Stevie - Q Magazine (May 2008)

How did you and Lindsey Buckingham first meet?

I was in the 12th grade [17 years old] and he was in the 11th grade. My family had moved to San Francisco from Los Angeles and I was horrified, because I was just settling in and I had made friends finally, and I was happy and I was singing, and here I was in a new place. About halfway through the school year I was invited to some little get-together and Lindsey was sitting in a corner with a guitar and he started playing The Mamas & The Papas’ California Dreamin’. Being the brazen brat that I was, I walked right up and, knowing the song as well as I did, just burst into song and I sang it with him.

And walked off together into the sunset?

No. Right after I met Lindsey I met the guy I ended up going out with for five years, David Young. Lindsey disappeared out of my life.

Until he asked you to join his band Fritz?

He didn’t ask me, the drummer did, Bobby Geary. Bob, I think, had been there that night I sang with Lindsey and said, “What do you think about asking that girl that sang California Dreamin’ with you that night to join our band?” And Lindsey’s like, “Oh, OK.”

When did you and Lindsey become a couple?

I joined Fritz in '68, and '68, '67, '70 he had a girlfriend and I had a boyfriend. Then we came down to LA with our producer Keith Olsen to do a showcase and the record companies told him, "We like Stevie and Lindsey but we don't like the rest of the band." That's when Lindsey and I started going out—and is probably the only reason we started going out.

It's well known that you don't have the best relationship now and that during a tour of New Zealand in 1980 you had an onstage fight. But once you were the ideal couple?

I don't think ideal, but when we started seeing each other he was very sweet and attentive and loving. Back home in San Francisco, Lindsey's dad gave us a tiny room in the coffee plant that he was president of. The workers left around six, and Lindsey and I went up there every night around eight and stayed all night long until 6.30 in the morning, when the workers started coming in. We worked out and recorded the songs that went on the Buckingham Nicks album. Those six months to a year were fun, and very romantic because there was just the two of us in this huge place, making music, and we knew that we were going to be famous. There was no jealousy; the world hadn't decided that I was going to be the one that they paid attention to and that Lindsey was going to be the great guitarist in the shadows

We all know about internal band rivalries, how the lead guitarist resents the singer and vice versa, but is there also gender rivalry?

From the day I joined Fritz in 1968, which had been five guys, when people wanted to book the band they'd say, "We want the band with the girl in it." So it had a long time to fester with Lindsey. Then we joined Fleetwood Mac, where the biggest thing was that Chris and I got a lot of the attention, just because we were the girls, and none of the boys liked that. They didn't like it then, they don't like it now. But at least with Fleetwood Mac, they had had some success, so I don't think it was quite so intense as it was for Lindsey and me. You know, I was thinking about it a couple of days ago, Lindsey is probably the man who loved me the most in my life. So when I die I will remember that: that of all the men in my life Lindsey, absolutely, bar none, was the man who loved me the most.

Who was the love of your life?

Joe Walsh . I fell in love with Joe in kind of the same way that Lindsey fell in love with me. Joe and I only went out, off and on, for about two years. When Joe and I broke up I was very devastated for a long, long time.

Your relationship with another member of the Eagles is far better known.

I dated Don Henley in 1976. Don was really my first boyfriend after Lindsey. We went out for about a year and a half. I wasn’t with Joe Walsh until the end of ’83, ’84. Joe and I broke up because of the coke. He told my friend and [backing] singer Sharon, “I’m leaving Stevie, because I’m afraid that one of us is going to die and the other one won’t be able to save the other person, because our cocaine habit has become so over the top now that neither of us can live through this, so the only way to save both of us is for me to leave.”

Going back to 10 years before that, how did Buckingham Nicks wind up in Fleetwood Mac?

Buckingham Nicks, our first album, came out in 1973, to great critical acclaim—but we were dropped like a rock. We’d started working on an album with Keith Olsen, and Mick went to the studio to talk to Keith about producing the next Fleetwood Mac album, and Keith played him a couple of songs from Buckingham Nicks. When Mick heard Lindsey play, he was like, “Oh my God, who is this?” He talked to Lindsey and he said he would only join if they took me too.

What did Christine McVie make of you joining the band?

Mick and John told me it was absolutely left up to Chris. They told her, “This is a team so we can’t just have Lindsey, so you need to meet this girl. If you like her and think you could work with her and you like Lindsey, you can make the decision.” We all met up at this Mexican restaurant and I just totally fell in love with Christine.

Was there any hesitation?

No hesitations. I was working as a waitress to keep us. When they called us, I spent our last dime buying every Fleetwood Mac record, and Lindsey and I sat and listened to all of them, song by song. Lindsey said, “What do you think?” and I said, “This is a good band and it’s already famous. And we have no money, and we can always quit.” We went into rehearsal on Friday and they gave Lindsey $200 in cash and me $200 and we left with enough to pay our rent for two months.

You were more keen than Lindsey?

I think, in Lindsey's heart, he thinks if we hadn't joined Fleetwood Mac, we would still have become famous, and we probably would have gotten married and probably would have had kids and probably would have lived in San Francisco, his hometown, and our lives would have been very different and we probably would have never done drugs. It's possible.

After your relationship with Lindsey broke up while you were in Fleetwood Mac, you and Mick became an item. Didn’t it occur to anyone it might not be a great idea to date someone in your band?

Oh, definitely. And that is exactly why it didn’t work, because it was a bad idea. We were finishing the Rumours tour [in late 1977] and we had gone to Australia. One night we had a party and everybody was drunk and everybody was gone and it was just me and Mick, and we ended up spending the night together. And I fell in love with Mick and I think Mick fell in love with me. We had three weeks in Australia and 10 days in Japan to get through and then we were meeting up with all our families in Hawaii.

And will there be another Fleetwood Mac record?

I think Fleetwood Mac is thinking about working next year and we'll see how that goes. Lindsey knows that I did not have a great time during Say You Will. Because he was just not being very nice or friendly to me. And at my old age I'm like, "Please! I can't do it". Why should I? I have a great, great band. I just did a show two nights ago that got such a flamingly fantastic review. So the only reason for me to do this is for my heart. I 've always loved being in Fleetwood Mac and I'm never going to be the one to squash it if I think there is this much hope. So if Lindsey Buckingham wants to be the Lindsey Buckingham that he was a long time ago—and be happy with me and enjoy what I do, and enjoy my celebrity and just appreciate the marvellous gift of being in this elite band—then I will do it again. I will also walk away so fast that the palm tree tops will fall on his head.