The Lutcher Theater’s 2012-13 Season opens Sunday, Aug. 19, at 8 p.m. with An Intimate Evening with Lindsey Buckingham.
You might recognize this legendary performer from his years as the lead guitarist and soloist of Fleetwood Mac, a member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, winner of countless awards, and as helping to define the sound of rock for the last three decades. He is the predominant musical force behind such popular Fleetwood Mac albums as “Rumours” and “Tusk.” His solo work has created such hits as “Trouble,” “Go Insane” and “Holiday Road.” Buckingham was with Fleetwood Mac from 1975 until 1987 and from 1997 to the present. Aside from his work with the group, Buckingham has released six solo albums and two live albums, and is known for his finger picking guitar style and wide vocal range.
Just to keep the music history straight, the group Fleetwood Mac has been through several changes and various lineups of musician during a long and significant career. Michael John Kells “Mick” Fleetwood (June 24, 1947) is the British musician and actor best known for his role as the drummer and namesake of the famed blues and rock ‘n’ roll band. His surname, combined with that of John McVie, was the inspiration of the original Peter Green led Fleetwood Mac. Fleetwood was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 for his work as Fleetwood Mac.
Aside from Fleetwood’s work as a drummer, he also helped form the different incarnations of the band Fleetwood Mac, and is the sole member to stay with it through it changing lineup. In 1974, he met and invited Buckingham and his girlfriend at the time, Stevie Nicks, to join the popular group. The partnership of Buckingham and Nicks contributed to much of Fleetwood Mac’s later commercial success, while Fleetwood’s determination to keep the band together was essential to the group’s longevity and popularity, according to many within the musical community.
Conducting a very unscientific though unbiased poll among family and friends, I soon discovered everyone has at least one favorite Fleetwood Mac song. Hearing that song takes each of us back to a time and a place, and if we’re lucky, a person that shared the moment with us. Not in any particular order, I received answers including, “Gypsy,” “Dreams,” “Landslide,” “Songbird,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “The Chain,” “Go Your Own Way,” “You Made Loving Fun,” “Never Going Back Again,” “Rhiannon,” “Sarah,” “Second Hand News” and “Little Lies.” That almost every individual asked had an opinion and a favorite song proves this group has real staying power among the various generations of its followers.
Buckingham was born in Palo Alto, Calif., and is the third and youngest child of Rutheda Elliott and Morris Buckingham. He had two older brothers growing up, Jeff and Greg. He and his brothers were encouraged to swim competitively and though Buckingham dropped out to pursue music, his brother Greg went on to win a silver medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
Buckingham first honed his talent on a toy Mickey Mouse guitar until his parents bought him a $35 Harmony instrument. It is said that he never took music lessons and that he cannot read music. By the age of 13, he had become interested in folk music and influenced by banjo methods of playing. He often practiced the energetic style of The Kingston Trio.
In 1972, Buckingham, with then-girlfriend Stevie Nicks, recorded seven demos, and in 1973, Polydor Records signed the pair. Although money was tight, the hardworking duo caught the attention of many budding musicians who recognized their talent, but they were dropped by the record label because of poor sales. It is said that Mick Fleetwood heard the Buckingham Nicks song “Frozen Love” and immediately wanted the guitarist to fill a need he had. Buckingham insisted on the duo being hired and they joined Fleetwood Mac on New Year’s Eve, 1974.
The album “Rumours” propelled the band to super stardom and Buckingham’s single, “Go Your Own Way,” the lead-off single, soared into the Top Ten. The group released “Tusk” in 1979 and almost immediately began a world tour ending in 1980. Buckingham released his first solo album in 1981, “Law and Order.” In 1984, Buckingham released his second solo album, “Go Insane.” On his 57th birthday, Oct. 3, 2006, Buckingham’s fourth solo album, “Under the Skin,” was released. In 2008, “The Gift of Screws” was released. “Seeds We Sow” was released on April 22, 2011. Buckingham began is solo tour of the United States on May 3, 2012 in Solana Beach, Calif.
Some will remember that newly elected president Bill Clinton asked Fleetwood Mac to come together to perform the song he had chosen for his campaign, “Don’t Stop,” at his inaugural ceremony. Buckingham agreed to the performance that thrilled much of America. In 1997, Buckingham and all four of his Fleetwood Mac bandmates from the “Rumours” album agreed on a reunion tour, “The Dance.” The tour was hugely successful and gave fans the sound they had been missing from the loved group.
In his intimate one-man show, Buckingham will showcase his distinctive guitar picking style and instantly recognizable voice in his usual awe-inspiring form, captivating his audience with songs from his recent album, as well as performing a combination of favorites from his previous solo albums, along with a variety of best loved Fleetwood Mac classics.
Unlike most rock guitarists, Buckingham does not play with a pick. Instead, he picks the strings with his fingers and fingernails. Initially, after joining Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham used a Gibson Les Paul guitar. Before the band, a Fender Telecaster was his main guitar, and was used on his first Fleetwood Mac album. In 1979, he worked with Rick Turner, owner of Renaissance Guitars, to create the Model One. He has used it extensively since, both with Fleetwood Mac and for his solo work. He uses a Taylor Guitar 814ce for most of his acoustic performances and has also used an Ovation Celebrity in the past.
“I’ve always believed that you play to highlight the song,” said Buckingham, “not to highlight the player. The song is all that matters.”Regarding the new tour, he says, “As I’ve grown as an artist, I’ve gotten more and more in touch with my center, and that center is voice and guitar. Over time it has become increasingly vital to express more with less; that is my touchstone now, and the embodiment of that philosophy is what will be largely represented in the new show. … I’ve been thinking of doing this kind of tour for a while. And I am quite excited to be doing something new, something a bit outside my comfort zone.”
The event featuring Buckingham’s solo performance to open the 2012-2013 Lutcher Season is only one of five Texas dates to be played by this superstar of modern music.
Tickets to see Buckingham on the opening night of the Lutcher Season are on sale now and range in price from $35-$65. They are available at www.lutcher.org  or by calling the Lutcher Box Office at (409) 886-5535. The Lutcher Theater is at 707 Main Street in Orange.
Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.