Fleetwood Mac alum gives 'Gift of Screws'

Talk about determination. “Gift of Screws” — the exuberant new solo set from Fleetwood Mac mastermind Lindsey Buckingham — was an idea that took more than 13 years to fully realize. The guitarist thought he’d nailed it back in 2001, but a Mac reunion album, “Say You Will,” hijacked seven of its peppiest songs.

The concept would sit idle as his attention was diverted by tour commitments and an all-acoustic side project, 2006’s “Under the Skin.”

Finally — with old chums Mick Fleetwood and John McVie repaying the favor by adding rhythm to several tracks — a reconfigured, even livelier “Gift” came together.

So where did the man acquire such Job-like tenacity?

Believe it or not, from a childhood spent torpedoing through pools, says the Atherton-bred Buckingham, who returns to the Bay Area to play the Mountain Winery Sunday and the Palace of Fine Arts on Sept. 13.

“It seems like another life, really, but there was an element of competitive swimming in my family,” he recalls. “I was the youngest of three boys, and both my older brothers were actually better athletes than I was; my brother Greg was a world-record-holder in swimming and won a silver medal at the ’68 Olympics. So that whole sense of applying yourself to a set of disciplines was not a bad thing to have instilled early on, because I believe that it helps me. It helped me maintain a sense of discipline through some of those crazy [Mac] years, and it still helps me retain a certain kind of work ethic.”

It also gave him a spirit of sonic adventure.

For Fleetwood Mac’s crucial post-“Rumours” follow-up, “Tusk,” in 1979, Buckingham retreated to a makeshift home studio and pieced together his own contributions in a do-it-yourself style, stunning the label and band mates.

“And you could make a case for that almost being my first solo album within an album,” he says. “It was a reaction to both the massive success of ‘Rumours,’ and to a lot of the new music that had emerged, some of it from England, and being excited by all the possibilities of that.”

“Gift” follows mad-scientist suit; “Love Runs Deeper” features quiet verses and a charging chorus; “The Right Place to Fade” puts a cerebral topspin on his jittery “Monday Morning” finger-picking style; and “Did You Miss Me” feels like vintage Mac telegraphed through a tinny old Victrola.

It was also a family affair — son Will came up with “Great Day’s” refrain, and wife Kristen added lyrics.

Buckingham mixed most of the disc himself. “And I’m not that knowledgeable; I was just following my gut,” he says. His motto for the sessions: “When in doubt, turn it up. I was interested in playing around with the limits of what you could do with volume in a song.”

IF YOU GO

Lindsey Buckingham

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Mountain Winery, 14831 Pierce Road, Saratoga

TICKETS: $46 to $61.50

WHEN: 8 p.m. Sept. 13

WHERE: Palace of Fine Arts; 3301 Lyon St., San Francisco

TICKETS: $62

CONTACT: www.livenation.com

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