Resentments and bruised egos delayed healing for years. On a recent afternoon at Nicks' home overlooking the ocean, she and Buckingham settled at opposite ends of a plush green velvet couch to reminisce warmly. Only once did they engage in playful bickering, as they discussed editing the Dance tapes.
He: "Too much talking, right?"
She: "Too much talking."
He: "What would you take out? There's too much of me, obviously."
She: "Well, I didn't think there was too much of me, because I didn't talk."
He: "No you didn't, so somebody had to. Should we take out my talking bits?"
She: "It doesn't matter to me. Whatever you want is fine."
He: "Well, call me later."
She: "Well, you're here now."
He: "But this isn't interview material."
Such banter constitutes an amazing breakthrough for a sexy rock dyad that devolved into a fuming feud.
"Let's put it this way: We hardly spoke," Nicks says. "We would get on and off the same plane without interacting at all. It's not like that now. Even if Lindsey and I were to totally fall in love again, get married and get divorced, we would never let it go to that negative place again."
Back then, Nicks resisted compromise. Buckingham didn't relish her domination of the spotlight. And as the McVies drifted toward divorce, Nicks and Christine commiserated, splitting the band into camps and accelerating both breakups.
"Without that catalyst, maybe it would have been drawn out longer or maybe we would have worked it out," says Buckingham, who found breaking up less difficult than maintaining a professional bond afterward.
"You break up in '77 and think, 'Hey, get on with it, buddy,' but you see that person every day for the next 10 years. It wasn't until I left (the band) that I could face all the issues with Stevie. None of it was ever resolved, but I don't think we were focused enough to know what needed to be resolved."
Disagreements that cropped up in choreographing The Dance were settled diplomatically, unlike the creative clashes of yore. Then, Nicks recalls, "Lindsey would say, 'I don't want this song on the record,' and I'd say, 'I hate you!' and I'd be out the door and at home making up speeches I wanted to deliver to him the next day. Then it would get worse.
"Now he explains his opinion, and we still might not agree, but we communicate and we don't walk away angry."
The lure of big moolah is less tempting, they say, than the chance to reignite the band's legend. Is the Mac back for good?
"We're taking it one step at a time," Buckingham says. "My shrink would say this is the best thing I've ever done. Take those emotional risks! Aside from any career strategy, it's just been a good, positive, healing interaction. If nothing else happens, this is a nice closure. That's enough."