MUSICIAN: Going from total obscurity to the top of the charts is what most struggling musicians hope and pray for every day of their lives. But have there been any drawbacks to that level of People Magazine stardom?

BUCKINGHAM: Well, you see, I don't feel like I've been in the limelight as far as the attention focused on the group. Stevie, in the beginning, her visual presence and just her personality were so strong. That was always the figurehead of the group, and still is, in a way. In that way, I really haven't had to deal with a barrage of external adulation by any means. I very seldom get a fan letter.


MUSICIAN: Has your growth within the group corresponded with you growing in confidence? Did you feel like you had to try and fit in when you first joined, and now you can do what you want to do?

BUCKINGHAM: Yeah. It's been very much a series of situations, of having to adapt. The kind of role that, say, Stevie and I had towards each other and that I had in Buckingham Nicks as compared to what happened six months after we joined Fleetwood Mac-I really had to turn around. It was a very good thing to happen. I gained so much more appreciation for Stevie that way. I had to reevaluate the whole thing. There's been a lot of adapting to do. When I first joined the group, I had to go and play Bob Welch's songs and all this strange stuff that had nothing to do with me or me growing as an individual. But that was all part of it; I needed to do that one way or another. Once Stevie and I had broken up and had sort of gotten through that, it was just a question of seeing what I really had to offer and trying to establish that, and saying, "Hey, I do have more to offer than just being part of the rhythm section." Also, people don't see what you contribute in the studio, and you can't expect them to. That's one thing that's always been visible to people very close to me, but never to anyone else.


MUSICIAN: Has the creative process of how a song takes shape changed much from Buckingham Nicks to Tusk?

BUCKINGHAM: I'd say it's come back around full circle, in a way, except with a whole lot more knowledge, I would hope. I've learned so much from John and Mick.

MUSICIAN: In terms of what, since they don't write songs?

BUCKINGHAM: In terms of musical sense. Mick's musical sense is hard to pin down, because it's just such an instinctive thing. But in terms of just writing songs, that hasn't changed, no. For instance, Stevie will write her words, and everything will be central to that. That's good; sometimes I wish I could do that. Mine are usually central to a groove of some sort, and everything else will follow. That hasn't changed over all this time. A lot of rock 'n' rollers do that.

MUSICIAN: Does that method make your songs more traditionally structured than Stevie's?

BUCKINGHAM: They can be, yeah. Which isn't necessarily good. There's a fine line. You take someone like Springsteen, who has the best of both, I think, in terms of being a writer and someone who knows what he's doing. His phrasing can go from a certain timing in one line, and in the next line it'll be totally different, because the words are different. Whereas if I was thinking of those two lines in a song, I might just think of repeating the same thing over and over, because I would still be sort of nebulous in my mind. I wouldn't have the words completely formed. So there's an advantage by far in being able to do that, because it gives the whole feeling of the song a certain spontaneity. He's feeling the words in a certain way, and he's putting them down, and everything else will follow that. Stevie does the same thing with her words; she surprises you with phrasings. But there's an advantage to the other way, too. If you can eventually get around that, and make it so that your vocal doesn't sound stiff, then the advantage is that you're so much more aware of how to make one track sound totally different from the other, in terms of applying a certain instrument to it or something. But in terms of a structure-like A-B-A-B-C or whatever-my songs are probably a lot more that way than Stevie's, because she doesn't really know A-B-A-B-C. She writes like Mick drums.

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