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Fleetwood Mac revived

Fleetwood Mac Say You Will (2003)AP ─ Seven years ago when guitarist Lindsey Buckingham began working on a solo album, he was confronted by a cold reality: his record company had no interest in a Lindsey Buckingham solo album.

A Fleetwood Mac album, however, was a different story.

The company got its wish. One of rock ‘n’ roll’s brand names – and longest-running soap operas ─ has been revived this spring with four-fifths of its most famous lineup.

A new album, Say You Will, is the first project with all-new material for Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bass player John McVie since 1987. Missing is retired keyboard player Christine McVie, making this edition more muscular and guitar-oriented.

“All of us in this band, every time it comes around and happens again, are surprised and delighted, because we never think it is going to happen again,” Nicks says.

The classic lineup ─ with Christine McVie included ─ had reunited for a nostalgia tour and live album in the late 1990s. But becoming a creative unit again was another thing entirely.

Even before the tour, Buckingham had invited the band’s old rhythm section to work with him on his solo album. But Buckingham’s solo work has never sold very well and Warner Bros. was disinterested. Realizing it was the only way to get the music out, and after years of work, the three men decided to invite Nicks to join them in the summer of 2001.

She was just about to leave for a long concert tour to support her own solo album. So she sent a disc of 17 songs she had written over several years ─ but never released ─ to Buckingham, Fleetwood and John McVie, who were working in a California studio.

Buckingham, the band’s producer, saw Nicks’ gift as a test. And the Fleetwood Mac soap opera began a new installment.

“Her involvement emotionally came in stages,” he says. “She had sent stuff over, but I don’t think she had a lot invested in what she sent over.”

Not so, Nicks says.

“I didn’t feel like I was dipping in my toe,” she says.

“I had to go on this tour because Warner Bros had just released my record. … I gave them the CD and said, ‘I’ll be back as soon as I can.”‘

Buckingham and Nicks with different interpretations of the same event?

There’s a shock. Even cursory fans know their history: The couple’s romantic breakup fueled the mega-selling album Rumours, and they’ve danced delicately around each other’s psyches ever since.

“All of that is never going to be behind us,” says Nicks, as she gazes at the ocean from her California home. “Our destinies are so entwined. We fight a lot. We have a lot of arguments. But in the long run, we’ve worked it all out.”

Buckingham is now a married father of two. Nicks is single, and has spoken candidly about how hard it is to mix relationships and her career; the new song “Silver Girl” is a big-sisterly ode to friend Sheryl Crow, who is confronting the same issues.

David Bauder / AP (press release) / Friday, May 9, 2003

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