At the same time, however, no amount of fan enthusiasm can undo the sort of musical divorce that occurs when a popular group breaks up. And that certainly seems the case for Fleetwood Mac.

True, Buckingham did participate in the production of "The Chain," the four-CD Fleetwood Mac retrospective released late last year. But, he says, "The box set doesn't represent anything in terms of a reunion, other than maybe me having to see Mick or John or Stevie in order to deal with some of the material that got on there.

"Stevie wanted me to help with something of hers, so I spent some nights with her going through material, and we came up with something. And I gave them a track of mine that didn't make it on 'Out of the Cradle,' so that was something that was just sitting in my garage.

"But I wasn't involved at all with the songs of Christine. I haven't even heard those. That's how much of a reunion it was."

Though Buckingham says this evenly enough, it's not hard to sense the bitterness beneath his words. Neither is he the only one for whom the inner politics of Fleetwood Mac is a sore point.

In a 1991 interview, Nicks stated that she was in the midst of "the most serious argument I've ever had with Mick Fleetwood in my life."

What was her beef? She wouldn't give specifics but said: "It's over a pretty serious thing. He won't give in, and I feel it's unfair since he's not considering my feelings and I've always considered his. For that reason, for the first time in my life, I can actually say, 'No, I'm not going to go on tour with them or work with them.' Not them, but him, because he's done something that is unforgivable."

Asked if Nicks is still feuding with Fleetwood, Buckingham said, "She still is."

But, he adds, that shouldn't be too surprising, because such fights are just as much a part of the band members' emotional intensity as the music they made together.

"One of the things that made us what we were was the chemistry, and that same chemistry is what makes something fly apart and makes it hard to sort of patch up," he said. "But having left and put some distance between myself and the group, I think I am able to appreciate, say, Stevie's struggle a little more. Just be a little wiser about it, which was something I really couldn't do (while I was in the band). You would think after eight, nine years that you could, but it's hard.”

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