Lindsey Buckingham did a roundtable press conference today, on which there will be more in a future article. During the telephone sit-down, he addressed the rumors (Rumours?) about Sheryl Crow joining the band next year, and he didn’t pull any punches:
When Fleetwood Mac was touring [in support of 2003’s “Say You Will”], Christine McVie had left, having burned all her bridges, selling her house in L.A. and moving to England. We divided material down the middle. I had a great time because it allowed me to be a guy on stage. In retrospect, Stevie wasn’t as comfortable with that divide. When it came to contemplating working next year… we [thought] bringing Sheryl Crow would be an intiguing idea. We put out the feelers and that’s about as far as it got. Last spring, Sheryl took it upon herself to tell the world she was joining Fleetwood Mac. It was in itself inappropriate – you sit down with a band and announce it. It bothered Stevie a great deal and Mick as well. I thought it was off the wall. There were some harsh words, and she was given her marching orders – not that she’d been in the band in the first place.
Lindsey went on to say that Fleetwood Mac is contemplating doing a “long term thing” beginning in early 2009, which included making a new record and touring. He wasn’t certain that Crow understood that a commitment of 3-4 years was what he had in mind. “Probably in January, the band will start rehearsing, then see what happens,” he said.
No guarantees, but it sounds like the Mac is back.
The press conference was done as part of the promotional effort for “Gift of Screws,” which drops September 16, It’s harder-rocking follow-up to 2006’s “Under the Skin,” featuring contributions from Mac alums John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. Buckingham says the boisterous title track lifted its’ chorus from an Emily Dickinson poem. “I’m always looking to rip off things that are public domain,” he joked. Lindsey went on to call the song, which sounds more like circa-1978 Elvis Costello than anything the Mac ever did, “Mick’s favorite drum track ever. I played the album for him the other day, he came to my house, and he wishes it could have been on a Fleetwood Mac album.”
“Gift of Screws” was conceived way back in 1995, and shelved over the years due to Buckingham’s many (mainly Fleetwood Mac) commitments (he called them “interventions on solo work”). Several cuts from the oft-bootlegged disk, including “Peacekeeper” and “Murrow In His Grave,” ended up on other records. The new CD has only one surviving song from the original “Gift of Screws” – the title track – along with bits and pieces of a few others.
It’s a solid, electrified effort – lyrically mature, well-rounded and tight. It might not be Buckingham’s most successful record ever – the music business has changed too much for that – but it’s among his best. Lindsey’s Mac fans will feel right at home with songs like “Love Runs Deeper” (co-written with Buckingham’s wife) and “The Right Place To Fade,” which is reminiscent of a revved-up “Monday Morning.”
Lindsey Buckingham’s tour to support “Gift of Screws” begins September 7 in Saratoga, California; he’s in Lebanon, New Hampshire October 12, and Northampton, Massachusetts on October 14. There are also shows in Boston and Ridgefield, Connecticut. The tour ends October 19 in New York City.