LOS ANGELES — Lindsey Buckingham is suing his former Fleetwood Mac bandmates for breach of contract for going on tour without him. And he’s also blaming Stevie Nicks for getting him booted from the iconic rock group.
Buckingham and Nicks, who joined Fleetwood Mac as a couple in 1975, have a complicated history, on and off stage. Their latest disagreement played out in a new Rolling Stone story published Wednesday. Buckingham claimed Nicks gave the band an ultimatum: Either he goes or she does.
Then, on Thursday, Buckingham sued Fleetwood Mac for breach of contract, according to RadarOnline, after the group “secretly, and unceremoniously, moved on without him” ahead of its North American tour. Buckingham asked to postpone that tour so he could promote his solo projects.
“It’s impossible for the band to offer comment on a legal complaint they have not seen,” a spokesperson for Fleetwood Mac told The Los Angeles Times on Thursday. “It’s fairly standard legal procedure to service the complaint to the parties involved, something that neither Mr. Buckingham nor his legal counsel have done.
“Which makes one wonder what the true motivations are when servicing press first with a legal complaint before the parties in dispute,” the statement added.
News of the lawsuit came on the heels of Buckingham’s Rolling Stone profile. In it, he said that two nights after Fleetwood Mac performed at the MusiCares tribute event honoring the band in January, manager Irving Azoff called to tell him that “Stevie never wants to be on a stage with you again” — at least that was the gist of it.
Nicks apparently “took issue” with the prickly guitarist’s behavior during their performance, accusing him of smirking as she made her thank-you speech and having an outburst about introduction music, which was the band’s studio recording of “Rhiannon.”
“It wasn’t about it being ‘Rhiannon,’” said Buckingham, who wrote and sang many of the band’s biggest hits. “It just undermined the impact of our entrance. That’s me being very specific about the right and wrong way to do something.”
He contextualized the alleged smirk with the band’s “standing joke that Stevie, when she talks, goes on a long time.”
“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,” he said.
Buckingham’s official departure from Fleetwood Mac came in April when the band announced Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of Crowded House were joining the Grammy-winning group. Shortly after that, the band announced a new tour, and Buckingham announced his own solo tour.
Mick Fleetwood told Rolling Stone that there were factions within the band “that had lost their perspective” and said Buckingham left over an “impasse” about the amount of time he wanted to take off for solo work.
Nicks said that their relationship “has always been volatile.”
“We were never married, but we might as well have been. Some couples get divorced after 40 years. They break their kids’ hearts and destroy everyone around them because it’s just hard,” Nicks said.
Even though he was “completely hurt,” Buckingham said he wasn’t heartbroken about not touring with the band.
“I can see that there are many other areas to look into,” he said. “The one thing that does bother me and breaks my heart is we spent 43 years always finding a way to rise above our personal differences and our difficulties to pursue and articulate a higher truth. That is our legacy. That is what the songs are about. This is not the way you end something like this.”