The friction between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham that went public with 1977's Rumours has yet to cool.
"We are a cast of characters who never really belonged in the same band in the first place," says Buckingham, 63. "But the synergy works, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the mines lie in the field this time. It wouldn't be a band without that tension. All the same things kick in. I know what I'm supposed to do. I know whose face to get in to make things happen. All those roles are so familiar. I'm ready to pick up the dice and roll again."
Rumours was recorded during the breakups of the band's two couples, Nicks and Buckingham and John and Christine McVie, who left in 1998. The three carried on, along with drummer Mick Fleetwood, and will launch an arena tour April 4. Nicks and Buckingham are considering a 40th anniversary reissue of their storied Buckingham Nicks album next year, with a newly unearthed, previously unreleased track from the sessions.
TOUR DATES: Fleetwood Mac to hit the road April 4
Nicks, the most commercially successful Mac spinoff, finished a two-year tour supporting her lauded In Your Dreams, co-written and co-produced in her home with Dave Stewart. Since last year's release of Seeds We Sow, Buckingham has been touring with his band and in solo acoustic mode.
It was a confidence booster that improved his singing, he says. He's aware Nicks is returning with greater spunk after her winning streak, which could set the stage for a clash.
Her solo outing "renewed Stevie's spirit," he says. "I'm happy she had a couple of great years. If it means a more complex political landscape, so be it."
Buckingham's solo foray "has been good for him," says Nicks, 64. "Playing (one-man shows) can't help but give you a certain compassionate softness. It's very different from Fleetwood Mac."
And while she declares the Dreams project with Stewart "the best year of my life," Nicks is eager to return to Mac and determined to establish harmony.
"I'm going to be very clear about what I want," she says. "What I want is for this band to get along and have a great time. So I'm demanding that. We are going to have a great collaborative working relationship. We're always great on stage. I don't say that from a conceited place. We've been playing since 1975. We know what we're doing up there."
Buckingham can't argue with that.
"The important thing is for us not to let the politics or landmines get in the way of us having a good time, especially for Stevie and me," he says. "There's been a subtext of competition and animosity, which is the flip side of love, for a long time. I think it's driven both of us.
Now is an appropriate time for us to acknowledge the context of our relationship and see what's left for us to do. If this is the beginning of the last act, let's wind up in a place that dignifies what we started."
Hungry for a big Mac splurge? After a three-year absence, Fleetwood Mac embarks on a 34-city North American tour starting April 4 in Columbus, Ohio. Tickets for the first run of shows go on sale Dec. 14 at LiveNation.com.
The band, founded in 1967, is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its trailblazing Rumours, which sold 40 million copies worldwide, held Billboard's No. 1 spot for 31 weeks and spawned top 10 hits Dreams, Don't Stop, Go Your Own Way and You Make Loving Fun.
Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, who joined in 1975, and namesakes Mick Fleetwood and John McVie last toured in 2009 and haven't released a studio album since 2003's Say You Will.
INTERVIEW: Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham
Yet new tunes may be shoehorned into a set list packed with classics.
"There were some tracks John, Mick and I cut with Stevie in mind while she was on the road," Buckingham says. "It's the most Fleetwood Mac-sounding stuff I've heard in a long time. We've been talking about releasing an EP, but I don't know how these moving parts will fit together yet."
In light of the band's deep catalog, the singer/guitarist isn't concerned about a second consecutive tour without a studio album.
"We'd be OK for one more round,
" he says. "People do want to hear that body of work and be transported to a certain time. The older you get and the longer the band has been around, you come to terms with the fact that no one's particularly interested in hearing anything too new. It's about what you do with what you've got."
Nicks envisions performing hits, rarities and maybe a couple of migrants, particularly the war-themed Soldier's Angel, a duet with Buckingham from her 2011 solo album, In Your Dreams.
"It's become a standard in my set, and I get a standing ovation every night," Nicks says. "Fans might like seeing Lindsey and I sing it. And it gives me a chance to ask people to help veterans who are so young and so messed up. I turn into an eighth-grade teacher."
Opting to extend her solo tour, Nicks was a holdout when the band wanted to hit the road early this year.
"I had to put my foot down and say, 'I'm not touring with you in 2012,' and it wasn't a very popular idea," she says. "I always think it's good for Fleetwood Mac to be away for three years. Two years is like, well, 'I just saw you.' My feeling was, let 2013 be the year of Fleetwood Mac and make it an exciting event."
After months of reunion rumors, Fleetwood Mac announced Tuesday that they'll return to the road next spring for an extensive tour that will take them all over the globe. The trek will kick off in Columbus, Ohio on April 4th; tickets go on sale December 14th.
"It's the perfect time to go back out," Stevie Nicks tells Rolling Stone. "2013 is going to be the year of Fleetwood Mac."
As was the case with their 2010 tour, the band is hitting the road without a new album to support. The set list will be built around Fleetwood Mac's large catalog of hits. "We always have to play 'Dreams,' 'Rhiannon,' 'Don't Stop,' 'Tusk,' 'Big Love,' 'Landslide' and all our most famous songs," says Lindsey Buckingham. "When you've gone through all your must-do's, that's 75% of your potential setlist. I think with the other 25%, there are areas of our catalog that are more under-explored. Maybe we'll play more songs from Tusk. I'd also like to see an extended middle portion of the show that's just me and Stevie. This is just me talking from the top of my head.
For now, I have no particular vision of what this tour is going to be."
From the Archives: The True Life Confessions of Fleetwood Mac
The band begins rehearsals on February 15th, and at that point they'll hash out exactly what songs they're going to play. "We actually have two new Fleetwood Mac songs that I cut with Lindsey two weeks ago we might play," says Nicks. "I had a really good time working with him for four days at his house. I got to hang out with his family and his kids, his grown up kids, and really connect with him again. We’re pretty proud of what we have done, and we’re looking at it through the eyes of wisdom now, instead of through the eyes of jealousy and resentment and anger."
Only American dates are announced, but the group is planning on touring the whole world. "If everything goes will we'll be in Europe doing festivals this summer," says Nicks. "Then we'll actually tour Europe, which is different than just doing festivals. Then we might do fifteen or so shows in Australia."
Check in later this week for a detailed Q&A with Nicks and Buckingham where they discuss the upcoming tour, their failed attempt to record a new Fleetwood Mac album
, the possibility of reforming their old duo Buckingham-Nicks and the many tensions that linger in their long relationship.
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