Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, two of the chief protagonists in a rock soap opera that has flirted with the public imagination for almost 30 years, are holed up in a room at Sydney's InterContinental hotel.
Nicks and Buckingham are 55 and 54 respectively, were once a couple and a recording duo, and for a quarter of a century have been doing their best to paste over the cracks of their personal and occasional professional break-ups.
Even today, sharing a sofa and being fraternally hands-on, there are moments where their troubled past flits before them.
"It's not that we don't still have disagreements and arguments and see everything the same way," Nicks says, "but beyond that we have a deep and caring friendship. If anything happened to Lindsey I'd be devastated -- and vice versa.”
"Things are better now than they used to be," says Nicks. "In the old
"Eighty-seven," interjects Buckingham and, as if on cue, there follows a few minutes of intense discussion between them about just when the guitarist was in the band and when he wasn't.
"But honey, you really left in '83, you only came back to do [the album] Tango in the Night in 1987. You didn't tour."
"No, no, I was in the band until 1987," he insists, and suddenly it's as if only the two of them are in the room. "I was there for the whole thing. I produced the album and then I pulled out for the tour because it was just too crazy."
Nicks gives this a few seconds' thought.
"I thought you pretty much left. Oh, I can't even remember," she concedes.
Buckingham, however, is eager to make his point, recalling how the artistically adventurous Tusk, the relatively unsuccessful follow-up to Rumours, was a turning point in his relationship with the other members. He's still addressing this only to Nicks.
"It was harder for me because after Tusk there was this dictum that came down [from the other members] that we weren't going to move to the left too much anymore. It was hard for me to reconcile the process because that was interesting to me. In some
Nicks thinks again. "So where was I?"
Then, realising there's a third person in the room, they laugh and acknowledge the therapy session ambience.
"You have a band of people who are sovereign and talented in their own right and who have found ways to stay together," says Buckingham. "We are musicians, songwriters and singers par excellence ... I would like to think. We are a band and in many ways we are better now than we have ever been."
And what about simply getting along with each other?
"We are still shaping what we are to each other," Buckingham says, in the way only a Californian can. "Stevie and I can still push each other's buttons quite easily. That does happen. But we all have other things that we can do. It's all about respecting each other and finding a rhythm.
"What makes it meaningful and makes it have poetry and makes it tender is that we are now in the aftermath of the coda, working out all these things from a more mature and distant perspective ... working on being adults."
"Trying," says Nicks.
"Yes, we're trying," he agrees.