||PAMELA DES BARRES REVEALS ALL AT THE ISLINGTON
Pamela Des Barres: The Islington
14th November 2016
Our very own groupie Sara Harding meets the ultimate supergroupie Pamela Des Barres and there's not a Mars bar in sight but there were trendy handcooked crisps.
As a female writer, self-confessed groupie and lover of rock music this is one gig I had to attend and in the name of Robert Plant's tight leather trousers I'm glad I did!
This is the lady who has pulled Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, Keith Moon, Michael Des Barres and Jim Morrisson and has all the tales to tell in her cult status book and my bible 'I'm With The Band'. This 60s memoir is the legendary tale of rock'n'roll dreams, decadence, sex drugs and love all told through the writing of rock's premier groupie and sexual muse, Pamela Des Barres.
It's the ultimate inside look at the most revolutionary time in modern music. Not only does the reader get a fascinating peek into the lives of the planet's most famous rock stars, but it is also a personal and intimate account of these relationships during a divinely decadent time. It was an era when sex and drugs didn't kill and it was the first book of its kind wherein sex is expressed joyously, fearlessly and by a woman.
It's still as relevant now as it was back then and is already in its fifth re-print. The book has topped the New York Times Bestseller list and is hailed as a piece of rock history. Men read it with a box of tissues at the ready; women ready it with pleasure and envy. And it still is the 'go to' book for any gal who wants to bag her favourite rock star.
And now MetalTalk gets to meet the author.
It's six thirty and The Islington is packed with aspiring groupies (some a bit long in the tooth so could probably only pull Tony Bennett) wanting to hear Miss P's delicious rock'n'roll memoirs and get all the salacious dirty details in a warts and all Q and A. This gig is sold out and there is a real female frenzy going on – all wanting to get their front row seats.
The fans of this femme fatale are from all over the world – Japan, Germany, Sweden, USA and sitting next to us is a well-known British super groupie called Angela who proudly told us of her thrills and spills with King Crimson and The Who.
As the divine Miss P is introduced by the host of the event, the stunning Alison Elizabeth, the atmosphere is electric and we're happier seeing Des Barres than any rock star. I'm sure if Keith Richards popped on stage instead he'd be shoved off the stage to make way for Pamela. At 68-years-old, she looks amazing proving that the groupie way of life keeps you young forever. Amen to that!
Miss Des Barres kicks off with some readings from her tell all tome, 'I'm With Tthe Band'. She begins with the fact that they hadn't even coined the phrase 'groupie' back in the 60s. Growing up she fancied Elvis but soon switched her allegiances to British rock stars believing they had that 'naughty elegance' and Paul McCartney became her first teenage lust. Writing and posting letters daily via Aerogram to the Beatle, she never realised one day she would be hanging out with all of the Fab Four.
"It's 2.21am at Paul's house. He's sleeping. I'm glad. I wish I could see him sleeping, I really do. I wish I could be with him sleeping. I hope he read my poem before he closed his beautiful brown eyes.
"I stare at his face upon my wall
I know I love him best of all
His gorgeous eyes just knock me down
I swear I think he should wear a crown
The way he moves when he sings a song
Let's hope he doesn't marry before long."
Pamela continues to read us her funny, revealing diary doodles. The fact that every time she farted she had to write Paul McCartney, sometimes up to eighty times at some point – talk about rock'n'roll OCD. And when Macca revealed he was going to marry Jane Asher, she wanted her dead and imagined her dying in lots of hideous ways. This has the whole audience cracking up laughing – she is the touchstone for all of us who stared up at their bedroom pin-ups hoping one day that we would meet our heroes. In our dreams we'd kissed them a million times and this lady did kiss... and tell!
"All of us girls had a slight orgy in Vito's bus. We have such pretty baileys (our secret word for tits) and Stevie Winwood is like a porcelain doll, he's so pretty."
About Mick Jagger: "We went back to his house and I put on Dylan's album and we got high on some incredible maryjane and fell into such a beafuiful mood, we fucked on a pile of pillows... bodies so gentle."
"I had just had a nervous little chat with Jimmy about Aleister Crowley and I was ready for some comfort. Robert caressed my cheek and kissed me saying 'I've wanted to do this for a long time'. In the dressing room Jimmy watched Robert and me with extreme interest, and after the magnificent concert... I saw Robert on the way out and he said 'I was a fool to have passed you up'."
Don Johnson: "Huge cock."
Then it's Q and A time...
Any regrets? Yes she wished she had got it on with Jimi Hendrix when he chased her. Who's the sweetest smelling rock star? Jimmy Page who smelt of Pantene shampoo and was so proud of his luscious locks. And what did Jim Morrisson smell like? Wet leather and incense.
Who was the most insecure? Keith Moon – he had highs and lows and had he been around now would have been diagnosed with bipolar. Who was the first band she masturbated to? David Bowie at the Spiders From Mars gig. Yes – at the actual gig, can you imagine cracking one off watching the Chilli Peppers at Wembley Arena?
So how did the road to groupie come about? Pamela happened to be in the right place at the right time to meet all these rock stars. Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles was, and still is, the place to live if you are in a band. One day our young protaganist was sleeping and heard someone playing The Doors – desperate to know who this person was she ran around peeking into neighbour's houses and finally finds it is the actual real Doors singing 'The End'. What a neighbourhood – beats South Ealing any day.
And so Pamela's rise to groupie stardom began. She was introduced to Captain Beefheart and then became a regular on the Sunset Strip catching the eye of all the big rock stars. Her dreams came true when she ending up dating Jimmy Page who she genuinely believed loved her, until she caught him shagging another bird saying the same thing to her. She befriended Cynthia the Plastercaster, formed the all girl group the GTOs, was best friend with Robert Plant, Gram Parsons, Ray Davies and Frank Zappa and the rest is groupie history.
Although this book shocked the nation when it was first published, Pamela had her scruples. She was called a slut but was actually a feminist. Pamela and her fellow groupies were a sisterhood and she never knowingly slept with a married man, "but hey if they had a girlfriend, it was fair game!" We all laugh.
This book should be in every rock fan's library and Miss DB is now up to her fifth bestseller, 'Let It Bleed', which reveals how to write a rock'n'roll memoir. Inspired by Moon Unit Zappa, Pamela began teaching writing classes seventeen years ago and these rock'n'roll workshops always sell out.
I get the last question in for MetalTalk: "Are groupies still relevant in 2016 when most bands these days drink herbal tea and have their mortgage plans in place?"
Pam laughs and replies: "Absolutely, yes."
Her favourite band of the moment is The Struts. While there are always rock stars there will always be groupies. Every wannabe in the room nods and agrees and goes away happily to masturbate over Robert Plant, write up their own memoirs, re-read 'I'm With The Band' or kiss their posters and dream about what could have been.
If you get the chance to come and see this living legend please do so and when my book 'The Groupie's Guide' is published, please do buy it. It comes with a free Mars Bar.