Chapter no 2

Daisy Jones and The Six

19ód—f 97 7

The Six started out as a blues-rock band called the Dunne Brothers in the mid-sixties out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Billy and Graham Dunne were raised by single mother, Marlene Dunne, after their father, William Dunne Sr., left in 1954.

Billy Dunne (lead singer, The Six)I was seven when Dad left, Graham was five. One of my first memories was when Dad told us he was moving to Georgia. I asked if I could come with him and he said no.

But he left behind this old Silvertone guitar and Graham and I would fight over who got to play it. Playing that thing was about all we did. Nobody taught us, we taught ourselves.

Then, when I got older, sometimes I’d stay late after school and mess around on the piano in the chorus room.

Eventually, when I was about fifteen or so, Mom saved up and bought Graham and I an old Strat for Christmas. Graham wanted that one so I let him have it. I kept the Silvertone.

Graham Dunne (lead guitar, The Six)Once Billy and I each had a guitar, we started to write new songs together. I wanted the Silvertone but I could tell it meant more to Billy. So I took the Strat.

Billy: Everything grew from there.

Graham: Billy got really into songwriting, really into the lyrics. All he’d talk about was Bob Dylan. Me, I was more of a Roy Orbison guy. I think we both had these stars in our eyes—wanted to be the Beatles. But everybody wanted to be the Beatles. You wanted to be the Beatles and then you wanted to be the Stones.

Billy: For me, it was Dylan and Lennon. Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and Hard Day’s Night. Those just…I was…Those men were my guides.

In 1967, with the brothers in their teens, they brought on drummer Warren Rhodes, bassist Pete Loving, and rhythm guitarist Chuck Williams.

Warren Rhodes (drummer, The Six)A drummer needs a band. It’s not like being a singer or a guitarist—you can’t just perform on your own. No girls were saying, “Oh, Warren, play me the drumbeat from ‘Hey Joe.’ ”

And I wanted in, man. I was listening to the Who, the Kinks, the Yardbirds, stuff like that. I wanted to be Keith Moon and Ringo and Mitch Mitchell.

Billy: Warren we liked right from the start. And then Pete was an easy grab. Went to school with us, played bass for this high school band that played our prom. When they broke up, I said, “Pete, come on and join us.” He was always really cool about stuff; he just wanted to rock out.

Then there was Chuck. And Chuck was a few years older than the rest of us, from a few towns over. But Pete knew him, vouched for him. Chuck was real clean-cut—square jaw and blond hair and all that. But we auditioned him and turned out he was better than me, at rhythm guitar.

I wanted to be a front man and now we had a full five-man band so I could do that.

Graham: We got a lot better, really quickly. I mean, all we were doing was practicing.

Warren: Day in and day out. I woke up, grabbed my sticks, and headed over to Billy and Graham’s garage. If my thumbs were bleeding when I went to bed, it was a good day.

Graham: I mean, what else were we gonna do? None of us had girlfriends, except Billy. All the girls wanted to date Billy. And, I swear, it was like Billy was in love with a new girl every week. He’d always been like that.

In elementary school, he’d asked out his second-grade teacher. Mom always said he was born girl crazy. She used to joke it’d be the end of him.

Warren: We played house parties and a bar here and there. For maybe about six months or so, maybe a little longer. Got paid in beer. Which, when you’re underage isn’t so bad.

Graham: We weren’t always hanging out in the, let’s say classiest of places. There were a few times a fight would break out over something and you were worried you might get caught in the cross fire. This one time we were playing a gig at a dive bar and this guy in the front got a little too jacked up on something. He starts swinging punches at people. I’m minding my own business playing my riffs when suddenly he’s coming for me!

And then it all went lightning fast. Boom. He was on the ground. Billy had taken him out.

Billy’d done the same thing when we were little kids. I was headed down to the five-and-dime and some kid tried to jump me for a couple nickels. Billy ran up to us and then just flattened him.

Warren: You knew back then not to say any shit about Graham if Billy could hear you. You know, Graham wasn’t that good when we were starting out. I remember one time Pete and I were saying to Billy, “Maybe we should replace Graham,” and Billy said, “Say that again and Graham and I will replace you.” [Laughs] Honestly, I thought that was cool. I was thinking, All right, I’m not gonna get involved then. Never did bother me much that Billy and Graham thought of the band as theirs. I liked thinking of myself as a drummer for hire. I was just trying to have a good time playing in a good band.

GrahamWe started to play enough that some people around town knew who we were. And Billy was just starting to get into his lead singer thing. He had a look, you know? We all did. We stopped cutting our hair.

Billy: I wore jeans everywhere, got really into big belt buckles.

Warren: Graham and Pete started wearing these tight T-shirts. I’d tell them, “I can see your nipples.” But they thought that was cool.

Billy: We got hired for this wedding. It was a big deal. A wedding meant we were gonna be heard by, you know, a hundred people. I think I was nineteen.

We had auditioned for this couple with our best song. It was this slower, folkier song I’d written called “Nevermore.” Just thinking about it makes me cringe. Truly. I was writing about the Catonsville Nine and things like that. I thought I was Dylan. But we got the gig.

And about halfway through our show at this wedding, I notice this fifty-something guy dancing with this twenty-something girl and I thought, Does this guy know what a creep he looks like?

And then I realize it’s my dad.

Graham: Our father was there with this young girl, about our age. I realized it before Billy, I think. Recognized him from the pictures our mom kept in the shoe box under her bed.

Billy: I couldn’t believe it. He’d been gone ten years by that point. And he was supposed to be in Georgia. That asshole was just standing right in the middle of the dance floor, no idea his sons were up onstage. It had been so long since he’d seen us, he didn’t even recognize us. Not our faces or our voices, nothing.

When we finished playing, I watched him walk off the dance floor. Didn’t so much as look at us. I mean, what kind of sociopath do you have to be not to notice your own sons when they are right there in front of you? How is that even possible?

In my experience, biology kicks in. You meet that kid, and you know it’s yours, and you love that kid. That’s just how it works.

Graham: Billy asked a few people at the wedding about him. Turns out, our father had been living a few towns over. Friends with the bride’s family or something. Billy was boiling mad, saying, “He didn’t even recognize us.” I always thought that he probably did recognize us and just didn’t know what to say.

Billy: It messes with you, when your own father doesn’t care about you enough to say hello. I’m not saying it was a self-pity thing. I wasn’t sitting there asking, “Why doesn’t he love me?” It was more…Oh, okay, this is how dark the world can be. Some fathers don’t love their sons.

It was a lesson in what not to be, I’ll tell you that much.

Graham: Seemed like he was a drunk asshole anyway. So good riddance to him.

Billy: After the wedding had ended, and everyone was packing up, I had a few too many beers…and I saw this woman working as a cocktail waitress at the hotel bar. [Smiles] Gorgeous girl. Real long brown hair, down to her waist, and big brown eyes. I’m a sucker for brown eyes. I remember she was wearing a tiny little blue dress. She was short. And I liked that.

I was standing there in the hotel lobby, on my way to the van. And she was waiting on a customer over at the bar. You could tell, just watching her, that she wasn’t taking shit from anybody.

Camila Dunne (wife of Billy Dunne)Oh my word, was he good looking….Slim but still muscular, which has always been my type. And he had these thick eyelashes. And so much confidence. And a really big smile. And when I saw him in the lobby, I remember thinking, Why can’t I meet a guy like that?

Billy: I walked right up to her, in that bar, holding, you know, an amp in one hand and a guitar in the other. I said, “Miss? I’d like

your number, please.”

She was standing up at the register. She had one hand on her hip. She laughed at me and kind of looked at me sideways. I don’t remember exactly what she said but it was something like “What if you’re not my type?”

I leaned over the bar and said, “My name is Billy Dunne. I’m the lead singer of the Dunne Brothers. And if you give me your number I’ll write a song about you.”

That got her. That doesn’t get every woman. But it usually gets the good ones.

Camila: I went home and told my mom I met somebody. And she said, “Nice boy?”

And I said, “I don’t know about that.” [Laughs] Nice never did much for me.

Over the summer and fall of 1969, the Dunne Brothers started to book more shows in Pittsburgh and the surrounding towns.

Graham: When Camila started coming out with us, I’ll admit I didn’t think she’d last much longer than the others. But I should have known she was different. I mean, first time I met her, she came to a gig of ours wearing a Tommy James shirt. She knew good music.

Warren: The rest of us were really starting to get laid, man. And Billy was taking himself off the market. We’d all be with chicks and he’d be sitting there, smoking a joint, having a beer to keep himself busy.

I came out of a girl’s room one time, zipping my pants up, and Billy was sitting on the sofa, watching Dick Cavett. I said, “Man, you gotta ditch that girlfriend.” I mean, we all liked Camila, she was foxy and she’d tell you your business right to your face, which I liked. But c’mon.

Billy: I’d been infatuated before, called it love. But when I met [Camila], it was something different altogether. She just…made the world make sense to me. She even made me like myself more.

She’d come watch us practice and listen to my new stuff and give me really good notes on it all. And there was a calmness to her that…nobody else had. It felt like when I was with her, I knew everything would be fine. It was like I was following the North Star.

You know, Camila was born content, I think. She wasn’t born with whatever chip on her shoulder some of us are born with. I used to say I was born broken. She was born whole. That’s where the lyrics to “Born Broken” came from.

Camila: When Billy met my parents for the first time, I was a little nervous. You only get one chance to make a first impression, especially with them. I picked out his outfit, down to his socks. Made him wear the only tie he had.

They loved him. Said he was charming. But my mom was also worried about me putting my trust in some guy in a band.

Billy: Pete was the only one who seemed to understand why I’d have a girlfriend. Chuck, one time, as we were packing up for a show, said, “Just tell her you aren’t a one-woman guy. Girls get that.” [Laughs] That was not gonna work on Camila.

WarrenChuck was real cool. He would cut right to the heart of something. He sort of looked like he’d never had an interesting thought in his life. But he could surprise you. He turned me on to Status Quo. I still listen to them.

On December 1, 1969, the U.S. Selective Service System conducted a lottery to determine the draft order for 197o. Billy and Graham Dunne, both born in December, had unusually high numbers. Warren just missed the cutoff. Pete Loving fell in the middle. But

Chuck Williams, born April 24, 1949, was assigned lottery number 2.

GrahamChuck got called for the draft. I remember sitting at Chuck’s kitchen table, him saying he was going to Vietnam. Billy and I kept thinking of ways he could get out of it. He said he wasn’t a coward. Last time I saw him, we played a bar by Duquesne. I said, “You’ll just come on back to the band when you’re done.”

WarrenBilly played Chuck’s parts for a while but we’d heard Eddie Loving [Pete’s younger brother] had gotten pretty good at the guitar. We invited him to come audition.

BillyNobody could be Chuck. But then we kept getting more shows and I didn’t want to keep playing rhythm guitar onstage. So we invited Eddie. Figured he could pitch in for a little while.

Eddie Loving (rhythm guitar, The Six)I got along well with everybody but I could tell Billy and Graham just wanted me to fit into the mold they had set for me, you know? Play this, do that.

GrahamFew months in, we heard from one of Chuck’s old neighbors.

Billy: Chuck died in Cambodia. He wasn’t even there six months, I don’t think.

You do sometimes sit and wonder why it wasn’t you, what makes you so special that you get to be safe. The world doesn’t make much sense.

At the end of 197o, the Dunne Brothers played a show at the Pint in Baltimore where Rick Marks, lead singer for the Winters, was in attendance. Impressed with their raw sound and taking a

liking to Billy, he offered them an opening spot on a few shows on their northeastern tour.

The Dunne Brothers joined the Winters and quickly became influenced by the Winters’ sound and intrigued with their keyboardist, Karen Karen.

Karen Karen (keyboardist, The Six)The first time I met the Dunne Brothers, Graham asked me, “What’s your name?”

I said, “Karen.”

And he said, “What’s your last name?”

But I thought he said, “What’s your name?” again, like he didn’t hear me.

So I said, “Karen.”

And he laughed and said, “Karen Karen?”

Everybody called me Karen Karen from then on. My last name is Sirko, for the record. But Karen Karen just stuck.

Billy: Karen added this extra layer, a lushness, to what the Winters were doing. I started thinking maybe we needed something like that.

Graham: Billy and I were starting to think…maybe we don’t need somebody like Karen. Maybe we need Karen.

Karen: I left the Winters because I was sick of everyone in the band trying to sleep with me. I wanted to just be a musician.

And I liked Camila. She’d hang out after the shows sometimes, when she came up to visit Billy. I dug that Billy had her around sometimes or was always on the phone with her. It was a better vibe all around.

Camila: When they went on tour with the Winters, I’d drive up to any weekend shows they had, and hang out backstage. I’d have spent four hours in the car and I’d get to the venue—usually these places were pretty sketchy with gum all over everything and your shoes sticking to the floor—I’d give my name at the door and

they’d show me through to the back and, there I was, a part of it all.

I’d walk in and Graham and Eddie and everybody would yell, “Camila!” And Billy would walk over and put his arm around me. Once Karen started hanging out, too…it just cinched it for me. I felt like, This is where I belong.

Graham: Karen Karen was a great addition to the band. Made everything better. And she was beautiful, too. I mean, in addition to being talented. I always thought she looked a little like Ali MacGraw.

Karen: When I said that I dug the fact that the boys in the Dunne Brothers weren’t trying to get with me, that doesn’t go for Graham Dunne. But I knew he liked me for my talent just as much as my looks. So it didn’t faze me much. It was sweet, actually. Plus, Graham was a sexy guy. Especially in the seventies.

I never got the whole “Billy is the sex symbol” idea. I mean, he had the dark hair, dark eyes, high cheekbones thing. But I like my men a little less pretty. I like it when they look a little dangerous but are actually very gentle. That’s Graham. Broad shoulders, hairy chest, dusty brown hair. He was handsome but he was still a little rough around the edges.

I will admit that Billy knew how to wear a pair of jeans though.

Billy: Karen was just a great musician. That was all there was to it. I always say I don’t care if you’re a man, woman, white, black, gay, straight, or anything in between—if you play well, you play well. Music is a great equalizer in that way.

Karen: Men often think they deserve a sticker for treating women like people.

Warren: That was around the time Billy’s drinking seemed like it was getting a little over the edge. He’d party like the rest of us but when we all went off with the chicks we met, he’d stay up drinking.

But he always seemed fine in the morning, and we were all kind of going crazy out there. Except for maybe Pete. He’d met this girl Jenny in Boston and was always on the phone with her.

Graham: Anything Billy does, he goes hard. He loves hard, he drinks hard. Even the way he spends money, like it’s burning a hole in his pocket. It was part of the reason why, with Camila, I was telling him to take it slow.

Billy: Camila came out with us sometimes, but a lot of the time she waited at home. She was still living with her parents and I would call her every night from the road.

Camila: When he didn’t have a dime to make a call, he’d call collect and when I answered he’d say, “Billy Dunne loves Camila Martinez,” and then hang up before the charge kicked in. [Laughs] My mom always rolled her eyes but I thought it was sweet.

Karen: A few weeks after I joined the band, I said, “We need a new name.” The Dunne Brothers didn’t make sense anymore.

Eddie: I’d been saying we needed a new name.

Billy: We had a following with that name. I didn’t want to change it.

Warren: We couldn’t decide what to call ourselves. I think somebody suggested the Dipsticks. I wanted us to go by Shaggin’.

Eddie: Pete said, “You’re never going to get six people to agree on this.”

And I said, “What about The Six?”

Karen: I got a call from a booker in Philly, where I’m from. And he said that the Winters had pulled out of a festival there, asked if we wanted to play. I said, “Right on, but we aren’t called the Dunne Brothers anymore.”

He said, “Well, what do I put on the flyer?”

I said, “Not sure yet but I’ll get the six of us there.” And I liked how it sounded, “The Six.”

Warren: Part of the brilliance of the name was how close it was to “the Sex.” But I don’t think any of us ever talked about that. It was so obvious there was no need to put a finer point on it.

Karen: I was not thinking about it sounding like anything.

Billy: “The Sex”? No, that wasn’t a part of it.

Graham: It sounded like sex. That was a big part of it.

Billy: We played that show in Philly as The Six and then we got an offer to do another show in town. Another in Harrisburg. Another in Allentown. We got asked to play New Year’s Eve at this bar in Hartford.

We weren’t making much money. But I’d spend my last dollar taking Camila out whenever I was home. We’d go to this pizza joint a few blocks from her parents’ place or I’d borrow money from Graham or Warren to take her out somewhere nice. She always told me to cut it out. She’d say, “If I wanted to be with a rich guy, I wouldn’t have given my number to the singer of a wedding band.”

Camila: Billy had charisma and I fell for all that. I always did. The smoldering, the brooding. A lot of my girlfriends were looking for guys that could afford a nice ring. But I wanted somebody fascinating.

Graham: Around ’seventy-one, we booked a few shows in New York.

Eddie: New York was…it was how you knew you were somebody.

Graham: One night, we’re playing a bar over in the Bowery and out on the street, smoking a cigarette, is a guy named Rod Reyes.

Rod Reyes (manager, The Six)Billy Dunne was a rock star. You could just see it. He was very cocksure, knew who to play to in the crowd. There was an emotion that he brought to his stuff.

There’s just a quality that some people have. If you took nine guys, plus Mick Jagger, and you put them in a lineup, someone who had never heard of the Rolling Stones before could still point to Jagger and say, “That’s the rock star.”

Billy had that. And the band had a good sound.

Billy: When Rod came up to us after that show at the Wreckage… that was the watershed moment.

Rod: When I started working with the band, I had some ideas. Some of which were well received and others…not so much.

Graham: Rod told me I needed to cut out half of my solos. Said they were interesting for people that loved technical guitar work but boring for everyone else.

I said, “Why would I play to people who don’t care about good guitar?”

He said, “If you want to be huge, you gotta be for everybody.”

Billy: Rod told me to stop writing about stuff I didn’t know about. He said, “Don’t reinvent the wheel. Write about your girl.” Hands down, best career advice I ever got.

Karen: Rod told me to wear low-cut shirts and I said, “Dream on,” and that was about the end of that.

Eddie: Rod started getting us gigs all over the East Coast. Florida to Canada.

Warren: Let me tell you the sweet spot for being in rock ’n’ roll. People think it’s when you’re at the top but no. That’s when you’ve got the pressure and the expectations. What’s good is when everybody thinks you’re headed somewhere fast, when you’re all potential. Potential is pure fuckin’ joy.

Graham: The longer we were out on the road, the wilder we all got. And Billy wasn’t exactly…Look, Billy liked attention. Especially from women. But, at least at that point, that’s all it was. Just attention.

Billy: It was a lot to balance. Loving somebody back home, being out on the road. Girls were coming backstage and I was the one they wanted to meet. I was…I didn’t know what a relationship was supposed to look like.

Camila: We’d started to get into fights, Billy and I. I will admit I wanted something impractical, back then. I wanted to date a rock star but I wanted him available at all times. I’d get mad when he couldn’t do exactly what I wanted. I was young. So was he.

Sometimes it would get so bad that we’d stop talking for a few days. And then one of us would call the other and apologize and things would go back the way they were. I loved him and I knew he loved me. It wasn’t easy. But as my mother used to remind me, “You’ve never been interested in easy.”

Graham: This one night, Billy and I were back home and getting in the van to head out to Tennessee or Kentucky or somewhere. Camila came to see us off. And when Rod pulled up in the van, Billy was saying goodbye.

He moved the hair out of Camila’s face and put his lips on her forehead. I remember that he didn’t even really kiss her. He just held his lips there. And I thought, I’ve never cared about anyone like that.

Billy: I wrote “Señora” for Camila and, let me tell you, people liked that song a lot. Pretty soon, at our best shows, people were

getting up out of their seats, starting to dance, singing along.

Camila: I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I was technically a “señorita.” I mean, choose your battles. Besides, once I listened to it…“Let me carry you/on my back/the road looks long/and the night looks black/but the two of us are bold explorers/me and my gold señora.”

I loved it. I loved that song.

Billy: We cut a demo of “Señora” and “When the Sun Shines on You.”

Rod: My real contacts were all out in L.A. by then. I said to the band, I think it was maybe ’seventy-two…I said, “We gotta go out west.”

Eddie: California was where the cool shit was happening, you know what I mean?

Billy: I just thought, There’s something inside me that needs to do this.

Warren: I was ready to go. I said, “Let’s get in the van.”

Billy: I went to Camila’s parents’ house and I sat her down on the edge of her bed. I said, “Do you want to come with us?”

She said, “What would I do?” I said, “I don’t know.”

She said, “You want me to just follow you around?” I said, “I guess.”

She took a moment and then she said, “No, thank you.”

I asked her if we could stay together and she said, “Are you coming back?” And I told her I didn’t know.

And she said, “Then, no.” And she dumped me.

Camila: I got mad. That he was leaving. And I blew up at him. I didn’t know how else to handle it.

Karen: Camila called me, before we left on tour. Told me she’d broken up with Billy. I said, “I thought you loved him.”

And she said, “He didn’t even try to fight me on it!” I said to her, “If you love him, you should tell him.”

And she said, “He’s the one leaving! It’s on him to fix this.”

Camila: Love and pride don’t mix.

Billy: What could I do? She didn’t want to come with me and I…I couldn’t stay.

Graham: We packed up and said goodbye to Mom. She’d married the mailman by then. I mean, I know his name was Dave but until the day he died, I called him the mailman because that’s what he was. He delivered the mail at her office. He was the mailman.

Anyway, we left Mom with the mailman and got in the van.

Karen: We gigged everywhere along the way from Pennsylvania to California.

Billy: Camila made her choice and there was a big part of me that felt like, All right, I’ll be single then. See if she likes that.

Graham: Billy straight up lost his mind on that trip.

Rod: It wasn’t the women I was worried about, with Billy. Although there were a lot of women. But Billy would get so messed up after shows that I’d have to wake him up the next afternoon by slapping him across the face, he was that far gone.

Camila: I was sick to my stomach without him. I was…kicking myself. Every day. Waking up in tears. My mom kept telling me to track him down. To take it back. But it felt like it was too late. He’d

gone on without me. To make his dreams come true. As he should have.

Warren: When we got to L.A., Rod hooked us up with a few rooms at the Hyatt House.

Greg McGuinness (former concierge, the Continental Hyatt House)Ah, man, I’d love to tell you that I remember The Six coming in and staying with us. But I don’t. There was so much going on, so many bands back then. It was hard to keep track, I remember meeting Billy Dunne and Warren Rhodes later, but back then, no.

Warren: Rod called in his favors. We started playing bigger gigs.

Eddie: L.A. was a trip. Everywhere you looked, you were surrounded by people who loved playing music, who liked to party. I thought, Why the hell didn’t we come here sooner? The girls were gorgeous. The drugs were cheap.

Billy: We played a few shows around Hollywood. At the Whisky, the Roxy, P.J.’s. I had just written a new song called “Farther from You.” It was all about how much I missed Camila, how far I felt from her.

When we hit the Strip, that felt like we were really coming into our own.

Graham: All of us started to dress a bit better. You really had to step up your game in L.A. I started wearing my shirts unbuttoned halfway down my chest. I thought I was sexy as hell.

Billy: That was about when I got really into…what is it that people call it now? A Canadian tuxedo? I was wearing a denim shirt with my jeans, pretty much every day.

Karen: I felt like I couldn’t focus on playing if I dressed in miniskirts and boots and all that. I mean, I liked that look, but I

wore high-waisted jeans and turtlenecks most of the time.

Graham: Karen was so fucking sexy in those turtlenecks.

Rod: Once they were starting to get some good attention, I set up a show for them at the Troubadour.

Graham: “Farther from You” was a great song. And you could tell Billy felt it. Billy couldn’t fake anything. When he was in pain or when he was joyful, you could feel it.

That show at the Troubadour that night, as we were playing, I looked over at Karen and she was in it, you know? And then I looked at Billy, and he’s singing his heart out and I thought, This is our best show yet.

Rod: I saw Teddy Price standing in the back, listening. I hadn’t met him before but I knew he was a producer with Runner Records. We had a few friends in common. After the show, he came up and found me, said, “My assistant heard you guys at P.J.’s. I told him I would come listen.”

Billy: We get offstage and Rod comes up to me with this real tall, fat guy in a suit and he says, “Billy, I want you to meet Teddy Price.

First thing Teddy says is—and you have to remember he had this real thick upper-crust British accent—“You’ve got a hell of a talent for writing about that girl.”

Karen: Watching Billy, it felt a little bit like watching a dog find a master. He wanted to please him, wanted the record deal. You could feel it dripping off him.

Warren: Teddy Price was ugly as sin. A face only a mother could love. [Laughs] I’m just messing around. He was ugly, though. I liked that he didn’t seem to care.

Karen: That’s the glory of being a man. An ugly face isn’t the end of you.

Billy: I shook Teddy’s hand and he asked me if I had any more songs like the ones he’d heard. I said, “Yes, sir.”

He said, “Where do you see this band in five years? Ten years?”

And I said, “We’ll be the biggest band in the world.”

Warren: I signed my first pair of tits that night. This girl comes up to me and unbuttons her shirt and says, “Sign me.” So I signed her. Let me tell you, that’s a memory you have for a lifetime.

The following week, Teddy visited the band at a rehearsal space in the San Fernando Valley and listened to the seven songs they had prepared. Shortly after, they were invited to the Runner Records offices, introduced to CEO Rich Palentino, and offered a recording and publishing deal. Teddy Price, personally, would be producing their album.

Graham: We signed the deal around four in the afternoon and I remember walking out onto Sunset Boulevard, the six of us, the sun hitting us right in the eyes and just feeling like Los Angeles had opened its arms and said, “Come on in, baby.”

I saw a T-shirt a few years ago that said, “I Got My Shades on Cuz My Future’s So Bright,” and I thought the little shit that was wearing it doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He never stood on Sunset Boulevard, sun blinding his eyes, with his five best friends and a record contract in his back pocket.

Billy: That night, everybody was out partying over at the Rainbow and I walked away, walked down the street to a pay phone. Imagine achieving your wildest dream and feeling empty inside. It didn’t mean anything unless I could share it with Camila. So I called her.

My heart was beating so fast as the phone rang. I put my fingers to my pulse and it was throbbing. But when Camila answered, it was like laying down in bed after a long day. I felt so much better, just hearing her voice. I said, “I miss you. I don’t think I can live without you.”

She said, “I miss you, too.”

I said, “What are we doing this for? We’re supposed to be together.”

And she said, “Yeah, I know.”

We were both quiet on the line and I said, “If I had a record contract, would you marry me?”

She said, “What?”

Camila: I was just so excited for him if it was true. He’d worked so hard for it.

Billy: I said it again. “If I had a record contract, would you marry me?”

She said, “You got a record contract?”

That’s when I knew, right then. That Camila was my soul mate. She cared more about the record contract than anything else. I said, “You didn’t answer my question.”

She said, “Did you get a record contract, yes or no?” I said, “Will you marry me, yes or no?”

She didn’t say anything for a while, and then she said, “Yes.” And then I said, “Yes.”

She started screaming, so excited. I said, “Come on out here, honey. Let’s get hitched.”

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