If friction begets heat, it's no wonder that they're still a hot ticket.
They've loved and loathed one another, been friends and enemies, both catalyzed and occasionally undermined by the intimacy that much of their catalog is posited upon.
"We are a group of great contradictions," notes Fleetwood Mac singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham in a conference call with journalists. "The members don't necessarily have any business being in a band together because the range of sensibilities is disparate."
True to Buckingham's words, Fleetwood Mac largely has traversed unpaved terrain for much of the band's existence, getting ensnared in their share of potholes.
And now, the blues-cum-pop changelings are back on the road for the first time in five years, drawn on tour in large part because of their dissatisfaction with their last outing together.
"I think that knowing that we did not succeed as well as we could have the last time we did an album and did a tour together, we did not succeed as well as we could have on a kind of an interpersonal level, that there was something to shoot for that was a little higher," Buckingham explains.
If their aspirations are a bit more pronounced these days, that's not all that's different with the band this go 'round.
For the first time in Fleetwood Mac's long, four-decade history, the band is touring without a new album, and you can practically hear the relief in Buckingham's voice as he speaks.
"It takes a little pressure off, not having to kind of reinvent anything this particular time," he says. "I think because of that, we are able to just look at the body of work and choose from that and then just have a little more fun with it than we would normally be able to have."
"Fun" being the operative word here, one not always synonymous with this once quarrelsome bunch.
But the group seems to be transitioning away from a lot of things, interpersonal tumult being just one of them.
Even though it's been a decade since singer Christine McVie departed the band, they're still getting accustomed to touring without her, and even toyed with bringing in Sheryl Crow to join them for this jaunt.
"We rented a studio, we hired a crew and we were ready to go in," singer Stevie Nicks recalls of attempting to work with Crow. "It was Mother's Day, it was her first Mother's Day as a mom, and she could not do it. And at that point she said, 'I'm going to have to pass.' And I said, 'I think you're making the right decision. You have a new baby. You have survived breast cancer and Lance Armstrong. I don't think this is the right thing for you.' "
Besides, Nicks knew that no one else was going to be able to come into the band and stabilize her sometimes rocky relationship with Buckingham, that the two would have to figure things out on their own.
"We really realized that there wasn't going to be another woman to come in this band that was going to fix our problems," Nicks says. "I was looking at it as a buffer between me and Lindsey. And Lindsey and I don't need a buffer, because certainly Sheryl Crow and not any other woman in this world is going to be able to get in the middle of Lindsey and me. So, the fact is, if Lindsey and I can't work out our problems by ourselves, we might as well throw in the towel."
And neither one of them is prepared to go there just yet.
Besides, there's no longer miles between them, just miles and miles of highway to be traveled.
"We've been down this road, a long, long road, and in some ways we know each other better than we know anybody else," Buckingham says. "We share things with each other that we've never shared with other people. And I think that we all want to dignify the road we've been down.
"I just think we all want to get to a place where we all feel that there's unity waiting in the wings," he continues. "I think that's one of the main meanings of what we're doing right now."
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.