Fleetwood Mac - Rock Express (June 1987)

Lindsey Buckingham remembers, "I hadn't heard a lot of Fleetwood Mac until right when we were getting ready to join the band. That was not a real quick decision on our part. We had done one album for Polydor as Buckingham-Nicks. It wasn't that successful. We were disappointed, we thought it was a good record and I think it holds up pretty well now. But we were having to deal with a manager who wanted us to play steak houses in Los Angeles and record company types who wanted to change our music.

"But we'd picked ourselves up from that situation and regrouped, written new songs when the Fleetwood Mac thing came along. As we were mulling that over, we went out and bought all the Fleetwood Mac albums we hadn't heard. My awareness of the band was just the Peter Green stuff, which I think is still the best, really wonderful."

He stops, looking back over the years and whispers, "A lot of adapting to do... Sometimes I wonder about that. I reflect on what would have happened if we hadn't joined. Because I had to give up a lot of my style at that point, to adapt to what was already there. I had to go out there and play Bob Welch songs, which I hated doing - I felt like part of a lounge act. I had to give up even the kind of guitar I played. I liked to play a Telecaster but I couldn't because it didn't fit in with the piano, bass, drums sound that was already there.”

"I'll never be in another band like Fleetwood Mac," Stevie Nicks says breathlessly. "I feel lucky to have been found out of all those people, me and Lindsey, to be asked to join what we considered a very big band. We were rich and famous in six months - it was shocking. It was a Cinderella story and it really happened!

"I was really a waitress and cleaned house and did all sorts of things because what was Lindsey going to do? He was a guitarist! So, I did all those things. Then six months later, I had a lot of money, a great apartment, a car - I couldn't believe it!

"It's very surrealistic to stand back and look at it. I think a lot of people would have just gone crazy, 'cause it's really an adjustment. I went from absolute anonymity to the opposite overnight."

"Both Stevie and myself, and John and Christine were in the process of breaking up while recording Rumours. That was an immediate thing that ended up being translated to vinyl.

"We've now put enough distance between that kind of hurt and those kind of situations now that we can look at it with perspective. We can now say, 'OK, we went through all those traumatic tumultuous trips. But we can see it and appreciate it for what it was and just get on with it.'

"At the time though, it was really difficult. Producing the Rumours album, I had to put all this set of feelings over in one corner of the room and another set in the other corner and it was not that easy."

Stevie adds, "Lindsey is absolutely against duplicating anything. So if he even thinks that people are gonna think he's trying to duplicate, he will go so far the other way. so the best thing to do with Lindsey is to not even remind him, so that he doesn't get too radical. 'Cause you know, he's just one of those men, he'll get totally radical. 'I'm not going to do anything like the last one, for my own cultural growth and the pursuit of art.'"

More realistically, Stevie, John Mick and Christine say that. Lindsey's not quite so positive. There seems to be a separation between Buckingham and the rest of the band. While they speak of him in nothing but the most admiring, complimentary way, he seems to hold himself aloof.

"There's always been a sense of formality about what we do," he says. "There's always been a sense of go in and do the music but not necessarily hang out all the time. It's been that way since Stevie and I were in the band. You've got three English people and two Americans, so there's a certain cultural gap there anyway.

"It's a strange situation having broken up with someone 11 years ago and still work with them all the time. So I'm not going to be calling Stevie up and saying, 'Hey, how you doing?' so much. It's inherent in the situation.

"It's not like we don't speak with each other, but we never really did. When the work isn't happening, there's less reason."

So you don't consider each other buddies?

"Not so much," Lindsey says sadly. "I hate to say that, but that's accurate."

"I was halfway into a third solo album," notes Lindsey, "but at some point it became apparent that the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few. I think the real need to do a record five years after the last one came from...When we did the Mirage album and tour, a lot of things had been left hanging out on a limb - emotional things and even financial things. This album was a way to bring it back together. I think this album was a very healthy experience. What Rumours was for pain, this album was for healing."