Lindsey Buckingham, the former Fleetwood Mac guitarist who underwent open heart surgery earlier this year, made his first public appearance since the procedure over the weekend at his daughter Leelee’s high school graduation ceremony. Buckingham performed Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” on acoustic guitar while students from his daughter’s school sang the 1975 classic.
“Last night was epic,” his wife Kristen Buckingham tweeted. “First time I’ve seen Lindsey play in the last 4 mos, all the while Leelee ending her high school career. AND she sings a little ‘Landslide’ with her dad. I cried, I’ll admit it. Never know what’s ahead so enjoy the moment…”
In early February, Buckingham announced that her husband underwent emergency open heart surgery. “He is now recuperating at home each day he is stronger than the last,” Kristen Buckingham said in a statement at the time. “While he and his heart are doing well, the surgery resulted in vocal cord damage. It us unclear if this damage is permanent, we are hopeful it is not.”
Last year, Fleetwood Mac parted ways with Buckingham shortly before announcing a world tour, replacing him with Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of Crowded House. The band said the main issue was a disagreement over the timing of the tour. “We arrived at the impasse of hitting a brick wall,” Mick Fleetwood told Rolling Stone. “This was not a happy situation for us in terms of the logistics of a functioning band. To that purpose, we made a decision that we could not go on with him. Majority rules in term of what we need to do as a band and go forward.”
Speaking to Rolling Stone later in the year, Buckingham said he was told by band manager Irving Azoff that Stevie Nicks never wanted to perform with him again and wouldn’t agree to a tour unless he wasn’t a part of it. “I don’t think there was ever anything that was just cause to be fired,” Buckingham said. “We have all done things that were not constructive. All of us have worn on each other’s psyches at times. That’s the history of the group.”
He sued the band for wrongful dismissal and other charges, but it was settled out of court. The group. meanwhile, had a successful tour until they had to postpone the last few dates on their American tour in April so Nicks could recover from an illness. They are set to resume the tour on June 6th in Berlin and stay on the road until mid-November.
Buckingham has kept a low profile since the heart attack, but Kristen Buckingham has repeatedly taken to Twitter to blast his former Fleetwood Mac bandmates. “I don’t want to think about the band anymore,” she wrote on April 4th. “They are awful people, void of conscience and aren’t worth my time or energy. People can think whatever they want, I know the truth and that’s that.”
Now that Lindsey is back in playing shape, the big question is the state of his singing voice. Some singers have suffered permanent vocal cord damage when tubes were inserted into their throats during surgeries, while others have ultimately recovered with no noticeable traces of trauma.