UPDATE, Oct. 12, 5:33 p.m. EST: Fleetwood Mac issued a new statement, saying, “Fleetwood Mac strongly disputes the allegations presented in Mr. Buckingham’s complaint and looks forward to their day in court. The band has retained Dan Petrocelli to handle the case.”
According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court and reviewed by Billboard, he is now seeking damages for lost wages from the band’s current tour and more that his legal team estimates could equal upwards of $14 million from the North American dates alone.
While common belief around Buckingham’s departure from the band — which has been perpetuated by its members — is that he refused to tour this year and instead wanted to focus on his solo career, in the suit the songwriter, lead guitarist and vocalist claims that is untrue. While he admits to asking his bandmates to tour later in the year so he might release and promote his own album first, he says he conceded to their timeline when they refused to budge.
Buckingham also claims he was willing to accommodate Stevie Nicks‘ demand the band perform no more than three shows a week. And even though he was looking to fill the rest of his schedule with solo performances on an accompanying side tour, he states the Fleetwood Mac tour would have been his priority.
Still, Buckingham says, he was booted unceremoniously and without warning just days after Fleetwood Mac’s performance at the 2018 MusiCares ceremony in January. “After 43 years of camaraderie and friendship, not a single member of Fleetwood Mac has returned any of Buckingham’s phone calls to provide him with an explanation for his purported expulsion from Fleetwood Mac,” the suit states.
Ironically, the band did postpone the tour to accommodate Buckingham’s replacements, guitarist Mike Campbell and vocalist Neil Finn.
Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975 with Nicks and contributed to the group’s most popular recordings until he left in 1987 to pursue a solo career. He rejoined the group in 1997 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the band the following year.
“The goodwill that Fleetwood Mac enjoys, and which led to the 2018-2019 proposed Fleetwood Mac tour and partnership opportunity, are inextricably linked with Buckingham’s contribution to Fleetwood Mac over a 33-year-period as a songwriter, one of the Band’s lead vocalists, lead guitarist, and arranger and/or producer of the Band’s recordings, in addition to his role as the musical director of the Band’s live performances,” the lawsuit states.
According to a spokesperson for Fleetwood Mac, as of Thursday (Oct. 11) the band had not yet seen the complaint.
She said, “It’s impossible for the band to offer comment on a legal complaint they have not seen. It’s fairly standard legal procedure to service the complaint to the parties involved, something that neither Mr. Buckingham nor his legal counsel have done. Which makes one wonder what the true motivations are when servicing press first with a legal complaint before the parties in dispute.”
Buckingham issued his own statement, saying, “Last January, Fleetwood Mac made the decision to continue to tour without me. I remain deeply surprised and saddened, as this decision ends the beautiful forty three year legacy we built together.
“Over the last eight months, our many efforts to come to an agreement have unfortunately proved elusive. I’m looking forward to closure, and will always remain proud of all that we created, and what that legacy represents.”
Buckingham is suing Nicks, 70, Mick Fleetwood, 71, Christine McVie, 75, and John McVie, 72, for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of oral contract and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. He is seeking compensatory damages, a constructive trust over monies “wrongfully appropriated” by the defendants in violation of their fiduciary duty as partners, accounting and attorneys fees.