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Lindsey Buckingham Demanded a Replica of His Bathroom to Record ‘Tusk’ Over the Toilet



Lindsey Buckingham made some unusual requests for recording the 1979 Fleetwood Mac album Tusk, including demanding a replica of his personal bathroom. Here’s why the guitarist wanted his exact bathroom to make Tusk and what he said about the album.

Lindsey Buckingham | George Rose/Getty Images

Lindsey Buckingham recorded songs for Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Tusk’ in a replica of his bathroom

The 1979 double album Tusk was Fleetwood Mac’s 12th studio record. It featured the popular songs “Sisters of the Moon,” “I Know I’m Not Wrong,” “Sara,” and “Brown Eyes.”

Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham practiced several tracks at home before recording them in the studio for the album. To maintain the “amazing sound” he had achieved at his house, he demanded a replica of his personal bathroom.

“1927 bathrooms, believe me – they’re rock ’n’ roll all the way,” Buckingham said in studio footage from the Tusk era (per Rolling Stone). He explained that the studio version of the recordings sounded “very, very dry,” with “no ambience, no echo at all.” “[I] mic what’s being recorded in there and record it back on some empty tracks so that the whole song takes on a much more atmospheric sort of feel to it.”

Although his insistence on recording with a microphone dangling over a toilet perplexed his bandmates, Buckingham achieved a unique sound for Tusk. The rest of Fleetwood Mac accommodated the guitarist, but it took time for them to appreciate the results. 

“We didn’t really like [Tusk],” keyboardist Christine McVie told The Guardian in 2013. “We just kind of went [rolls her eyes] okaaay. Because it was so different from Rumours. Deliberately so.”


But McVie grew to love the album. “In hindsight, I do like that record, but at the time me and Stevie [Nicks] would be like: ‘What the hell is he doing in the toilet playing an empty Kleenex box for a drum?’”

Lindsey Buckingham called himself the ‘culprit’ behind ‘Tusk’ because he didn’t want Fleetwood Mac to make ‘Rumours 2’ 

When Fleetwood Mac made Tusk, they were just coming off the success of the 1977 record Rumours, which remains their best-selling album. But Lindsey Buckingham was adamant about not creating a “Rumours 2,” leading him to experiment with sounds like recording in the bathroom. 

“For me, being sort of the culprit behind that particular album, it was done in a way to undermine just sort of following the formula of doing Rumours 2 and Rumours 3, which is kind of the business model Warner Bros. would have liked us to follow,” Buckingham told Billboard. “We really were poised to make Rumours 2, and that could’ve been the beginning of kind of painting yourself into a corner in terms of living up to the labels that were being placed on you as a band. You know, there have been several occasions during the course of Fleetwood Mac over the years where we’ve had to undermine whatever the business axioms might be to sort of keep aspiring as an artist in the long term, and the Tusk album was one of those times.” 

“My big rap on stage was how I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall when Warner Brothers first put that album on in the boardroom, ’cause they really didn’t hear it until it was done and we gave it to them,” Buckingham continued. “From a marketing point of view it was not what they wanted or what they expected. It was a ballsy thing to do.”

Stevie Nicks said the album was ‘frustrating’ to make

Lindsey Buckingham took control while Fleetwood Mac recorded Tusk and called it “ballsy,” but his ex-girlfriend and bandmate Stevie Nicks said the album was “frustrating” to make. 

Tusk took us 13 months to make, which is ridiculous,” she said in 1981 (per The Ringer). “I was there in the studio every day – or almost every day – but I probably only worked for two months. The other 11 months I did nothing, and you start to lose it after a while if you’re inactive.”


“You see, Lindsey, Chris, John, and Mick all play, and I don’t,” the singer explained. “So most of the time I’d be looking at them through the window in the control room. After four or five hours, they’d forget I was even there, they’d be so wrapped up in little details. It was very frustrating.”

But, like Christine McVie, Nicks ultimately conceded that the annoyances of making Tusk were worth it, calling the album “spectacular.”

Source: Cheat Sheet

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