Rumours and a Strange Tango in the Night
ALL IMAGE/PHOTO CREDITS (unless stated otherwise): Getty Images
Can Fleetwood Mac Realistically Thrive Without Lindsey Buckingham?
THE situation Fleetwood Mac finds themselves in…
reminds me of The Matrix. Neo, the protagonist, is offered the choice between a blue and red pill by the rebel leader, Morpheus. If he takes a red pill then he would be unleashed into an uncertain world and escape the machine-generated, dream-like world he is in. The blue pill would allow him to go into a beautiful prison – where he would be led to ignorance and live in confined comfort. In fact; maybe it is a bit like Alice in Wonderland. In any case; there is something tricky, unnatural and tense happening in the Fleetwood Mac camp! The Matrix analogy might seem forced but there is a strange difference between the ‘classic’ Fleetwood Mac line-up we saw during the Rumours period and what we have now. The band’s ‘leader’ Lindsey Buckingham has been booted out of the band amidst rumours of scheduling conflicts. Buckingham, I believe, was due to record and promote a solo album and wanted to fit his Fleetwood Mac demands around that. The band were not happy and Stevie Nicks made it absolutely clear she did not want to perform on the same stage as Buckingham. The history between the former lovers is no secret. The tensions began before they recorded Rumours back in 1977 and, whilst there has been a relatively cordial working relationship since then; things have come to a head and it seems there is no way back.
It might be appropriate to turn a famous Buckingham-penned song back on him. Go Your Own Way, one of Rumours’ best songs has an unhappy irony now that Buckingham has been cast away and castigated. The fact Buckingham wanted to perform and is not happy about the situation has led to a lawsuit. This article explains the situation:
“Lindsey Buckingham — singer, songwriter and lead guitarist on and off since 1975 — is seeking millions of dollars in compensation from band mates Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and John McVie.
The mercurial musician, who wrote and sang the 1976 mega-hit Go Your Own Way, has made it clear he is not happy to go his own way.
In a 28-page lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and a recent interview, Buckingham has laid bare the astonishing extent to which he has fallen out with his former band mates — particularly singer Stevie Nicks, his ex-lover.
The case also reveals quite how lucratively popular the band remains.
Tickets to see them last Saturday in St Louis, Missouri, on their new tour cost up to $899 (£686). Meanwhile, the most expensive tickets to see Buckingham's current solo tour are less than a tenth that price.
According to Buckingham's lawsuit, each of the band's five members was to earn around $13 million from playing 60 shows over two years in a deal with a concert producer, Live Nation. He accuses his former band members of breaching their fiduciary duty, breach of oral contract and 'international interference with prospective economic advantage'”.
PHOTO CREDIT: Herbert Worthington
It seems that tensions and disharmony are never far from the shores of Fleetwood Mac. I am not sure whether Nicks’ foot coming down was the deciding factor but it seems like Fleetwood Mac will carry on without Buckingham. Seeing as he has been part of the band for over four decades has created shockwaves and split fans. You can never really tell what truly split the band and whether there were other factors that influenced the decision to fire Buckingham. Maybe he felt he was the natural leader and could do what he wanted to do – the rest of the band were tired and felt he was hampering them. The fact Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks; John and Christine McVie remain in the band means you have most of Fleetwood Mac happily performing together. The fact, too, they have been this solid unit since, I guess, 1975 (bar a few spats and breaks between albums) is amazing. They have survived Rumours and tensions that followed and are resolved to take their show around the world with new band members Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and Crowded House’s Neil Finn. Ultimate Classic Rock have run a piece that asks how the band will survive post-Buckingham and how Fleetwood Mac’s set will alter – given the fact a lot of their best-loved songs are Buckingham solos:
“Buckingham had been a bulwark for the band since the late-'90s reunion of its classic-era lineup, holding fast when Christine McVie took a lengthy break. Long before that, he'd helped reset their commercial fortunes upon arriving with Stevie Nicks in the '70s…
IN THIS PHOTO: Fleetwood Mac with their new members Neil Finn (second left) and Mike Campbell (second right)/PHOTO CREDIT: Randee St Nicholas for Rolling Stone
“Then, in April 2018, he was out. Fleetwood Mac quickly announced that two people would join in Buckingham's place, Neil Finn of Crowded House and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers, and then began plotting a huge tour.
On the one hand, this wasn't all that out of the ordinary: Fleetwood Mac have had more than their share of lineup changes, and they'd even added two other sidemen (Billy Burnette and Rick Vito) after a previous Buckingham departure. On the other hand, there's 1995's Buckingham-less Time, an unfocused, uninteresting misfire.
How many Buckingham songs – if any – do you expect the reformulated Fleetwood Mac to perform? Are there songs he wrote that feel like required entries?
MICHAEL GALLUCCI: If they're trying to distance themselves from Buckingham, they shouldn't play any of his songs. But I realize that won't happen. So they'll probably play a couple of the more band-oriented Buckingham cuts like "Go Your Own Way," which may be the only one fans really expect, now that I think about it.
NICK DERISO: I found the inclusion of "The Chain" in their initial preview performance on Ellen to be notable. The song, though credited to the entire band, prominently features Buckingham on vocals and guitar – but Fleetwood Mac weren't beholden to that. Mike Campbell's solo took the song in entirely new places. That says two things to me: Fleetwood Mac aren't going to shy away from Buckingham's stuff, and they're not afraid to put their own new stamp on it. Campbell's presence alone might open the door for a re-imagining of other Buckingham songs...
IN THIS PHOTO: Fleetwood Mac (L-R) bassist John McVie; keyboard player and vocalist Christine McVie; vocalist Stevie Nicks; guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Buckingham and drummer and vocalist Mick Fleetwood stand together on stage after performing a concert on NBC's Today show in New York, U.S. on 9th October, 2014/PHOTO CREDIT: REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
On their last tours without Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac delved into material brought in by newer members like Dave Mason. Do you expect to hear Crowded House and Tom Petty songs?
GALLUCCI: Sure do. "Don't Dream It's Over" from Finn and "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" from Campbell are shoe-ins, I'd say. I'd guess at least a couple more from each of them too. Maybe Petty's "The Insider" – which, like "Draggin'" features Nicks – and "Something So Strong," the other Crowded House song people might know. Long shots: one of the songs Campbell wrote and performed with Don Henley, and Split Enz's "I Got You."
DERISO: It's actually rather astonishing how often Fleetwood Mac relied on material brought in by hired guns during the '90s-era absence of Buckingham – though it should be noted that both Nicks and McVie left during that period too. They did Mason's "We Just Disagree" and two songs by Traffic; they even covered a song by Billy Burnette's dad. It was embarrassing, really. Even so, if that trend held, we might hear a number of non-Fleetwood Mac tracks – and they'd once again risk losing no small amount of legitimacy by turning into a jukebox band”.
It seems like most of what makes Fleetwood Mac shine and inspire is being left but one cannot help notice the Lindsey Buckingham-shaped hole that remains. In spite of this; the band are planning tour dates next year.
The group have announced a run of dates that will see their new line-up perform some of the best-known Fleetwood Mac hits:
“Fleetwood Mac are to play the RDS Arena, Dublin, on June 13th, 2019, as part of a limited European tour
The veteran rock group are currently touring in the US without guitarist and songwriter Lindsey Buckingham after an acrimonious split. The line-up now features Crowded House frontman Neil Finn and guitarist Mike Campbellfrom The Heartbreakers, along with Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood.
The dates announced on Monday include concerts at Wembley Stadium and in Berlin
“We jammed with Mike and Neil and the chemistry really worked and let the band realise that this is the right combination to go forward with in Fleetwood Mac style,” said Mick Fleetwood said in an interview in April.
“We know we have something new, yet it’s got the unmistakable Mac sound.”
“We are thrilled to welcome the musical talents of the calibre of Mike Campbell and Neil Finn into the Mac family.” the band said in a statement.
“With Mike and Neil, we’ll be performing all the hits that the fans love, plus we’ll be surprising our audiences with some tracks from our historic catalogue of songs,” said the group collectively. Fleetwood Mac has always been a creative evolution. We look forward to honouring that spirit on this upcoming tour.”
The three dates announced on Monday are:
· June 6th, 2019: Berlin, Waldbühne
· June 13th, 2019: Dublin, RDS Arena
· June 16th 2019: London, Wembley Stadium
Tickets ago on sale on Friday, October 26th at 9am”.
It is good to see any band endure tension and obstacles and come up the other side! The fact long-running bands like The Rolling Stones and The Who are still around and playing is that love of the music. It helps, of course, that the members get along and there is that bond. Others, such as Pink Floyd, seem unlikely to rekindle that spark and adding a new member would seem a strange and unpopular thing to do. There have been bands, like Queen, who have gone on with a different lead/member but it never seems right! The reason we fall for them is because of each member and you take one away and it loses its magic. Queen, obviously, are without Freddie Mercury and it is not the same – even with the talent and force of Adam Lambert belting out the songs! I guess bands like Fleetwood Mac cannot stop playing and go their separate ways if most of the members are together and happy. They are not performing for the money: they want to get the songs to new people and still love being around one another. One ‘bad apple’ or ill-fitting member cannot compromise the rest of the band so I do not begrudge Fleetwood Mac continuing. From a fan’s perspective, you have to ask whether a Fleetwood Mac gig sans Buckingham is an authentic and natural thing.
Although a lot of the band’s best songs were written by Nicks of (Christine) McVie; Buckingham’s contribution and impact cannot be underestimated. He voiced standards such as Big Love, Go Your Own Way and The Chain and it seems odd that he will not be singing them! The fact the two new members are bringing songs from their other bands, also, does not sit well. As good as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Crowded House were/are; you do not necessarily want to hear their songs played at a Fleetwood Mac gig! The reason I mentioned The Matrix and Alice in Wonderland earlier is because it seems like Fleetwood Mac 2.0 is an alternate reality or some weird dream. Would you stick with the new version of the band and live in some form of compromise or remember them as they were and return to the past?! Some might argue the point (that) Fleetwood Mac have not recorded new material since 2003 (Say You Will) and they are trotting out the same songs as we are all familiar with. That is all well and good but one assumes, at some juncture, the band will record new material. There is no use going on the road for years and that will be it – it has to lead to somewhere you’d imagine. I am a big Fleetwood Mac fan but could never consider seeing them live without Buckingham.
It is strange things ended so quickly and there has not been a clear and concise explanation as to why he is no longer welcome back in the ranks. Although you know Fleetwood Mac are, for the most part, still the band you always loved; there is something a little off not having Buckingham near the front. Maybe the new additions will be great and we’ll not have any issues but I do wonder why two new members were drafted. Buckingham has tried to open the lines of communication and get back into the band so it seems everyone else in Fleetwood Mac is making it difficult. It is a sorry sight to see one of their most important members given the silent treatment and, it seems, no longer a part of their plans. I think a Fleetwood Mac without Buckingham cannot really flourish and grow. I would hate to see the band record an album without them and the set-list will be changed. Will they do any song with Buckingham’s voice on or will Crowded House songs replace them?! There are so many things to consider and I am not sure whether the band will be able to create as memorable a show without Lindsey Buckingham as with him. I suppose one cannot live in the past and things do change now and then – even if you do not want them to. I wish the revised Fleetwood Mac the best of luck but the fact we will never hear (I assume) Go Your Own Way or Big Love again – without Buckingham at the least – leaves me very unsettled. I guess there might be a chance of a reunion but it seems the Fleetwood Mac we all know and love is…
IN THIS PHOTO: Fleetwood Mac in 1977/PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
NEVER going back again!