Lindsey Buckingham has given his account of why he was fired from Fleetwood Mac for the first time.
The guitarist was sacked from the iconic group days after the band were honoured at this year’s MusiCares benefit concert in New York. Stevie Nicks later cited Buckingham wanting too much time off to concentrate on his solo work as the reason for his being kicked out of the band.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Buckingham recounted what he says happened earlier this year. He explained two days after the MusiCares concert, the band’s manager, Irving Azoff, called him at home in LA to pass on a message from Nicks. “Stevie never wants to be on a stage with you again,” he was reportedly told.
“We rehearsed for two days, and everything was great,” Buckingham said of the days before the phone call. “We were getting along great.” But, during the conversation with Azoff, he was given a list of things “Stevie took issue with” in New York, including how he had “smirked” during her thank you speech and that he had had an outburst over the band’s intro music, ‘Rhiannon’.
“It wasn’t about it being ‘Rhiannon,’ ” he said of the latter. “It just undermined the impact of our entrance. That’s me being very specific about the right and wrong way to do something.”
Buckingham added he “may or may not have smirked” but others of his bandmates were also messing about in Nicks’ speech. “I look over and Christine and Mick are doing the waltz behind her as a joke,” he said.
The guitarist said, at first, he had assumed Nicks was leaving the band and had emailed drummer Mick Fleetwood to tell him the band could go on without her but got no response. Days later, he called Azoff and said: “This feels funny. Is Stevie leaving the band, or am I getting kicked out?” Azoff told him it was he who was “getting ousted” after Nicks had given the band “an ultimatum” and forced them to choose between him or her.
Asked whether he had wanted time off to pursue solo work, Buckingham said he had asked for “three or four months extra” to go on a solo tour but was met by “stonewalling” and left the meeting.
“I don’t think there was ever anything that was just cause to be fired,” he said. “We have all done things that were not constructive. All of us have worn on each other’s psyches at times. That’s the history of the group.”
Last month, Fleetwood Mac debuted their new line-up post-Buckingham’s departure on The Ellen Show. Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House frontman Neil Finn have since joined the band.