With the concert industry shut down for the foreseeable future and his bandmates spread to various spots around the planet, Mick Fleetwood truly doesn’t know what the future holds for Fleetwood Mac. But that hasn’t stopped the drummer from looking ahead and sketching out a possible farewell tour in his mind.
“I’m very aware that we’ve never played that card,” he tells Rolling Stone on the phone from his Hawaii home. “I think the vision for me, and I think it would be hugely appropriate, is that we actually say ‘this is goodbye’ and go out and actually do that. That has always been my vision and I’m a flatly confident that we can do that. We owe it to the fans.”
The comments appear to contradict Christine McVie’s recent statements to the BBC where she said that bassist John McVie was “a little bit frail” and no longer had “the heart for it.” She also said, “If we do it, it’ll be without John and without Stevie [Nicks], I think…I’m getting a bit old for it now. I don’t know if I can get myself back into it.”
McVie later walked back the comments, and Fleetwood says they shouldn’t be taken literally. “I think she got out of bed on the wrong side that day,” he says with a laugh. “She meant to say, ‘We’ve done so much. I don’t know whether or not we can keep going.’ Anything other than that, she can speak for herself. But I can assure you we are alive and well. And she has no regrets. She just got caught up in whatever she was saying and she also felt she had been misunderstood.”
Christine McVie also said that John McVie was focused largely on sailing the world on his boat, but Fleetwood says that’s never once stopped him from participating in band activities. “He’s always more interested in going sailing until you put it in front of his face,” he says. “He’s so not caught up in the drama of the workings of the band. That has always been my world. I’ve never not known John to answer the call and say, ‘Show me the gig and I’ll plug my bass in.'”
There hasn’t been any reason for McVie to plug his bass in since Fleetwood Mac ended their last world tour in November 2019. It was their first tour since parting ways with Lindsey Buckingham and bringing in Neil Finn of Crowded House and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to fill the void. “It was a massive, really lovely world tour that was beyond successful in every way,” says Fleetwood. “And a happy tour.”
They initially planned on booking about eight stadium shows with other big artists the following year, but the pandemic made that impossible. Last July, Fleetwood Mac founding guitarist Peter Green died just months after Fleetwood staged a massive tribute concert in his honor at London’s Palladium.
It was a devastating blow to Fleetwood, but it also caused him to get back in touch with Buckingham after two years of bitter estrangement. “I’ve really enjoyed being re-connected with Lindsey, which has been gracious and open,” says Fleetwood. “And both of us have been beautifully honest about who we are and how we got to where we were.”
The reconciliation leads to an obvious question: Might Buckingham come back into Fleetwood Mac for the farewell tour that Fleetwood is plotting out in his mind? “Strange things can happen,” says Fleetwood. “I look at Fleetwood Mac as a huge family. Everyone plays an important role in our history, even someone like [early Seventies] guitarist Bob Welch, who was huge and sometimes gets forgotten. Lindsey’s position in Fleetwood Mac will, for obvious reasons, never been forgotten, as it should never be forgotten.”
“My vision of things happening in the future is really far-reaching,” he continues. “Would I love to think that [reunion] could happen? Yeah. I’d love to think that all of us could be healed, and also respect the people who are in the band, Neil Finn and Michael Campbell.”
The major impediment to a reunion with Buckingham is his relationship with Stevie Nicks, which had been strained for decades and finally reached a breaking point in early 2018. No reunion tour can proceed without the two of them arriving at some sort of detente. “I can’t speak for the dynamic with Stevie and him,” says Fleetwood. “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.”
For now, Fleetwood is just happy he’s back on speaking terms with Buckingham. “I know for a fact that I intend to make music and play again with Lindsey,” he says. “I would love that. It doesn’t have to be in Fleetwood Mac. 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. I love the fantasy that we could cross that bridge and everyone could leave with creative, holistic energy, and everyone could be healed with grace and dignity.”