Q&A: Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham Reveal Lingering Tensions in Fleetwood Mac

'Now that you've talked to the two of us, are you starting to feel like a shrink?' asks Buckingham

December 5, 2012 11:35 AM ET
stevie nicks lindsey bucking ham fleetwood mac
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac perform in London.
Jim Dyson/Getty Images

As previously reported, Fleetwood Mac will head out on the road next year for a massive world tour. It turns out the tour was originally scheduled for 2012, but Stevie Nicks decided to take an extra year for her own solo trek. The rest of the group decided to make the best of things and use the time to cut a new album, but that ultimately fell apart, too.

From the Archive: The True Life Confessions of Fleetwood Mac

Rolling Stone spoke at great length to Nicks and Lindsey Buckinham about all the drama, their disagreement over how to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their long out-of-print collaborative LP, Buckingham Nicks, and how the ex-lovers manage their fragile partnership. They got on the phone separately, about a week apart. 

Stevie Nicks

Is there any chance that Christine McVie might guest at some point on this Fleetwood Mac tour?
I would say there's no more a chance of that happening than an asteroid hitting the earth. She is done. You know when you look in somebody's face and you can just tell? She doesn't want to do it anymore. She doesn't want to fly. She doesn't want to come back to America. When she left, she left. She sold her house, her piano, her car. She went to England and she has never been back since 1998, so it's not really feasible, as much as we would all like to think that she'll just change her mind one day. I don't think it'll happen. We love her, so we had to let her go.

I've been hearing rumors of this tour for a couple years now. How did it all come together?
In 2010 I made a record, and I toured all that year. Then I decided to take this year and give this record that I'm really proud of one more year. I thought it deserved it, and now I'm done and I'm letting it go. I'm ready to go into Fleetwood Mac. In my opinion, whenever we work we should be off the road for three years. It feels special when you haven't seen us for three years. You didn't just see us a year and a half ago. That's why I make an effort to not do it every two years. 

Are you thinking about making any new material with Fleetwood Mac before the tour?
Well, we don't have a lot of time. We go into rehearsal on February 15th. We do actually have two new songs. I went into Lindsey's house two weeks ago and spent four days there. We also recorded a very old Buckingham Nicks song that we loved and couldn't figure out why it didn't go on the album. It got brushed under the carpet somehow. We recorded it, so that's a third song.

Next year is the 40th anniversary of Buckingham Nicks, and we're hoping next year to get the record out. Then we'll take that lost song and put it on the record. That's kind of exciting, though it doesn't have anything to do with Fleetwood Mac. People have been waiting forever for that record to come back out. Fleetwood Mac is totally good with us doing that. They know. 

It was great spending time with Linds. We're old enough now that we've laid down our weapons. We started this whole thing in 1968 and we're proud of what we've done. We look each other in a slightly different light now. It's a good light. 

Do you think the set list is going to be very different than the last tour?
What we do is go through our entire catalog and everybody makes a list of the songs they want to do. There's about 10 songs we have to do no matter what. You have to go "Go Your Own Way" and "Landslide" and "Dreams." You can't get out of that, but when you're Fleetwood Mac you do a two-hour-and-20-minute set. It means you have eight or nine other songs you can pick from your catalog. That's what we do. We put them all up on a board, like in school. We play all of them and see what works. 

A lot of your peers have been playing their classic albums straight through on recent tours. Has there been any talk of doing Rumours straight through?
Well, no. But we do a lot of songs from Rumours. If we did that, we would really be left with only a certain amount of time to do the hit songs that people want from all the other records. So that would be a very different tour. That's not to say we couldn't do it, but that's not the tour we're doing this year. It might be fun at some point though. It might even be a good idea to film that. Then we could talk about each song and all the experiencers that went along with them. 

Do you envision Buckingham Nicks coming out as a deluxe edition box set?
It is the 40th anniversary, because it was released in 1973. We have this new version of an old demo. So, we should put the album back out, and if we can make that happen then Buckingham-Nicks should go out on the road next year. It would be great to do it in the 40th anniversary year. This might not just be the year of Fleetwood Mac, but we might throw in the Buckingham Nicks album for a special, sparkly, extra present.

So you might actually reform the original band and take them out on the road?
There's always a possibility. That is a situation where we would actually go onstage and do the complete Buckingham Nicks album. It would be a trip to bring it back with Waddy Watchtel and some other people from San Francisco. It would be trippy for Lindsey and I to revisit those songs.

Do you think a new Fleetwood Mac album is possible at some point in the future?
We did record two songs when I was at Lindsey's house those four days. He and the boys recorded in the beginning of the year. I didn't go because my mom had just died and I wasn't in the frame of mind to go into the studio or write songs. They recorded some songs, which turned out great. So I chose one and Lindsey chose one and I put my vocals on them. They came out great. I'm really proud of them. They tried hard to pretend I was there recording with them. 

100 Greatest Singers: Stevie Nicks

We have two new Fleetwood Mac songs and one Buckingham-Nicks song. We have new product, but I don't know what we're going to do with them. Maybe we'll throw one of them out in January and the second one in February. The music business is very different right now. I don't understand it. I don't have Internet. I don't have a MySpace Face page. I don't have all that and I don't want it. Nobody is really interested in buying albums with 14 songs on them anymore. It breaks my heart, but that's the way it is and I have to accept that. 

Maybe the thing to do is release five or six songs at some point during the year. We can record four new songs and throw them out when the tour is done. I don't really know. I'm so not a part of today's music scene. I really couldn't tell you because I just don't know.

I could be wrong, but I'm sort of sensing that lots of the drama from the band's past is gone. Things seem pretty functional right now.
Well, don't seriously fall for that. We're a dramatic bunch, but a lot of the anger is at least tempered now. There was a lot of anger and resentment and crazy things that went on for a long time. It's always going to show up here and there, but we're not focusing on it right now. We're going to try and never focus on it again. But that does not mean we aren't full of drama.

I guess it's mostly behind the scenes these days.
You might see a little of it onstage. That's who we are. We're dramatic. Lindsey and I will always be dramatic. When you were almost married for seven years, and then you've been in a band for 30 years, it's never not going to be dramatic. We are who are are and we were dramatic kids going together. That never really goes away. 

I guess it's a very complicated relationship, to put it mildly.
Yeah, mildly. 

NEXT: Lindsey Buckingham

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