Fleetwood Mac - Classic Rock Magazine (October 2013)

Instead he turned to Nicks and Fleetwood and reiterated his reasons for leaving the group at a critical stage of their career: foremost among them, his sense that Nicks and Fleetwood had lost their minds and souls to drugs.

“What Lindsey said in that interview was very moving, ” Fleetwood says. “He told us: ‘I just couldn’t stand to see you doing what you were doing to yourselves. Did you ever realise that? You were so out of control that it made me incredibly sad, and I couldn’t take it anymore.’ It was really powerful stuff. This was someone saying: ‘I love you.’ It hit Stevie and me like a ton of bricks. And we all cried, right there in the interview.”

It was a moment that Mick Fleetwood describes as “profound.”

One trick of Buckingham’s, in Big Love, was especially brilliant. For the song’s climax, he used variable speed oscillators on his voice to create the effect of a male and female in a state of sexual excitement — the “love grunts,” as he called them. “It was odd that so many people wondered if it was Stevie on there with me,” he said, a little disingenuously.

But the biggest problem for Lindsey Buckingham was, of course, Stevie Nicks . “I’ve known Stevie since I was 16 years old,” he said. “I was completely devastated when she took off. And yet I had to make hits for her, I had to do a lot of things for her that I really didn’t want to do. And yet I did them. So on one level I was a complete professional in rising above that, but there was a lot of pent-up frustration and anger towards Stevie in me for many years.” That frustration had first become evident on Rumours. Nicks wrote about Buckingham in the song Dreams, in which she sang the line: ‘Players only love you when they’re playing.’ Buckingham responded with Co Your Own Way, in which he claimed uncharitably, ‘Shacking up’s all you want to do.’ And over the years, things had only got worse.

“He got very angry with me,” Nicks said. “He tossed a Les Paul across the stage at me once and I ducked and it missed me. A lot of things happened because he was so angry at me.”

During one Fleetwood Mac show, Buckingham kicked out at Nicks. “it was just a little something coming through the veneer,” he said later. “There has been a lot of darkness. There was a time when I felt completely unappreciated by her.” Buckingham’s frame of mind was not helped by the not inconsiderable success that Nicks enjoyed in her solo career. In 1981, her solo debut, Bella Donna, went to No.1 in US. Other hit albums and singles followed. Buckingham’s solo records sold next to nothing. “Jealousy is the wrong word,” Fleetwood says. “But it was hard for Lindsey. The reality is, she’s Stevie Nicks! And Lindsey I think felt left out. That was his cross to bear.”

Despite the hostility. Nicks tried to retain sympathy for Buckingham.” Lindsey and I were really breaking up when we joined Fleetwood Mac. We’d lived together for five years. It’s one thing when you break up for that person to go their way and you to go your way, quite another to break up and have to sit together in the breakfast room of the hotel the next morning. Not easy.”

But when the band gathered at Christine McVie’s L.A home to discuss plans for the tour, Buckingham told them he was out. And at that moment, it turned nasty.

It was Nicks who landed the first blow. “I flew off of the couch and across the room to seriously attack him,” she recalled. “And I did. I’m not real  scary but I grabbed him which almost got me killed.” Nicks ran out of the room with Buckingham in pursuit. “He ended up chasing me all the way out of Christine’s maze-like house,” she said. ‘Then down the street and back up the street. And then he threw me against a car and I screamed horrible obscenities at him. I thought he was going to kill me, and I think he thought he was probably going to kill me too. And I said: ‘If the rest of the people in the band don’t get you, my family will – my dad and my brother will kill you.”

Buckingham walked away. “We were all in shock,” Fleetwood says. “It was very upsetting for all of us, Stevie most of all.”

In the 90s, Buckingham rejoined Fleetwood Mac, and, more importantly’, made his peace with Stevie Nicks. They have both come a long way since that dark day in 1987: Buckingham now married and a father of three, Nicks happily drug-free. And every night that Buckingham and Nicks go on stage with Fleetwood Mac, all that remains between them is what Mick Fleetwood calls “the good stuff”.

“Stevie and Lindsey are not ‘in love’ but they love each other,” Fleetwood says. “And that’s why they’ve been able to get through some awful situations. There’s something I was asked recently: ‘What’s the most misconstrued thing about Fleetwood Mac?’ I said ‘I don’t want to sound over-sentimental, but I think that people don’t actually understand that we really do love each other — a lot.’ And you know, sometimes  that’s been lost amid all the fear and loathing. But, to say the least, it’s been an interesting journey.