Lindsey Buckingham Says That “On Paper” Fleetwood Mac Never Should Have Been a Band

Lindsey Buckingham said that “on paper,” the members of Fleetwood Mac didn’t belong in a band together.

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In a recent interview, Buckingham, 72, who was fired from the band in 2018, went on to say that the opposite forces within the band are exactly what made their union work. 

“Early on, soon after joining Fleetwood Mac, I realized that we were the kind of group who didn’t, on paper, belong in the same group together,” said Buckingham. “But yet that was the very thing that made us so effective. There was a synergy there, where the whole became more than the sum of its parts. What happens is that you begin to understand that, and accept it as a gift.”

Recently releasing his self-titled seventh solo album, Buckingham last recorded with Fleetwood Mac for their 17th and final studio album, Say You Will, in 2003. The band went on to tour with Crowded House’s Neil Finn filling in for Buckingham, along with Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker Mike Campbell on guitar. In 2017, Mac keyboardist and songwriter Christine McVie collaborated with Buckingham on Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie.

Admitting that “politics” were to blame for the band not making new music together, Buckingham added that he has embraced his solo career while losing some of the Fleetwood Mac fanbase in the process. 

“Fleetwood Mac is this big machine,” he said, “and my solo endeavors are this smaller machine.”

Buckingham added, “But as a solo artist, I don’t have to push back against that. I’ve always done what I’ve wanted to do, basically, and I think the realization I had to come to was being willing to lose some of the huge audience Fleetwood Mac have in order to pursue that. It’s just a trade-off you have to be willing to make in order to do things on your own terms.”

The guitarist also talked about the art of collaborating, using the guitar in “service of the song” and embracing change as an artist, a lesson he says he learned from his time with Fleetwood Mac.

“I think searching for change is ingrained in me,” said Buckingham. “But it’s also situational. I think the idea of taking chances, trying to seek things outside your comfort zone, and the aspiration to keep being an artist came from the time of ‘Rumours’ and ‘Tusk’. ‘Rumours’ was such a huge success commercially, that it became more about the subtext, our personal lives, rather than the music.”

He added, “When you find yourself in that kind of position, you’re poised to make a choice—you’re either going to follow through with the expectations that are now being imposed on you from the external world, or you try to undermine that and try to remember who you are as a musician, as an artist, and a writer, and why you got into this in the first place.”

Photo Courtesy Grandstand PR

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