Rock And Rules - Lindsey Buckingham

Rock And Rules - Lindsey Buckingham

Life lessons from a songwriting legend...

The guide to surviving a life in music, by those who know best…

Fleetwood Mac legend and solo artist Lindsey Buckingham

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EMBRACE CHANGE

I think searching for change is engrained in me. But it’s also situational – I think the idea of taking chances, trying to seek things outside your comfort zone, and the aspiration to keep being an artist came from the time of ‘Rumours’ and ‘Tusk’. ‘Rumours’ was such a huge success commercially, that it became more about the subtext, our personal lives, rather than the music.

When you find yourself in that kind of position, you’re poised to make a choice – you’re either going to follow through with the expectations that are now being imposed on you from the external world, or you try to undermine that and try to remember who you are as a musician, as an artist, and a writer, and why you got into this in the first first place.

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BE PREPARED TO WALK YOUR OWN PATH

Fleetwood Mac is this big machine, and my solo endeavours are this smaller machine. Within Fleetwood Mac, politics have essentially dictated that we haven’t made any new music in a while. But as a solo artist, I don’t have to push back against that. I’ve always done what I’ve wanted to do, basically, and I think the realisation I had to come to was being willing to lose some of the huge audience Fleetwood Mac have in order to pursue that. It’s just a trade-off you have to be willing to make in order to do things on your own terms.

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USE YOUR DIFFERENCES TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

Early on, soon after joining Fleetwood Mac, I realised that we were the kind of group who didn’t – on paper – belong in the same group together. But yet that was the very thing that made us so effective. There was a synergy there, where the whole became more than the sum of its parts. What happens is that you begin to understand that, and accept it as a gift.

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WORK IN SERVICE OF THE SONG

I’ve always admired guitarists who worked in service of the song. It’s a choice you make sometimes, to work for the good of the song. It means some people perhaps don’t take it in on that level, but if you’re doing your job right then you become integrated into the fabric. Sure, you’re not Eddie van Halen but that’s what a song should be, I think.

COLLABORATION STRENGTHENS YOUR INDIVIDUALITY

Working with other people is like making a movie. I love being a producer, and bringing songs from, say, Christine and Stevie to life. But working on your own is like a painting, I would say. You start putting a few colours down, and then the canvas will lead you off in a different direction. If you want to stick with that analogy, then that’s where I’ve been able to have more growth as an artist. But there’s validity to both, and I couldn’t have one without the other.

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FIND YOUR OWN VOICE

I’ve never had a music lesson in my life. I got a toy guitar when I was six, and an Elvis Presley songbook. That’s it. My orientation of guitar playing from the very beginning came from me not having lessons, so there was no one around me to tell me what was correct and incorrect. I just found my own way, and my own style. It’s more a case of imagination over knowledge.

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Lindsey Buckingham's new solo album is out now. Catch the songwriter at the following shows next year:

May
17 Dublin Helix
19 Glasgow SEC Armadillo
21 Liverpool Philharmonic
22 London Palladium

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