Lindsey Buckingham has a lot to be happy about: after a mistake during emergency heart surgery nearly damaged his vocal chords, he's able to sing and play again - both on a soon-to-be-released new solo album (his first in 10 years) and a theater tour.
READ MORE: Lindsey Buckingham Announces New Solo Album
But in talking about the new album, he's also shared some thoughts about his estrangement from Fleetwood Mac - specifically eternal ex Stevie Nicks - and he's not shy about speaking his mind. And as it turns out, neither is she.
In profiles with The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone, Buckingham reveals that the new self-titled album, due for release on Friday, Sept. 17, was completed while he was still a member of the legendary rock band, and that Nicks "wasn't very receptive" to the idea of pushing back a Fleetwood Mac tour so he could promote the record. He claims he'd be "back like a shot" into the band if they had him - he and Mick Fleetwood reconciled last year - but sends what some might perceive as mixed signals about his feelings toward Nicks.
READ MORE: When Fleetwood Mac Reunited for 'The Dance'
While he told The New York Times he wished for "a better way for us to finish up than we finished up...Not just for Fleetwood Mac and for the legacy, but just for the two of us,” he also accused her of "dishonoring the legacy" by ousting him from the band after a perceived slight during the band's MusiCares Person of the Year induction in 2018. (His replacements for the tour were Nicks' friend Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of Crowded House.) He went further in Rolling Stone, claiming Nicks "wanted to shape the band in her own image, a more mellow thing" and shockingly compared the alleged him-or-me ultimatum Nicks gave to the rest of the band to "Trump and the Republicans."
In the Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone's pieces, Nicks issued a response to Buckingham's comments that read:
It’s unfortunate that Lindsey has chosen to tell a revisionist history of what transpired in 2018 with Fleetwood Mac. His version of events is factually inaccurate, and while I’ve never spoken publicly on the matter, preferring to not air dirty laundry, certainly it feels the time has come to shine a light on the truth. Following an exceedingly difficult time with Lindsey at MusiCares in New York, in 2018, I decided for myself that I was no longer willing to work with him. I could publicly reflect on the many reasons why, and perhaps I will do that someday in a memoir, but suffice it to say we could start in 1968 and work up to 2018 with a litany of very precise reasons why I will not work with him.
To be exceedingly clear, I did not have him fired, I did not ask for him to be fired, I did not demand he be fired. Frankly, I fired myself. I proactively removed myself from the band and a situation I considered to be toxic to my well-being. I was done. If the band went on without me, so be it. I have championed independence my whole life, and I believe every human being should have the absolute freedom to set their boundaries of what they can and cannot work with. And after many lengthy group discussions, Fleetwood Mac, a band whose legacy is rooted in evolution and change, found a new path forward with two hugely talented new members.
Buckingham's interview with the Los Angeles Times also inspired a rare response from the band's manager, Irving Azoff:
In speaking with Stevie, her account of events are factual and truthful. While I understand it’s challenging for Lindsey to accept his own role in these matters and far easier to blame a manager, the fact remains that his actions alone are responsible for what transpired.
Frankly, if I can be accused of anything it’s perhaps holding things together longer than I should have. After 2018 when Fleetwood Mac evolved with their new lineup, my continued work with the band was due entirely to the fact I’ve been aligned with Stevie Nicks in thought and purpose from the earliest of days.
“While financial gain was not a motivator for me,” Azoff continued, in what might've been the most savage burn of them all, “it was a delightful bonus that the band scored their highest grossing tour ever without Lindsey.”
One can only hope that the ice between these two rock legends will thaw - either personally or professionally.