Home » Fleetwood Mac: Over 100 million served

Fleetwood Mac: Over 100 million served

By C. Bottomley & Jim Macnie
Thursday, May 29, 2003

The Big Mac is back, and Lindsey Buckingham explains how the pop stalwarts pieced together the very impressive Say You Will.

Never say never. In 1987, Lindsey Buckingham bid farewell to Fleetwood Mac, and it was a big change for the band. With partner Stevie Nicks in tow, the lanky singer/guitarist/songwriter joined the ever-morphing Brit ensemble in 1975; during this 12-year stint he helped transform the group from respected also-rans to the epitome of platinum-selling rock stars. Inspired by Buckingham’s romantic turmoil with Nicks (as well as the disintegration of John and Christine McVie’s marriage), 1977’s Rumours sold 17 million copies. It was full of irresistible soft-rock and passionate hard pop. Ultimately, it even spawned Bill Clinton’s campaign theme, “Don’t Stop.”

He issued a string of gorgeous solo discs, but retirement didn’t agree with Buckingham. Something was missing. Maybe it was Nicks’ witchy mysticism and gentle soul. Perhaps it was Christine McVie’s perky pop-craft and honeyed harmonies, or Mick Fleetwood and John McVie’s rhythmic backbone. Either way, with 1997’s The Dance, Buckingham was back in the fold, and the band began working on a stockpile of his songs.

Younger groups might still look to Rumours as their template, but Say You Will, the Mac’s first album in eight years, beguiles, bewilders, and rewards. Buckingham’s guitar takes center stage, with fertile freak-outs and up-to-the-minute atmospherics that dazzle with their daring. McVie sat this album out, so songs like “Peacekeeper” bristle with Buckingham-Nicks’ethereal harmonies and chug-along pop beats. There’s even the odd diversion into political commentary. The band that made Say You Will is an inclusive and broad-reaching entity. Unlike many groups their age – 36 years if you’re counting – the Mac still have their teeth. Or should that be tusks?

On the eve of their American tour, Buckingham spoke to VH1 about reinventing the Mac, painting in the studio, and which of the band’s songs could get him out of bed.

VH1: Is getting back into action and starting a new tour second nature at this point?

Lindsey Buckingham: The challenge of getting into that mold is more about how you present it. People like The Eagles tour all the time without having an album. For us, it’s how you dignify having made a very fresh album which is basically a reinvention of the name Fleetwood Mac, and present it in a way that is still familiar – not too challenging!

VH1: Say You Will is a very progressive album, though. Some parts border on being experimental.

LB: I would say so, too. I remember when Rumours came out, it got some crappy reviews. But in a year’s time, a lot of people were revising their opinion of it. But yeah, this album is a sort of marriage between the best of Rumours and the best of Tusk. And yet, it is breaking new ground.

VH1: How did the album come about after such a long lay-off?

LB: It was an epic effort. It started off as a solo album of mine. Most of the songs that ended up on Say You Will were cut with Mick before we did the Dance tour. After Mick and I had gone into the studio and John [McVie] came in to play some bass, some people thought, “This is interesting.” There was this intervention happening, where people said we needed to do a live album and tour. When the tour was done, I went back into my garage and finished all those songs pretty much in the state that you hear them on the album. “Peacekeeper” and “What’s the World Coming To” were the only ones that were cut later.

VH1: You like to play with the studio on your solo albums, and Say You Will is pretty thick with audio ideas and treatments.

LB: It was gratifying for me, because during my time away from Fleetwood Mac, I felt like I got better at using the studio as an instrument. I consider the process that I use on my own to be a kind of “painting.” The studio is not only an extension of the guitar; it’s an extension of your imagination.

VH1: How was the recording process this time around as a reformed group?

LB: One of the things that we wanted to do was present something closer to the energy of what we do on stage. Some of that was suggested by the fact that when we played as a three-piece, we all had much more room to maneuver. In a way, we’ve done the best playing I’ve ever heard on a recording. So it was about reeling that out and not worrying about anything other than what we do best.

VH1: How is it now that Christine has left?

LB: Well, when I first joined the band, I had to adapt to fit in, because so much of the [musical] space was already taken. John is a fairly intricate bass player, and Christine’s keyboard sound took up a lot of space as well. Not in a bad way, just in terms of what was left over. We don’t see her absence as any kind of detriment. It’s just different. Stevie and I were able to broaden our own particular landscapes as writers. It was kind of a gift, and very much in the tradition of a band that has re-invented itself many times!

VH1: Mick and John are an unbelievable rhythm section. Describe what it is that they do.

LB: Mick is a diamond in the rough. He does what he does, and after all this time, he still doesn’t know quite how he does it. He doesn’t want to know! There’s a real Zen feel to that: he knows he has a feel. But he’s just the ultimate in “dumb” – in the best sense of the word! He values that: he values the idea of feeling loose and having a groove that sits appropriately behind the beat. John is sort of an enigma. He’s a strange combination of [Charles] Mingus and [Paul] McCartney. He doesn’t talk about it, but he’s extremely smart and extremely melodic with what he does. It’s very easy to underestimate what he does – until you really listen to it. Through all the incarnations of the band, those two guys have been the thread.

VH1: Which of Stevie’s new tunes touches you the most, as a fan of hers?

LB: I like “Illume” a lot. I like “Thrown Down” a lot, too, sort of for my own petty needs because I felt I helped [articulate that tune]. “Say You Will” is real catchy, and will probably be the next single.

VH1: Is making a record all craft or do your ideas come to you from your subconscious?

LB: Sometimes when you’re in the process of “painting,” you get yourself into some sort of a reverie, where the subconscious comes to the surface a bit. With me, the songs don’t come fully formed before they start being worked on. I tend to think the process of making the record is part of the writing process, in terms of being flexible about what comes in and what changes.

VH1: What message would you want listeners to come away with after listening to “Murrow Turning Over in His Grave”?

LB: Edward R. Murrow was around when there was some standard for reporting on television. When he retired, he gave this speech about how TV was being used to distract and amuse and not particularly educate anyone. He said if the people responsible for what was on TV didn’t strike a balance, “history would take its revenge.” I wrote that song during the OJ Simpson trial. In some ways, that was the beginning of a new low, with Court TV popping up out of the blue and all that stuff which pretends to be objective news reportage, [but] is completely opportunistic.

VH1: In our house we often play “Think About Me” to start the day. If you were to play one Fleetwood Mac song in the morning, what would it be?

LB: I guess you could always fall back on ‘’Don’t Stop.’’ It’s harder to respond to a question like that when it’s you who’s made the music. But that’s one that goes across the board as an uplifting message.


LIVE IN CONCERT (2023-2024)

Billy Joel and Stevie NicksStevie Nicks

FEB 10, 2024
Mark G Etess Arena
Atlantic City, NJ

FEB 14, 2024
UBS Arena
Belmont Park, NY

FEB 17, 2024
CFG Bank Arena
Baltimore, MD

FEB 21, 2024
Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, SC

FEB 24, 2024
Hard Rock Live
Hollywood, FL

FEB 28, 2024
Smoothie King Center
New Orleans, LA

MAR 3, 2024
CHI Health Center
Omaha, NE

MAR 6, 2024
Simmons Bank Arena
North Little Rock, AR

MAR 9, 2024
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX
Billy Joel

MAY 3, 2024 – MAY 5, 2024
Lovin’ Life Fest
Charlotte, NC

MAY 7, 2024
Enterprise Center
St Louis, MO

MAY 10, 2024
WinStar World Casino & Resort
Thackerville, OK

MAY 14, 2024
Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, TN

MAY 18, 2024
Frost Bank Center
San Antonio, TX

MAY 21, 2024
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino – Yaamava’ Theater
Highland, CA

MAY 24, 2024
BottleRock Napa Valley
Napa, CA

MAY 27, 2024
Delta Center
Salt Lake City, UT

MAY 30, 2024
Ball Arena
Denver, CO

Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, IN

JUN 9 
Mohegan Sun Casino
Uncasville, CT

JUN 12
MVP Arena
Albany, NY

JUN 15 
Hersheypark Stadium
Hershey, PA

JUN 18
Van Andel Arena
Grand Rapids, MI

JUN 21, 2024
Soldier Field
Chicago, IL

JUL 12, 2024
BST Hyde Park
London, England

Two Icons One Night presented by Live Nation
^ Non-Live Nation show

Previous 2023 dates

March 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Los Angeles, CA
SoFi Stadium

March 15, 2023
Seattle, WA
Climate Pledge Arena

March 18, 2023
Las Vegas, NV
T-Mobile Arena

May 12, 2023
Raleigh, NC
PNC Arena

May 16, 2023
Knoxville, TN
Thompson-Boling Arena

May 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Nashville, TN
Nissan Stadium

May 22, 2023
Atlanta, GA
State Farm Arena

May 25, 2023
Orlando, FL
Amway Center

June 16, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Philadelphia, PA
Lincoln Financial Field

June 20, 2023
Toronto, ON (Canada)
Scotiabank Arena

June 23, 2023
Chicago, IL
United Center

June 27, 2023
Louisville, KY
KFC Yum! Center

August 5, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Columbus, OH
Ohio Stadium

August 8, 2023
Milwaukee, WI
Fiserv Forum

August 12, 2023
Houston, TX
Toyota Center

August 15, 2023
Austin, TX
Moody Center

August 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Kansas City, MO
Arrowhead Stadium

September 23, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Foxborough, MA
Gillette Stadium

September 27, 2023
Pittsburgh, PA
PPG Paints Arena

October 1, 2023
New York, NY
Madison Square Garden

October 4, 2023
Buffalo, NY
KeyBank Center

October 7, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Baltimore, MD 
M&T Bank Stadium

October 28, 2023
Memphis, TN
FedEx Forum

November 1, 2023
Savannah, GA
Enmarket Arena

November 4, 2023
Allentown, PA
PPL Center

November 7, 2023
Detroit, MI
Little Caesars Arena

November 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Minneapolis, MN
U.S. Bank Stadium

November 29, 2023
San Diego, CA
Viejas Arena

December 2, 2023
Inglewood, CA
The Kia Forum

December 5, 2023
Palm Desert, CA
Acisure Arena

December  8, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Phoenix, AZ
Chase Field

December 12, 2023
Sacramento, CA
Golden 1 Center

December 15, 2023
San Francisco, CA
Chase Center

2022 Tour

Stevie Nicks

Jazz Aspen Snowmass
Snowmass, CO
Labor Day 2022

Ravinia Festival
Highland Park, IL
September 8, 2022
September 10, 2022

Pine Knob Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI
September 13, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sea Hear Now Festival
Asbury, NJ
September 17, 2022

Xfinity Center
Mansfield, MA
September 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Maine Savings Amphitheatre
Bangor, ME
September 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sound on Sound Festival
Bridgeport, CT
September 24-25, 2022

Ohana Festival
Dana Point, CA
September 30, 2022

Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, CA
October 3, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion

Phoenix, AZ
October 6, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

The Woodlands, TX
October 9, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Alpharetta, GA
October 12, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ascend Amphitheater
Nashville, TN
October 16, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Credit One Stadium
Charleston, SC
October 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

PNC Music Pavilion
Charlotte, NC
October 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Tampa, FL
October 25, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
West Palm Beach, FL
October 28, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Orion Amphitheatre
Huntsville, AL
October 31, 2022


Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
The Woodlands, TX
November 2, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion
Phoenix, AZ
November 5, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton