Lindsey Buckingham Says Stevie Nicks Forced Him Out of Fleetwood Mac
In a new interview, he claims Stevie Nicks handed the band a him-or-me ultimatum after she felt slighted by his actions during their last performance together at the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year benefit in January. Fleetwood Mac were given an award in recognition of their musical and philanthropic history at the event.
As Buckingham told Rolling Stone, a few days after the show he received a phone call from manager Irving Azoff, who proceeded to list various issues Nicks had with his behavior that night, including his complaints about their intro music being Nicks' "Rhiannon" and that he may have "smirked" while she was giving her acceptance speech.
“The irony is that we have this standing joke that Stevie, when she talks, goes on a long time,” Buckingham said about the latter point. “I may or may not have smirked. But I look over, and Christine [McVie] and Mick [Fleetwood] are doing the waltz behind her as a joke.”
As for their choice of intro song that night, Buckingham admitted he was against it, but said Nicks took it the wrong way. “It wasn’t about it being ‘Rhiannon,’ ” he noted. “It just undermined the impact of our entrance. That’s me being very specific about the right and wrong way to do something.”
Regardless of Buckingham's defenses, Azoff gave him a direct message: “Stevie never wants to be on a stage with you again.”
Buckingham took this to mean she was quitting Fleetwood Mac, so he emailed Fleetwood to discuss the band's future, but didn't hear back. So he called Azoff for clarification. "‘This feels funny,'" he recalled saying. "'Is Stevie leaving the band, or am I getting kicked out?’” Azoff told Buckingham he was "getting ousted" because Nicks gave the band "an ultimatum: Either you go or she’s gonna go.”
While Buckingham admitted he didn't remember Azoff's exact words, he said "that was the message."
Shortly after the news of Buckingham's departure was made public in April, Fleetwood said Buckingham's unwillingness to tour this year was the reason for his dismissal. The only other public comments Buckingham made prior to Rolling Stone's interview were at a May fundraiser, where he said that the band had "lost their perspective."
"What that did was to harm – and this is the only thing I'm really sad about; the rest of it becomes an opportunity – it harmed the 43-year legacy that we had worked so hard to build," he explained at the time. "That legacy was really about rising above difficulties in order to fulfill one's higher truth and one's higher destiny."