AUTHOR’S NOTE—The Rise of the Six: 1966-1972
The author’s note introduces the format of the book, which is told as a biography of the band Daisy Jones & The Six. The fictional author of the book has compiled interviews from band members, industry experts, family and friends of the band, and other relevant people into a collection that tells the story of Daisy Jones & The Six from dozens of different people’s perspectives. The author notes that the stories of those interviewed may vary and that the truth may lay somewhere in between everyone’s accounts.
The Groupie Daisy Jones: 1965-1972
Daisy Jones grows up in L.A. and is described by her biographer Elaine Chang as exceptionally beautiful and rich, with access to anything she wants from a very young age. Her parents don’t pay much attention to her and travel often. She sneaks into music clubs on the Sunset Strip, begins using drugs, and is coerced into sleeping with men she isn’t interested in. She meets Simone Jackson, who is a few years older than Daisy and takes her under her wing. Simone and Daisy live together, and Simone insists that Daisy finish high school. Simone wants Daisy to do something with her beautiful, effortless singing voice. Daisy says that men often steal her ideas, including her boyfriend who steals her lyrics and writes a hit song entitled “Tiny Love.” But Daisy doesn’t want to be a man’s muse. She wants to be someone who’s famous in her own right.
The Rise of The Six: 1966-1972
Billy Dunne, lead singer of The Six, and his brother, Graham Dunne, lead guitarist, are abandoned by their father while they are young kids. They start a band called The Dunne Brothers when they are older and bring on drummer Warren Rhodes, bassist Pete Loving, and rhythm guitarist Chuck Williams. They quickly find some success as a band, playing local shows and weddings. At one of these weddings, Billy and Graham see their father dancing with a younger woman, and he doesn’t acknowledge them onstage. Billy is very upset, and he wonders if their father could even recognize them after so many years apart.
Chuck is drafted to serve in the Vietnam War, and the band soon learns that he was killed in action. Eddie Loving, Pete’s younger brother, replaces Chuck as the rhythm guitarist. The band takes a shine to the keyboardist from the band The Winters, Karen Karen, and she joins the Dunne Brothers. While the Dunne Brothers perform at a wedding, Billy meets a cocktail waitress named Camila Martinez. Billy and Camila quickly fall in love and, when the band starts touring, Billy finds that he misses Camila. Billy calls Camila often and starts writing songs about her. The band gets discovered by Rod Reyes, who becomes their manager, and they change their name to The Six.
Rod encourages The Six to start touring in California to gain a broader audience. Billy feels like the tour is something he has to do, but Camila won’t join them, and the two break up. They are both heartbroken and neither move on from their relationship. Teddy Price, a record producer for Runner Records, sees the band play in California and tells Billy he has a talent for writing songs about his love for Camila. This leads to The Six getting a record deal. Billy calls Camila and asks her if she’ll marry him. Camila is thrilled about the deal and says yes.
The unique format of the book allows each individual to tell their own story, and, as a result, the reader is able to spot myriad inconsistencies. This formal device often creates uncertainty about what exactly happened. What emerges is a patchwork history of Daisy Jones & The Six, and the truth seems to show itself in glimpses between the individual narratives. For example, when each of the band members talks about the choice of the name “The Six,” Warren and Graham say they chose it, in part, because it sounded like “The Sex,” while Billy and Karen say that wasn’t a factor. This gives a rich portrait of the whole truth: sex was in the atmosphere around The Six and is integral to their creation and dissolution. Some people noticed and celebrated that, while others didn’t want to even think about it. In this way, the novel’s narrative format also reveals something about each narrator. Billy and Karen both go on to hide their sexual or romantic feelings, while Graham and Warren are forthright with theirs. Thus, the different narratives work together to create a complex portrait of the group’s entire nuanced history.
Camila both plays into and thwarts gender stereotypes that arise in her relationship with Billy. Throughout their early relationship, Camila is part of the creative force that drives Billy, as he writes his best songs for and about Camila. This sets up a pattern wherein Camila serves as Billy’s muse, a pattern that will continue throughout their lives. In contrast, Daisy refuses to be a muse, rejecting this role as one assigned to women in music whether they like it or not and claiming agency over her own career as a songwriter. However, Camila also thwarts gender stereotypes. For example, she refuses to simply follow Billy wherever he goes, which establishes that she is an independent force, setting her own boundaries and determining the course of her life. Her refusal illustrates that, while she’s supportive of Billy’s career, she’s also an agent of her own life and will not be a part of Billy’s career. Because she sets this boundary, both she and Billy end up getting what they most want: Billy earns his record deal, largely based on the songs he wrote about his love for her, and Camila gets the commitment she needs from Billy for them to start a life together, on her terms.
Personal struggle is integral to success for both Daisy Jones and Graham and Billy Dunne. Daisy Jones’ childhood is lonely and she’s often neglected by her parents, which drives her to seek friendship and validation elsewhere. Though it is difficult and often dangerous to be so young in the music scene, Daisy learns early on that she needs to create her own found family who will love and support her, like Simone. Similarly, she learns that men will take whatever they want from her if she doesn’t protect herself, whether it’s sex she doesn’t want or even her own lyrics and ideas. Though this is a painful struggle, it helps Daisy realize early on that she doesn’t want to be merely attached to successful men—she wants to be the success herself. In the same way that Daisy finds solace in the music scene, the Dunne brothers also turn to music when their father leaves them, and Billy even inherits his first guitar when his father leaves it behind. Billy and Graham are both motivated to create something out of the painful abandonment by their father, making music out of his silence. Without these early struggles, Daisy, Billy, and Graham would not be the rockstars they grow to be.