Fleetwood Mac has broken up and gotten back together many times, but based on some nasty comments by Lindsey Buckingham, he seems to be guaranteeing he’s never going back again.
Lindsey Buckingham launched some missiles at Stevie Nicks, and she returned fire. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Lindsey Buckingham said he was fired from the band in 2018 because Stevie Nicks said the group had to choose either him or her. He said… “I think she saw the possibility of remaking the band more in a Stevie Nicks vein. More mellow and kind of down, giving her more chances to do the kind of talking she does on stage.”
Then Buckingham made it even more personal and mean by criticizing her creativity, energy, and life. “Her creativity, at least for a while it seemed like she wasn’t in touch with that. Same with the level of energy she once had on stage. I think that was hard for her, seeing me jumping around in an age-inappropriate way. Also, she’s lonely. She’s alone.”
Stevie Nicks responded. “To be exceedingly clear, I did not ask for him to be fired. I did not demand he be fired. Frankly, I fired myself. I proactively removed myself from the band and a situation I considered to be toxic for my wellbeing. I was done. So if the band went on without me, so be it. After many lengthy discussions, Fleetwood Mac, a band whose legacy is rooted in evolution and change, found a new path forward with two hugely talented new members.” (Those being Mike Campbell and Neil Finn. The concerts weren’t criticized as being “mellow”.)
Nicks also chided Buckingham for calling her “lonely” because of her choice of career over family. She said… “I’m proud of the life choices I’ve made, and it seems a shame for him to pass judgement on anyone who chooses to live their life on their own terms.”
Lindsey Buckingham had more criticism, which he aimed at Fleetwood Mac manager Irving Azoff. Buckingham said the decision to axe him was “driven by the money”.
Irving Azoff issued this statement. “While I understand it’s challenging for Lindsey to accept his own role in these matters and far easier for him to blame a manager, the fact remains that his actions alone are responsible for what transpired. Frankly, If I can be accused of anything, it’s perhaps holding things together longer than I should have. After 2018 when Fleetwood Mac evolved with their new lineup, my continued work with the band was due entirely to the fact I’ve been aligned with Stevie Nicks in thought and purpose from the earliest of days. While financial gain was not a motivator for me, it was a delightful bonus that the band scored their highest grossing tour ever, without Lindsey.”
So let’s take a look at what seems to be the end of Lindsey Buckingham’s chances of rejoining his band.
When the whole “firing” incident started in 2018, Lindsey wanted to do a solo tour and asked the band to delay the Fleetwood Mac tour. Lindsey has always called Fleetwood Mac “The Big Machine”, and his solo work “The Small Machine”. It looks like he lost sight of which one takes precedence, especially when some of the band’s tour dates had been booked.
Stevie Nicks was already upset with Buckingham, because she felt he had mocked her at a MusiCares event in January of 2018. It seems likely, based on what she said about removing herself from a toxic situation, Stevie did force a him-or-me choice. Even though she never asked the band to fire Lindsey, there’s no other way they could eliminate the situation that was causing her to fire herself from the band. Despite Buckingham’s major production, writing, and guitar skills during their recording years, he was obviously more replaceable than Stevie Nicks, who had become the biggest star of the band.
The question to ask Nicks is if she would have toured with Mac if Lindsey had agreed to the timing of the tour. If the answer is yes, then his request to delay the tour really was the last straw, and the true reason he was fired.
As the drama has unfolded over the past three years, it seems obvious Stevie Nicks’ and Lindsey Buckingham’s love and friendship has run its course.
Why did Lindsey decide to slam the door on Fleetwood Mac now? The cynical answer might be that it’s because he had a new album that was released September 17th, 2021, and his attacks on Nicks and Azoff sure garnered attention.