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Lindsey Buckingham says Fleetwood Mac didn’t work as a band “on paper”

"There was a synergy there, where the whole became more than the sum of its parts"

By Hollie Geraghty

Lindsey Buckingham wears a black leather jacket in a TV interview with CBS
Lindsey Buckingham (Photo: YouTube/CBS).

Lindsey Buckingham has said that Fleetwood Mac didn’t work as a band “on paper”, despite achieving huge success.

The 72-year-old guitarist joined the group with then-girlfriend Stevie Nicks in 1974, contributing to the band’s self-titled 10th album in 1975.

Buckingham was ousted from the band in 2018 and replaced by Mike Campbell and Neil Finn.

Speaking in a new interview with Clash magazine, the now solo artist described the unconventional “synergy” of the group. 

“Early on, soon after joining Fleetwood Mac, I realised that we were the kind of group who didn’t – on paper – belong in the same group together,” he said.

“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.”

He also described the band as a “big machine”, adding that politics “essentially dictated that we haven’t made any new music in a while. 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 realisation 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.

Earlier this year, Stevie Nicks made her first public statement to Rolling Stone about Buckingham’s exit from the band, which at the time was said to have happened after  “a disagreement over the band’s upcoming tour”.

The singer-songwriter accused her ex-partner of “revisionist history”, who had previously blamed Nicks on his exit.

“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,” she wrote.

​​“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.”

She continued: “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.”