Buckingham, who joined the band with musical partner Nicks ahead of their self-titled 1975 LP, has maintained that his firing extended from Nicks no longer wanting to be in a band with him.
That intensified strain, he’s said in earlier interviews, related to a few specific issues: his desire to briefly delay a Fleetwood Mac tour, allowing him to play behind a planned solo album; his complaint about the song choice, the Nicks-written “Rhiannon,” used when the group walked onstage to receive the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year award; and Nicks’ perception that Buckingham mocked her lengthy speech at the ceremony. (The guitarist previously told Rolling Stone he was fired soon after the event, receiving a call from band manager Irving Azoff.)
“Ironically, nothing went down that night that was [as contentious] as the stuff we’d been through for 43 years,” Buckingham told Los Angeles Times in an expansive profile. He said he believes Nicks wanted to “cut herself loose” from having to perform alongside him in concert. “I think she saw the possibility of remaking the band more in the Stevie Nicks vein. More mellow and kind of down, giving her more chances to do the kind of talking she does onstage.”
But Nicks has a different explanation.
“His version of events is factually inaccurate, and while I’ve never spoken publicly on the matter, certainly it feels the time has come to shine a light on the truth,” Nicks told the Los Angeles Times through her publicist. “To be exceedingly clear, I did not have him fired, 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 to my well-being. I was done. If the band went on without me, so be it.
“And after many lengthy group discussions, Fleetwood Mac, a band whose legacy is rooted in evolution and change, found a new path forward with two hugely talented new members [Neil Finn and Mike Campbell].”
Buckingham told Rolling Stone that he “didn’t see” the current iteration of Fleetwood Mac onstage. “I’m sure it was fine,” he said. “Although just looking at the set list, the whole thing seemed somewhat generic and perhaps bordering on being a cover band. We’ve all had our ups and down, but we always put the band’s legacy first. But what this did was dishonor the legacy that we built.”
Nicks also issued a similar statement to Rolling Stone, and in one section highlighted “an exceedingly difficult time with Lindsey at MusiCares in New York,” saying she decided after the event that she “was no longer willing to work with him.”
“I could publicly reflect on the many reasons why, and perhaps I will do that someday in a memoir,” she added, “but suffice it to say we could start in 1968 and work up to 2018 with a litany of very precise reasons why I will not work with him.”
Elsewhere in the Los Angeles Times profile, Buckingham commented on his 2019 heart attack and subsequent triple bypass surgery, recuperating from his health issues and his upcoming self-titled solo LP.
Fleetwood Mac Albums Ranked
When considering a list of Fleetwood Mac albums, it’s easy to focus on Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.