One could argue that the band, and Buckingham in particular, set up this vicious cycle by filling the LP with songs that deal overtly with the dissolution of a relationship and then slapping a titillating title on it. In a sense, Rumours and the press and public reaction to it accurately anticipated the metastasizing of celebrity gossip a quarter century later.
“Yeah, but none of that was a choice,” Lindsey points out. “All of it was an outgrowth of the fact that we are this strange group of people who function through chemistry. We were two couples who had broken up, and while we were making Rumours I had to see Stevie every day and never really got a chance to get any closure, and still had to try to make the right choices to do the right thing for her and, in some ironic sense, help her to move away. We were also aware, because that first album had done very well, that there was this calling—this destiny—that we needed to fulfill. What was going on with one’s personal life was secondary to that calling. And we did stand up and try to fulfill that calling.”
Says Buckingham, “I’m at the point now where all these choices I’ve made add up to something more tangible, where I feel like they were not bad choices that I made, if not popular at the time. I feel like my street cred is better than it’s ever been. That does not translate to marketability, nor should it, necessarily. It’s just easier to come to terms with what it is and what it isn’t at this point, and then be completely happy to go out with Fleetwood Mac for a while. Because there’s something to be said for that, too, and if you do it properly, it has its own credibility. There’s a story that is still evolving with that band, if that’s possible after all these years—and with Stevie and me. We’re getting along better than ever. What?”
Nicks takes all the talk of a kinder, gentler Fleetwood Mac with a grain of salt. As she confessed to MTV.com in 2009, “When he goes onstage and does his little speech where he says, ‘You know, everything is great and we’re just all grown up now and we’re having fun,’ I’m just standing on the other side of the stage and going [rolls her eyes], ‘Whatever!’ Right now, we’re trying to be a little more on the high road, but let us go in and do another album, and bang, back down to the bad, low road go we.”
But the tension between them appears to have largely dissipated. When Nicks did a show on May 26 in conjunction with her 63rd birthday, Buckingham came onstage for a guest appearance, as did Fleetwood.
“That electric, crazy attraction between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks never dies, never will die, never will go away,” Nicks said in the same interview, oddly opting to refer to herself in the third person. “He’s married, he’s happy, he has three beautiful children that I love. You know, he’s found a good, happy, calm, safe place—but who Lindsey and I are to each other will never change.” Nicks said she knew their tumultuous romance was definitively over on the day Buckingham’s first child was born. “It doesn’t mean the great feeling isn’t there, it must mean that, you know, we’re beauty and the beast. It means that the love is always there but we’ll never be together, so that’s even more romantic.”
In a sense, Buckingham and Nicks (“It’s actually Nicks-Buckingham now,” Lindsey quips) have come full circle. Since Christine McVie left Fleetwood Mac in 1998, they’re back to being the two intertwined voices they were as Buckingham Nicks four decades ago. “Back then, we were doing a pop-folk thing with Ian & Sylvia two-part harmonies,” he recalls. “We liked the blend we had, and it’s still a great blend—we just don’t do it very often in that pure context. Who knows, she and I could get together and do something. That would tug at a lot of people’s hearts, including our own. But that album came and went, at which point we were dealing with a lack of interest from the label, management, everybody, pretty much. And it was right at that moment that Mick Fleetwood contacted me. It wasn’t clear to us that we should do, but we once we all got together, we felt like, oh, there’s a vibe. And indeed there was.”