Fleetwood Mac Got Caught Between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham
Brett Tuggle, who played keyboards on tour with Fleetwood Mac since 1997, said he believed he was dropped after 21 years because Stevie Nicks thought he was too close to fired guitarist Lindsey Buckingham.
Tuggle was one of the supporting musicians when the band started work with Mike Campbell and Neil Finn after Nicks forced out Buckingham in 2018, but he was soon told his services weren’t required. This came after a run that also included work on both Nicks and Buckingham solo projects.
“I thought it was fine with everybody for a minute,” Tuggle told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “In the end, I think, Stevie thought I was more in Lindsey’s camp. But I tried to be Switzerland to all the principles in the Mac. I felt like that was my job.”
He recalled a time when Nicks seemed unhappy about his participation in Buckingham’s solo projects: “It came to a point where Stevie said, ‘You’re going to have to decide.’ I said, ‘You know, Stevie, I love playing with you. I support you. But Lindsey doesn’t have a band.’ She said, ‘I know he needs good people.’ She seemed to be okay with it when I went off to do Lindsey’s thing. But I think in the end, she looked at me a little as abandoning her and going over to Lindsey’s camp. It really wasn’t that. I wasn’t all pro-Lindsey. I’m pro all of them.”
Tuggle remembered the feeling during early rehearsals with Campbell and Finn. “We got down there and did a couple days of rehearsal, but something felt weird with Stevie," he noted. "I could tell something was off with her. I think she had already made up her mind about me being Lindsey’s guy. I think my fate was already sealed whether I was there or not.”
He said he was “really shocked” when he was called and told he was out of Fleetwood Mac. “I also realized that I was in the middle of the politics of Lindsey and Stevie and this band, and there was nothing I was going to be able to do about it," he explained. "I had become Lindsey’s guy and that was it, and I had to accept it.”
Tuggle argued that Fleetwood Mac needed Buckingham. “I think right now what you have is a great band with Neil and Mike, but it’s not the same band," he said. "You really don’t have the tension that makes that band so great, which is Stevie and Lindsey, ex-lovers and everything, looking each other in the eye and giving you chills from the emotional context. You won’t get that from this band. You’re going to get the Stevie Mac, the people she wants there. And it’s going to be a Mac Lite - no offense. You’re not going to get the full goods.”
He added that Buckingham "is really the one that is driving the ship. He’s the instigator and the architect of the music. … You’ve got to put out new stuff to remain viable even if it’s not going to sell 12 million copies. Lindsey is all about putting out new art.”
Tuggle said he told both Nicks and Mick Fleetwood that he hoped there was some form of “redemption for Lindsey some day." “I care about them all," he noted. "They’re all a big part of my life.”