Pan Alley sort of approach when I was writing Soul Drifter, so I think there's a lot of validity, just looking at that stuff and appreciating it. Especially if it's part of your background.
BAM, May 1992

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 [Out of the Cradle]. 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

STREET OF DREAMS

This song was written about a time when I was sort of drifting creatively and wasn't quite sure what I was doing. My father who had passed away many years before...I used to go up to my hometown and sit and talk to him and try to imagine what he would say to me...what advice he would give me.
Concert in San Juan Capistrano, CA, December 11, 1992

[T]he first song on side two, if you think in terms of sides, is Street of Dreams, which was something about my own loneliness during maybe the time that we were talking about before, the Go Insane period, which wasn't a very happy time....The middle section of that is about my father who had died many years earlier, and I used to go and talk to him in the cemetery and just, you know, carry on conversations and just try to get a sense of things. And uh, This Nearly Was Mine which is from South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstien was one of his, like, two or three top favorite songs. I thought that that somehow tied in with the first song on that side. That's what made me think of it. And then when I started to play it, I realized it was something that just worked in terms of the style, and it also worked in terms of setting almost a showtune atmosphere for that and the last song, which is also something like that.
Off the Record, 1992

That song was written in two parts. The verses were maybe two years ago [1990], and the center section was from about eight years ago [1984].
Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zolla, 1997

I was always carrying on imaginary conversations with my father, especially when I was going through creative drift, so much of that sort of thing went into Street of Dreams.
Chicago Tribune, June 1993

And after he died I used to go and talk to him, and that’s what that whole center section of the song is about, talking about following your illusions. It’s interesting how you can have a piece laying around for so long and suddenly have it click into something that’s current....There are a few moments like that that are kind of raw.
Songwriters On Songwriting by Paul Zollo, 1997

That seemed to fit so well with just the general sense in the album of trying to pursue a set of illusions you might have made for yourself, which is something that's kind of rampant in this town anyway, for people who haven't quite connected with anything – and applying my own sense of loneliness at that time. And I'm still...[pause] everyone feels that.
Los Angeles Times, June 1992

[T]hat sort of thing might be a little dark for [my mom]. David Lynch might like that one. [Laughs]....That's nice with all the rain. Some people didn't like the rain, but the whole cinema of that is nice, and on the end almost using the rain like a ride-cymbal. It's like a musical instrument.
Songwriters On Songwriting by Paul Zollo, 1997

BLEED TO LOVE HER

["Bleed" to love her?] There’s some imagery for you!
Guitar World, September 1997

It does have the element of having to sacrifice your blood in order to get back what is sometimes worthwhile...and the elusiveness of it. I mean the verses - that was written over a period of years actually, that song, and the verses were much later. In other words, the chorus, "bleed to love her," was written at the top of a new relationship and the verses, "pretending that she's not there," you know, the elusiveness of all of that, was written near the end.
Best Buy Promotional CD, 1997

I was actually playing in A, tuned down a half step....Bleed to Love Her started with the guitar part. And there were three or four different melodies in the verse over that. I couldn't figure it out. We had to take a poll [laughs]. The verse in there is a rip-off of an old Dean Martin song, Memories Are Made of This.
Acoustic Guitar, October 2003

[T]hat song actually sort of evolved over about a two year period and when I wrote the chorus in which that appears - "bleed to love her" - uh, I had just entered into a relationship with someone and I really felt that I, you know, would be willing to bleed in order to make that work. And then of course maybe two years later, uh, things had kind of, um, drifted a little bit and the verses in there are talking about how elusive someone can be, ah, which I guess is the other side of the coin.
WZLX 100.7 (Boston radio), August 15, 1997

PEACEKEEPER

The song is about three years old. It was looking a little bit at how the world seems to get increasingly desensitized to events that are negative and events that can be destructive and how that desensitization can affect a smaller unit like the family or the individual. But it's also looking at the concept of peace, and what does peace mean? I think you could say there is no real static condition that could be called peace, but it's more about just valuing the ideal of peace and trying to act on an ideal that will get you in that direction really.
WXRT Chcago radio interview, March 2003

Someone once said, "When love is gone, there is always justice, when justice is gone, there is always force."
Song introduction in concert, Philadelphia May 2003

[The single Peacekeeper,which bristles with alluring harmonies and a chugging beat, easily could be about Iraq.] It was eerie how it fit in, for sure, but it certainly wasn't intended that way. I wouldn't have been comfortable knowing I was writing about something like that. It's not really my bag.
DenverPost.com, October 2003

At the time [that I wrote it (circa 2000)] -- or now -- it was a peace song, quite ironically stated. It's about how we are becoming increasingly more desensitized to things around the world that are brutal and not standing up for human values. And how the actions of the larger bodies affect the family or individual and how that ultimately turns back on the larger body.
Miami Herald, March 24, 2003

Anything artistic should have some ambiguity to it, and you know, if there's only one way it can be interpreted, it's probably closing in on propaganda.
AOL Sessions, February 2003

I wrote the song about two and a half years ago. It was, in a very ironic way, looking at the kind of thinking that is matter-of-fact and desensitized towards certain actions that go on in the world, and the kind of blankness and conformity that goes along with that. And then trying to look at what does that do for a married couple trying to work out their problems. How does it affect them? What is peace, really? The whole idea that there can be any static condition is obviously an illusion. So can there ever really be peace? There can be moments of peace or long periods of peace, possibly, whether it's in the world or in a relationship. But it seems to me what peace really means is valuing the ideal of that and just being mindful of it - working towards the maintenance of it, even though you understand it will not always exist. But the irony of being matter-of-fact about not thinking that way is really what the song is doing.
Performing Songwriter, May/June 2003

[The closing line of the song] is "Take no prisoners, only kill." Someone at Warner Bros. was uncomfortable with that. We changed (the single) to "break their will." ... I didn't have a problem with that. It's ironic. They're going to release that song in England now. They were squeamish about it when it was a single here. Now they don't seem to have a problem with "only kill." I don't know what goes on in people's minds.
DenverPost.com, October 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

[To me, Murrow, your song about the great, principled TV newsman Edward R. Murrow, is about the loss of integrity.] Right. 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

The very strange-sounding distortion part is based around a cluster of atonal vocals. You get five, six, or seven different tones together that are out of tune with each other, and it just becomes this arrgh kind of sound. I think there might be some slide in there, too. This song has elements of something quite traditional and recognizable in an almost generic sort of way, yet it departs from that at the chorus when you're suddenly into this weird Brian Wilson/Yardbirds acid thing. I would never want to do something that was generic all the way through.
Guitar Player, April 2003

Murrow gave that famous parting speech when he left CBS, warning what would happen if we didn’t take responsibility for TV and “ use it in the right way. Obviously, we haven’t. So Murrow is just a song about how the media gets abused and how it is used for propaganda. Even the fact that somebody like GE would own NBC. That whole connection--down to the agendas that go into what you see on NBC, because it is owned by a weapons maker. It’s just kind of weird and not very good. Not good for the kids. It diverts and deludes.
Guitar World, June 2003

There is no suggestion here that networks or individual stations should operate as philanthropies. But I can find nothing in the Bill of Rights or the Communications Act that says that they must increase their net profits each year, lest the Republic collapse....We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late....I began by saying that our history will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, then history will take its revenge, and retribution will not limp in catching up with us... This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise, it is merely wires and lights in a box.
- Edward R. Murrow, 1958

It was inspired by watching TV and seeing what it's become, how horrendous it's become as a tool to do exactly what Edward R. Murrow warned against when he gave his famous speech. He said if TV is allowed to distract and delude people, then there will be a large, large price to pay down the line. And we're seeing that coming true on so many levels. Especially in the world today, where all the media is basically owned and controlled and edited to a certain point of view, in the name of objective news, by all the “same people who are tied in with another company....Murrow would be turning over in his grave if he were to see all of this. Not just the propaganda that passes for news, but the trivialization of so many things, and the intent to distract and delude that he was talking about.
Performing Songwriter, May 2003

COME

It’s all based on the idea of trying to break vocal lines down into facets, the same way Cubism breaks down a visual line. Each part of each vocal line was sung separately and recorded on a separate track. Then each track was processed a little differently. So one part of the line might have a flangy effect, and the next part a wet reverb. So you’re making the whole thing more artificial, in the way Cubism does, but it gives you a whole spatial world. A few of the guitar tracks also have that give-and-take quality that runs across from left to right.
Guitar World, June 2003

It was about someone that I was seeing for a while, before I met my wife. But we don't need to go into that. It is pretty vicious. But it's humorous, too. I think of it as being kind of a funny song ....
San Diego Union-Tribune, April 17, 2003

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

Stevie sees herself as being defined within a certain set of boundaries, outside of which things probably don't ring true to her, or to the people who listen to what she does. But at the same time, I think she's intrigued by the idea of pushing the envelope, especially on this album. She never wants to go too far with it, though. For example, I asked her to sing on the song Come and she wouldn't. I think she thought it was dirty. That tells you something about someone who has been a rock icon but in some ways is still quite a conservative person. And I don't see her as someone who has lived her life very conservatively. So there's an interesting dichotomy there.
Guitar World, June 2003

[Rumor has it the barbed, bluesy Come - a showstopper in concert - is about another one of Buckingham's former girlfriends, actress Anne Heche. Is this true?] Um, well, I mean, uh, well, since you're asking, I would have to say yes, it is.
Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 11, 2003

SAY GOODBYE

[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

[Say Goodbye is] kind of a torch song, sort of an Edit Piaf meets Leo Kottke, is the way I think of it. Actually that song was written...about Stevie, and for Stevie, quite a while ago. It was written about the time that I had departed the band in '87. And it had been..Fleetwood Mac had been an excersize in denial for many years, and I finally felt at that time that I was going to be able to kind of move on on an emotional level in some ways, and get some closure that I hadn't been able to get, you know. As far as the production goes, it really is just a single guitar part. It's just a very intricate guitar part.
KCRW radio, April 2003

I've known Stevie since I was about 16. After I finally left the band, I was able to look back at all of it in a very tender way and say, "Hey, look, this is what it is. It's kind of a dream within a dream. We all just did what we had to do."
Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 11, 2003

[I]t's Charles Aznavour meets Leo Kottke. That is a song about Stevie.... The lyric came first, which is unusual for me. I tried to do that song for a number of years and couldn't quite figure out how to do it. After a couple of failed attempts, I came up with a weird tuning where I was dropping the G string down a step so that it became a seventh, and it got me to a place where I could play all these figures fairly easily. It was not an easy thing to work out.
Acoustic Guitar, October 2003

"[I] was thinking of making a dedication to a member of my family for this song.... We drove up from Sacramento today and, um…and driving up here it got to be quite beautiful and rural and it made me think how much the world is changing and how much parts of it haven't. My own father grew up near Sacramento on a farm. Of course, he's been... he passed away a long, long time ago. In fact, thirty years this year. And uh..(choking up)... sorry. Um, so you know you grieve for someone at the time and then time goes by and your own context changes. I find myself looking out at what was very similar to what he grew up on and grieving for him in a very…. as an adult, and leaving even more of him on the drive here today. So I'm going to dedicate this (Say Goodbye) to my dad."
live in concert, Marysville, CA, June 26 2004