In a new interview, Buckingham claims that Stevie Nicks gave the band an ultimatum to choose between him or her. This incident occurred after she felt slighted by his actions during their last performance together at the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year benefit this January. The band won an award in recognition of their musical and philanthropic history at the event.
Buckingham says a few days after the show, he received a phone call from the band's manager Irving Azoff, who listed various issues Stevie Nicks had with his behaviour on the show night, including complaints about their intro music for Nicks' "Rhiannon" and that he smirked while she was giving her acceptance speech.
“The irony is that we have this standing joke that Stevie when she talks, goes on a long time. I may or may not have smirked. But I look over, and Christine [McVie] and Mick [Fleetwood] are doing the waltz behind her as a joke," Buckingham said.
He admitted he was against the choice of intro song, but that it was taken the wrong way: “It wasn’t about it being "Rhiannon", it just undermined the impact of our entrance. That’s me being very specific about the right and wrong way to do something.”
Despite his defence, Azoff told Buckingham,
Stevie never wants to be on a stage with you again.”
Buckingham thought this meant Nicks was quitting the band, so he emailed Fleetwood to discuss their future but never received a reply. He then called Azoff for clarification. He recalled saying "This feels funny, is Stevie leaving the band, or am I getting kicked out?”
Azoff told Buckingham he was "getting ousted" because Nicks gave the band "an ultimatum: Either you go or she’s gonna go.”
Since Buckingham's departure from the band was publically announced back in April, Fleetwood said that it was due to Buckingham's unwillingness to tour this year. The only other comment made by Buckingham was that he thought the band had "lost their perspective".
"What that did was to harm – and this is the only thing I'm really sad about; the rest of it becomes an opportunity – it harmed the 43-year legacy that we had worked so hard to build. That legacy was really about rising above difficulties to fulfil one's higher truth, and one's higher destiny," he said at the time.