The saga of Fleetwood Mac continues to unfold with the news that ousted member Lindsey Buckingham is suing his former bandmates. The guitarist is seeking what he believes would have been his share of income from the band’s upcoming tour.
Buckingham was reportedly asked to leave the band because he couldn’t commit to a touring schedule, but Buckingham insists he was fired because Stevie Nicks refused to share a stage with him.
According to Buckingham, mere days after the group was honored at the MusiCares Benefit concert in January and with the tour already scheduled, band manager Irving Azoff told him that “Stevie never wants to be on a stage with you again.”
“We rehearsed for two days, and everything was great,” he explains. “We were getting along great.”
But, according to Azoff, there were a number of things that had upset Nicks, including the fact he had “smirked” during her MusiCares thank you speech.
“I may or may not have smirked,” he says, adding, “I look over and Christine and Mick are doing the waltz behind her as a joke.”
Buckingham does admit that there was tension building between him and the rest of the band. He had requested that the Fleetwood Mac tour start in November rather than August so that he could focus on releasing and promoting a solo album. However, according to the lawsuit, the band resisted the idea. Buckingham agreed to postpone the solo album’s release, and he and the band reached an agreement on details for the Mac tour.
“I don’t think there was ever anything that was just cause to be fired,” he states. “We have all done things that were not constructive. All of us have worn on each other’s psyches at times. That’s the history of the group.”
Buckingham, who claims he still wants and is able to perform with the band on tour, is suing Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of oral contract, and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. He says he would have been paid at least $12 million for his share of the tour proceeds.
Fleetwood Mac, however, is prepared to go toe-to-toe with their former bandmate. In a statement, a spokesperson for the group has said, “Fleetwood Mac strongly disputes the allegations presented in Mr. Buckingham’s complaint and looks forward to their day in court.”
The spokesperson added that Fleetwood Mac has retained Dan Petrocelli to handle the case. Petrocelli has been involved in many high-profile cases including representing Eagles members Don Henley and Glenn Frey in the suit filed against them by former guitarist Don Felder.
Meanwhile, Buckingham insists he’s far from heartbroken to no longer be a member of the band – he’s just upset about the way he was ousted: “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,” he continues. “That is our legacy. That is what the songs are about. This is not the way you end something like this.”