Lindsey Buckingham has been fired from Fleetwood Mac, with Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House’s leader Neil Finn replacing him, according to Variety.com. Fleetwood Mac issued a flat statement, which read: “Lindsey Buckingham will not be performing with the band on this tour. The band wishes Lindsey all the best.” Fans got the first hint of band discord when Buckingham’s late-’80s replacement, guitarist Billy Burnette, tweeted back on April 4th, “Breaking news: Lindsey Buckingham is out but I’m not in. A little pissed off, but I’ll get over it. It’s all in the book,” which was a followed by a link to his memoirs. Seeing as how the tweet was immediately scrubbed, most die-hards in the Mac community wrote it off as either a prank, a rumor, or simply wishful thinking on Burnette’s part. According to a source, Buckingham did not quit the band — which is currently plotting a massive world tour — but in the insider’s words: “He was fired.”
The website posted: “A source close to the situation tells Variety that although the group was on a high note after the MusiCares event (last January), and had announced last spring that it planned to tour this year, Buckingham was reluctant because he wanted to focus on solo material. The other four bandmembers — (Stevie) Nicks, (Christine) McVie, bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood — were eager and ready to tour, and after failing to obtain a commitment from Buckingham, told him they were proceeding with plans to tour without him. Suggestions that the group make an announcement along those lines were not acted upon.”
Fleetwood Mac said in a prepared statement: “Fleetwood Mac has always been about an amazing collection of songs that are performed with a unique blend of talents. 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. Fleetwood Mac has always been a creative evolution. We look forward to honoring that spirit on this upcoming tour.”
Neil Finn said in a statement: “Two weeks ago I received a wonderful invitation to be a part of a truly great band. A few days later I was standing in a room playing music with Fleetwood Mac. It felt fresh and exciting, so many great songs, a spectacular rhythm section and two of the greatest voices ever. Best of all, we sounded good together. It was a natural fit. I can’t wait to play.” He went on to tweet: “Snow warnings for parts of the country, the mystery of Stonehenge solved and yes I’ve joined Fleetwood Mac.”
Aside from January’s MusiCares honor in New York City, Lindsey Buckingham spent the better part of 2017 on the road with Christine McVie in support of their self-titled first album as a duo. The set — which was originally intended to be a Fleetwood Mac album and also featured Mick Fleetwood and John McVie — was billed to the two songwriters when Stevie Nicks declined to take part in the project, opting instead to hit the arenas touring with the Pretenders.
This is not the first time that Fleetwood Mac has hit the road without Lindsey Buckingham. He famously quit the band in 1987, practically on the eve of its tour behind their hit Tango In The Night album. The band reunited with Buckingham for a one-off performance with him in 1992 for Bill Clinton’s inaugural bash, and by 1995 only Mick Fleetwood and John McVie were performing in a non-hit, low rent version of the band.
The classic Rumours lineup once again joined forces in 1997. And following that tour, Christine McVie retired from the band for 16 years — only deciding to return in 2014.
The band played two massive stadium shows as part of the Classics East & West concerts last summer in Los Angeles and New York City.
When Fleetwood Mac last geared up to hit the road, Lindsey Buckingham was full of confidence — not only in the band’s musical ability, but with their personal connections: “I think you’re taking about a situation with a band in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. And when we were doing that those many years ago, I personally didn’t really know what I was doing in the context of that group. I knew it was working, but I didn’t understand it. And now I can come back with a little bit more knowledge and really appreciate it.”
No Fleetwood Mac tour dates have been announced.
Photo Courtesy of Neal Preston