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bombaysaffires 04-10-2018 11:47 AM

latest Rolling Stone take on the split
 
Why We Love It When Fleetwood Mac Keep Breaking Up

The band's firing of Lindsey Buckingham might be the most quintessential chapter yet in the band's epic saga of dysfunction

Rob Sheffield reflects on why Fleetwood Mac's firing of Lindsey Buckingham sums up their wild history of dysfunction and drama.

By Rob Sheffield
3 hours ago

Now this is Peak Mac. Could this happen to any other band? Fleetwood Mac, the crew that loves breakup drama more than any other six or seven bands combined, topped their own standards on Monday, with the announcement that they'd fired Lindsey Buckingham. This split is more than one of the year's strangest headlines – it's a new dysfunctional chapter for the fivesome who wrote the book on packing up and shacking up. This is the most quintessential Fleetwood Mac move they've ever made. Any band can explode a time or three, but only these guys could break up continuously for 40 years, putting each other through untold agonies and then always coming back together for more punishment. The Mac is dead; long live the Mac.

If these were any other rock stars, you'd suspect them of staging a split so they can squeeze in one more tearful reunion tour before they hit their eighties – Coachella 2023, here they come. But if there's anything we know for sure about Fleetwood Mac, it's that they have no ability to control the torture they inflict on each other (or on us). They are the band destiny has doomed to suffer for our sins, acting out every couple's messiest secrets in public, reliving every stage of the pain cycle in a ritual repetition, like five Siddharthas of heartbreak. "Lightning strikes, maybe once, maybe twice"? They should be so lucky. Only these five gypsies could keep getting hit with the same lightning bolt over and over, electroshocking each other into eternity.

In the band's most recent appearance on January 26th, to accept the award for MusiCares Person of the Year at New York's Radio City Music Hall, Lindsey Buckingham admitted they thrived on the conflict. "It was much of the attraction and much of the fuel for our material," he told the crowd, "Not very far below that level of dysfunction is what really exists and what we are feeling even more now in our career, which is love. This has always been a group of chemistry." They undermined each other's speeches – Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie all mocked Stevie Nicks as she spoke – before playing a set of five classic breakup songs, ending with (what else?) "Go Your Own Way." You couldn't have scripted a better final scene.

As for all that "love" Lindsey mentioned, well, this is a band of players, and they only love you when they're playing. Barely two months after the MusiCares ceremony, Fleetwood Mac dropped the bombshell that they're hitting the road with two replacement guitarists: Mike Campbell, from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Neil Finn from Crowded House. "We are thrilled to welcome the musical talents of the caliber of Mike Campbell and Neil Finn into the Mac family," the statement said. "Fleetwood Mac has always been a creative evolution. We look forward to honoring that spirit on this upcoming tour." As Mick Fleetwood elaborated to Rolling Stone, "We know we have something new, yet it's got the unmistakable Mac sound."

Self-sabotage is a key part of the Mac mythos, so this twist is just kind of perfect. As a great woman once sang, rulers make bad lovers, and the classic Fleetwood Mac lineup is four rulers battling for an extra inch or two of control, always threatening to flounce. And as they've documented in their songs, they've shared epic badness as lovers. Even John McVie, who has never shown any visible aspiration to rule anything besides his bass and the occasional ballcap, is tangled in the breakup history. Imagine playing that funk bass line on "You Make Loving Fun" – then imagine you're playing it for a song your ex-wife wrote about her new guy, who is the band's lighting director. During the making of Rumours, Mick Fleetwood called Stevie Nicks into the studio parking lot to tell her they were cutting "Silver Springs" from the album, for no reason except everybody else was mad at how good it was.

That's a key reason why we gravitate to the Mac. Ever since Rumours, this group has symbolized the idea of a broken community forced to keep living and working together, reliving their worst memories. As John once said, "About the only people in the band who haven't had an affair are me and Lindsey." Even at their poppiest, the songs are full of pain, which is why they remain so alive, whether it's Harry Styles covering "The Chain" or Lorde doing "Silver Springs." That mystique will remain even if Harry replaces Lindsey. Or if Lorde replaces Stevie. Or if Selena and Justin replace both of them. Hell, maybe all five band members can get replaced by Fifth Harmony, so Camila Cabello can sing "Never Going Back Again" until they eject her offstage with a cannon, like they did to her body double at the VMAs. But these five Mac lifers will never be able to escape each other. They are cursed to keep picking up the pieces and going home.

Even before Stevie and Lindsey joined in 1974, the band had a long history of changes. (Original leader Peter Green was a guitar god with his own moody beauty in "Underway," "Jumping at Shadows" and "Man of the World," until he sadly disintegrated.) But there was always something especially combustible about the Buckingham/Nicks chemistry – in Stevie's words, "the five original cast members" – as they poured their trauma into Rumours, Tusk and Mirage. When Lindsey quit on the eve of their 1987 tour, they replaced him with little-known sidemen Billy Burnette and Rick Zito. (This line-up actually released a couple of albums, strange as it seems.) He returned for the 1997 reunion The Dance, the album that defined the Mac legend as we know it today, an album that's older now than Rumours was at the time.

It was only four years ago that Christine McVie rejoined, bringing the classic lineup back together. Just last year, she and Buckingham released their surprise duet, Buckingham McVie, featuring four fifths of the Mac – it would have been their big reunion album, except Stevie bowed out to do a solo tour. It had a theme song for their On With the Show tour, two years after it ended. Typical for this crew. As Lindsey recalled to Rolling Stone in 1984, around the time of his brilliant and demented solo album Go Insane, "I can remember during Rumours, saying to Mick, 'Well, things don't seem to be going exactly the way I would like them to go.' And he said, 'Well, maybe you don't want to be in a group.'" (Mick Fleetwood, unlikely voice of reason.) In the same interview, Lindsey claims his bandmates, none of whom he's seen in two years, are plotting to replace him with another guitarist – Pete Townshend. Too bad they didn't call Pete this time.

Lindsey has always been a mystery man – with his eccentric obsessions and solitary work habits, he's been in the odd position of an underrated weirdo cult genius who happens to lead one of the world's biggest bands. His songs on Tusk – "Not That Funny," "What Makes You Think You're the One," the peerless "I Know I'm Not Wrong" – are the core of the Lindsey mystique, homemade solo space-case guitar sketches. Not far off from the music Alex Chilton or Mark E. Smith or the Swell Maps were making at the time, or the music Pavement and Sebadoh made a decade later. (It can barely be overstated how bizarre it is that "Tusk" was a Number One single. I mean, cocaine was popular in the 1970s, but not that popular.) Lindsey seems like the exact opposite personality type to be in any band – least of all this one. It's an ironic fate for the guy who wrote "Never Going Back Again" – a song about a man trapped in a cyclical on-and-off affair, vowing that he'll finally move on this time, until that finger-picking guitar lick loops back around and he's right where he started. Been down one time, been down two times, keeping going back up and down in perpetuity.

In a way, the quintessential Lindsey moment is his "yeeeaaah" at the end of Christine's "Say You Love Me," while the band is chanting the final "falling, falling, falling." What the hell is that "yeeeaaah" doing there? It's a solo Lindsey cameo that's wildly out of place in this song, which isn't by him, or even about him. Yet his acerbic voice adds the dash of salt that makes the song complete. Everybody's songs get improved by Lindsey butting in – the best example would be his sneer in the chorus of another Christine song, "Little Lies." ("Tell me, tell me, tell me liiiies!") He sounds exasperated and pissed, even though he's neither the liar nor the lied-to. But without the authentic spite he adds, "Little Lies" would be a fraction as powerful as it is.

Lindsey and Stevie talked to Rolling Stone's Andy Greene in 2012, in an astounding he-said she-said interview that reads like couples therapy. "Lindsey and I will always be dramatic," Stevie confesses, maybe unnecessarily. Lindsey adds, "We're a group of people who, you could make the argument, don't belong in the same band together. It's the synergy of that that makes it work. It also sort of makes us the anti-Eagles in terms of never, ever being on the same page." Yes, you could make the argument these people don't belong in the same band – but in a way, Fleetwood Mac's music is that argument, which is why they resonate on a level the Eagles never could. Their meltdowns are a crucial part of their artistic statement. Lindsey and the band are permanently mismatched, yet permanently linked. And that's why their latest break-up is just another reason we hear ourselves in their story and their music. May they keep breaking up forever.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/n...ingham-w518935

Frankenstein 04-10-2018 02:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bombaysaffires (Post 1222233)
May they keep breaking up forever.

Except this isn't the 70s, 80s or even the 90s anymore. Time is running out and the band is in its twilight years. That's part of what makes this situation suck even more.

bombaysaffires 04-10-2018 02:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frankenstein (Post 1222285)
Except this isn't the 70s, 80s or even the 90s anymore. Time is running out and the band is in its twilight years. That's part of what makes this situation suck even more.

Totally agree. Timing would indicate there won't be enough time for this to come back around again.:(

TrueFaith77 04-10-2018 02:16 PM

Surprisingly good read

sodascouts 04-10-2018 02:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bombaysaffires (Post 1222287)
Totally agree. Timing would indicate there won't be enough time for this to come back around again.:(

Exactly. The story is only good if it ends with them together.

SisterNightroad 04-10-2018 03:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bombaysaffires (Post 1222287)
Totally agree. Timing would indicate there won't be enough time for this to come back around again.:(

Don't say that please, if Willie Nelson can still tour (and outsmoke them) then FM can do it.

sleepless child 04-10-2018 04:23 PM

Back in 87 it was weird, but they were in their 40,s and had an album to promote, Tango in the Night. I missed Lindsey, but I enjoyed the tours I saw with Billy and Rick. Especially after they did Behind the Mask.

Now, it's 2018 and they are in their 70,s. This was supposed to be the farewell tour. Chris is back. I can't imagine what happened that made Lindsey get fired or leave, but this is bad. I love Mike Campbell and Neil Finn, but this is no longer Fleetwood Mac.

When Lindsey Left in 87, he had been in the band for 12 years. Since 1997 when he returned, he's been a member for over 20 years. This time it feels different and not in a good way. I have been a devoted, faithful fan since 1975. But I think I will pass on this one. No new material, so it will be oldies but goodies once again and I guess some Crowded House material? Tom Petty tunes?

I think maybe this time they should have forgone the tour and if they want to stay together, go into the studio. My personal opinion is that is what drove Lindsey away. No new material.

SisterNightroad 04-10-2018 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sleepless child (Post 1222319)
Back in 87 it was weird, but they were in their 40,s and had an album to promote, Tango in the Night. I missed Lindsey, but I enjoyed the tours I saw with Billy and Rick. Especially after they did Behind the Mask.

Now, it's 2018 and they are in their 70,s. This was supposed to be the farewell tour. Chris is back. I can't imagine what happened that made Lindsey get fired or leave, but this is bad. I love Mike Campbell and Neil Finn, but this is no longer Fleetwood Mac.

When Lindsey Left in 87, he had been in the band for 12 years. Since 1997 when he returned, he's been a member for over 20 years. This time it feels different and not in a good way. I have been a devoted, faithful fan since 1975. But I think I will pass on this one. No new material, so it will be oldies but goodies once again and I guess some Crowded House material? Tom Petty tunes?

I think maybe this time they should have forgone the tour and if they want to stay together, go into the studio. My personal opinion is that is what drove Lindsey away. No new material.

According to a Variety update the reason was that Lindsey wants to focus on his solo work, while the rest of the band wants to tour.
Even if they had contractual obligations to abide (I suppose the tour was already partly settled legally and economically speaking) they could have handled it better without Lindsey being out from the band.

FuzzyPlum 04-10-2018 05:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SisterNightroad (Post 1222324)
According to a Variety update the reason was that Lindsey wants to focus on his solo work, while the rest of the band wants to tour.
Even if they had contractual obligations to abide (I suppose the tour was already partly settled legally and economically speaking) they could have handled it better without Lindsey being out from the band.

This tour has been put back and put back and put back some more already. I'm sure it was originally slated for 2017 but it was put back to late 2018 due to Stevie's plans. Would it have hurt to delay it a bit more? For the articles to say Lindsey wanted to focus on his solo work rather than a Fleetwood Mac tour skews things a bit. He's been open for some time about releasing a solo album early this year. Unfortunately he obviously hasn't been able to get it finished and released as early as he would have liked. I don't think he's said he wont do a FM tour- just sounds as if he asked for a short delay.

Frankenstein 04-10-2018 05:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FuzzyPlum (Post 1222340)
This tour has been put back and put back and put back some more already. I'm sure it was originally slated for 2017 but it was put back to late 2018 due to Stevie's plans. Would it have hurt to delay it a bit more? For the articles to say Lindsey wanted to focus on his solo work rather than a Fleetwood Mac tour skews things a bit. He's been open for some time about releasing a solo album early this year. Unfortunately he obviously hasn't been able to get it finished and released as early as he would have liked. I don't think he's said he wont do a FM tour- just sounds as if he asked for a short delay.

Well, they just got off the road in 2015 after two back-to-back tours. I think a break was needed especially since itís not like there was going to be any new material for this next one.

FuzzyPlum 04-10-2018 06:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frankenstein (Post 1222347)
Well, they just got off the road in 2015 after two back-to-back tours. I think a break was needed especially since itís not like there was going to be any new material for this next one.

Why on Earth does a band need more than two years off?????
The Beatles would have written, recorded and toured 4 albums in that time....and made a film.

Lola 04-10-2018 06:21 PM

I'm still sorting out my thoughts and feelings on this situation. My heart is barely beating. I posted somewhere on another thread it's as if the Mac brought me to the mountaintop with Christine's return, the tour, BuckVie album and tour.
Then just as I reached the summit I was flung off.

On a mental level tho this article best describes my thoughts. If FM is going to do something they're going to do it in the most FM way. What could be more FM than this latest development/sarc. I keep thinking about the movie Sid and Nancy. Nancy always talked about 'going out in a blaze of glory' but you know how that went. Unglorified!

button-lip 04-10-2018 06:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bombaysaffires (Post 1222287)
Totally agree. Timing would indicate there won't be enough time for this to come back around again.:(

I don't think this is a matter of time. I don't think Lindsey will come back. Ever. He was poorly treated by Mick and Stevie. IMO, this is sadly the end of Rumors 5 and in my case, of Fleetwood Mac. :(

button-lip 04-10-2018 06:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FuzzyPlum (Post 1222348)
Why on Earth does a band need more than two years off?????
The Beatles would have written, recorded and toured 4 albums in that time....and made a film.

And that's why they're the most iconic band in the world. No one will ever be better than The Beatles. And I'm not even a Beatles fan.

TimeCastASpell 04-10-2018 06:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lola (Post 1222353)
I'm still sorting out my thoughts and feelings on this situation. My heart is barely beating. I posted somewhere on another thread it's as if the Mac brought me to the mountaintop with Christine's return, the tour, BuckVie album and tour.
Then just as I reached the summit I was flung off.

On a mental level tho this article best describes my thoughts. If FM is going to do something they're going to do it in the most FM way. What could be more FM than this latest development/sarc. I keep thinking about the movie Sid and Nancy. Nancy always talked about 'going out in a blaze of glory' but you know how that went. Unglorified!

Very well stated. All the bands craziness has the rest of us feeling rather crazy as well. Like what are we supposed to make of this yet on some level it's almost funny because as stated it is the Mac-iest darn move possible. Like I'm having a weird kind of laugh/cry response. I really just want a final album. Don't care one way or the other about the tour. I think they're all surprisingly at the top of their game just listening to recent work and combinations (and heck, I may be an odd one out but I really love SYW for that matter). So much potential to make incredible new music but nope, gotta get all wrapped up in typical Mac drama. I'm sad/mad and just have to laugh I guess. The article amused me deeply because it was written from the same kind of snarky/bummed place I seem to be stuck in.

It's just Fleetwood Mac being Fleetwood Mac. And somehow all of us diehard fans are sitting here loving them inspire of our frustration. Like they've pulled us all in with them.


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