A wild tale of rock ‘n’ roll excess

There is a slight cognitive dissonance in the first few episodes of Daisy Jones & The Six, for when the band start to play, the viewer naturally expects to hear a familiar song, perhaps even a Fleetwood Mac number (there is a needle-drop of Rumours track Gold Dust Woman eventually used with poignancy in a pivotal moment towards the end of the series). But the repeated use of original songs like Regret Me and Look At Us Now (Honeycomb) mean that by the end of the series, the songs are seared into the viewer’s memory. Which, fortuitously, is a good tie in with the fact that band’s album, Aurora, was released on Atlantic Records, on the same day the first three episodes premiered.

Is it weird seeing a band you’ve imagined as a fictional construct then come into actual being? “It’s the coolest thing ever,” says Jenkins Reid. “I love mythologising a band, if I could do it 17 more times I would. I absolutely love it, it’s been the joy of my career to find this little pocket of storytelling. To now see that something I made up is now standing in front of me, I compare it to a 3D-printer that’s attached to my brain that’s now made it real. It’s incredibly, incredibly gratifying.”

Much of the credit for how authentic the band feels on screen can be handed to the actors, including Riley Keough as Daisy Jones, Sam Claflin as Billy, and Suki Waterhouse, Will Harrison, Josh Whitehouse and Sebastian Chacon on stage as their various bandmates. “Every sound you hear coming out of their mouth is all theirs,” Mendelsohn explains. “Riley put in an insane amount of work and training.” Despite Keough being Elvis’s grand-daughter, “she had never sung before,” he adds. “When we cast her [it was] simply because of her extraordinary talent.

“When Riley came into audition, it was a transformative moment for all of us for the series. She was our Daisy – there was not another actor that we considered. Once we had Riley, we needed someone who could be her equal, and when we met Sam, similar to Riley, we were blown away. He embodied Billy – soulful, powerful. When the two of them had a chemistry read, there was just electricity and we knew we had a really great match between them.”

The enforced downtime of the pandemic meant the actors had longer to train and hone their musical skills and voices, and the result is a band, that, to all intents and purposes, could have been that genre-defining, chart-topping outfit so enthrallingly imagined by Jenkins Reid on the page.

As the series concludes over the next couple of weeks, what remains to be seen is quite how high this semi-fictional-semi-real band can fly. Could the album Aurora hit the upper echelons of the charts, and might a stadium live tour even follow? When asked during the press launch of the series whether they would go on tour, the actors were coy. “We might,” said Keough, while Claflin said: “I hope so… I’d love to. It would be a huge bonus for us to have the opportunity to come together and play again in whatever capacity. We’ll do small venues, birthday parties, bar mitzvahs… whatever!”

The first six episodes of Daisy Jones & The Six are now available on Amazon Prime Video, and the final four episodes will be released on 17 and 24 March.

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