I was deeply heartened by your many responses to my open letter to Mick Fleetwood. The night I posted the letter last week felt like a group therapy session, as you all shared with me your own experiences with Fleetwood Mac.
The next morning, feeling better but still off-kilter and anxious, I posted the link to the letter as a comment on one of Neil Finn’s tweets. I left it for him, with all due respect, in the hopes that he would read it and come to understand how hard this situation has been for some of us. Frankly, it had seemed for months like nobody in the Fleetwood Mac camp understood or even cared how we were feeling. They were just moving on without us, like we were discarded pets left behind at the old house.
That night, to my absolute surprise, Neil responded to me in a private Twitter message. To my greater surprise, it was an extended and gracious and thoughtful response to my open letter. One that, perhaps, I didn't deserve. One that has made me see things a bit differently.
I’ve been careful not to call out Neil or Mike Campbell personally in my anger over this reformation of Fleetwood Mac. From the start, I understood that the anger should not be aimed at them. They are well-loved and talented musicians and carry with them their own extended musical legacies and fan bases.
But I have been snarky on social media because humor and sarcasm are my defense mechanisms against emotion. Of the two new members of the band, Neil has been out in the media the most because of his work outside Fleetwood Mac. Of course, the subject of Fleetwood Mac has inevitably come up. It's been hard for me not to think, with every new interview, with every mention of the fact that this is a new band: WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? WHY ARE YOU RUINING OUR BAND AND OUR LIVES??
Neil reached out to me privately so I’m going to keep most of his message to myself, but this part feels important to share:
“I totally understand that the music is more than just a background for you. It is a fundamental part of your soul and well being. It's the same for me too. That's why I love it so much and would do anything to send out the best music I can with maximum love and hope attached. The connection between the fans and the music is what is at the heart of any artist’s work. I respect Fleetwood Mac fans for their passion and loyalty...I have the utmost respect and admiration for Lindsey Buckingham as an artist. He has left and will continue to leave an indelible mark on the world of music. That will not fade and the songs will live on. He can never be “replaced"...Of course there is a huge musical legacy to honour and I will put every ounce of effort I have into making those classic songs sound fantastic. I approach this new chapter of my life with a spirit of adventure and a sense of optimism. It was an honour to be invited in...I send my best wishes and love to everyone.”
Those last few sentences...they all made me rethink how I’ve been reacting, but those last few...reading them made me realize that perhaps I’ve been unfair. And childish. Bratty, even.
Neil's message brought with it a great sense of relief. To finally be heard and acknowledged...it was a gift, and I thank him for reaching out.
I’m not discounting the pain and sadness over the disbandment of the Rumours 5. It’s there and it’s real and it was, despite their sometimes volatile history together, greatly unexpected. It will remain a huge loss.
I've gone back and watched the interviews again, interviews I admittedly hadn't watched in their entirety, stomping away from my phone or computer, mid-interview, like a petulant child.
What I realize is: Neil's excitement is palpable. He, too, is like a child. He’s bursting at the seams with joy and awe to have been invited to join and play music with such a legendary band. Like any human being musician would be.
With a slightly refreshed perspective, I can now see these moments, not as negative or insensitive, but as endearing.
I realize now, objectively speaking, that I’ve been seriously harshing his mellow, and I regret this. He's been like a kid in a candy store and I’ve been the miserable store patron following behind him, smacking sugary treats out of his hands because my favorite candy isn't in stock anymore.
The Rumours 5 will always be my end game. Their music, their experiences together, the five of them on stage together--they are the ones who saved my life and they are over now. But I’ve finally been able to listen to the music again. This weekend, I watched The Dance in its entirety and, for the first time since April, it brought me peace instead of despair. Tears, yes. But peace, too.
My tantrums will continue, at times, I’m sure. I’m not perfect. On the opening night of this tour, October 3rd, Lindsey’s 69th birthday, I’ll undoubtedly be at home alone pouting into my glass of vodka. I'll continue to hope that Lindsey is faring okay emotionally in the wake of this disbandment. I hope he knows the abundance of love that exists for him out here. I'm glad he has his family's love and support, and I look forward with anticipation to whatever comes next for him.
I'll always long to see the Rumours 5 together on stage again. Just one more time. If I had only known the last time I saw you would be the last time...
But I listened to Crowded House this weekend too. Really listened to it. It really is beautiful music. And I've always loved Tom Petty and Mike Campbell's contributions to that music.
So if this new incarnation ends up saving someone like The Dance saved me...well, then I'm happy for that.