Rock Floozies Write
Rock-related books encompass a lot of categories: autobiography, biography, critical analysis and rush-job-done-mostly-with-magazine-clippings (usually published shortly after a star's OD/assassination/death following years of obscurity).
But perhaps the most interesting subgenre is the groupie tell-all. Women whose chief claim to fame is balling a musician often turn in the most interesting books, full of drama, pathos and the occasional bout of fellatio. Wack thumbed through some of the best so you don't have to!
Groupie: Angela Bowie
Book: Backstage Passes: Life on the Wild Side with David Bowie (1993)
Chiefly known for: Marrying Ziggy Stardust in 1970; having an open, bisexual relationship; naming son Zowie
Has also had carnal knowledge of: Mick Jagger; James Williamson and Ron Asheton (both of the Stooges); Marianne Faithfull; other, less famous women
Sexual quote: "[David] used sex the way a cat sprays, to mark his territory. It gets the job done."
Sexual revelation: "The sex was lousy all he really knew how to do was pump, and all I really knew how to do was to take it. I had heard about things like fellatio, but the very idea of taking that thing in my mouth and playing with it was disgusting. He peed out of it, for God's sake! I'm sure David felt the same way about my apparatus."
Why I'm not really just a groupie: "David and I had begun to act as a team. I was the person to whom he played his tapes of his day's work in the studio, inviting reaction and comment I became the person who put his ideas into action, found and secured the resources he needed, and kicked down the doors he wanted to walk through."
Bombshell: Says she found Bowie and Mick Jagger naked in bed together, meaning their overly campy duet years later should have been "Dancing in the Sheets."
Groupie: Pamela Des Barres
Book: I'm With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie (1987)
Chiefly known for: The First Lady of Rock Whores and proud of it!; marrying the dude who took over for Robert Palmer in the Power Station; part of the groupie group GTO's
Has also had carnal knowledge of: Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Waylon Jennings, Chris Hillman, Noel Redding (Jimi Hendrix Experience), Don Johnson (!) and Howard Kaylan of the Turtles. Also heavy petting/oral with: Jim Morrison, Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience), Captain Beefheart and Darryl DeLoach of Iron Butterfly.
Sexual quote: "I showed my affection for the opposite sex in those [early] days by giving them head, and I was very popular indeed. I tried not to think of myself as being cheap or easy or any of those other terms. I just wanted to show my appreciation for their music. I found myself in many broom closets and back seats."
Sexual revelation: "Every time [Jimmy Page] would touch me he would moan and sigh and call to God but I'm amazed at his sadistic tendencies, he changed into another person. But all he did was chew me and slap me a little I saw Jimmy's whips curled into his leather suitcase. 'Don't worry,' he said. 'I'll never use those on you.' He then made raging, blinding love to me."
Why I'm not really just a groupie: Baby-sat for Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa; wrote songs; tried to act.
Bombshell: Mick Jagger gives great head (well, not so surprising, considering the lips/tongue ). And Don Johnson has a huge cock.
Groupie: Bebe Buell
Book: Rebel Heart: An American Rock 'n' Roll Journey (2001)
Chiefly known for: High-end, pre-groupie modeling career; giving birth to Liv Tyler who for years believed that her father was Todd Rundgren.
Has also had carnal knowledge of: In addition to Steven Tyler and Rundgren, Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Iggy Pop, Elvis Costello, Stiv Bators, Jack Nicholson and David Bowie (heavy petting only).
Sexual quote: "[Page] and I were in bed and tripping our brains out on mescaline. When you're tripping, an erection looks even larger than it is. I was afraid to have sex with him for a minute, because I was hallucinating that his penis stretched to the other side of the room."
Sexual revelation: After going to bed tired one night, she was visited in succession by the shades of Ron Wood, Mick Jagger and Rod Stewart, much like the ghosts in A Christmas Carol, only all these horny haunts wanted to bang her. (There would be no orgasms for these phantasms -- she sent all three away with spectral blueballs.) Elvis Costello wanted to wear her underwear, and Mick Jagger -- the one who existed in the physical plane -- actually did so on occasion. (Jagger also once asked her, "Why do you want the fake Mick [Steven Tyler] when you've got the real thing?") Buell also claims that Linda McCartney told her she'd slept with all of the Rolling Stones before nabbing Beatle Paul.
Why I'm not really just a groupie: "From the outset, I approached my relationship with [Rundgren] from the position of a muse. I believed being a muse meant not just inspiring specific songs, but inspiring every aspect of the artist's life -- how he dressed, where he ate, whom he chose to work with." She also claims to have mused for Costello for seven of his albums: "Everything I did and said was incorporated into his music." She also wrote horrid lyrics and performed with her band the B-Sides, and dispensed catty put-downs toward "cruder" groupies such as Des Barres. She also claims that "Little Red Corvette," with its line that she renders as "Bebe you're much too fast," was about her "persona." On the other hand, she quotes Costello as saying that Prince had been inspired to write it because he had seen a picture of her bush in Oui.
Bombshells: Was pregnant with Costello's child but gave into pressure from him and his then-wife and had an abortion. After accidentally snorting heroin with Iggy Pop and getting sick in a tub, Buell took him up on his offer to go ahead and puke on him. Pop then scooped up the puke with his hands and flushed it down the toilet so it wouldn't clog up the tub drain Jimmy Page would spew spit in her mouth Sex with Rundgren was comfortable, sex with Tyler was animalistic, but she "left [her] body" during sex with Costello, with whom she often "talked dirty," both in person and over the phone.
PIMPIN' AIN'T EASY
If there's one thing the movie Hustle & Flow has taught us, it's two things:
1) It's hard out here for a pimp; and
2) People will sooner see a movie like that on bootleg than in a theater.
That's what Wack learned after dropping by the popular rap radio show Damage Control (Wednesdays, midnight to 2 a.m., KPFT/90.1 FM) to see if local, up-and-coming rappers have seen the movie.
For those who haven't caught the flick, it stars Terrence Howard as DJay, a low-rent Memphis pimp who has a "midlife crisis" and decides to straighten up by becoming a rapper who raps about being a pimp. Yeah, that happens all the time, right?
To find out once and for all, Wack visited Damage Control, where career-hungry MCs and hip-hop hopefuls convene every week. Do those who actually grind and hustle find this movie to be authentic, or absurd?
The station was packed that night, but only a few had seen the movie all the way through. One such was Lil' Don, a 20-year-old MC who saw a bootlegged version. "A friend gave it to me," he swears. "He laced me up."
Don, who's been rapping since he was 15, thought the movie was cool enough and gave a decent general idea of how rappers hustle. What's more, it was inspiring! "It was mostly like a motivational movie," he says. "That's basically reality. That's what rappers do, with [DJay] stopping and starting when he lays down a track. It was pretty cool, but I'm gonna wait until it comes out on DVD, because it wasn't really clear."
Ces, a 26-year-old MC who has been rapping for about a year, also saw Hustle -- on bootleg, of course, and a shoddy version at that. (She said a little birdie gave it to her.) She also thought it was an interesting, albeit flawed, flick, with 747-size holes in the plot. She scoffed most loudly at how people lined up to help DJay transform himself into an MC. "It seemed kinda unrealistic, because I've met so many people out here trying to do that stuff," says the bare-midriffed Ces, "and you just don't go and move in someone's house, you know."
She also found fault with the climactic meeting between DJay and Ludacris's breakout Memphis rapper, Skinny Black. "He went and hooked up with Ludacris and it was, like, so fast and easy," she says. "It's like, if I went and said, 'Hey, let's go hang out with Eminem. I know where he is!' And then, I just went up to him and was like, 'Hey, what's up, dude?' That wouldn't happen."
Twenty-four-year-old Freeze has been rapping for five years, and he found more positive things to say about the film. "It was real important because it was something that you could actually think was real," he says. "Sometimes, you get a lot of movies and they be talking about stuff and then they try to make it eccentric, where you know it couldn't really happen."
So, did he see it on bootleg as well?
"I saw it on bootleg and I went to the theaters," he proudly admits, "'cuz, you know, I try to support both ways."
On the other hand, Kasey Hearns, who co-hosts the alt-R&B/rap show S.O.S. Radio (Wednesdays, 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. on KPFT), found Hustle downright laughable. (Should we even point out that she saw it on bootleg, too?)
"It's more like a satire," says Hearns, who put together the recent Little Brother show at the Engine Room. "It just really wasn't real to me. How it all came together, it was just a really crude movie. I really don't know what the movie's about -- lemme put it that way."
Suddenly, a brotha with a perm walked up while singing "Whoop Dat Trick," pimp-slapped Hearns and immediately put his ass out on the trizzack.
Okay, that shit didn't happen. But if a mediocre movie about a mediocre pimp who strives to be a mediocre rapper can become one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year, pretty much anything can happen these days. -- Craig D. Lindsey
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.