Rent is due soon so Lindsey Buckingham has found himself with no other option but to bring up his exit from Fleetwood Mac. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the former band member took the time to promote his solo music, complain about how no one sees him as a “visionary,” and criticize Stevie Nicks extensively. We will preface this article with the following: At the beginning of the interview Buckingham reflects on how his 2019 heart attack was a very “humbling” experience and he’s “less self-involved” now
When it comes to his exit from Fleetwood Mac in 2018, Buckingham asserts he was fired from the band when he requested they delay their tour so he could have the opportunity to tour solo, which Nicks denied. Soon after, Buckingham says Nicks gave him and the band an ultimatum: He goes or she does. “It would be like a scenario where Mick Jagger says, ‘Either Keith [Richards] goes or I go,’” Buckingham says. “No, neither one of you can go. But I guess the singer has to stay. The figurehead has to stay.”
If Buckingham wanted the interview to catch Nicks’ attention, he succeeded, as she followed up with the Times shortly after. “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,” she told the publication. “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 wellbeing. 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.
Buckingham also inferred that Nicks wanted separation from her ex-partner, which makes sense given the tumultuous nature of their relationship, which famously inspired Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 album, Rumours. “I think she saw the possibility of remaking the band more in the Stevie Nicks vein,” Buckingham says. “More mellow and kind of down, giving her more chances to do the kind of talking she does onstage.” But let’s be real: No one is dying to see a Buckingham-led Fleetwood Mac concert tour.
In the interview, Buckingham says that Nicks usually does not respond to texts, rationalizing, “She’s very guarded and protective of her own world, and I think she sees me as a potential upsetter of that.” As Nicks previously said being around Buckingham makes her feel “like a dying flower all the time,” protecting her peace and happiness most likely takes priority over responding to her toxic ex’s texts.
Buckingham quickly rebutted his involvement in making Nicks miserable, pointing out that she’s “alone.” “You could do a whole analysis on Stevie at this point in her life and what she’s allowed to happen and what she’s allowed to slip away from her. Her creativity, at least for a while it seemed like she wasn’t in touch with that,” Buckingham says. “Same with the level of energy she once had onstage. I think that was hard for her, seeing me jump around in an age-inappropriate way. Also, she’s lonely. She’s alone. She has the people who work for her, and I’m sure she has friends, but you know.”
In her response, Nicks refutes his assessments of her life.
“Those are my decisions that I get to make for myself. I’m proud of the life choices I’ve made and it seems a shame for him to pass judgment on anyone who makes a choice to live their life on their own terms.”
Buckingham also blamed Fleetwood Mac manager Irving Azoff for his departure from the band, saying that Azoff is “driven by the money” and agreed with Nicks about his departure due to fear.
“I have historically declined comment on artists, but in the case of Lindsey Buckingham, I will make an exception,” Azoff said in a statement to the publication. “While I understand it’s challenging for Lindsey to accept his own role in these matters and far easier 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.
He continues, “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.”
It’s 2021, and the Nicks/Buckingham feud is alive and well.