Chapter no 4

Daisy Jones and The Six

197 ù —19 7 ii



The Six settled into life in Los Angeles, renting a house in the hills of Topanga Canyon. They prepared to begin recording their debut album. Teddy, along with a team of technicians, including lead engineer Artie Snyder, set up shop at Sound City Studios, a recording studio in Van Nuys, California.

Karen: The day we moved into that house I thought, This place is a dump. It was this rickety old thing with the front door off the hinges and chipped stained-glass windows. I hated it. But about a week or two later, Camila got to L.A. She drove down the long driveway through the woods and she got out of the car and she went, “Wow. This place is bitchin’.” Once she said the house was cool, I started to dig it.

Camila: The house was surrounded by rosemary bushes. I loved that.

Billy: Man, it felt good to have Camila back. It felt so good to have that woman in my arms again. We were gonna get married and I was in L.A. and I was making a record with my brother and everything felt like it was gold.

Warren: Graham and Karen each had a bedroom off the kitchen. Pete and Eddie took the garage. Billy and Camila wanted the loft. So I got the only bedroom with a bathroom in it.

Graham: Warren’s bedroom had a toilet in it. He used to say he had his own bathroom but he didn’t. His room had a toilet. Just in the corner of the room.

Billy: Teddy was a night owl. So we would all head out to the studio in the afternoon and stay pretty late into the night, sometimes into the morning.

When we were recording, the rest of the world didn’t exist to us. You’re in that dark studio, thinking of nothing but the music.

Me and Teddy…we were knee-deep in it. Speeding up tempos and recording in different keys, trying out everything. I was playing around with new instruments. I was lost to it all at the studio. But then I’d come home and Camila would be asleep, the sheets around her. I’d be a little drunk, usually, and I’d slip into bed right next to her.

It was always the mornings that I got to spend with Camila back then. The way most couples go out to dinner at the end of a long day, Camila and I would go out to breakfast. Some of my favorite mornings were the ones where I wouldn’t even bother going to sleep. Camila would wake up and the two of us would drive on down to Malibu and have breakfast along PCH.

Every morning, she’d order the same thing: an iced tea, no sugar, three lemon slices.

Camila: Iced tea, three lemons. Club soda, two limes. Martini with two olives and an onion. I’m particular about my drinks. [Laughs] I’m particular about a lot of things.

Karen: You know, people think of Camila as following Billy everywhere, taking care of Billy all the time, but it wasn’t like that. She was a force to be reckoned with. She got what she wanted. Almost all the time. She was persuasive and kind of pushy— although, you never really realized you were being pushed. But she was opinionated and knew how to get her way.

I remember this one time she and Billy came down into the living room one morning, just a bit before noon, maybe. We were all in last night’s jeans, that kind of thing. We weren’t going into the studio until much later. Camila said, “You all want to make a big breakfast? Pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs, the whole nine?”

But Billy had heard that Graham and I were about to get a burger and he wanted to go with us.

So Camila said, “I’ll just make you all burgers here.”

And we said fine. So she sent Billy out for hamburger meat and told him to get bacon, too. And eggs for tomorrow.

Then she fired up the grill and came in to tell us the burger meat Billy got didn’t look so good. So she’d just make bacon. And while she was making bacon, might as well make eggs, and if she had the eggs out, might as well make some pancakes, too.

Suddenly, it was 1:30 and we were all sitting around the table to eat a brunch and there wasn’t a single burger in sight. All of it tasted great and no one even noticed what she had done except me.

That’s what I loved about her. She was no wallflower. You just had to be paying attention to see it.

Eddie: The rest of us were always gone, most of the time at least, and I just assumed Camila might help around the house, might clean a bit, you know what I mean? I said one time, “Maybe while we’re gone, you could tidy up or something.”

Camila: I said, “All right.” And then I proceeded to not clean a single thing.

Graham: It was a busy time. Billy was always writing. We were always working on some element or another. In and out of the studio, sleeping there sometimes.

So many nights Karen and I would stay up until the sun came up, working on a riff or a melody.

Warren: That was when I grew my mustache. See now, some men just can’t pull off a mustache. But I can. I grew it when we were recording our first album and I have never shaved it.

Well, I shaved it one time and I looked like a skinned cat so I grew it back.

Graham: Recording an album, especially a debut, it takes a lot out of you. Billy became a little obsessive. I think that’s why—when the rest of us might have done a bump in the studio—I think that’s why Billy started doing lines every day. He was staying in the zone.

Billy: I was intent on making sure that album was the greatest album anyone had ever released since the dawn of time. [Laughs] Let’s just say I wasn’t known for keeping things in perspective back then.

Eddie: Billy took a lot of control over that album. And Teddy let him.

Billy would write the songs, write almost everybody’s parts. He’d come in and he’d know the guitars and the keys and what he wanted on the drums. He wasn’t on Pete as much, he let Pete have a little bit more leeway. But the rest of us, he dictated the sound and we all went along with it.

I kept looking at everybody else, wondering if someone was going to say something. But no one did. It seemed like I was the only one that cared. And when I’d push back, Teddy would back Billy.

Artie Snyder (lead engineer for The Six, SevenEightNine, and Aurora)Teddy thought Billy was the real talent of The Six. He never said that to me directly. But he and I spent a lot of time in the control room over the years. And we’d go out sometimes after the band went home, have a drink or two, get a burger. Teddy was a guy who could eat. You’d say, “Let’s get drinks,” and Teddy would say, “Let’s get steaks.” What I mean is, I knew him well.

And he really singled Billy out. He asked his opinion when he didn’t ask anyone else’s, looked at Billy when he was talking to the whole band.

Don’t get me wrong, all of them were talented. I once used one of Karen’s tracks as an example to another keyboardist of what he should be doing. And I once heard Teddy tell another producer that Pete and Warren were going to be the best rhythm section in rock one day. So he believed in all of them. But he homed in on Billy.

One night as we were walking to our cars Teddy said Billy was the one that had what you can’t teach. And I think that’s true. I still think that’s true.

Graham: Billy was always wondering if we should lay it down one more time, if we should mess with the mix more. Teddy kept telling us that he wanted to leave it as raw as possible. Teddy spent some real energy trying to get Billy to just be Billy.

Billy: Teddy told me once, “What your sound is, is a feeling. That’s it. And that’s a world above everything else.”

I remember saying, “What’s the feeling?”

I was writing about love. I was singing with a little bit of a growl. We were rockin’ hard on the guitars with some real blues bass lines. So I was thinking Teddy might say, you know, “taking a girl home from a bar” or “speeding with the top down,” or something like that. Something fun, maybe, and a little dangerous.

But he just said, “It’s ineffable. If I could define it, I wouldn’t have any use for it.”

That really stuck with me.

Karen: It was pretty boss, recording an album with a real studio. There were techs around to tune everything, people around getting lunch, somebody to go grab you a dime bag. Every day, there was a large spread for lunch that got changed out for dinner.

This one time, we were recording and in comes a dozen chocolate chip cookies delivered by some dude. I said, “We have enough cookies.”

And the kid said, “Not this kind.” They were laced. I have no idea who sent them.

Eddie: “Just One More” was written and recorded in one day when somebody sent over a batch of grass baked into cookies. The whole song, written mostly by Billy with my help, seems like it’s about wanting to sleep with a girl one time before you hit the road. But it was about how we’d eaten all the grass and just wanted one more cookie.

Warren: I took three of the cookies myself and I hid one of ’em for later and as Billy is writing this song about wanting one more, I thought, Shit! He knows I have one more!

Graham: It was just a great time. We had a great time back then.

Billy: It did have that kind of feeling where…you know you’re in a time of your life you’ll remember forever.

Graham: The night before we finished recording, I came home from somewhere or other and found Karen sitting up on the railing of the deck, looking out into the canyon. Warren was in a patio chair, whittling what looked like a skinny Christmas tree out of a plastic spoon.

Karen turned to me and said, “It’s a shame the water’s up to my ankles. I wanted to go for a hike.”

And so I said, “What are you guys on and is there any more?”

Karen: It was mescaline.

Warren: That night, when Graham, Karen, and I did peyote, I remember telling myself that if the album was shit, I was gonna be okay. Because I could make spoons for a living. That logic wasn’t sound, obviously. But the thought did stick with me. You can’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Graham: We finished recording everything in November, I think.

Eddie: We finished up around March.

Graham: Now, it was probably another month, maybe two, that Billy and Teddy were in the studio going over the mixes.

I would go in some days, listen to what they were doing. I had some thoughts and Billy and Teddy always heard me out. And then they played us the final mix and I was blown away.

Eddie: No one was allowed in the studio except Teddy and Billy. They were working on that thing for months. And then finally we were all allowed to hear it.

But it was dynamite. I said to Pete, I said, “We sound fuckin’ great.”

Billy: We played it for Rich Palentino in the conference room over at the Runner offices. I was tapping my foot so hard underneath that table. I was nervous. This was our shot. If Rich didn’t like it, I was thinking I might explode.

Warren: To us back then, Rich was this old guy in his suit and tie. I thought, This corporate fucker is judging me? He looked like such an agent of the man.

Graham: I had to stop watching Rich and just close my eyes and listen. And when I did, I thought, There’s no way this guy isn’t gonna dig this.

Billy: The last note of “When the Sun Shines on You” played and I was staring at Rich. Graham and Teddy are staring, too—we’re all staring at him. Rich gets this small smile on his face and he goes, “You’ve got a great album here.”

And when Rich liked it, that was it. It was like the last bit of me that was grounded down to earth just flew off, like someone had pulled the rip cord and I was flying.

Nick Harris (rock critic)Their self-titled debut was a respectable entrance into the rock scene. It was straitlaced and economical, sort of a no-frills blues-rock album from a band that knew how to write a decent love song and had really perfected the art of the drug innuendo. A little bit folky, very catchy, lots of swagger, big riffs, hard drums, and that great Billy Dunne smooth growl.

It was an auspicious start.

After an album cover shoot, industry events, an interview with Creem magazine, and big early buzz for the album, Runner Records and Rod Reyes started planning a thirty-city tour.

Billy: Everything was happening so fast. And I was…You’re an underdog for so long and then one day you’re not. And when you start to feel real success, when you start to live large and all that, you have to stop and ask yourself if you think you really deserve it.

Anyone that isn’t a complete asshole will come up with the answer “No.” Because of course you don’t. When guys you grew up with are working three jobs. Or they’re lost overseas like we lost Chuck. Of course you don’t deserve it. You have to learn how to reconcile those two things. Having it and not deserving it. Or, you do what I did, and refuse to think about it.

That’s why I was eager to get on the road, to start touring. When you’re on the road, you don’t really have to deal with real life. It’s almost like hitting the pause button.

Eddie: We were headed out on a big tour, you know what I’m saying? Getting interviewed in cool places, getting our own bus. It felt good. It felt real good.

Billy: The night before we were getting on the bus, Camila and I, we were laying in bed, tangled up in the sheets. She had grown her hair out even longer by that point. God, I could just get lost in that hair.

Her hair and her hands always smelled kinda earthy, kind of herbal. She used to grab rosemary branches and crush them up in her hands and then run her hands through her hair. Every time I smell rosemary, even now, it’s like I am instantly back there, stupid and young, living in a house in the canyon with my band and my girl.

And that night, the one before we left, I just kept smelling the rosemary in her hair. It was then, right before I was gonna leave for the tour in the morning, that she told me.

Camila: I was seven weeks pregnant.

Karen: Camila wanted kids. Me, I always knew kids weren’t in the cards for me. I think it’s a feeling you get. I think you have it in your heart or you don’t.

And you can’t put it in your heart if it’s not there. And you can’t pull it out of your heart if it is.

And it was in Camila’s heart.

Billy: I was happy, at first. I think. Or…[pauses] I was trying really hard to be happy about it. I think I knew…I was happy about it. I was just so scared it was all I could see.

I started focusing on whatever I could to make it make sense. I decided that we needed to get married right away. We had been planning to have a wedding sometime after the tour but I decided we needed to do it right then. I don’t know why that mattered to me…but…[pauses] The moment I knew she was pregnant I felt like we had to make sure we were a proper family.

Camila: Karen knew an ordained minister. She got his number from a friend of hers and we called him late that night. He came right over.

Eddie: It was four in the morning.

Camila: Karen decorated the porch out back.

Karen: I strung strips of aluminum foil all through the trees. [Laughs] It doesn’t sound great in the context of all the environmental shit now. It looked really pretty, in my defense. It swayed with the wind and it bounced the light of the moon.

Graham: Warren had some Christmas lights in his drum kit because he liked to light up his toms. I asked if we could use ’em and he gave me some guff about how he had already packed them up. I said, “Warren, get me your lights now before I tell everyone what an asshole you are.”

Warren: It wasn’t my problem Billy and Camila decided to get married in the middle of the night.

Karen: By the time Graham and I were done with it, it looked pretty far out. Almost like the sort of place you’d want to get married even if you had forever to plan it.

Billy: As Camila was getting dressed, I went into the bathroom and I looked at myself in the mirror. I just kept telling myself I could do it. I can do this. I can do this. I walked down to the patio and then Camila came down in a white T-shirt and a pair of jeans.

Karen: She had on a yellow crochet top. She looked so pretty.

Camila: I wasn’t nervous at all.

Eddie: I had one piece of film left in my Polaroid so I took a photo. I accidentally cut off their heads. You can just see Camila’s legs and her hair down her back. You can see Billy’s chest a bit. They are holding hands in the picture, facing each other. I was so mad I missed their faces. But I was also trippin’ balls.

Graham: Camila said something about loving Billy no matter what he did, something about them, with this baby, being a team. But she said it like they were a real sports team. I looked over and Pete was crying. He was trying to hide it but it was obvious. There were tears in his eyes. I think I gave him a look like, “Seriously?” And he just shrugged.

Warren: Pete cried the whole damn time. [Laughs] That guy cracked me up.

Billy: Camila said—I remember just how she said it—she said, “It’s us, our team, forever and always. And I will always root for us.” But there was this voice in my head that was telling me I shouldn’t be anybody’s father. I couldn’t quiet it. It just…it kept reverberating in my head. You’re gonna fuck it all up. You’re gonna fuck it all up.

Graham: Look, as a man without a dad, you don’t have the foggiest idea what you’re supposed to do and you don’t have anyone to ask.

I got it later, when I had my own kids. It’s like being first in the line, cutting down the path with a machete. Just the word Dad. This word that we equated with deadbeat, asshole, alcoholic. Now it described Billy, too. He was supposed to find a way to make that word fit onto him. At least, when I went through it, I had Billy to look to. Back then, Billy didn’t have anybody.

Billy: The voice kept saying, If you don’t have a father, how can you be a father?

That voice…[pauses] That was the beginning of a bad time. Where I was not myself. Actually, no. I don’t like putting it that way—you’re never not yourself. You’re always you. It’s just, sometimes, who you are…who you are is a shitty person.

Karen: They kissed each other and I could tell Camila was tearing up. Billy picked her up into his arms. He ran her upstairs and we all laughed. I paid the minister guy because Billy and Camila forgot to.

Billy: I remember laying there in that bed with Camila—right after we got married—and I just wanted to leave. I kept waiting for it to be time to get on the bus, because I just…I couldn’t face her. I knew she’d be able to tell what was going on inside my head if she got too good a look at my face.

I wasn’t good at lying to her. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. People think lying is all bad but…I don’t know. Lying protects people sometimes.

I laid there as the sun came up and I heard the bus pull in and I jumped out of bed, kissed her goodbye.

Camila: I didn’t want him to go. But I also would never have let him stay.

Graham: When I got up in the morning, Billy was already standing there outside the bus, talking to Rod.

Billy: We were all loaded up and the bus driver pulled out of the driveway and Camila had just run down to the front stoop in her nightgown. She’d rushed down to wave goodbye. I waved back but…I had a hard time looking at her.

Graham: He was very hard to read. That morning, that bus ride.

Billy: That night, we pulled into Santa Rosa, we started getting ready for our show at Inn of the Beginning. But I wasn’t in the right mind.

Eddie: Our first show of the tour did not go well. And there was no reason for it to go poorly except that we just weren’t in sync the way we should have been, you know? Billy reversed two of the verses on “Born Broken.” And then Graham came in late on a bridge.

Karen: I wasn’t too worried about it. But you could tell Billy and Graham were upset about how it went.

Billy: Afterward, we went back to the hotel. Girls started pouring into the room. There was a loaded bar there for us. I had more to drink than I should have. I had a highball glass in one hand and the bottle of Cuervo in the other. Just kept pouring myself a new glass. New glass, new glass, new glass.

I remember Graham telling me to slow it down. But there was too much running through me.

I was gonna be a father and I was a husband and Camila was back in L.A. and we had just played this awful show, and our album had just come out and we didn’t know how it would do.

Tequila quieted the whole thing down.

So when Graham told me to stop, I wasn’t gonna listen. And you know, there’s coke lying around. And I’m doing that. And somebody’s got quaaludes and I grab a few of those.

Warren: We were in two adjoining rooms at this motel and I was getting into it with this girl over in the corner of the one room. Cool chick—she was wearing a scarf as a shirt—and all of a sudden she jumped up and asked where her sister was. I didn’t even know she had a sister with her.

Somebody called out, “I think she’s with Billy.”

Billy: Sometime around three or four in the morning I think I blacked out. When I woke up I was in the hotel bathtub…I wasn’t alone. [Pauses] There was a…blond girl, laying on top of me. I’m so embarrassed to be telling you this but it’s true.

I got up and puked.

Graham: When I woke up, I saw Billy standing out in the parking lot smoking a cigarette. He was pacing back and forth, kind of talking to himself, looked a little crazy. I went out there and he said, “I fucked up. I fucked it all up.”

I knew what had happened. I’d tried to stop it. But there was no stopping him. I said, “Just don’t do it again, man. That’s all. Just don’t do it again.”

He nodded and said, “Yeah.”

Billy: I called Camila just to hear her voice. I knew I couldn’t tell her what I’d done. I told myself that I would never do it again and that’s what was important.

Camila: You’re asking me if I knew he was going to be unfaithful as if that’s a thing that you know or you don’t know. Like it’s black and white. But it’s not. You suspect, then you sort of un-suspect.

Then you suspect again. Then you tell yourself you’re crazy. Then you ask yourself whether fidelity is really something you value above all else.

Let me put it this way: I’ve seen a lot of marriages where everyone is faithful and no one is happy.

Billy: At the end of the call, Camila said she had to go and I said, “All right,” and then I remember she said, “Okay, honey, we love you.”

And I said, “We?”

And she said, “Me and the baby.”

And that just…I think I hung up the phone before I could even say goodbye.

Karen: Camila had become my friend. I hated Billy for putting me in a position to either tell Camila what he’d done or lie to her.

Billy: Drinking, drugging, sleeping around, it’s all the same thing. You have these lines you won’t cross. But then you cross them. And suddenly you possess the very dangerous information

that you can break the rule and the world won’t instantly come to

an end.

You’ve taken a big, black, bold line and you’ve made it a little bit gray. And now every time you cross it again, it just gets grayer and grayer until one day you look around and you think, There was a line here once, I think.

Graham: It got to be a rhythm: get to town, sound check, play, party, get on the bus. And the better we started playing, the more we partied. Hotels, girls, drugs. Over and over. Hotels, girls, drugs. For all of us. But especially Billy.

Warren: We had a rule back then; we each had five matchsticks. That’s how we’d invite people back to the party after. If they had a matchstick, they were in. We could give them out to any girl in the crowd we saw. Obviously, we tried to steer clear of weirdos.

Rod: Let me tell you what it means to manage a rock band. We’re driving all over hell and creation, roadies and crew and the whole nine. And not one person—not one member of that band—asked themselves how we were always stocked up on gas.

End of ’seventy-three was the oil crisis, there was a gas shortage. The tour manager and I are bribing gas station attendants like our lives depend on it. I’m switching out license plates.

And no one even notices because they’re all sleeping around and drunk and high.

Karen: Billy turned into someone I didn’t recognize on that tour. He’d pass out in the bus with a girl under his arm, invite girls with us from one city to another.

Eddie: I mean, Billy had one of the roadies deliver tequila and quaaludes to him at all hours of the night.

Karen: The album was doing pretty well and our tour got extended. I was talking to Camila about it and she said, “Karen, should I come join you guys?”

I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth fast enough. I said, “No, stay there.”

Warren: Let me sum up that early tour for you: I was getting laid, Graham was getting high, Eddie was getting drunk, Karen was getting fed up, Pete was getting on the phone to his girl back home, and Billy was all five, at once.

Eddie: I was backstage after the Ottawa show, having a few beers with the Midnight Dawn guys. Graham was with me. Karen, too. Pete was waiting for his girl Jenny. She was driving up from Boston. I hadn’t met her by that point. Because Pete was always really private. His high school girlfriend never met our parents! So I was excited to finally meet Jenny, see what all this fuss was about.

And then in she walks, tall as hell, long blond hair, wearing this tiny little dress and these super-tall shoes, legs up to her neck, and I thought, No wonder Pete’s obsessed with this girl.

And then right behind her, I see Camila.

Camila: I wanted to surprise him. I missed him. I was bored. I was…getting nervous. I mean, I had gotten married, I was six months pregnant, and I was spending the majority of my time alone in a massive old house in Topanga Canyon. There were a lot of reasons I went.

But, yes, one of the reasons was to see if things were okay. To see what he was up to. Of course it was.

Karen: I had told her not to come. But she didn’t listen to me. She came to surprise Billy.

She was just starting to show. Maybe five months pregnant? Something like that. She had on this big maxidress. Her hair pulled back.

Graham: I spotted Camila and I thought, Oh, no. But I kind of strolled on out the door. Once I was out of view, I booked it. I figured Billy was either on the bus or at the hotel. I wasn’t sure which but I had to take a chance. I ran the two blocks to the hotel.

I should have chosen the bus.

Karen: She found him on the bus. Part of me wished I could have stopped her and part of me was glad it was going to be all out in the open.

Eddie: I wasn’t there but I heard she walked in on him getting, well…I don’t know how else to say it…oral sex, I guess I should say. From a groupie.

Billy: It was like I’d been playing with fire but somehow I was genuinely surprised when I burnt myself.

I remember Camila’s face. It was…she wasn’t mad or hurt so much as truly shocked. She was just frozen, taking it in with no

reaction. She stared at me as I scrambled to get myself presentable.

The girl I was with just ran out—like she didn’t want to be in the middle of anything.

When the door of the bus shut, I looked at Camila and I said, “I’m sorry.” That was the first thing I said, really the only thing I said. That’s when Camila finally seemed to process exactly what had happened, what was happening.

Camila: I believe what I said was, and you know, earmuffs, but I believe what I said was “Who the fuck do you think you are, cheating on me? You think there’s a woman alive who is better than what you have?”

Warren: I was outside talking to some of the crew guys and I caught the tail end of it. I could see a bit through the windshield. It looked to me like she hit him. I think she had a bag with her and I think she slugged him with the bag. And then the two of them left the bus.

Camila: I made him take a shower before I would say another word to him.

Billy: I wanted her to leave me. [Pauses] I’ve thought a lot about it and…that’s what I’d been up to. I’d been hoping she’d cut me loose.

That night Camila and I were sitting in my hotel room after I got out of the shower. And I could feel myself sobering up and I didn’t like it. I pulled out a bump and I remember Camila looked at me and she said, “What are you trying to do?”

She didn’t say it in an exasperated way. She was really asking me. What was I trying to do? I didn’t know how to answer her. I just shrugged and I remember how stupid I felt, shrugging at a time like that, with a woman like that. This woman carrying my child. And I was shrugging like a ten-year-old boy.

She stared at me, waiting for more of an answer, and I didn’t have one. So she said, “If you think I’m gonna let you screw up our

life, you’ve lost your mind.” And she walked out the door.

Graham: Camila found me and said she was going home, wasn’t gonna deal with his bullshit. She asked me to watch Billy all night. I was getting sick of watching Billy. But you don’t say no to a woman like Camila, especially when she’s pregnant. So I said okay.

And then she said, “When he wakes up give him this letter.”

Billy: I wake up, sick to my stomach, terrible headache. Feel like my eyes are bleeding. Karen is standing over me with a piece of paper. She has this pissed-off look on her face. I grab the paper and I read it. It was in Camila’s handwriting. It said, You have until November 3o and then you’re going to be a good man for the rest of your life. You got it?

The baby was due December 1.

Camila: I think I just refused to accept that he was as low as he claimed to be.

I’m not saying it wasn’t real, what he did. Oh, it was very real. All of it was real. I’ve never been so lost and scared. I was sick over it, every day. And I couldn’t have even told you what part of me felt the sickest. My heart hurt and my stomach felt like it was gonna turn inside out and my head throbbed. Oh, it was very real.

But that didn’t mean I had to accept it.

Rod: I wasn’t close with Camila but her decision to stick with Billy wasn’t so hard to understand. She’d gotten mixed up with him when he was a good guy. And by the time she realized he was coming apart at the seams, she was too far in.

If she wanted her baby to have a daddy, she had to fix Billy.

What’s not to get?

Billy: Like an idiot, I said to myself, Okay, I’ll just take until November 3o and get all of this out of my system. Do it all now. So I don’t ever have to do it again.

Sometimes I wonder if addicts aren’t all that different from anybody else, they are just better at lying to themselves. I was

great at lying to myself.

Karen: He didn’t stop messing around with all of it.

Rod: The tour got extended again when we picked up some shows opening for Rick Yates. It was good news. It was great exposure. The album was off to a respectable start. “Señora” was climbing up the charts.

But yeah, Billy was off the rails. Going at it double time after Camila caught him. The coke and girls and the booze and all that.

To be honest, I thought all of that was manageable. Not great, but manageable.

I figured as long as he wasn’t hitting the strong downers— benzos, heroin—maybe he’d be all right.

Graham: I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to help him or whether to trust what he was saying to me. I felt, stupid, honestly. I felt like, I’m his brother. I should know what he needs. I should always be able to tell when he’s high and lying about it.

But I didn’t know. And I felt…embarrassed that I didn’t always catch what he was up to.

Eddie: We were all sort of counting down the days. You know, sixty days until Billy has to get clean. Then it was forty days. Then it was twenty days.

Billy: We were in Dallas opening up for Rick Yates. And Rick was really into snorting heroin. I thought, I need to try heroin at least once.

That made perfect sense to me: that it would be easier to get clean if I tried heroin. And it wasn’t like I was going to use a needle. I was gonna snort it. And I’d had opium in the past. We all had. So when I was with Rick backstage at Texas Hall, and he offered me a bump…I rolled on up and took it.

Rod: I always tell my people to stay away from benzos and heroin. People don’t die staying up, they die when they go to sleep. Look

at Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison. Downers kill you.

Graham: It all spiraled from there. Once he and Yates started snorting H, I lived with this dread in my belly. I tried to keep an eye on him. I kept trying to get him to stop.

Rod: When I found out he was with Yates, I called Teddy. I said, “We’ve got a dead man walking.” Teddy said he’d handle it.

Graham: No amount of advice or lectures or trying to chain somebody down ever stopped anyone who didn’t want to stop in the first place.

Eddie: When it got down to ten days left, and he was forgetting the words onstage, I remember thinking he was never gonna clean up.

Billy: On November 28, Teddy shows up at our show in Hartford. He’s there backstage when we’re done with our set.

I say, “What are you doing here?”

He says, “You’re going home,” and he takes me by the arm and holds on to me until we’re practically on the plane. Turns out, Camila had gone into labor.

We land and he drags me into his car and drives me to the hospital. We’re double-parked in a red zone in front of the lobby. Teddy says, “Get up there, Billy.”

This whole long journey and all I had left to do was walk in the double doors…but…I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t meet my kid like that.

Teddy got out of the car and went up there himself.

Camila: I’d just spent eighteen hours in labor with only my mom by my side. And I’m expecting my husband to walk in the door and straighten up. I understand now that you can’t just fix yourself. It doesn’t work like that. But I did expect it to work like that then. I didn’t know.

Well, the door opened and it wasn’t Billy…it was Teddy Price.

I was so tired and I was sweating bullets from the hormones running through me, and I was holding this tiny baby that I’ve just met, this girl who looks just like Billy. I decided to name her Julia.

My mom was ready to take us both back with her to Pennsylvania. And I was tempted. Right then, giving up on Billy felt easier than trying to have faith. I wanted to say, “Tell him I’ll raise this baby on my own.” But I had to keep trying for what I wanted for me and my kid. So I told Teddy, “Tell him he can start to be a father this second or he’s going to rehab. Now.”

And Teddy nodded and left.

Billy: I waited for what felt like hours, outside the lobby, fiddling with the latch on the door. Teddy came down finally and said, “You have a baby girl. She looks like you. Her name is Julia.”

I wasn’t sure what to say.

And then Teddy said, “Camila says you have two choices. You can get your ass up there right now and be a good husband and father or I can drive you to rehab. Those are your choices.”

I put my hand on the door handle and I thought, you know, I can just run.

But I think Teddy knew what I was thinking because he said, “Camila didn’t give any other options, Billy. There are no other options. Some people can handle their booze and their dope. You can’t. So it’s over for you now.”

It reminded me of being a kid, maybe six or seven—I had gotten really into collecting those little Matchbox cars. I was obsessed with them. But my mom didn’t have enough money to get us very many. So I’d search for them on the sidewalk, in case any kid lost one. Found a few that way. And then when I was playing with other boys in the neighborhood, sometimes I’d palm one or two of theirs. A few times, I outright stole them from the store. My mom found my stash and sat me down and said, “How come you can’t just be happy playing with a few cars like everybody else?”

I never did have an answer for that.

It’s just not my way.

That day at the hospital, I remember looking at the lobby door and seeing this man coming outside wheeling a lady with a baby. I looked at him and…he just seemed like a man I didn’t know how to be.

I just kept thinking about walking into the hospital and looking at my kid and knowing that I was the shit deal she got.

[Chokes up] It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with [her]. I wanted to be with [her] so bad. You have no idea how bad. I just…I didn’t want my girl to have to meet me.

I didn’t want…that early into her life, I didn’t want my kid to have to look up and see this man, this drunken, strung-out, piece of shit and think, This is my dad?

That’s how I felt. I was embarrassed to be seen by my baby.

So I ran away. I’m not proud of it, but that’s the truth, I went to rehab to avoid meeting my own daughter.

Camila: My mom said, “Honey, I hope you know what you’re doing.” And I think I yelled at her, but inside I was thinking, I hope I do, too.

You know, I’ve thought about this for a long time. Decades.

And here is what it comes down to. Here is why I did what I did.

It didn’t seem right to me that his weakest self got to decide how my life was going to turn out, what my family was going to look like.

got to decide that. And what I wanted was a life—a family, a beautiful marriage, a home—with him. With the man I knew he truly was. And I was going to get it, hell or high water.

Billy entered rehab in the winter of 1974. The Six canceled the few remaining dates on the rest of their tour.

The other band members took some time off. Warren bought a boat and docked it off the shore in Marina del Rey. Eddie, Graham, and Karen stayed in the Topanga Canyon house, while Pete temporarily moved to the East Coast, to be with his

girlfriend, Jenny Manes. Camila rented a house in Eagle Rock and settled into motherhood there.

After sixty days in a rehabilitation center, Billy Dunne finally met his daughter, Julia.

Billy: I’m not sure I went to rehab for the right reasons. Shame and embarrassment and avoidance and all that. But I stayed for the right reasons.

I stayed because on my second day there, the group therapist told me to stop imagining my daughter ashamed of me. He said to start thinking of what I’d need to do to believe my daughter was proud of me. I’ll tell ya, that stuck. I couldn’t stop thinking about that one.

Slowly, it became the light that was calling to me at the end of that tunnel…imagining a daughter…[pauses, gains composure] Imagining myself as a man my daughter would feel lucky to have.

I kept working, every day, to get closer to being that man.

Graham: The day Billy was coming out of rehab, I picked up Camila and the baby and we drove over together.

Now, Julia was the fattest baby you ever saw. [Laughs] It’s true! I said to Camila, “Are you feeding her milkshakes?” Biggest cheeks in the world, beer belly. Couldn’t have been cuter.

There was a tiny little picnic table and an umbrella outside the facility. So Camila sat there with Julia on her lap. I went in and got Billy. He was wearing the same thing he was wearing the last time I’d seen him, in Hartford. But he had gained some weight, his face looked healthier.

I said, “Are you ready?”

He said, “Yeah,” but he seemed kind of unsure.

I put my arm around him and I said what I figured he needed to hear. I said, “You’re gonna be a great dad.” I think I should have told him that sooner. I don’t know why I didn’t.

Billy: Julia was sixty-three days old when I met her. It’s hard, even now, to…to not hate myself for that. But the second I met

her, my God. [Smiles] Standing there at that picnic table with them, it was like someone just took an ax to me, just shattered all the crust. I felt raw. In the way where you can feel everything, feel it deep down into your nerves.

I had…I’d built a family. By accident and without thinking and without so many of the qualities that you should have to deserve a family, I think, but I had built one. And here was this tiny, new person—who had my eyes, who didn’t know who I used to be, who only cared who I was now.

I fell to my knees. I was just so grateful for Camila.

I…I couldn’t believe what I put Camila through and I couldn’t believe that she was still standing there, giving me another shot. I didn’t deserve it. And I knew it.

I told her then that I would spend the rest of our life together trying to be twice as good as she deserved. I don’t know that I’ve ever promised anyone anything as humbly and with as much gratitude in my heart as I promised her that day.

I know I technically married her almost a year before but I submitted myself to her then. Forever and always. My daughter, too. I dedicated myself to both of them, to raising this girl with my whole heart into it.

As we got in the car, Camila whispered, “It’s us, forever and always. Don’t go forgetting that again, all right?”

And I nodded and she kissed me. And Graham drove us home.

Camila: I think you have to have faith in people before they earn it. Otherwise it’s not faith, right?

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