Once there was an era where groupies weren’t viewed as slutty starfuckers, but muses for their idols. They inspired musicians and audiences alike, became fashion icons, and in a way contributed to the myth of the rock and roll lifestyle. Pamela Des Barres is the most famous groupie in rock history. Her persona inspired Kate Hudson’s character, Penny Lane in Almost Famous. While Cameron’s view of groupies was rather tragic, Pamela punctuates that there wasn’t any tragedy in being a groupie, she views herself and her “colleagues” as the first true feminists.
There's Cynthia Albitton, the notorious groupie who got the nick name “Plaster Caster” because she would make plaster molds of the cocks of all the rock stars she slept with, or Bebe Buell, previously known mostly for her striking beauty, today famous for being the mother of Liv Tyler.
In Pamela’s books, the reader finds out that Elvis was a bad kisser, Iggy Pop a sex god, Cat Stevens had a penchant for dressing girls up in schoolgirl uniforms, while Keith Moon liked to dress as a woman before engaging in any sex. In her latest book, Let’s Spend the Night Together, you find out these details and others, concerning some of the most famous rock stars.
Rock stars slept with all of the groupies, but usually they all had an official girlfriend that they would never leave.
"Isn’t that what happens to everyone? Groupies fell in love and got their hearts broken like any other girl. But believe me, it was worth getting your heart shattered for these men."
Were you jealous of Jimmy Page?
"Very much. My parents were my model of a happy couple, and I would’ve liked to reproduce that domestic happiness with a rock star. An impossible dream."
Why do you think that someone like Mick Jagger still insists on performing rather than retiring?
"Twenty-thousand people that scream your name, is a very potent drug. Until they have life, rock stars will perform."
A lot of them though don’t even reach old age, since they get involved with drugs.
"It’s an extreme lifestyle that takes a lot of victims. But there are many survivors like Iggy Pop and Jimmy Page, it’s a miracle he’s even alive today with all the drugs I saw him consummate."
In some of the stories found in your book, one gets the notion that those men were brutal, perverse, almost misogynist.
"Oh no, they were only big babies and very narcissist. And they were always completely high!"
With your first book, you started a trend. Now Patty Boyd, came out with her memoir, where she wrote about her love triangle with Eric Clapton and George Harrison, and Catherine James who wrote, The Elusive Miss James, from the song of John Mayall. Why is there so much interest for that era?
"Probably because it was unrepeatable and revolutionary. The sixties and seventies are to music as the Renaissance was to art."
Were you aware of that at the time?
"Yes. I had the impression of being in the eye of a very unique cyclone, and that it was worth living through it, no matter what."
You groupies seemed sincerely dedicated to the rock stars. Was it truly that way?
"Dedicating your life to one rock star was a life choice, and a status symbol. One of the most determined, was Linda Eastman, who later became Mrs. McCartney. She once told Catherine James, 'You should know that I’m going to marry one of the Beatles or Rolling Stones.' She did exactly that."
You were all so very different coming from different social families, what kept all the groupies united?
"Apart from the passion for music, it was the sexual freedom. Many of us were daughters of indifferent fathers, distant and absent. Capturing the attention of one of those grand men, that stood onstage, made us feel better."
Aids put an end to that era, though.
"Aids and the assassination of John Lennon. From that moment on, fan and groupies began to be selected, and security during concerts became a lot fiercer. That’s how actresses and super models entered the rock scene. Soon, the rock stars convinced themselves that they were better off with women from their similar scene, and not normal non famous girls. Terence Trent D’Arby told me that, one time, he liked a girl from a magazine cover, he called the agency and they sent her to his hotel room. Today rock stars marry actresses or super models like Chris Martin with Gwyneth Paltrow."
Tell me the truth, have you ever felt used?
"Never. Not me, or any of the other groupies that I interviewed. Hanging out backstage, following the bands on tour, going to bed with one of them, all of this made us feel powerful, invincible. Besides, nobody was forcing us to, we did it for our pleasure. It was part of the feminist movement."
You were a member of an all-girl rock band called G.T.O., Girls Together Outrageously. You played with Frank Zappa, but none of you became musicians. Why?
"The times weren’t mature for an all girl rock band. And in a way, even today. Apart for a few exceptions, but I’m still convinced that rock is a male sport."
In the end, is Neil Young right when he sings, “Rock and roll will never die,”?
"Never. And not even the desire to fuck, which is the real reason why any of the guys I’ve ever met, picked up a guitar."
Proving that the guitar is truly a penis extension, and that sweaty rock boys will always be what us girls lust after. Rock on.