Of all the bands and solo musicians coming to Orange County clubs this weekend, the last you’d expect to see in the scandal sheets is Don McLean.
But in recent years it has been happening in waves for the 73-year-old singer-songwriter, who is best known for his 1971 soft rock hit “American Pie” that he’ll no doubt play at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano this Sunday night.
Normally, we would be pimping that show the way his publicists at Nashville, Tennessee-based 2911 Media are, by promoting the Songwriting Hall of Fame inductee’s Thursday appearance on AXS TV’s MIXTAPE, which has McLean sharing his personal mixtape of songs that influenced his life and career, discussing the genius of Buddy Holly and delivering a soulful performance of “American Pie.”
Here is a “first-look clip” at the McLean segment that airs at 5 p.m. Thursday.
“My music is an effort to try to find out who I am,” McLean says during the segment. “I don’t have any songs that are lies. All my songs are the purest part of me. I’m not perfect, I have a lot of flaws, but my songs are the best part of me.”
Some of those flaws came into view in January 2016, when he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his second wife, Patrisha McLean, in their Maine home. The mother of his two children accused her then-husband of having a “violent temper” and verbally and physically abusing her stretching back over three decades.
However, Patrisha a couple weeks later posted on Don McLean’s website: “I did not intend to define Don or our relationship based solely on the events recounted in the statement. Don has a big heart. He and I had many happy times in the 30 years of our marriage and what has recently transpired is unfortunate for all of us. I would ask everyone reading this to ignore the sensationalist, scabrous headlines and focus instead on the joy that Don, and his music, has given to so many for so long.”
The incident put McLean on the radar of the gossip press, which got ahold of Patrisha’s divorce petition in March 2016 and reported multiple alleged episodes of rage, controlling behavior and calling his Jewish wife “hebe.”
Don McLean denied it all and, in regard to the criminal complaint, on July 21, 2016, he entered an Alford plea, whereby he did not admit to a criminal act and asserted his innocence. He paid a fine for three misdemeanors, the domestic violence assault charge was dropped and the case was closed.
However, his penchant for generating tabloid fodder continued in November 2016 when a then-22-year-old Riverside woman, who’d been hired to oversee McLean’s social media accounts, showed off what appeared to be an engagement ring while posing in an embrace with him in a photo she posted on Instagram. Paris Dylan, who has posed for Playboy and Maxim and appeared on MTV’s Catfish, has gone on ever since to post messages like “In love” and “My Donny and I” in social media photos of them, which are sprinkled among those showing her carrying shopping bags or posing in bikinis and lingerie.
Naturally, the idea that McLean has hooked up with someone young enough to be his granddaughter led to a slew of more gossipy headlines, particularly in March 2017, when the couple stepped out into the public arm-in-arm in London, and again in August, with The Sun kicking off coverage that would be picked up by several outlets with …
Among those that have stayed on the McLean-Dylan beat is Fox News with: “Don McLean, 72, Dating 24-Year-Old Aspiring Model After Domestic Violence Scandal” (March 16, 2018); “Don McLean, 73, Steps Out With Girlfriend Paris Dylan, 24, Confirming Relationship” (Oct. 31, 2018—begging the question, “Didn’t you confirm it before your report seven months earlier?”); “Don McLean’s Much Younger Gal Pal, Paris Dylan, Posts Steamy Pic” (Feb. 8, 2019); and, logrolling off The Sun, “‘American Pie’ Singer Don McLean Spending Fortune on 25-Year-Old Girlfriend: Report” (Sept. 1).
The Fox scrutiny has been so intense one half expects McLean to show up in San Juan Capistrano wearing a Joe Biden campaign button.
Don McClean and Chris Cruz at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 496-8930; thecoachhouse.com. Sun., 7 p.m. $59.50.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.