Don McClain’s daughter alleges abuse, racism

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ASPartOfMe
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23 Jun 2021, 5:04 pm

Don McLean’s Daughter Alleges Mental, Emotional Abuse by ‘American Pie’ Singer

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The childhood home of Jackie McLean, frontwoman for indie rock duo Roan Yellowthorn, is nestled on a hilltop surrounded by woods. A nearly mile-long winding driveway separates the abode from a road that leads to the small coastal town of Camden, Maine, which it overlooks. From the outside, the idyllic setting may appear to be an enchanting, peaceful locale. But inside, McLean claims to Rolling Stone, the imposing fortress holds painful secrets of abuse that have festered for decades.

She says she was terrified of her father, musician Don McLean, who she claims mentally and emotionally abused her. While McLean has previously talked about the alleged mental abuse, she musically addresses what she calls “psychological warfare” stemming from her father for the first time on her new album, Another Life. She says working on the album, released last month via Blue Élan Records, was a step in the process to further open up about the abuse she says she has suffered.

Jackie does not allege any physical abuse by her father, but when she describes her father’s alleged emotional and mental abuse, she and her mother both describe fear for their own safety and “survival” in the house, language that is common to survivors of any type of abuse. Years later, she says, she still has physical responses to those memories. “If I talk about my experiences, my teeth chatter and I get cold and sweaty even if I hear his name,” the 31-year-old says. She says she has often vomited and been rendered immobile from interactions with her father. At times, she says she dissociates in order to cope.

Her father is one of rock’s most enduring figures, fueled by his 1971 chart-topping classic “American Pie.” While he’s had other charting singles, “American Pie” has remained a cultural touchstone that has been famously covered and parodied. Four decades after its release, the nostalgic elegy to rock & roll and bygone eras was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2016. In 2001, it was voted Number 5 in the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment of the Arts’ list of Songs of the Century. At age 75, he continues to perform worldwide.

McLean describes her upbringing as living in a cult-like situation. “I’ve been drawn to books and documentaries about cults and part of the reason is because I really see something familiar,” she says. “It’s this feeling that there’s one person who is completely in charge and who’s almost supernatural, who knows everything and who has all the answers and who is somehow in charge of the world. And you are constantly trying to please that person. And it’s not that you just want to make them happy; it’s that you feel like your survival depends on it.”

McLean claims the abuse began in childhood with paralyzing verbal attacks, isolation and what she describes as conditioning, and continued with threats via withholding love and money. “It’s like somebody who says they love you the most in the world is being the worst to you and you want to reconcile those two things and somehow make it so that they act like they love you because they’re saying that they do,” she says. Texts, emails and recordings of calls between McLean and her father provided to Rolling Stone suggest a pattern of asserting control and manipulation over Jackie, her actions and memories, and a seeming drive by the elder McLean to maintain a certain public image.

One of her earliest memories of the abuse she says her father inflicted came when she was around two, she tells Rolling Stone. “My dad couldn’t find a key to a piece of furniture and he thought that I hid it and he was just screaming in my face,” she says. “I couldn’t leave, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t say anything. I didn’t know where the key was and I was just trapped in that moment having to endure the fear and the trauma until it ended. That was just a normal kind of thing that there would be screaming and yelling.

In a lengthy interview with Rolling Stone, Don McLean denied any abusive behavior. “I don’t understand what mental and emotional abuse is,” McLean says. “There would never be any paralyzing attacks ’cause her mother was always around. I would never attack her anyway; I would never attack anybody. If I yelled at you for five minutes you’d think I yelled at you for an hour because it’s shocking. I would snap sometimes; I did have a temper. ”

“There was a constant state of fear in the house about the slightest thing [that] would make my dad turn into a crazy person.”

He says he grew up in a physically abusive household. “I was hurt a lot by my sister, my mother, my father, I was hit a lot and all that… that’s why this stuff stuns me that she says these things because I never wanted [my children] to cry or feel that,” he says. “I would never do that to a child so they were never touched nor was my ex-wife ever. There was never any violence; I’m very much opposed to that.”

Jackie’s references to a cult-like feeling in the home echo her mother Patrisha’s claims. While referring to her 29-year marriage to Don McLean before their eventual divorce, Patrisha told the Irish Times last year, “I do feel there is an element of brainwashing there. I relate to a lot of the things … about cults like the charismatic leader, and how their version of things becomes your version, the twisted version . . . and it’s crazy.”
“Our survival in the home was dependent on making sure he was happy, managing his moods, hypervigilant,” Patrisha adds in an interview with Rolling Stone. “It was all about placating and keeping the peace.”

In addition to denying any abuse, Don denies Jackie’s allegations of isolation and conditioning, and insists,“I empowered my children.” “I was a father of a family who was there for anybody who had any questions and who needed any answers,” he adds. “I didn’t condition anyone. I didn’t isolate anyone. I was away for … 40 percent of the year and during that time Jackie and her brother and her mother ran wild.”

Jackie says the early conditioning she says she experienced was structured into the “sterile” home where she lived with her father, mother and brother Wyatt. “It wasn’t a house that was meant to be lived in,” she says. “My dad decorated it very carefully and didn’t like it to be disturbed in any way.” Her bedroom was frozen in time, she claims; the same as it was when she was a child. “I was kind of kept in this castle, like far away, and I wasn’t really able to interact with other kids my own age.” She adds: “It was like my dad’s world, basically, that he made for himself.”

“As far as conditioning and being isolated, I didn’t want a lot of kids around, that’s true,” Don McLean says. “When I was home, I didn’t want to run into people that I didn’t know.”
But Jackie says, “There was a constant state of fear in the house about the slightest thing [that] would make my dad turn into a crazy person … If somebody moved an item in the house and he didn’t know where it was, then he would go on a rampage for hours… And everyone was just constantly on edge because it was chaos.”

“Nothing could be altered,” according to Patrisha. “He had complete control over every furnishing; over every single thing that was in that house in her room, my room, every room in the house.”

“My houses to me are works of art and I am an antique collector and I design and decorate the rooms of my house and I certainly would not allow my children to come and willy-nilly throw anything around or move stuff around — that was a mistake I guess, but I never was on them about their rooms,” Don says, which “they could do what they wanted to in them.”

Jackie says the environment in the home led to her developing coping rituals, anxiety, depression and OCD and as she developed, she says things worsened. “When I started having boyfriends and stuff like that, the tone changed more,” she says. “And it became more emotionally abusive as I got older.”

As she was growing up, Jackie says her dad “spearheaded” “a strong culture of misogyny … in big ways and in small ways,” which ultimately conjured shame.

She escaped the physical presence of her father when she left for college at Bard. But she says her father’s incessant phone calls led to compounding damage. Aside from everything that surrounded her parents’ 2016 divorce, she says “the most traumatic point” in her life came while dating Ebinumo “Ebi” Amabebe, whom she met in high school and began dating after graduation and into college.

“He was black, and basically I became a target in a way that I had never experienced before, in a way that was multiplied many times over the targeted abuse that I had experienced before,” she claims.

She says her father was on a “campaign” to get her to stop seeing him and that the near-daily calls from her dad were inescapable. “He would go on a tirade for an hour about how I needed to break up with my boyfriend,” she says. “How it was not OK that I was dating a black person, how it was disgusting of me and how I was ruining the family by doing it, and basically demanding that I stop.”

In January 2016, her father was arrested for suspicion of domestic violence after Patrisha called 911. He initially faced six charges, including domestic violence and assault. In July 2016, as part of a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to four charges, with the domestic assault charge being dismissed a year later. He paid fines for the remaining three charges and was not sentenced to jail time. (Don McLean has denied assaulting Patrisha and in February 2019, his lawyer claimed in a statement that he pleaded guilty “not because he was in fact guilty of anything, but to provide closure for his family and keep the whole process as private as possible.”) She filed for divorce in March 2016, which was finalized that June. Patrisha has a 10-year restraining order against Don.

Don says that in 2016, he and his daughter discussed events from when she was younger “over and over” and that he apologized to her. “Yes, I yelled once in a while, I’m so sorry,” he says he repeatedly told her. “This is a young lady who will not let go of this stuff and that’s her problem; really not the stuff itself but the fact that she won’t put it in the rearview mirror.”

Don says he told Jackie sometime last year that if she continued to “brag about” her mother, whom he calls “the worst person I have ever known,” he would stop supporting her financially.

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IsabellaLinton
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23 Jun 2021, 5:22 pm

Well, f****.

That sucks.



funeralxempire
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23 Jun 2021, 6:38 pm

I feel terrible for her.
I also feel bad for him that this is the person he turned out to be. I wonder what exactly makes someone into that guy.


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ASPartOfMe
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23 Jun 2021, 7:15 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
I feel terrible for her.
I also feel bad for him that this is the person he turned out to be. I wonder what exactly makes someone into that guy.

In the article Don McClain said he grew up in a physically abusive household. Still I can’t bring myself to feel bad for the guy.


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23 Jun 2021, 7:21 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
I feel terrible for her.
I also feel bad for him that this is the person he turned out to be. I wonder what exactly makes someone into that guy.

In the article Don McClain said he grew up in a physically abusive household. Still I can’t bring myself to feel bad for the guy.


I don't have any sympathy for him as a perpetrator.

But I do have empathy for what makes someone f****d up since it only brings pain into one's life and they often fail to understand why the same patterns keep recurring.

Knowing earlier monsters formed current ones doesn't make the current ones more sympathetic, but it plays into the idea I've had for awhile that unresolved traumas can be passed on and inflict pain across generations. When people aren't aware that they were f****d up by their formative experiences they rarely notice that they're participating in a cycle and doing to their kids what was done to them.

But this might be easy for me to notice, my parents both had f****d up parents, who had f****d up parents, who I feel comfortable guessing had f****d up parents.


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27 Jun 2021, 11:04 pm

Aint that a kick in the head!? for his fans.
Like when I learned that Arthur C. Clark was pederast.

Next they will publish photographs of Santa Clause...hanging out with Jeffrey Epstein!

Hard to believe that of the author of sensitive songs like this:


On the other hand maybe McClain related to the mad artist Van Gough precisely because McClain's own inner demons.



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27 Jun 2021, 11:13 pm

it has been my long-term observation that many artistic types are tortured souls and are more often than not, "hell on wheels." something about their makeup makes them feel like they can't live within their skins. that seems to be why many of them chronically abuse drugs and alky.



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27 Jun 2021, 11:32 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
Aint that a kick in the head!? for his fans.
Like when I learned that Arthur C. Clark was pederast.

Next they will publish photographs of Santa Clause...hanging out with Jeffrey Epstein!

Hard to believe that of the author of sensitive songs like this:


On the other hand maybe McClain related to the mad artist Van Gough precisely because McClain's own inner demons.


Yeah I have to say as a fan of Don Mclain I have a similar response. I was similarly disappointed when I heard about Bill Cosby and Michael Jackson.

Sometimes you have to seperate the art from the artist.