Fleetwood Mac auteur and rock icon Lindsey Buckingham famously joined the band after a “chance” meeting with Mick Fleetwood in a recording studio. The rest is serendipitous history as he and his long-time partner Stevie Nicks transformed the band’s sound, leading to their massive breakout album Rumours (still one of the best-selling of all time).
So what does a mega-band do for its next act? In this case, they commit to smashing all expectations by releasing the first single “Tusk” from follow-up album of the same name, a Buckingham-penned classic that still scratches heads to this day. “Tusk” is a song like no other. Infused with Salvador Dali-esque surrealism and filled with hoots, hollers, ambient crowd noises — and oh yes, the USC marching band (a memorable flourish from the mind of Mick Fleetwood and a continuing marketing mantra for the Trojans).
Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac failed to reach Rumours’ stratospheric commercial heights with Tusk, but that wasn’t really the point. Creative evolution was — and the band continued its decades-long journey at the very top of the musical food chain.
In this third episode of The Story Behind the Song podcast, host Peter Csathy interviews Buckingham about the song “Tusk,” diving into its inspiration, its meaning, its production, and its impact. In keeping with TSBTS’s mission, the guest musician also reveals the story behind one of their personal favorite tracks from their own catalog. In this case, Buckingham chose “On the Wrong Side,” his stand-out Fleetwood Mac-inspired track from his just-released self-titled solo album (his 7th and his first in ten years).
Csathy and Buckingham spoke over Zoom, with Buckingham joining from his home in Los Angeles for a revealing interview of an artist who refuses to compromise and instead “go his own way.” It is an interview that breaks new ground of understanding into “Tusk” and the artist’s mindset at that point in time, as well as today, 42 years later.
Listen to the podcast above, or check out the full video of the discussion below. Plus, get tickets to Buckingham’s upcoming dates via Ticketmaster.
Then, make sure you’re subscribed to The Story Behind the Song to catch each episode of the monthly series. You can also keep an eye on the Consequence Podcast Network for updates on all our podcasts. Also, follow Peter Csathy on Twitter @pcsathy and check out his company CREATV Media.
Theme music courtesy of Juan Pieczanski.