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The future of Fleetwood Mac -- We examine rumors that Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks are leaving the band

Fleeing Fleetwood Mac?
Are the members of Fleetwood Mac going their own ways? Two weeks ago, after reports that singer-keyboardist Christine McVie and singer Stevie Nicks were leaving the band, that seemed to be the case. But since then the group's status has been the subject of conflicting reports. Representatives of band members said at first that McVie was quitting the group altogether and Nicks was staying only for recording projects. Then band spokesman Mitchell Schneider said that McVie was, like Nicks, still a member, but was unwilling to tour after the group completes a string of U.S. concerts in December. (A reported source of tension in the band is a forthcoming book, Fleetwood: My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac, by drummer Mick Fleetwood, which details the group's past drug use and sexual escapades. Band spokesmen deny that the book had any impact on the moves by Nicks and McVie.) Schneider said the group, currently on tour in Europe, had not yet agreed on a public announcement. ''It's been a difficult week,'' he said. ''I just wish I had a statement to give to people.''

Much clearer than the status of the band is the state of its latest album, Behind the Mask. It has sold about 800,000 copies in the U.S. so far-not bad for most groups but disappointing when compared to sales of more than 2 million units each for five of the previous seven Fleetwood Mac releases. Although Behind the Mask has been out a mere five months, it has virtually stopped moving, and ticket sales for the group's concerts have been cool too. These financial shortfalls may have strained relations in a band that changed members only three years ago, when singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham left and was replaced by singer-guitarists Rick Vito and Billy Burnette. Fleetwood Mac has undergone seismic shifts in personnel before, but seldom has its future seemed so uncertain.

Originally posted Sep 28, 1990 Published in issue #33 Sep 28, 1990 Order article reprints