For some, there is no Fleetwood Mac now without Lindsey Buckingham's voice and guitar. His talents leave a void in their live sound, that took the band hiring two iconic musicians to even attempt to fill after his dismissal in 2018. But the sense of unfinished business remains, and the man himself is acutely aware of it too, despite forging ahead with last year's acclaimed self-titled solo album.
"Who knows," Buckingham told Classic Rock on a potential return to the Fleetwood Mac fold, "maybe we’ll manage to see clear to have one more nice run out there. That would be the proper way to go."
Elsewhere in the interview Buckingham is pretty forthcoming about the past issues in the band's ranks that led to his departure. And these all seem to be based around his tumultuous dynamic with Steve Nicks that has proved a double edged sword for Fleetwood Mac since the duo joined the band in 1975. Indeed, Buckingham hints the duo's issues prevented the band from recording another studio album after 2003's Say You Will.
"I was shocked to realise that the last Fleetwood Mac studio album, Say You Will, came out in 2003," the guitarist notes about the album he also co-produced, "We did want to make an album far more recently, around 2012. I had a bunch of songs, and Mick [Fleetwood, drums] and John [McVie, bass] and I went in with the producer Mitchell Froom and cut a bunch of stuff. This was before Christine returned to the band in 2014. We very much wanted to draw Stevie in, and for some reason she refused to participate."
Buckingham has his own theory as to why Stevie Nicks came to this decision. "I have to assume that part of it is because like you said, I’d been very prolific," he tells interviewer Bill DeMain. "And again, that comes down to choices I’ve made. She, on the other hand, has sort of gotten a little bit disoriented in her wanting to pursue Stevie Nicks in capital letters, if you will. In defending the brand, as opposed to defending the creativity, I think she kind of lost track of her writing a little bit, and maybe didn’t think she had anything she felt she could offer, and so did not want to be a part of it."
Even then Buckingham claims that the band didn't give up its efforts to reconvene and work on new material.
"That effort to engage her was revamped again when Christine [McVie, vocals and keys] returned, because it was like, well, Christine’s back, maybe now Stevie will want to do this. Christine had a bunch of song ideas and I helped her with those, and we eventually went in the studio and cut those. And we were still hoping to make that a Fleetwood Mac album, and Stevie wouldn’t do it. That became the duet album that Christine and I did [2017’s Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie]. So it wasn’t for lack of trying [laughs]."
As we previously reported, Buckingham has said that band founder Mick Fleetwood is clearly burning his own candle for Buckingham's return to the group for a last hurrah.
“[Mick] didn't want to see me go in the first place,“ Buckingham told Marc Maron on the latter's podcast in 2021. “It's really going to take Stevie coming to that point of view, and I haven't spoken to Stevie in a long, long time, so I don't know where that's at. It's certainly something that more than one person who is close to the situation has brought to me.“