Ridin’ Solo: Lindsey Buckingham Leaves Fleetwood Mac

by The Cowl Editor on October 25, 2018

Arts & Entertainment

How Individual Projects Can Impact the Band Dynamic

by: Peter Keough ’20 A&E Staff

By definition, a band is a group of individuals who come together to make music as a cohesive unit. Often, these individual members have their own personal ambitions and ideas. While many of these ideas can contribute to the group dynamic of the band and make it into their music, they can also become the root of deeper issues.

Despite being the main guitarist for legendary rock outfit Fleetwood Mac for the entire 43 years of their existence, Buckingham was suddenly fired by his peers on April 9, 2018. Now, some months later, Buckingham has decided to sue his former bandmates. 

Lindsey Buckingham, the former lead guitarist of the band Fleetwood Mac

In an article for Rolling Stone, Andy Greene writes that this firing came as a result of Buckingham asking the band to delay their tour. When the other members denied this request, Buckingham agreed to postpone his solo effort but asked his bandmates if he would be allowed to do solo shows in between the band’s shows while on tour. It was allegedly this request that became the deciding factor in Buckingham’s removal from the band. 

Clearly, in the case of Fleetwood Mac and Lindsey Buckingham, the desire to focus on solo musical efforts caused a permanent rift between band members. This story is by no means unique to this case either. Other notable group-splitting solo endeavors include Justin Timberlake’s departure from *NSYNC, Sting’s split from The Police, Phil Collins’ shift away from Genesis, and the infamous supposedly Yoko-related departure of John Lennon from The Beatles. 

However, this sort of all-or-nothing response is not always the case when artists attempt to make solo careers. Much like Fleetwood Mac, fellow high-profile rock band The Killers have had a fair amount of experience with members desiring to produce individual art. Lead singer Brandon Flowers has released two solo albums—Flamingo in 2010 and The Desired Effect in 2015—and drummer Ronnie Vannucci created his side project called Big Talk in 2011 that has released two albums as well. 

Now, Richard Bienstock reports in Rolling Stone that Killers’ guitarist Dave Keuning is gearing up to release his first ever solo effort, entitled Prismism, under the name “Keuning.” In Bienstock’s article, he quotes Keuning saying, “I was always happy just being the guitar player…That’s all I ever really wanted to be.” But now, much like his fellow bandmates, he is ready to attempt his own individual quest into the musical world. Buckingham, however, is a prime example of the effects solo pursuits can have overall on a band. 

What determines the success or failure of solo efforts, it seems, may be the attitudes with which the members of the band approach this possibility. While bands like The Killers and contemporary funk-rockers The Internet have found success in the solo ventures of their individual musicians, other groups such as Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles have been unable to handle this sort of undertaking. It appears, though, that solo projects will remain a part of the world of music, and it is up to each individual band how they choose to respond to these potential outgrowths.