The groupies scene was a phenomenon of the late Sixties and early Seventies, and various threatening social diseases have effectively put the mockers on groupiedom in the eighties, much to the chagrin of some straggling leftover rock ‘n’ rollers who remember the good times. It was at its height in the late Sixties havens of San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. In 1969 the groupies knew they had arrived when the influential magazine Rolling Stone dedicated an entire issues to groupies their philosophy, their quirks, their motivation and – in a few cases – their regrets. A groupie is generally considered an avid, often female, fan of a band or musical performer. The term derives from the female attaching herself to a group, the band. While the band is the group, the female is the groupie. A groupie is considered more intense about her adored celebrities than a fan. A fan might have all the albums and a few pictures of her favourite band. She or he might also attend all the band’s performances within reasonable distance to his or her hometown. A groupie tends to follow the band, perhaps almost touring with them. The groupie will attempt contact with the band, either conversational or sexual in nature, and may become an annoyance by virtually stalking band members. Obsessive groupies will almost certainly involve themselves sexually with any members of the band including the roadies. Even if rejected, the groupie will usually keep trying with the goal of being considered part of the band, or important to a member of the band. The relationship of an obsessive groupie to a band is like a love relationship gone badly wrong. The obsessive groupie has little interest in anything but matters pertaining to the band. Unfortunately, such groupies are also fuelled by the “sex, drugs and rock and roll,” atmosphere of most popular bands and artists. With sex offered, and frequently drugs available, a groupie can easily become somewhat delusional about her importance. Not all musicians or groupies would necessarily take that stance. Many feel their experiences have been fantastic and wouldn’t change a thing. Ex groupie Pamela Des Barres’ (photo on the side) first novel I’m with The Band and her last book Let spend the night together for example, are a positive look at the sexually charged groupie environment of the late 1960s and early 70s. The books are very frank and Des Barres does not spare the reader from excessive detail about her and other groupies sexual escapades. The books seem more like bragging regarding a lifestyle, than an expression of regret for her and their choices. Still based in L.A., Des Barres was once a member of the legendary Frank Zappa’s pet – project girl group Girls Together Outrageously. Now something of an icon, she’s written extensively about the rock ‘n’ roll scene of the ‘60s and ‘70s. The way Des Barres sees it, the groupies of the ‘60s were not mere sex partners for testosterone-poisoned guitar players; they were ground-breaking, chance-taking muses, self-lessly nurturing the creative impulses of the world’s up-and-coming musical geniuses.
Published in March 2008 on www.clubdtv.com