ABOUT THE BOOK:
Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity
. . . now. until
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A.
Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.
Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.
READ AN EXCERPT:
Daisy Jones was born in 1951 and grew up in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, California. The daughter of Frank Jones, the well-known British painter, and Jeanne LeFevre, a French model, Daisy started to make a name for herself in the late sixties as a young teenager on the Sunset Strip.
Elaine Chang (biographer, author of Daisy Jones: Wild Flower): Here is what is so captivating about Daisy Jones even before she was “Daisy Jones.”
You’ve got a rich white girl, growing up in L.A. She’s gorgeous — even as a child. She has these stunning big blue eyes — dark, cobalt blue. One of my favorite anecdotes about her is that in the eighties a colored-contact company actually created a shade called Daisy Blue. She’s got copper-red hair that is thick and wavy and… takes up so much space. And then her cheekbones almost seem swollen, that’s how
they are. And she’s got
an incredible voice that she doesn’t cultivate, never takes a lesson. She’s
born with all the money in the world, access to whatever she wants— artists,
drugs, clubs — anything and everything at her disposal. defined
But she has no one. No siblings, no extended family in Los Angeles. Two parents who are so into their own world that they are all but indifferent to her existence. Although, they never shy away from making her pose for their artist friends. That’s why there are so many paintings and photos of Daisy as a child — the artists that came into that home saw Daisy Jones, saw how gorgeous she was, and wanted to capture her. It’s telling that there is no Frank Jones piece of Daisy. Her father is too busy with his male nudes to pay much attention to his daughter. And in general, Daisy spends her childhood rather alone.
But she’s actually a very gregarious, outgoing kid— Daisy would often ask to get her hair cut just because she loved her hairdresser, she would ask neighbors if she could walk their dogs, there was even a family joke about the time Daisy tried to bake a birthday cake for the mailman. So this is a girl that desperately wants to connect. But there’s no one in her life who is truly interested in who she is, especially not her parents. And it really breaks her. But it is also how she grows up to become an icon.
We love broken, beautiful people. And it doesn’t get much more obviously broken and more classically beautiful than Daisy Jones.
So it makes sense that Daisy starts to find herself on the Sunset Strip. This glamorous, seedy place.
Daisy Jones (singer, Daisy Jones & The Six): I could walk down to the Strip from my house. I was about fourteen, sick of being stuck in the house, just looking for something to do. I wasn’t old enough to get into any of the bars and clubs but I went anyway.
I remember bumming a cigarette off of a roadie for the Byrds when I was pretty young. I learned quickly that people thought you were older if you didn’t wear your bra. And sometimes I’d wear a
the cool girls had on. I wanted to fit in with the groupies on the sidewalk,
with their joints and their flasks and all of that. bandanna
So I bummed a cigarette from this roadie outside the Whisky a Go Go one night — the first time I’d ever had one and I tried to pretend I did it all the time. I held the cough in my throat and what have you — and I was flirting with him the best I could. I’m embarrassed to think about it now, how clumsy I probably was.
But eventually, some guy comes up to the roadie and says, “We gotta get inside and set up the amps.” And he turns to me and says, “You coming?” And that’s how I snuck into the Whisky for the first time.
I stayed out that night until three or four in the morning. I’d never done anything like that before. But suddenly it was like I existed. I was a part of something. I went from zero to sixty that night. I was drinking and smoking anything anybody would give me.
When I got home, I walked in through the front door, drunk and stoned, and crashed in my bed. I’m pretty sure my parents never even noticed I was gone.
I got up, went out the next night, did the same thing.
Eventually, the bouncers on the Strip recognized me and let me in wherever I was going. The Whisky, London Fog, the Riot House. No one cared how young I was.
Greg McGuinness (former concierge, the Continental Hyatt House): Ah, man, I don’t know how long Daisy was hanging around the Hyatt House before I noticed her. But I remember the first time I saw her. I was on the phone and in walks this crazy tall, crazy skinny girl with these bangs. And the biggest, roundest blue eyes you ever saw in your life, man. She also had this smile. Huge smile. She came in on the arm of some guy. I don’t remember who.
A lot of the girls around the Strip back then, I mean, they were young, but they tried to seem older. Daisy just was, though. Didn’t seem like she was trying to be anything. Except herself.
After that, I noticed she was at the hotel a lot. She was always laughing. There was nothing
about her, ’least when I knew her. It
was like watching Bambi learn how to walk. She was jaded naïve and real
real you could tell there was something about her. vulnerable but
I was nervous for her, tell you the truth. There were so many men in the scene that were… into young girls. Thirty-something rock
with teenagers. Not saying it was okay, just saying that’s how it was.
How old was Lori Mattix when she was with Jimmy Page? Fourteen? And Iggy Pop
and Sable Starr? He sang about it, man. He was bragging about it. stars
When it came to Daisy — I mean, the singers, the guitarists, the roadies — everybody was looking at her. Whenever I saw her, though, I’d try to make sure she was doing all right. I kept tabs on her here and there. I really liked her. She
just cooler than anything else happening
around her. was
Daisy: I learned about sex and love the hard way. That
will take what they want and feel no men , that some people only want one piece
of you. debt
I do think there were girls — the Plaster Casters, some of the GTOs — maybe they weren’t being taken advantage of, I don’t know. But it was a bad scene for me, at first.
I lost my virginity to somebody that… it doesn’t matter who it was. He was older, he was a drummer. We were in the lobby of the Riot House and he invited me upstairs to do some lines. He said I was the girl of his dreams.
I was drawn to him mainly because he was drawn to me. I wanted someone to single me out as something special. I was just so desperate to hold someone’s interest.
Before I knew it, we were on his bed. And he asked me if I knew what I was doing and I said
though the answer was no. But
everyone always talked about free love and how sex was a good thing. If you
were cool, if you were hip, you liked sex. yes even
I stared at the ceiling the whole time, waiting for him to be done. I knew I was supposed to be moving
I stayed perfectly
still, scared to move. All you could hear in the room was the sound of our
clothes rubbing up against the bedspread. around but
I had no idea what I was doing or why I was doing things I knew I didn’t want to be doing. But I’ve had a lot of therapy in my life now. And I mean a lot of therapy. And I see it now. I see myself clearly now. I wanted to be around these men — these stars — because I didn’t know how else to be important. And I figured I had to please them if I wanted to stay.
When he was done, he got up. And I pulled my dress down. And he said, “If you want to go back down to your friends, that’s all right.” I didn’t really have any friends. But I knew he meant I needed to leave. So I did.
He never talked to me again.
Simone Jackson (disco star): I remember seeing Daisy on the dance floor one night at the Whisky. Everybody saw her. Your eye went right to her. If the rest of the world was silver, Daisy was gold.
Daisy: Simone became my best friend.
Simone: I brought Daisy out with me everywhere. I never had a sister.
I remember… It was the Sunset Strip riot, when all of us went down to Pandora’s and protested the curfew and the cops. Daisy and I went out, protested, met up with some actors and went over to Barney’s Beanery to keep partying. After that, we went back to somebody’s place. Daisy passed out on this guy’s patio. We didn’t go home until the next afternoon. She was maybe fifteen. I was probably nineteen. I just kept thinking, Doesn’t anybody care about this girl but me?
And, by the way, we were all on speed back then, even Daisy as young as she was. But if you wanted to stay skinny and be up all night, you were taking something. Mostly
or black beauties. bennies
Daisy: Diet pills were an easy choice. It didn’t even feel like a choice. It didn’t even feel like we were getting high, at first. Coke, too. If it was around, you took a bump. People didn’t even consider it an addiction. It wasn’t like that.
Simone: My producer bought me a place in Laurel Canyon. He wanted to sleep with me. I told him no and he bought it for me anyway. I had Daisy move in.
We ended up sharing a bed for six months. So I can tell you
that that girl never slept. I’d be trying to fall asleep at four in
the morning and Daisy would want the light on so she could read. firsthand
Daisy: I had pretty bad insomnia for a long time, even when I was a kid. I’d be up at eleven o’clock, saying I wasn’t tired, and my parents would always yell at me to “just go to sleep.” So in the middle of the night I was always looking for quiet things to do. My mom had these romance novels hanging around so I would read those. It would be two in the morning and my parents would be having a party downstairs and I’d be sitting on my bed with my lamp on, reading Doctor Zhivago or Peyton Place.
And then it just became habit. I would read anything that was around. I wasn’t picky. Thrillers, detective novels,
Around the time I moved in with Simone, I found a box of
on the side of the road one day, up in Beachwood Canyon. I
tore through those in no time. history biographies
Simone: I’ll tell you, she’s the entire reason I started wearing a sleeping mask.
Laughs] But then I kept doing it because I looked
Daisy: I was living with Simone for two weeks before I went home to get more clothes.
My dad said, “Did you break the
this morning?” coffeemaker
I said, “Dad, I don’t even live here.”
Simone: I told her the one condition of living with me was that she had to go to school.
Daisy: High school was not easy for me. I knew that to get an A, you had to do what you were told. But I also knew that a lot of what we were being told was bullshit. I remember one time I was assigned an essay on how Columbus discovered America and so I wrote a paper about how Columbus did not discover America. Because he didn’t. But then I got an F.
I said to my teacher, “But I’m right.”
And she said, “But you didn’t follow the assignment.”
Simone: She was so bright and her teachers didn’t seem to really recognize that.
Daisy: People always say I didn’t graduate high
did. When I walked across the stage to get my diploma, Simone was cheering for
me. She was so proud of me. And I started to feel proud of myself, too. That
night, I took the diploma out of its case and I folded it up and I used it,
like a bookmark, in my copy of school but of the Dolls. Valley
Simone: When my first album flopped, my record label dropped me. My producer kicked us out of that place. I got a job waiting tables and moved in with my cousin in Leimert Park. Daisy had to move back in with her parents.
Daisy: I just packed up my stuff from Simone’s and drove it right back to my parents’ place. When I walked in the front door, my mom was on the phone, smoking a cigarette.
I said, “Hey, I’m back.”
She said, “We got a new couch,” and then just kept on talking on the phone.
Simone: Daisy got all of her beauty from her mother. Jeanne was gorgeous. I remember I met her a few times back then. Big eyes, very full lips. There was a sensuality to her. People used to always tell
looked just like her mother. They did look similar but I knew better than to
tell Daisy that. Daisy she
I think one time I said to Daisy, “Your mom is beautiful.”
Daisy said to me, “Yeah, beautiful and nothing else.”
Daisy: When we got kicked out of Simone’s house, that was the first time I realized that I couldn’t just float around living off other people.
I think I was seventeen, maybe. And it was the first time I wondered if I had a purpose.
Simone: Sometimes, Daisy would be over at my place, taking a shower or doing the dishes. I’d hear her sing Janis Joplin or Johnny Cash. She loved singing “Mercedes Benz.” She sounded better than anybody else. Here I was trying to get another record deal — taking voice lessons all the time, really working at it — and Daisy, it was so easy for her. I wanted to hate her for it. But Daisy’s not very easy to hate.
Daisy: One of my favorite memories was… Simone and I
down La Cienega together, probably in my BMW I had back then. They’ve
got that huge shopping center there were
driving back then it was still the Record
Plant. I don’t know where we were headed, probably to Jan’s to get a sandwich.
But we were listening to Tapestry. And “You’ve Got a Friend” came on. Simone
and I were singing so loud, along with Carole King. But I was really listening
to the lyrics, too. I was really feeling it. That song always made me thankful
for her, for Simone. now but
There’s this peace that comes with knowing you have a person in the world who would do anything for you, that you would do anything for. She was the first time I ever
that. I got a little bit teary, in the car
listening to that song. I turned to Simone and I opened my mouth to had talk but
she just nodded and said, “Me too.”
Simone: It was my mission to make Daisy do something with her voice. But Daisy wasn’t
gonna do a single thing she didn’t want to do.
She’d really come into herself by then. When I met her, she was still a bit naïve but [laughs] let’s just say she’d gotten tougher.
Daisy: I was seeing a couple guys back then, including Wyatt Stone of the Breeze. And I didn’t feel the same way about him that he felt about me.
This one night we were smoking a joint up on the roof of this apartment over on Santa Monica and Wyatt said, “I love you so much and I don’t understand why you don’t love me.”
I said, “I love you as much as I’m willing to love anybody.” Which was true. I wasn’t really willing to be vulnerable with anybody at that point. I had felt too much vulnerability too young. I didn’t want to do it anymore.
So that night after Wyatt goes to bed, I can’t sleep. And I see this piece of paper with this song he’s writing and it’s clearly about me. It says something about a redhead and mentioned the hoop earrings that I was wearing all the time.
And then he had this chorus about me having a big
no love in it. I kept looking at the words, thinking, This isn’t right. He
didn’t understand me at all. So I thought about it for a little while and got
out a pen and paper. I wrote some things down.
When he woke up, I said, “Your chorus should be more like ‘Big eyes, big soul/big heart, no control/but all she got to give is tiny love.’ ”
Wyatt grabbed a pen and paper and he said, “Say that again?”
I said, “It was just an example. Write your own goddamn song.”
Simone: “Tiny Love” was the Breeze’s biggest hit. And Wyatt pretended he wrote the whole thing.
Wyatt Stone (lead singer, the Breeze): Why are you asking me about this? This is water under the bridge. Who even remembers?
Daisy: It was starting to be a pattern. Once, I was having breakfast at Barney’s Beanery with a guy — this writer-director. Now, back then I always ordered champagne with breakfast. But I was also always tired in the morning because I wasn’t sleeping enough. So I needed coffee. Of course, I couldn’t order just coffee because I’d be too
amped from the pills I was
taking. And I couldn’t just have the champagne because it would put me to
sleep. You understand the problem. So I used to order champagne and coffee
together. And at the places where servers knew me, I used to call it an Up and
Down. Something to keep me up, something to keep me down. And this guy thought
it was hilarious. He said, “I’m going to use that in something one day.” And he
wrote it down on a napkin and put it in his back pocket. I thought to myself,
What the hell makes you think I’m not going to use it in something one day?
But, of course, there it was in his next movie.
That’s how it was back then. I was just supposed to be the inspiration for some man’s great idea.
Well, fuck that.
That’s why I started writing my own stuff.
Simone: I was the only one encouraging her to make something of herself with her talent. Everybody else just tried to make something of themselves with what she had.
Daisy: I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse.
I am not a muse.
I am the somebody.
End of fucking story.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a 2019 Ballantine Books publication.
Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll! I mean, that’s what the seventies were all about, man!! Right?
Taylor Jenkins Reid has done an admirable job of creating the atmosphere and mindset of the seventies and the rock bands that were catapulted to success beyond their wildest dreams.
From their humble incarnation to their mega-stardom, to their slide down into relative obscurity, the author takes us on a journey back to the days when the music meant everything, the bands were serious about their art, and the rock and roll lifestyle either made you or it broke you.
To tell the band’s storied history, the author employs a documentary style format, which is an interesting approach. It works in some ways, but it falls flat in others. As other reviewers have pointed out, the fictional band featured in this story is a thinly veiled Fleetwood Mac prototype.
Again, this works to some extent because many people are familiar with the outrageous dramas within the band and it feels a bit familiar, and therefore plausible. But, at the same time, I did wish this fictional band had not borne such a close resemblance to an actual group. I thought it took something away from the story, as it was less imaginative than it could have been. However, this might be what made the book appealing to some readers.
That said, as the story progresses, and the band follows an all too familiar and cliched path, riddled with pitfalls, drugs, relationship woes, and all manner of inner turmoil and temptation, the story makes an ever so subtle shift into something a little more substantial than the typical ‘Behind the Music’ ‘Rockumentary’ type of story.
Although the characters’ personas are very recognizable, they are also very well constructed and unique in their own way. They do prompt emotions, but are still enigmas, in the same way the rock stars of the seventies often were, adding to, and maintaining their mystique. The downside to that gamble is that one may not feel a deep connection with them.
While those thoughts were whirling around in my head, the realization that I'd finally become invested in the welfare of the band snuck up on me. I did, finally, find myself wrapped up in the drama, and was torn by the difficult choices that the characters made, questioning some, understanding others, but ultimately making peace with the way everything came together in the end.
I will confess I was very much looking forward to this book and with all the rave reviews I was confident this one would blow me away. But, as much as I love this author and wanted to love this book, it didn't rock my world- so to speak.
Don't get me wrong, I did like the book, but it didn’t come close to packing the emotional punch of Evelyn Hugo, and I thought it had the potential to do so. However, the big reveal in this case, which was centered around the group's final performance, was anticlimactic, in my opinion.
Still, this is one many will find compulsively readable, and some will enjoy the feelings of nostalgia the story evokes. In some ways the story feels like an alternate reality for the real rock band the story is so obviously based on, which is also a thought provoking and interesting concept.
Overall, although this one didn't have the impact on me, I'd hoped, I still enjoyed it. Due to the style and format, it is a very easy read, and many will be able to finish it off in one day or even in one sitting.
A little Fleetwood Mac playing in the background will make some nice mood music to go along with the saga of Daisy Jones and the Six.
GET YOUR COPY HERE:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, and two other novels. She lives in Los Angeles. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @tjenkinsreid.