In fact, Buckingham now admits he started to withdraw from the band after "Tusk," the 1979 follow-up to the hot-selling "Rumours." The pressure to produce another "Rumours ' took its toll, while he also notes how bureaucratic the band had become, with lawyers and managers hanging on at every turn. Not to mention the tabloid sensationalism that climaxed in a book by Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood (entitled "Fleetwood") in which he suggests Buckingham once slapped co-singer (and former girlfriend) Stevie Nicks.

"I think everyone in the band was disappointed in Mick for coming out with something that trashy," says Buckingham. "The last time I saw Stevie, she came up to me apologizing for Mick writing that I'd slapped her, which never happened. Things like that were a product of Mick sitting around late at night with a writer for months, gabbing away about what he thought happened in situations and maybe not taking much responsibility for the editing of it. . . . It was not a class act."

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