At first, Fleetwood Mac mainstay Lindsey Buckingham admits to being a tad perplexed: Why was “Saturday Night Live” alum Bill Hader appearing as the guitarist in a recurring “SNL” skit called “What’s Up With That?” as the third, perpetually bumped guest on Kenan Thompson’s campy talk show?
Instead of interviewing his superstar subjects, Thompson breaks into increasingly elaborate soul-revue songs, while Hader’s Buckingham sits silently and sulks.
“When somebody mentioned that Bill Hader was doing me, I thought ‘Gee, that’s kind of obscure,’” Buckingham says. “But obviously, I took it as a compliment.”
Once he saw the bits, says the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer — who plays today at the Regency Ballroom, promoting his new solo album “Seeds We Sow” — he couldn’t stop laughing.
“Because obviously someone had gotten some footage of the last Fleetwood Mac tour, so Hader seemed to have me down pretty well,” he says. “And the whole premise of never getting to talk somehow? Let’s just say it’s not like that didn’t resonate on some level. Then, of course, (manager) Irving Azoff called up ‘SNL’s’ Lorne Michaels and said, ‘Do you want Lindsey to do a walk-on?’ And he said yeah.”
So on last season’s penultimate episode, Buckingham strolled out in front of his doppelganger for an impromptu jam session with Thompson.
“Seeing the cast go through their paces was amazing,” Buckingham says. “Even when they do the dress rehearsal on Saturday night for an earlier audience, they’re still tweaking it, still moving things around, still pulling sketches. I take my hat off to them, because they’re holding up the legacy of live TV.”
Buckingham was particularly touched when “SNL’s” musically inclined Fred Armisen sought him out to praise his quirky, non-Mac solo albums, from 1981’s “Law and Order” to “Seeds,” which pairs straightforward pop janglers like “Illumination,” “End of Time” and “When She Comes Down” with flamenco-intricate finger-pickers like the title track. He formed his own Buckingham Records to release it.
“A lot of this album is about choices that we all make,” says the Palo Alto-born father of three. “When I look inside my particular little microcosm of family, I find a lot of good things. So whatever’s going on in the world, as frightening as it may be, ironically for me, it’s the best time of my life.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. today
Tickets: $37 to $57
Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com