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Lindsey Buckingham, Lonely Guy

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I've been trying to get to you.
Hey, little girl, leave the little drug alone.
I just can't seen to get through.
Hey, little girl, leave the little drug alone.

– Lindsey Buckingham, ''I Must Go''

His house didn't always seem so empty. For six years. Lindsey Buckingham lived with Carol Ann Harris. Go Insane is about their relationship and is dedicated to Harris. An attractive blond who grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harris was a twenty-three-year-old receptionist at Producer's Workshop, a Hollywood recording studio, when Buckingham met her while mixing Rumours in 1977. ''At first, she was just another conquest,'' he says, sipping a light beer. ''And then later, obviously not.''

''I had been in Europe, and it was my first day back at work,'' says Harris in a separate interview, recalling how they met. ''I walked in and saw Lindsey and that was it.''

Friends say the relationship was an intense one. The two were inseparable, and as Fleetwood Mac producer Richard Dashut, a close friend of Lindsey's for over ten years, puts it. ''They were both very much in love. They saw things in a very serious way. I can't say either one of them bad a real sense of humor together. For the first two or three years they were very, very happy and very close. In fact, I think that was one of the happiest times in his life.''

Buckingham and Harris kept to themselves. ''We lived in seclusion a great deal of the time,'' she says, ''Even on the road, when everyone would be out partying, Lindsey and I would close ourselves off and stay together. He needs a lot of peace and quiet.''

But living with a rock star who spent so much of his time in the studio became difficult – especially for a woman who didn't have a life of her own. ''It was very lonely,'' says Harris. ''I think I lived my life for Lindsey. I really felt it was important for me to be there for him, whether or not he was there physically, but for him to know I was there at home. He needed me there emotionally. It was rough. I don't think I can remember relaxing the whole time I was with him,''

Life in the rock & roll fast lane also took its toll. There were ''personal problems'' that neither Harris nor Buckingham will talk about. There were drugs, especially cocaine. ''That was a problem'' admits Harris. ''For him, too. It's very easy to get lost, and I'm sure I did. But I'm in much better shape now than I've ever been. And I still like cocaine. I must admit to that vice.'' (Buckingham says cocaine was never a problem for him.)

''She was a sweet young girl, very pleasant.'' recalls Lindsey's brother Jeff. ''But she changed to a music [scene]-hardened, drug-hardened person. It just wasn't the same.''

''Probably, if I had known what I was getting into, I would have thought twice about it,'' says Harris. ''That was right before Rumours broke. So when I met him, it was entering a world that was, to say the least, a little bit hardcore. But I fell in love with him. I had no choice. It's not a life I would have chosen for myself. Thinking back, I've been through the worst of times and the best of times. But it is a very rough world. Especially at the top. A lot of people are changed by it, not in a good way. It leaves a lot of victims. A lot of it's not very pretty. It's easy to get very cut off from reality. Trying to keep one foot in the real world and one foot in the rock & roll world is not easy.''

''She got pulled into this whole little world that maybe she wasn't ready for,'' agrees Lindsey. ''She's a girl from a small town who found herself in a world of people who were not particularly responsible.'' He is silent for a few moments. ''I don't really want to talk about that, I don't think it would be very fair. I think it would hurt her.''

About a year ago, after much soul-searching, they separated. Buckingham helped Harris move into a place of her own. She has been studying acting and, as she puts it, ''finding myself.'' ''It got to the point where she had to move out,'' he says quietly. ''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.''

His former lover has mixed feelings about having their relationship turned into Go Insane. ''Some of it makes me angry . . . sad. A lot of it is upsetting,'' she says. ''But I think there's a lot of love there. It's hard for me to listen to it.''

Buckingham doesn't regret writing about something so personal. ''I didn't have too many second thoughts, mainly because it was either that or go to a shrink,'' he says. ''I know that sounds a little flippant. I think it was something that had to be addressed. People who write things that mean something, usually they're a little too personal for somebody else. That's a risk that has to be taken.''

 

Lindsey Buckingham seems to thrive on taking risks. He is doing his best to leave behind the band he helped turn into a superstar act and establish a successful solo career for himself. After recording the critically acclaimed solo album Law and Order (which contained the hit single ''Trouble'') in 1981 for Asylum, Buckingham hired high-powered manager Brokaw, signed a multi-album deal with Elektra, spent a year recording the eccentric but excellent Go Insane and flew to London to make a surreal video. ''Punching out of the Fleetwood Mac microcosm,'' he calls it.

What he has not been doing is spending any time with the other members of Fleetwood Mac – in or out of the studio. Aside from a brief, inconsequential meeting backstage at a Christine McVie concert, it's been two years since he's seen any of them. Yet despite his intentions, Buckingham can't seem to let go completely of Fleetwood Mac. One finds the platinum albums and old magazine photos around the house. Stevie Nicks just sent him a tape of a new song that she wants him to hear. Mick Fleetwood called this morning, asking if he could use Lindsey's studio for a few hours. And as he talks, with or without prompting, Lindsey often refers to Fleetwood Mac.

Ten years ago, Lindsey and then-girlfriend Stevie Nicks, who were performing together as a folk-rock duo and had recorded one unsuccessful album, Buckingham-Nicks, were asked by Mick Fleetwood to join his relatively unsuccessful British blues band. The rejuvenated Fleetwood Mac's first album, Fleetwood Mac, was a big hit.

Attempting to follow up their success, Fleetwood Mac spent nearly a year recording the pop-rock soap opera Rumours, which documented the breakup of both Buckingham and Nicks' relationship and Christine and John McVie's marriage. Even then, there were musical differences. ''I can remember during Rumours,'' recalls Buckingham, ''saying to Mick, 'Well, things don't seem to be going exactly the way I would like them to go.' And he said, 'Well, maybe you don't want to be in a group.'''

Despite the conflicts, Buckingham was the major force behind Rumours. ''His contribution to the album was tremendous,'' confirms Richard Dashut. ''If any one person had the most to do with the production and the arranging and the inspiration, it was Lindsey.'' Although Fleetwood Mac is listed as the producer, along with Dashut, Ken Caillat and Cris Morris, Buckingham now says, ''I can't figure out why I didn't ask for production credit.''

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