DAISY: I got up the next morning and went back to my own place. Tried to put it out of my mind by laying by the pool. When that didn’t work, I smoked a few cigarettes, did a few lines in my cottage. Hank came over and tried to calm me down.
I said, “Get me out of this.” And he kept telling me I didn’t want to get out of it.
I said, “Yes, I do!”
He said, “No, you don’t.”
I got so mad I ran out of my own place faster than Hank could catch me. I drove right over to Runner Records. I was in the parking lot before I realized I was still in a bikini top and jeans. I went right into Rich Palentino’s office and ripped up the contract. Rich just laughed and said, “Hank called and said you might do that. Honey, that’s not how contracts work.”
SIMONE: Daisy was Carole King, she was Laura Nyro. Hell, she could have been Joni Mitchell. And they wanted her to be Olivia Newton-John.
DAISY: I went back to the Marmont. I’d been crying; I had mascara running down my face. Hank was waiting for me, sitting on my stoop. He said, “Why don’t you sleep it off?”
I said, “I can’t sleep. I’ve had too much coke and too many dexies.”
He said he had something for me. I thought he was going to hand me a quaalude, like that was going to do anything. But he gave me a Seconal. I was out like a light and I woke up feeling so much better. No hangover. Nothing. For the first time in my life, I was sleeping like a baby.
From then on, it was dexies to get through the day, reds to get through the night. Champagne to wash it all down.
The good life, right? Except the good life never made for a good life. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
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.