"Even when we first joined, Stevie and I were in some sort of a transition," says Buckingham, "as were John and Christine. And there was never a point where there wasn't this underpinning of psychological torment and musical soap opera."
Success only made it worse, because the momentum of the band's ascent forced the five of them to work together despite their personal problems. "Those years were very complex, in [terms of] fielding what was thrown at us and in dealing with my own emotions," says Buckingham. "Really, some of my issues with Stevie didn't get sorted out until I had left the band. And you think, `Well, jeez, that was, what, '77? And you left in '87? Get on with it, buddy.'
"But usually, when you break up with someone, you don't have to see them five, six days a week and work with them for the next 10 years."
That Warner Bros. would want to see the group get back together to commemorate its best-selling album is hardly a shock. What was surprising was that the other band members wanted a reunion as well. Only Buckingham hesitated. It wasn't because he worried about revisiting the ghosts of his past. Quite the contrary. As he sees it, the reunion finally gives the band "a really healthy" sense of closure.
"I mean, Stevie and I are getting along really well," he says. "Everyone's approaching the conflicts that will inevitably come up, and they're approaching them differently, you know? There are no camps. It's all done from much more of an adult standpoint now.
"I think everyone's enjoying it. Maybe more than ever, really."