The friction between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham that went public with 1977's Rumours has yet to cool.
"We are a cast of characters who never really belonged in the same band in the first place," says Buckingham, 63. "But the synergy works, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the mines lie in the field this time. It wouldn't be a band without that tension. All the same things kick in. I know what I'm supposed to do. I know whose face to get in to make things happen. All those roles are so familiar. I'm ready to pick up the dice and roll again."
Nicks and Buckingham are considering a 40th anniversary reissue of their storied Buckingham Nicks album next year, with a newly unearthed, previously unreleased track from the sessions.
Buckingham's one-man-show solo tour was a confidence booster that improved his singing, he says. He's aware Nicks is returning with greater spunk after her solo winning streak, which could set the stage for a clash. Her recent solo outing "renewed Stevie's spirit," he says. "I'm happy she had a couple of great years. If it means a more complex political landscape, so be it." Buckingham's solo foray "has been good for him," says Nicks, 64. "Playing (one-man shows) can't help but give you a certain compassionate softness. It's very different from Fleetwood Mac."
Nicks is eager to return to Mac and determined to establish harmony. "I'm going to be very clear about what I want," she says. "What I want is for this band to get along and have a great time. So I'm demanding that. We are going to have a great collaborative working relationship. We're always great on stage. I don't say that from a conceited place. We've been playing since 1975. We know what we're doing up there."
Buckingham can't argue with that.
"The important thing is for us not to let the politics or landmines get in the way of us having a good time, especially for Stevie and me," he says. "There's been a subtext of competition and animosity, which is the flip side of love, for a long time. I think it's driven both of us. Now is an appropriate time for us to acknowledge the context of our relationship and see what's left for us to do. If this is the beginning of the last act, let's wind up in a place that dignifies what we started."
Hungry for a big Mac splurge? After a three-year absence, Fleetwood Mac embarks on a 34-city North American tour starting April 4 in Columbus, Ohio. Tickets for the first run of shows go on sale Dec. 14.
The band, founded in 1967, is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its trailblazing Rumours, which sold 40 million copies worldwide, held Billboard's No. 1 spot for 31 weeks and spawned top 10 hits Dreams, Don't Stop, Go Your Own Way and You Make Loving Fun.
Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, who joined in 1975, and namesakes Mick Fleetwood and John McVie last toured in 2009 and haven't released a studio album since 2003's Say You Will.
Yet new tunes may be shoehorned into a set list packed with classics.
"There were some tracks John, Mick and I cut with Stevie in mind while she was on the road," Buckingham says. "It's the most Fleetwood Mac-sounding stuff I've heard in a long time. We've been talking about releasing an EP, but I don't know how these moving parts will fit together yet."
In light of the band's deep catalog, the singer/guitarist isn't concerned about a second consecutive tour without a studio album.
"We'd be OK for one more round," he says. "People do want to hear that body of work and be transported to a certain time. The older you get and the longer the band has been around, you come to terms with the fact that no one's particularly interested in hearing anything too new. It's about what you do with what you've got."
Nicks envisions performing hits, rarities and maybe a couple of migrants, particularly the war-themed Soldier's Angel, a duet with Buckingham from her 2011 solo album, In Your Dreams.
"It's become a standard in my set, and I get a standing ovation every night," Nicks says. "Fans might like seeing Lindsey and I sing it. And it gives me a chance to ask people to help veterans who are so young and so messed up. I turn into an eighth-grade teacher."
Opting to extend her solo tour, Nicks was a holdout when the band wanted to hit the road early this year.
"I had to put my foot down and say, 'I'm not touring with you in 2012,' and it wasn't a very popular idea," she says. "I always think it's good for Fleetwood Mac to be away for three years. Two years is like, well, 'I just saw you.' My feeling was, let 2013 be the year of Fleetwood Mac and make it an exciting event."
April 4 Columbus, Ohio (Nationwide Arena)
April 6 Philadelphia (Wells Fargo Center)
April 8 New York (Madison Square Garden)
April 9 Washington, D.C. (Verizon Center)
April 11 Louisville (KFC Yum! Center)
April 13 Chicago (United Center)
April 16 Toronto (The Air Canada Centre)
April 18 Boston (TD Garden)
April 20 Uncasville, Conn. (Mohegan Sun Arena)
April 23 Ottawa (Scotiabank Place)
April 24 East Rutherford, N.J. (IZOD Center)
April 26 Pittsburgh (CONSOL Energy Center)
April 28 St. Paul (Xcel Energy Center)
April 30 Kansas City, Mo. (Sprint Center)
May 1 Tulsa (BOK Center)
May 3 Little Rock (Verizon Arena)
May 12 Winnipeg (MTS Centre)
May 14 Saskatoon (Credit Union Centre)
May 15 Edmonton (Rexall Place)
May 17 Calgary (Scotiabank Saddledome)
May 19 Vancouver (Rogers Arena)
May 20 Tacoma, Wash. (Tacoma Dome)
May 22 San Jose (HP Pavilion)
May 25 Los Angeles (Hollywood Bowl)
May 26 Las Vegas (MGM Grand Arena)
May 28 Anaheim, Calif. (Honda Center)
May 30 Phoenix (US Airways Center)
June 1 Denver (Pepsi Center)
June 4 Dallas (American Airlines Center)
June 5 Houston (Toyota Center)
June 7 Tampa (Tampa Bay Times Forum)
June 8 Fort Lauderdale (BB&T Center)
June 10 Atlanta (Philips Arena)
June 12 To be announced