Buckingham gets Screws ready for Berklee

BMS talks with the former Fleetwood Mac guitarist

, Staff Writer

Lindsey Buckingham’s musical resumé spans several decades and stylings. As guitarist for Fleetwood Mac, a band that’s experienced more personnel changes than the Bush Administration, he’s forged a reputation as an innovative guitarist and talented songwriter. He’s put out five solo albums, been a member of Mac for over twenty years, and had a hand in writing Rumours, one of the greatest albums in the history of rock n’ roll. He has three kids, is in the rock n’ roll hall of fame And he’s still going.

Buckingham, now pushing sixty, released his fifth solo album, Gift of Screws, in September and is performing at Berklee Performing Arts Center tonight.

Always one to listen to his gut rather than his critics, Gift of Screws isn’t some easy-listening adult contemporary, soft rock piece of fluff. It rocks. With serious substance. Known for his bluesy, fingerstyle hooks, Buckingham shreds up and down this record with white-hot intensity and manages to invoke his work with Fleetwood Mac without sounding recycled. Pulling influence from everything from rockabilly to punk, Gift of Screws is a step in a loud new direction for Lindsey Buckingham.

"This is probably the most rock and roll album I’ve ever made," says Buckingham during a recent roundtable discussion with reporters. "Consequently you get the intensity of that little style stepped up as well. It probably sounds like I’m getting ready to break a string here and there."

As with any artist, his style is evolving. "I don’t know if it’s really increased information about the instrument, so much as it is about the application," he says. "I’m not even sure that it’s so much about an increase in skill or in a level of technique, as it is about an increase in the theory about how to use what I do and what I have always done."

In 2005, a bootleg copy of Gift of Screws found its way onto the Internet, and Buckingham doesn’t seem to really mind. "In an environment where it’s not completely secure and people are sharing, I don’t see it as a big detriment partly because of that environment and partly because I’m not making these albums necessarily to try to burn up the charts. I’m making them because I have a love of the process," he says. "You could certainly make the case that in a few years maybe music will be free anyway, and that all the money will be made from touring and other aspects. I don’t really know. I’m not sure anyone knows."

While he may not be concerned about the sales of his records, he shouldn’t have any trouble getting a few people to pick up a copy. Buckingham seems to be in the midst of a creative windfall, pushing out two new records in two years, compared to a fourteen-year gap between his previous two releases. And he seems to keep moving forward into new territory.

"In some ways I feel like I’m probably at the height of my creative game in that I don’t feel like I can look back and feel that I was at a higher level before. Whether or not you’re reaching people is another matter, but it does feel to me like I keep evolving and growing."

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