Not even a minute into an interview with Lindsey Buckingham, the volatile singer-guitarist is referring to things that "maybe got left hanging" and the tour being as exciting "as much on a personal level as anything else."

"Personal level" has little to do with how anyone gets along with the jovial chaps who hold down the rhythm section -- founding Brits Mick Fleetwood and John McVie -- and everything to do with the harmony between Buckingham and former flame and quintessential pop diva Stevie Nicks.


Nicks, in a separate phone interview, notes that Buckingham said, " 'I need two to three years.' And for me that's fine, 'cause I have a whole 'nother world that keeps right on going with or without Fleetwood Mac." She can go play "Edge of Seventeen" anywhere. "But the rest of the people in Fleetwood Mac really don't. So for them that's like big. Like, 'HOW many years?' It was kind of a thing where we had to sit and go, 'OK, he needs to do this.' “


Buckingham says you could make a case for some of the songs on his solo records being ripe for a Fleetwood Mac workout on stage, but that he's aware of the politics of such lobbying. Pointing to the "Say You Will" tour, the first without Christine McVie, he says, "I had that much more room to be a guy up on stage, just to be who I am. And we were reflecting portions of ['Say You Will'], which had quite a bit of edge to it in places. I think we came off that tour with Stevie feeling quite uncomfortable with what that was. I think there was talk then about the next time we went out we needed to just play more of the body of work. So I haven't brought up any songs from solo work to do and, quite honestly, those albums, I think, are not something anyone else in the band has listened to."

Really?! They haven't heard his solo records?

"You'd be surprised," he says.


"The horrible thing, which breaks our heart, is just Christine herself. Her personality, her crazy English self. She was a buffer between all of us. She was definitely a buffer between me and Lindsey, and she would be the one to say -- [imitating a chirpy British accent] 'You guys are all being stupid!' She'd be like 'Break it up, break it up!' "

By all accounts, there are times in Fleetwood Mac when a buffer is needed between Buckingham and Nicks, who were romantically entangled from 1972 until the tumultuous making of "Rumours" four years later.

"Lindsey and me are the problem children," Nicks says.

But the relationship has changed a lot in the past 10 years, with Buckingham becoming husband to photographer Kristen Messner and dad to their three children: a 10-year-old boy, and girls 8 and 4.

"He lives in girl land now," Nicks says. "He lives in ballet land and girls basketball team land, very girly, so how could you not soften up when you're surrounded by women? And when you have two little girls you also have two little girls and all their friends. So he's been in that world for the last four years. And it has softened him, and instead of treating me like his miserable ex-girlfriend, he's treating me more like a difficult but loved daughter. And I like it just fine, because he is softer and much more understanding of me and what I do. And he doesn't get mad at me. I yell out something and he lets it go. He's more the Lindsey he was when I first met him. So it's delightful for me because I'm kind of getting to see the man I cared about so much all those many years ago again almost come back."

And he's not throwing guitars at her, as he famously did on stage once.

"He's not throwing anything at me," Nicks says, with a laugh. "And it's almost like it would be ridiculous, you know what I mean? We are 59 and 60. We were 16 and 17 when we met. We have both looked at each other the last couple months when we've been talking about this, going, 'We met each other when we were 16 and 17, we need to make peace before we die.' "

Asked whether he's softened with fatherhood, Buckingham concedes.

"I think that's probably true. During the time Fleetwood Mac was making albums and after Stevie and I had broken up, and I was still having to produce for her, and make hits for her, we never had gotten any closure. We just had to kind of seal everything off; everyone was living in their own states of denial. Not only had there not been closure, but there hadn't been a lot of fairness in the way things worked out, nor had there been a lot of honesty. And so I'm certain that having children and getting to that point, I don't feel so embattled in my life in general. These things, they just happen in their own time."

So when they get up on stage Sunday night and do a song like "Go Your Own Way," is it a good deal less emotionally charged than it would have been 30 years ago?

"I think that we've done them so many times," Buckingham says. "Even when we were writing these songs, they didn't necessarily feel as personal or autobiographical I guess as they ended up appearing to be. We just get up there and have a good time. It's all been said and done and scrutinized to death, really, so we just get up there and we play. And I don't think we think about it so much on an emotional level. Or I don't, anyway.”

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