Lindsey Buckingham would return to Fleetwood Mac “in a heartbeat”

Lindsey Buckingham has reflected on his time in Fleetwood Mac and revealed that he would rejoin the line-up “in a heartbeat”.

The comments from the artist arose during a new interview with Conan O’Brien for SiriusXM, in which Buckingham recalled the legacy of the band and his departure from the line-up in 2018.

Currently, the future of Fleetwood Mac hangs in the balance, following the death of longtime member Christine McVie. The singer, songwriter and keyboardist died in November 2022 aged 79 “following a short illness”. It was later revealed that her death was primarily caused by suffering an ischemic stroke.

The musician had also been diagnosed with “metastatic malignancy of unknown primary origin”, meaning cancer cells had been detected in her body.

While it remains uncertain whether or not the band will continue without McVie, Buckingham has said that he would be open to the idea if the opportunity arose.

“In a heartbeat, absolutely,” he responded to O’Brien when asked if he would consider rejoining (via Far Out). “If there’s more to come [from Fleetwood Mac], if there’s a way to heal that, that would be great. It would be very appropriate to close on a more circular note.”

While the guitarist and singer may be open to the possibility of continuing Fleetwood Mac following McVie’s death, the same cannot be said of some of the fellow band members.

In February last year, founding member Mick Fleetwood said that the loss of McVie meant he had drawn a “line in the sand” in terms of playing with the band again, but would be happy if the members continued to make music as part of other projects.

 Lindsey Buckingham, former member of Fleetwood Mac, performs onstage at the Lobero Theatre on April 15, 2022 in Santa Barbara, California.
Lindsey Buckingham, former member of Fleetwood Mac, performs onstage at the Lobero Theatre on April 15, 2022 in Santa Barbara, California CREDIT: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Later, Stevie Nicks shared a similar sentiment, claiming that “there’s no reason” to keep the band going as they could never replace McVie.

“Christine was my best friend… We were on our own in that band. We always were. We protected each other,” she said. “Who am I going to look over to on the right and have them not be there behind that Hammond organ? When she died, I figured we really can’t go any further with this. There’s no reason to.”

Elsewhere in the interview with O’Brien, Buckingham went on to recall the circumstances that led to him being fired from the outfit in 2018, adding that while he doesn’t blame anyone for the issues that led to his departure, he does see his replacement as something that “disrespected the legacy” the members built.

“Without pointing any fingers, it was certainly fairly singular in how it was driven. Others in the band were not happy with what was going on at that point. And I think everyone would have liked to see me remain, but did what they felt they had to do in that moment. And that’s understandable. There’s no fingers to point at anyone, really. That’s rock and roll, right?” he began.

“I was in the band for almost 45 years and we were always – this is always part of our legacy – we were always able to work out our differences over things of which were far more profound than any issues that happened in 2018 with me departing the band.”

He also spoke about his later replacement by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell and Crowded House’s Neil Finn.

“The band collectively allowing that to happen, maybe out of weakness to some degree, it disrespected the legacy we built,” he said. “Because we’d been through 45 years almost of really some very difficult moments, some very difficult years, and we’d come back around. Like I say, that’s our legacy. So to some degree, to go out and do something more generic was not honouring our legacy.”

The guitarist and his then-girlfriend Stevie Nicks joined the group on New Year’s Eve 1974 after previously performing as a duo called Buckingham Nicks. They first contributed to Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled 10th album (1975), which came before the seminal ‘Rumours’ (1977). Nicks later explained that the musician was kicked out because he wanted too much time off to concentrate on his solo career.

Fleetwood Mac, perform onstage at Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, November 15, 1978
Fleetwood Mac, perform onstage at Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, November 15, 1978. CREDIT: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

The interview with SiriusXM isn’t the first time that Buckingham has expressed his interest in rejoining the iconic rock band. Back in 2021, he took part in an interview on the WTF With Marc Maron Podcast, and boldly claimed that “pretty much everyone [in the band] would love to see me come back”.

Later that year he also reflected on the unique “synergy” within Fleetwood Mac and stated that they didn’t work as a band “on paper”. During the discussion, he said pursuing his solo career was “a trade-off you have to be willing to make in order to do things on your own terms.”

After releasing a solo record that year, Buckingham was later forced to cancel a chunk of his UK and European tour dates due to “ongoing health issues” related to COVID.

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