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Jenny Boyd on The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, and discovering your passion

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When your brother-in-law is a Beatle, and your husband is a member of Fleetwood Mac, your life becomes fascinating by association, but for former fashion model Jenny Boyd, she wanted a life of meaning and purpose.

In her fast paced, extraordinarily well written memoir, “Jennifer Juniper: A Journey Beyond The Muse,” (Urbane Publications Ltd.) Jenny, the sister of Pattie Boyd (married to George Harrison and later, Eric Clapton) writes of her 1960s awakening, when she discovered meditation and traveled to India with The Beatles to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Twice married to drummer Mick Fleetwood (the two remain close), Boyd says she lost herself in Fleetwood Mac’s bubble and nearly died while on vacation in Hawaii during an episode that altered the course of her life and set her on the path to help others achieve the peace she had found.

Like her sister Pattie, who inspired classic songs including George Harrison’s “Something” and Clapton’s “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight,” Jenny inspired Donovan to write his song that provided her book with its title. They were not an item, she says, but he was clearly smitten with this “It” girl.

The Maine Edge: You write about how you jumped headfirst into Transcendental Meditation after attending a seminar given by the Maharishi with The Beatles. What did TM do for you?

Jenny Boyd: When I lived in San Francisco in 1967, and inadvertently found myself there at the beginning of flower power, I was one of the many searchers looking for meaning to life, and not seeing it through taking acid or smoking pot. When we got to India, for me it was all about finding what I’d been looking for through meditation. TM was huge for me, and it was a very, very special time.

The Maine Edge: You write that George Harrison once told you to just be yourself. What kind of person was George and what did he mean to you?

Jenny Boyd: From the moment I first met him, he immediately just seemed like the guy next door. I didn’t for a minute think, ‘Oh my God, I’m meeting a Beatle!’ It was only if he’d talk about anything to do with their previous American tour or stuff like that (that The Beatles would be a topic of discussion). George was just so normal and so sweet, and here’s an example of that. When I was 19 years old, and living in San Francisco, he sent me a hundred dollar bill to help with things. That’s the sort of thing he would just do. He was a really lovely brother-in-law to have.

The Maine Edge: When The Beatles were told they needed to become businessmen, you managed their short-lived Apple Boutique retail shop. What was your take-away from that experience?

Jenny Boyd: I was only there for two or three months while I waited to go to India. At that time, London seemed to be very black and white, but outside that shop, everything was beautiful swirling rainbow colors and nothing like that had ever been done before. (Jenny’s sister Pattie had introduced The Beatles to a collective of Dutch designers known as The Fool. The team blanketed the outside of the building with a multicolored psychedelic mural). People were so curious because The Beatles owned it, and they would come in to look at all of these wonderful colorful clothes, and posters of gods and goddesses on the walls. It was really lovely, almost like walking into a fairy-land, and it was completely different from anything else happening in London around Baker Street at that time.

The Maine Edge: As someone who married Mick Fleetwood twice, you have some experience when it comes to dealing with rock stars. What advice would you give to our listener or reader that is considering marrying a rock star?

Jenny Boyd: (laughing) Don’t do it! No, my belief is that it’s important to have your own thing. It’s important to be supportive of the other person, but you need to have your thing that lights your fire. Otherwise, I think it’s very easy to get lost in their bubble. Find your own passion and it makes the ride that much easier.

The Maine Edge: Following a near-death experience, you discovered your passion by helping other people find the peace you’d found. How did that experience in Hawaii lead you to help people recovering from addiction?

Jenny Boyd: I had a near-drowning experience, and it made me realize that I’d been very lucky in my life and I felt a need to help others. To begin with, I stopped drinking myself, and stopped using any kind of mind-altering substances, and I started to question my own relationship to alcohol. Our younger sister, Paula, eventually died of her addiction, so it was very much in the family, and of course the whole rock and roll world is sort of filled with all of that. I was looking to find some purpose and some meaning, and that’s when I went to college in Los Angeles and got my degrees (a Masters degree in counseling and a Ph.D in Humanities) which allowed me to get a job that felt meaningful to me. I was first involved with helping people at Sierra-Tucson and then Cottonwood treatment centers in Arizona. After coming back to England, I would talk to people here and get them to go to Arizona for their recovery, and I would help them again afterwards. I was very involved with that for about 20 years. It was so inspiring when you meet people after they’ve had four or six weeks away getting themselves well, and they then have a sense of a higher power and you see them start to live their life again.

The Maine Edge: Why is it that so many creative people turn to chemicals?

Jenny Boyd: Yeah, good question. I think for a lot of musicians, including some we’ve been talking about, it gives them the courage to get out onstage and just perform. I think it starts like that, but I also think for the songwriters, smoking a little pot or drinking a little wine removes inhibitions so people think they can write things they couldn’t write before. The problem is the one drink turns into a hundred drinks, to the point where the use of alcohol or drugs to help you write becomes more important than what you’re writing. I remember Joni Mitchell saying to me that the long-distance runner of them all is the sober mind.

Last modified on Wednesday, 25 November 2020 08:02

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