Daisy Jones & The Six are a band that everyone is aware of, with sell-out shows and hit singles but behind the scenes there was much going on that caused the split. This novel about a fictional band, written like a biography with extracts of interviews with band members appears at first to be more narrative non-fiction but Taylor Jenkins Reid deploys this interesting narrative structure to tell the story of a band at their height in the seventies, that could represent many bands, Fleetwood Mac came to mind, that have many formidable relationships surmounting their mutual love for music.
We are initially given the story of Daisy through her and her and her friend Simone, she’s a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. There is no relationship with her parents, which spurs a lot of her desire to find the superficial company she keeps, but she soon realises it’s the music she loves the most, she wants to write and have her work heard as a performer. People have heard of her and her voice by her twenties and she has a resounding beauty that means men are keen to be in her company, and she never has to be alone.
We are then introduced to The Six, a band led by the all denim-wearing Billy Dunne. On the evening of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame takes it’s toll on Billy, as he soon develops addictions and has been told by Camilla to drop it all for the sake of their family.
After a producer realises that the key to extreme success is to put Daisy and The Six together, the two cross paths, which has an interesting effect, with her good time girl habits and Billy’s need to stay clean. However, after Daisy joins The Six, making seven, enforcing that she writes the next album with Billy, it’s obvious that there is more than just a friendship between them, and this obviously poses problems within the internal structure. Billy’s brother Graham and another band member also grapple with their relationship dynamic, which adds to the inevitable conclusion.
The structure initially jarred with my idea of the convention of a novel structure, but once I overcame this need for format, I was immersed in this rock and roll story. The nuts and bolts were there for the making of a conceivably unforgettable band, and the style actually allowed for all characters to have a voice, all members of the band, which made even the internal dynamics within bands an interesting topic. The book had me hooked, wanting to find out more about Daisy and The Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid is clearly a talented writer capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice, in this unusual fragmented fashion. I urge anyone that has a love for music to read this novel, it’s unputdownable.
Daisy Jones & The Six is available on 7th March 2019, published by Hutchinson.