A post-Lindsay Buckingham Fleetwood Mac carries on 

click to enlarge Fleetwood Mac with new recruits Neil Finn and Mike Campbell.
  • Fleetwood Mac with new recruits Neil Finn and Mike Campbell.
Yes, Fleetwood Mac is back, but it’s a decidedly different Fleetwood Mac. Now in the midst of a 50-city North American tour, the current lineup reflects the firing of Lindsey Buckingham and the additions of longtime Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House singer Neil Finn.

This is hardly the first time that Fleetwood Mac has had a lineup change.

Drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie are the only members who have been in every incarnation of the long-running band that began as a British blues outfit more than 50 years ago.
“Me and John, being in the band since 1967, often look back at our history,” Fleetwood says. “It’s a fascinating one. This is a huge change in terms of the band. We’re aware of the change we’re going through.”

Last month, shortly after the current tour began, Buckingham sued Fleetwood Mac for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of oral contract and interference with prospective economic advantage. He’s seeking compensatory damages for loss of income, that, according to the suit, would have been $12 million to $14 million in 60 shows over two years.

Fleetwood Mac previously moved forward without Buckingham when the guitarist-singer left the group after their 1987 album Tango in the Night. Stevie Nicks followed suit in 1991, leaving Fleetwood, McVie and keyboardist/singer Christine McVie without them.

Eventually, fences were mended, reuniting the lineup that had risen to superstardom with their 1975 self-titled album, 1977’s blockbuster Rumours and the 1979 double album Tusk.
Time will tell if fans embrace the new lineup. But the change at least allows the band to revisit its entire history in concert, rather than concentrating only on the ’70s and ’80s hit-making era that began after the California folk-rock duo Buckingham and Nicks joined.

Prior to the current tour, says Fleetwood, the band headed into the rehearsal studio with a list of about 60 songs that might make the show.

“There’s not going to be 60 songs in a show,” he says. “What we’ve found is a lovely vibrant show, presenting the band as it is now. What we’re also enjoying is going back and giving some sense from whence we have come.”

This time out, even the band’s earliest days, back when they were being billed as “Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac,” will be represented, with Campbell ably taking on the blues-rocker’s guitar parts. “This band didn’t start in the ’70s or the ’80s,” says Fleetwood. “It started in the ’60s. We’re having fun delving into material we haven’t done in a long time.”

Finn, meanwhile, will replace Buckingham as the primary male vocalist. Fleetwood says the set will also include some non-Mac material. “We’re able to do songs — I’m not going to say which songs — that acknowledge Mike’s work with Tom Petty, which is how it should be. The same with Neil Finn.”

Fleetwood declined to talk about the firing of Buckingham, saying only “we wish him well.” The band, on Oct. 12, however, issued a statement saying the group “strongly disputes the allegations presented in Mr. Buckingham’s complaint and looks forward to their day in court.”

For now, Fleetwood Mac will remained focused on their tour. “We’ll be there as a real band,” promises Fleetwood, “playing our hearts out for you.”


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