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Q&A: Fleetwood Mac on Reissuing 'Rumours' and Making New Music

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Lindsey had hesitated in the past to come back, so did something get resolved?
Buckingham: There were a number of false starts where I was trying to make solo albums. They would get constantly folded into group efforts. In retrospect I can say fair enough that you call yourself a band member and you've got to step up to the plate when the need arises. So that was an issue I had for a number of years that has come and gone. I am more appreciative of the fact that we know each other, we've been through so much together and we are really family.

Nicks: What else happened is I went into rehab on December 12th, 1993 and came out on the 27th of January – 47 days to come off of Klonopin. I nearly died. And I think one of the reasons that Lindsey left is because I was very, very high on this horrific tranquilizer. I didn't even make it to most of the recording sessions for [1987's] Tango in the Night. I was sick. And I think he was horribly worried that I was going to die. That's one of the reasons you [turns to Buckingham] wanted to quit. We had this huge tour and it was booked. We were at Chris' house and [Lindsey] stood up and said "I quit," and I – being so high and so messed up – just raged across the room and I wanted to kill him.

When I came out of rehab, I did a small three-month tour, and I got through it. I was going to be OK, and everyone knew I was going to be OK. And I think that's when Lindsey thought Fleetwood Mac could go on, because his beloved ex-girlfriend was not going to die. She was going to make it.

So everything since then has been different from what it was before?
Buckingham: It's still evolving, and that's the beauty of it too. I've known Stevie since high school. We were a couple for many, many years, and we've been a musical couple forever. After all this time you would think there was nothing left to discover, nothing left to work out, no new chapters to be written. But that is not the case – there are new chapters to be written. It's quite extraordinary.

Q&A: Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham Reveal Lingering Tensions in Fleetwood Mac

You have some history in this studio.
Buckingham: We recorded Tusk in Studio D.

Nicks: Thirteen months. We were here a lot.

That was right after Rumours, so you had a lot of freedom.
Buckingham: That was my line in the sand, the Tusk album. It was clearly an undermining of what was expected of us.

Nicks: It was the opposite of Rumours.

Buckingham: It was an undermining of upholding the brand, which we now represented. It was also an undermining of what a lot of groups find themselves doing, which is painting themselves into a corner by doing only what's expected of them. It was a stand for art and for spontaneity and for the left side of the palette. It certainly did not perform commercially in the same way, nor would we have necessarily expected it to. It was a double album, for one thing. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when Warner Bros. put that on in their boardroom and listened to it for the first time. Over time it has been vindicated as a piece of work. It has become a darling for the indie bands, or at least the mentality of what that represents.

Nicks: Studio D was covered with Polaroids and shrunken heads and angel wings, and all of our stuff was in there. You walked into that room and there were big massive tusks on each side of the board, and the board was called Tusk. All of those songs – "Save Me a Place," "Sara" – it became something so beautiful and so ahead of its time. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall too when they played it, because they had to be horrified. I was a little horrified myself over that 13-month period, but it was an experience. We were going to the top of the mountain, and it was very spiritual. And again, we were having serious relationship problems during Tusk, but when we went into that studio and saw those tusks, and all the amazing stuff we collected and brought in every day, we became part of a world that was fantastic.

What are your current recording plans?
Buckingham: When Stevie was on the road, and not long after her mom had passed away, Mick, John and I got together and we cut a bunch of tracks, and they turned out great. They were all done in Stevie's keys. They were done with her in mind. Subsequently, Stevie and I have gotten together, and she's sung on two of those. There's also another track that dates back to [pre-Fleetwood Mac project] Buckingham-Nicks that Stevie and I built up from scratch. There's a lot of stuff there. Some of this we will do in the show. We're not pushing it. We're just going to wait and see what everybody wants to hear.

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Song Stories

“Bizness”

Tune-Yards | 2011

The opening track to Merrill Garbus’ second album under the Tune-Yards banner (she also plays in the trio Sister Suvi), “Bizness” is a song about relationships that is as colorful as the face paint favored by Garbus both live and in her videos. Disjointed funk bass, skittering African beats, diced-and-sliced horns and Garbus’ dynamic voice, which ranges from playful coos to throat-shredding howls, make “Bizness” reminiscent of another creative medium. “I'd like for them not to be songs as much as quilts or collages or something,” Garbus said.

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