The Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society will perform the band's 75-minute double album Tusk in its entirety.
After years and years of drunken talks and back-and-forth emails, Patrick Berkery (drummer for Danielson, Pernice Brothers, Bigger Lovers, Mazarin, etc.) and a few of his musical soul mates (Charlie Hall, Tony Goddess, Samantha Goddess, Birdie Busch and Dave Hartley) finally decided to live the dream they’d had for a while: celebrating the mad genius of Lindsey Buckingham by performing Fleetwood Mac’s wildly artistic left turn Tusk in its entirety. That dream becomes a reality Monday when the Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society takes the stage at Johnny Brenda’s. We talked to Berkery about Tusk, its influence, and the absence of irony in LBAS.
How did you discover you and your friends shared this obsession with Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac and Tusk?
“Mostly just by talking about influences and favorite albums, the regular type of conversations musicians have with one another. But, with Tony (Goddess), I read an old interview he did when he was playing in Papas Fritas. I loved their record Buildings and Grounds, it had a very Fleetwood Mac vibe, the sound and the production, and so I read an interview with Tony somewhere where he said his idea for the band is to sound like Fleetwood Mac on record and like the Replacements live. I was like ‘Oh man, that’s a guy I’d like to work with.’ So I kept that in the back of my mind and thought maybe one day I’ll seek this guy out and see if he wants to make a record or something. Four years later the band I was in at the time, Bigger Lovers, did some shows with Tony while he was doing a solo thing, and we basically bonded over Fleetwood Mac and Lindsey, and Tusk in particular. With Charlie Hall (vocalist/instrumentalist), one of the first times we hung out we were sitting in his living room drinking and hanging out listening to Tusk and we thought, ‘Oh man we’ve got to put something together one day where we play this or record it.’ But what happens with adults is adulthood gets in the way. That conversation happened in 2005, and last spring Charlie emailed me out of the blue and said ‘Let’s do this finally.’ There are a ton of musicians who you find out are really into Mac and Lindsey and Tusk, more than the success of the record initially would indicate. It’s had legs. I think that speaks to what the album represents.”
And what does Tusk represent?
“It represents a pretty radical left turn stylistically from Rumours. There’s not a lot [on Tusk] that became hit singles. Pretty much every song on Rumours gets played on the radio still. What the record represents to me is I’m sort of, as much as I can be in life, creatively, I like to zig when people expect me to zag, and Tusk is a really good example of a guy really leading the charge of his band in the direction he thinks they should go in, and some great music came out of it that’s really stood the test of time. When you think about all the great bands back then, not a lot of them took that kind of risk. There are some similarities between Tusk and the [Beatle’s] white album and [Radiohead’s] OK Computer and [Wilco’s] Yankee Hotel Foxtrot —radical left turns from guy really sticking to his guns to the commercial detriment of his band in the short term, but in the long term I think it’s really shown them to be artists , whereas before they were just a successful pop band.”
Lindsey had to sell the idea of Tusk to the band too, right? Mick, especially, gave him some opposition.
“He got opposition from the whole group. I’ve had the opportunity to interview Lindsey and Mick. I talked to Mick for a story I wrote for Modern Drummer, and we talked about Tusk. He remembers it all pretty vividly. He says he and Lindsey were at Lindsey’s house on the lawn smoking a joint and Lindsey is telling Mick what he wanted to do, and Mick was half-agreeing with him and half-yessing him, like, ‘Yeah, that sounds great, but you can’t play drums on a tissue box on every song.’ Lindsey, I think by his own admission, is a bit of a spoiled brat musically. Maybe he wanted to run the show since he was still the new guy in the band, and I think it took some convincing and wheel greasing, for sure. They were all kind of opposed to it, but I think they’ve all gone on record as saying it’s their favorite of all the records they’ve made together.”
What would you say to would-be cynics who think you guys are doing this with a touch of irony or tongue-in-cheek?
“No irony. I’d tell them to open their minds. There is nothing ironic about Fleetwood Mac or our love for Fleetwood Mac. If that kind of stuff isn’t your bag, and you sort of look at it that way, then I would say that’s on you or whoever would think that. I, without hesitation, would put Fleetwood Mac up there with the Beatles and the Stones or Neil Young and all these people I worship. Not all of their records, but their golden period of the ’70s and ’80s I would put up there with Beggar’s Banquet and Exile and Rubber Soul through the white album, and those are some strong albums.”
Tusk is a 20-song double album. How long is it taking you to play through all of it?
“That’s the thing you realize, you set out to do this thing then you’re like, ‘Oh shit, it’s 75 minutes.’ And, to present it as a concert—it’s not necessarily at all how you would pace a live show. It kind of starts out mellow, and then it gets rockin’ then it gets mellow again. And then it ends mellow so that’s, honestly, I don’t know how it’s going to translate. It feels good playing it in my basement though. It feels really good to play. We’re cognizant of the fact that it may be a bit of a stretch for people to hang with it live and we don’t necessarily know how familiar with Tusk people coming to the show are. Some people might just know “Sara’” and “Tusk” and some people might come to the show expecting to hear “Go Your Own Way” and “The Chain.” It’s going to be a challenge. But we’re really happy with it and it’s a lot of fun to do.”
Mon, May 17, 8pm
With Jennifer O’Connor
1201 N. Frankford Ave.
PW's Music Issue 2014