Ten years later, Buckingham has reunited - at least for the moment - with his bandmates for one of the most commercially and critically triumphant comebacks in music history. The semi-unplugged The Dance album and tour feature new live renditions of their best work, plus a number of new compositions. Still, "rumours" continue to fly in the press about the band’s personal relationships. Is Lindsey really thinking of getting back together with Stevie, as one major mag reported - and is Stevie outraged at the idea?
"God, that was totally tongue-in-cheek on my part - and I assume Stevie’s response was, too," laughs Buckingham, who, by his own admission, is a far more relaxed and even-tempered man these days. Rarely have a band’s personal relations impacted their work as dramatically as in the case of Fleetwood Mac, past and present.
GWA: In the same sense, when you added that acoustic guitar to "Go Your Own Way" it balanced the angry, punky energy of the electric. It added a wistful longing feel.
LB: Definitely, that was the idea. The acoustic brings in the right brain, the feminine aspect, to complete the emotional landscape of the song. It’s funny: Stevie once said something like, "Well, Lindsey’s songs were always kind of negative and my songs had a note of hope in them." I think that’s open to interpretation.
GWA: Don’t you feel the ‘hope" in that song is expressed by the intensity of your playing?
LB: Sure, you listen to the solo and whatever set of emotions you can label from that is not pessimistic at all. Also, there’s a lot of humor in that song.
GWA: Stevie recently said she really resented the "shacking up" line. Does she have a problem singing it now? Did she then?
LB: No, not at all. She still doesn’t like that line, but some things will never change. And my feeling was that that line, in particular, was pretty funny. Which, of course, was just my way of making fun of something that was painful on other levels.
GWA: How much did drugs contribute to the dissolution that finally led to the split after Tango in ’87?
LB: As far as being creative, it kept getting worse and worse, as did the way the individuals in the band conducted their lives. Drugs affect everything, because your priority becomes to do drugs. It was tough in the end. Stevie, you really couldn’t talk to her, you couldn’t make eye contact. It was hard to recognize someone I had known and lived with a few years before, and there were a lot of hurtful things going on.
GWA: But why did the breakup wind up dragging on, in effect, for 10 years - from Rumours to Tango?
LB: You figure 10 years is a long time not to put some issues to rest. When people break up there’s usually a period of grieving, and there’s a natural distance and you move on. I was never allowed that. Normally, you’re not having to work with or see that person every day in a studio…
GWA: And have to share your deepest emotions with them through their music.
LB: Right, exactly! We were working on such a fundamental level with each other, giving over the most vulnerable parts of ourselves to people we’ve been so close to before. Really, getting through the whole 12 years was like an exercise in denial for me. Cut to 1997 and I’m in my garage working on my next solo album, and suddenly all these things come to the surface and I’m able to look at then in a more adult way. And you realize that everyone did the best they could. So finally all the baggage is gone.
GWA: Are there certain songs you’re all doing now where you can feel the difference - where you can feel that things have healed?
LB: Maybe "Landslide", but it’s not the specific songs, it’s the whole experience. There’s the sense of the unit on stage being something different than it was. We’ve all gone through our respective trials and we’ve come out the other side, hopefully wiser for it and more caring and sensitive to the other individuals, and really appreciating that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts in a way we couldn’t before. I wasn’t the only one who had baggage. Everybody had baggage…and it was hard and so convoluted by the inner social dysfunctions, if you want to call it that. And I’ve been surprised and gratified by how positive this tour has been. It used to be bitter, or sometimes bittersweet. Now - it’s just kind of sweet.