Apr 9: 2018: Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham Part Ways

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Fleetwood Mac at the Classic East, July 30, 2017

When Fleetwood Mac performed in January 2018 as the MusiCares® Person of the Year, it was a logical assumption that they would use the event to announce their 2018 world tour. After all, artists that perform at such big events as the Super Bowl, generally use the worldwide attention to announce a big tour. In 2017, both Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie acknowledged that the group were planning “a massive trek around the planet.”

Related: Our coverage of one of Fleetwood Mac’s two 2017 performances

The Jan. 26 event came and went without news of a tour. February and March passed and still no word.

Then on April 9 came news of the tour but also with a significant change in personnel. In shocking news, the band parted ways with Lindsey Buckingham, replacing him with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers lead guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House’s Neil Finn. Go your own way, indeed. Or to quote a Petty song, “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”

Fleetwood Mac’s Facebook page hadn’t updated their band lineup as of April 9, 2018

“Fleetwood Mac has always been about an amazing collection of songs that are performed with a unique blend of talents,” Mick Fleetwood said in a statement. “We jammed with Mike and Neil and the chemistry really worked and let the band realize that this is the right combination to go forward with in Fleetwood Mac style. We know we have something new, yet it’s got the unmistakable Mac sound.”

“We are thrilled to welcome the musical talents of the caliber of Mike Campbell and Neil Finn into the Mac family. 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 in a collective statement. “Fleetwood Mac has always been a creative evolution. We look forward to honoring that spirit on this upcoming tour.”

Buckingham and Christine McVie performed over 40 concerts in 2017 to support their duo album, Buckingham McVie. Fleetwood and John McVie contributed to the album.

Buckingham’s departure was reminiscent of 1987 when he left and was replaced, also by two musicians: Billy Burnette and Rick Vito. Other than a one-time reunion for Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential inauguration, Buckingham remained apart from the band for a decade. He returned full-time for a full-blown reunion in 1997.

Watch what was likely Buckingham’s final performance with Fleetwood Mac on January 26, 2018

Buckingham filed a lawsuit in which he accused the band of breach of fiduciary duty and other charges. It was settled sometime that fall.

When asked by CBS This Morning‘s Anthony Mason if it felt he “had been kicked out of the family,” the musician said: “I do.” In measured words, he added: “I don’t feel that it was something that was my doing. It hurt for a while.”

Buckingham pointed the finger at Stevie Nicks: “It appeared to me that she was looking for something to hang on me in order to instigate some kind of a coup. Either I had to go or she was going to go. None of it makes sense to me.”

He said that Christine McVie wrote to him. It said, in part: “I had nothing to do with this. I miss you so much.”

Buckingham did a solo tour towards the end of 2018, that coincided with the start of Fleetwood Mac’s own tour with its revised lineup. On Jan. 9, 2019, he noted on his Facebook page: “Excited to go back out on the road and play some shows in 2019.”

Exactly one month later, on Feb. 9, Buckingham’s wife, Kristen, revealed that the musician had suffered vocal cord damage as a result of open heart surgery. He has since appeared to have recovered and was even planning to return to the road in 2020, but the pandemic postponed that.

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  1. Jack
    #1 Jack 9 April, 2018, 19:49

    Wow! Big news! Buckingham, who is one of the guitar greats of today, seems to also be someone who can be a major pain in the ass, and somewhat disruptive. He has at times held the other members of the band hostage.
    His “No Fleetwood Mac without me” attitude has kind of ruled since the “Tango in the Night” days. Everyone knows the stories about the tour without Lindsey in the late ‘80s, the lackluster couple of albums without him, and the lack of fan excitement that both generated.
    However, this is a much different Mac than existed in the late 80s, early 90s. This is not a band concerned with writing or recording. At this point, it’s all about performing. The Mac wanted give the fans one more go around, that could have been the “ultimate goodbye” both for the band, and the fans.
    Don’t get me wrong, Buckingham has been the major creative force in the band since it’s release of “Tusk”. He is a studio wiz, and a fantastic songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist. I think it’s safe to say that the Mac would not be what they are today without him.
    However, I think he has totally miscalculated this situation. It’s one thing to be replaced by Billy Burnett on the “Tango Tour”, it’s quite another to be replaced with Mike Campbell and Neil Finn. Campbell, who many believe was as major a part of the Heartbreaker as TP himself, is every bit the guitarist that Buckingham is, and more. In addition, he has name recognition and a history of being a top notch guitarist, writer, and producer. Finn, himself someone with a long career in music, will most likely take on the Buckingham harmonies, as well as songs that Buckingham sang lead on.
    It will be interesting to hear his side of the story, there’s always two sides. Hopefully, this is just a situation where he just saw this as a complete and unfixable difference in creativity, and not something health wise that he’s dealing with. Whatever it is, it must be major to pullout of what I’m sure would have been a major payday for the band, is not something that one does without good reason.

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    • JCB
      JCB 13 October, 2020, 12:43

      I saw the tour after Buckingham left in the late 80’s, it was incredible. Rick Vito was playing lead, not Burnett, though Billy can also flat out play. I saw the same lineup after the “Behind the Mask” album was released in the early 90’s, another killer concert, they were smoking hot. In Feb. of 2019 I saw FM again with Finn and Campbell, they were absolutely fantastic. I love Lindsey, seen him with FM 6 times and solo twice, but he is replaceable.

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  2. Sensiu
    #2 Sensiu 9 April, 2018, 19:52

    Well I’ll bet Lindsey didn’t see that one coming. I’m sure there is more to this story than we have been told. Bands don’t usually dump one of their members for no reason. That being said, Mike Campbell is a top notch guitar player, and will fit in quite well, and Neil Finn isn’t too shabby either. Probably will do Mike a world of good to do what he does best after the tragic death of Tom Petty.

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  3. Billy K.
    #3 Billy K. 10 April, 2018, 00:56

    This took me by surprise, too. I thought if anyone was the problem, it was Stevie, being the only non-participant on the Christine/Lindsey project.

    Campbell would obviously work well. As for Neil Finn, he does have the experience, but it is a slightly odd fit……much like the Vince Gill/Eagles situation.

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    • Jack
      Jack 10 April, 2018, 20:48

      Just for the record, Vince Gill is no slouch. He’s a fantastic guitarist and vocalist. In fact, something that is little known is that Mark Knopfler wanted Gill to join Dire Straits in the early 80s, but he declined because he was starting to make a name for himself in country music.
      As far as him joining the Eagles, that’s a no brainner. The Eagles are, at heart, a country rock band. Remember “Take it Easy”, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, “Desperado”, “Outlaw Man”, “Tequila Sunrise” and “Witchy Woman”? Their albums have always had a country tinge. In fact, the first two albums and much of “Already Gone” are firmly entrenched in country music. Check it out!

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  4. Da Mick
    #4 Da Mick 10 April, 2021, 11:07

    Well, I can’t say that I saw the most recent tour with Campbell and Finn, but I did see them several times on videos, TV, etc.. First of all, while I’m a fan of the Heartbreakers and Campbell, and really appreciate his measured approach to playing guitar on songs, he does not anywhere near have the musical personality or chops that Buckingham has. Similarly, while I think Neil Finn has been one of the most underappreciated artists over the years (a Crowded House show is an indescribably treat), it would be difficult to replace Buckingham’s voice in the Mac mix, mainly because he’s such a huge part of it, but also because he’ so unique vocally. I saw Mac a few years back with all the latter day original members, and while I appreciate all their talents, and what they contribute to the brew that is Fleetwood Mac, especially Christy’s voice and songs, it was Lindsay that made their show come alive in an arena-sized venue. It wasn’t just his virtuosity on vocals and guitar, but were it not for his energetic performance, Mac would be a pretty boring stage act, aside from their beautiful recordings. As much as I like their records, I felt much the same way about TP & the Heartbreakers. In the limited videos and TV appearances that I saw, I didn’t see anything from Neil Finn and Mike Campbell to replace what Lindsay brings to the Mac show. The days are gone when a band can just stand up there stock still and just play. And I’m sorry but Nicks’ twirling dervish routine is really old, and gets boring pretty fast, especially when there’s no other visual energy going on, on stage. Add to this the fact that Nicks’ voice has become pretty craggily and one-dimensional. As much as some of Mac’s members (Stevie) might resent Buckingham, he is the engine that makes that band go, in the studio, and on stage. If it was a him or me ultimatum about who would have to go (which is really stupid at this point in time) I think Mac picked the wrong person to walk.

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  5. Mack
    #5 Mack 10 April, 2021, 14:01

    Fleetwood Mac is nothing without Peter Green.

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