I had Teddy in the control room next to me. He kept smoking cigarettes, letting the ash get on my boards. I kept wiping it away and he just kept dropping it.
When everything was perfectly in place, I said, “All right, ‘Aurora,’ take one. Somebody count it off.”
DAISY: We played it the whole way through. All of us together. We just played it over and over. As a band. A real band.
I looked at Billy at one point and we smiled at each other and I thought, This is happening. I was in a band. I was one of them. The seven of us, playing music.
BILLY: As Daisy and I were singing it, I had to do a few takes in a row to really warm up but Daisy hit it right out of the gate. She really…Daisy was a natural. And if you’re going up against somebody like Daisy, then yeah, that’s annoying. But if she’s on your team…wow. Powerhouse.
ARTIE SNYDER: I was still getting a feel for how the album would sound and my team was still tinkering with the setup. The early takes sounded a little tinny, and that’s what I was focused on. When you start off on an album, with new people and different sounds, in a new studio and all of that…you really have to get your levels right, your mikes right. I was obsessive about that stuff. Until it was coming through clean on the cans, I could not focus on anything else.
But, even knowing that about myself, looking back on it…I can’t believe I had no idea. We were making a massive hit record. And I had no idea.
DAISY: I knew it was gonna be huge. I really think, even then, I knew.
DAISY: A few days later, I’m going through my journal, back at my place. I think maybe it was a weekend. And I find one of Billy’s songs in there. One that he wrote for the album. “Midnights.” I think maybe at the time it was called “Memories.” I must have packed it up with my things by mistake when we were back at Teddy’s. So I started rereading it. I probably read it ten times in a row, sitting there.
It was pretty sickeningly sweet. All about how Billy has these happy memories with Camila. But there were a few good lines in there. So I started scribbling on top of it. Playing with it.
BILLY: The next time we met up at Teddy’s, Daisy handed me “Midnights.” I’d written it over the summer. It was pretty straightforward when I wrote it. But she handed it back to me, pen marks all over the place and I could barely read any of the words. I held the page in my hand and I said, “What did you do to my song?”
DAISY: I told him it was actually a great song. I said, “Turns out, it just needed a little bit of darkness to it.”
BILLY: I said, “I understand what you’re saying but I can’t read what you wrote.” She got mad and snatched the paper out of my hand.
DAISY: I was going to have to read it to him. I started reading the first verse but then I realized that was dumb. I said, “Play the song as you wrote it.”
BILLY: I got my guitar and I started playing and singing the words as I originally wrote them.
DAISY: I cut him off once I got the gist of it.
BILLY: She put her hand on the neck of the guitar to shut me up. She said, “I get where you’re going. Start from the beginning. Give this a listen.”
DAISY: I sang him his song back, this time with my changes.
BILLY: It went from a song about your best memories to a song about what you can and can’t remember. I had to admit it was more subtle, more complicated. Much more open to interpretation.
It was very similar to what I had envisioned when I wrote it, but just…[laughs] better than what I got on the page, frankly.
DAISY: I didn’t change a lot of his song, really. I just added in this element of what you don’t remember to highlight what you do remember. And then I restructured it, to include a second voice.
BILLY: By the time she was done, I was really excited about it.
DAISY: Billy immediately went into writing mode. He took the paper from me, grabbed a pen, started reordering a little bit. That’s how I knew he liked it.
By the end, we’d taken this song that Billy had about Camila and we made it about so much more than that.
BILLY: We played it for everybody down at the studio. Just her and me and the guitar, over in the lounge.
GRAHAM: I dug the song. Billy and I started talking about a solo during the bridge. We were on the same page.
EDDIE: I said to Billy, “This is good, let me get started on my piece on it.”
And Billy said, “Well, your part is written already. Just go with the guitar as I played it.”
I said, “Let me tinker with it.”
He said, “Nothing to tinker with. Daisy and I have been reworking this one back and forth. I’m telling you, play it like I played it.”
I said, “I don’t want to play it like you played it.”
He just patted me on the back and said, “It’s cool. Just play it like I played it.”
BILLY: The rhythm guitar part was already done. But I said, “All right, man. Go ahead and try to see what you can come up with.” By the time we recorded it, he’d come back around to exactly what I played for him.
EDDIE: I changed it up. He didn’t have it exactly right. There wasn’t only one way to play that song. I changed it up. And it was better. I knew how to play my own riffs. I knew what worked. We were all supposed to be taking our own shots. So I took my own shot.
BILLY: It is very frustrating, when you know how something should be done but you have to pretend someone else has a good idea, when you know you’re just going to end up using your own. But that’s the price of doing business with somebody like Eddie Loving. He’s got to believe everything is his idea or he won’t do it.
And, look, it’s my fault. I told everybody it was an equal opportunity band. And I shouldn’t have done that. Because that is just not a sustainable system. Look at Springsteen. Springsteen knew how to do it. But me? I had to sit there and pretend people like Eddie Loving knew better than me how to play guitar on the songs I wrote on my guitar.
KAREN: I didn’t see any of the tense stuff between Billy and Eddie on that song. I heard about it later from both of them but at the time I was…preoccupied.
GRAHAM: You know what’s a good time? Giving your girl a roll in the closet at the studio while everybody else is recording and the two of you have to be so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
That was making love, man. It felt like love. It felt like we were the only two people in the entire world who mattered. Me and Karen. It felt like I could show her how much I loved her, right there in that tight space, not saying anything at all.
WARREN: When we were messing around on that song, on “Midnights,” Daisy came up to me and suggested that I hold the drums on the bridge and I thought for a moment and I said, “Yeah, that’s a great idea.” Daisy and I always got along really well in that regard. We were about the only two people who could manage not to have too much ego with each other.
I once told her I thought she sang “Turn It Off” like she was in heat and she said, “I see what you mean. I think I’ll pull back on the chorus.” Just like that.
Some people just don’t threaten each other. And other people threaten everything about each other. Just the way it is.
ROD: I started to do some calculations. Could we replace Eddie if we needed to? Would Pete leave with him? What would that mean for us? I’m not gonna lie. I started putting feelers out for other guitarists. Started planning out whether Billy could just take over Eddie’s parts. I saw the writing on the wall.
Turns out I wasn’t reading exactly right. But I saw the writing on the wall.
WARREN: Being proud that you predicted Eddie would leave the band is like saying, “I predicted the sun would come out today,” the day before a nuclear disaster. Yeah, man. Great guess. But you didn’t exactly notice the world was ending?
DAISY: At the end of that day, when Billy was going home, he said, “Thank you for what you did with this song.”
And I said something like “Yeah, of course.”
But then Billy stopped in place. He put his hand on my arm. He made a real point of it. He said, “I’m serious. You made the song better.”
I…That meant a lot. That meant a lot. Maybe meant too much.
BILLY: I was starting to see, as Teddy had pushed me to, that sometimes you get to more complex places, artistically, when you have more people contributing. That’s not always true. But with Daisy and me…it was true.
I had to recognize that. With her, then, it was true.
DAISY: I really felt like I understood him. And I think he understood me. You know, things like that, that kind of connection with a person, it is sort of like playing with fire. Because it feels good, to be understood. You feel in sync with a person, you feel like you’re on a level that no one else is.
KAREN: I think people that are too similar…they don’t mix well. I used to think soul mates were two of the same. I used to think I was supposed to look for somebody that was just like me.
I don’t believe in soul mates anymore and I’m not looking for anything. But if I did believe in them, I’d believe your soul mate was somebody who had all the things you didn’t, that needed all the things you had. Not somebody who’s suffering from the same stuff you are.
ROD: The band was recording “Chasing the Night.” They had worked on it earlier in the day and it got toward the afternoon and Daisy wasn’t needed anymore so she went home.