Flashback: Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie Perform ‘Tusk’ in 2017
The endless soap opera that is Fleetwood Mac took a turn earlier this week when Mick Fleetwood told Rolling Stone that he’s back on speaking terms with Lindsey Buckingham and wants to make music with him again. “It doesn’t have to be in Fleetwood Mac,” he said. “And Fleetwood Mac is such a strange story. All the players in the play are able to talk and speak for themselves. Somehow, I would love the elements that are not healed to be healed.”
Any reunion, he conceded, is contingent on Stevie Nicks signing onto the project. “I can’t speak for the dynamic with Stevie and him,” Fleetwood said. “I don’t even need to protect it. It’s so known that they’re chalk and cheese in so many ways, and yet not.”
The Buckingham-Nicks relationship has been strained ever since they broke up as a couple in the mid-Seventies, but it reached a new low about five years ago when they couldn’t come to an agreement on a new Fleetwood Mac record. Simply put, Buckingham wanted to make one and Nicks did not. In the end, the band simply did one without her and released it as Buckingham McVie.
“I just needed my two years off,” Nicks told Rolling Stone in 2017 when asked why she opted not to participate. “Until then, I wish them the best in whatever they do.”
She went on to say that she thought Fleetwood Mac would never make another record. “If the music business were different, I might feel different,” she said. “I don’t think there’s any reason to spend a year and an amazing amount of money on a record that, even if it has great things, isn’t going to sell. What we do is go on the road, do a ton of shows, and make lots of money. We have a lot of fun. Making a record isn’t all that much fun.”
Buckingham and McVie had a very different take and said they had a blast making Buckingham McVie, and in 2017 they toured it (without the Fleetwood Mac rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie) playing a mixture of Mac classics and tunes from the new album. Here’s a clip of them playing “Tusk” at a show in Detroit on July 2nd, 2017.
The decision to boot Buckingham from the band the following year put Christine McVie in a rather awkward situation. “I had a great time with him on the road and making that record,” she told Rolling Stone shortly after the news broke. “I was surprised to hear the news because it happened after I went back to London that the decision was made. But life moves on and I wanted to carry on with these guys.”
Where things stand at this point is anyone’s guess. Nicks has indicated that she wants to do a solo tour when the pandemic ends. That might push any Fleetwood Mac activity until at least 2023. Christine McVie will turn 80 that year and John McVie will follow a couple of years later. Will they be eager to hit the road at that point for another grueling world tour? Will Nicks agree to forgive Buckingham and let him back in? It all feels a little unlikely. But then again, this is a band that has surprised us again and again over the years. Maybe the final grand surprise is a true farewell tour with all five of the Rumours-era members on board. And like with any soap opera, we’ll have to keep tuning in to see where it goes.