Tales of Rock – I wouldn’t Want This For My Daughter or Anybody’s Daughter: Will #MeToo Kill Off the Rock’n’Roll Groupie? – Part 1

Male rock stars of the 1970s and 80s were often notorious for sleeping with young female fans. Now women are starting to see those encounters in a very different light.

Jimmy Page Pamela Des Barres in 1973.
 Jimmy Page and Pamela Des Barres, 1973. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 2001, when the Mötley Crüe biography The Dirt was published, barely an eyebrow was raised at the debauchery described within. Even one of the darkest tales, in which Nikki Sixx said he “pretty much” raped an intoxicated woman after he had had sex with her in a cupboard and then sent Tommy Lee in to do the same, did little to damage Sixx’s reputation.

If such an account were published now, or allegations to that effect posted on social media, the artist in question would be vilified by fans and potentially subject to criminal proceedings. Brand New’s UK tour was cancelled after its frontman, Jesse Lacey, was accused last November of “soliciting nudes” from a then-underage girl; he later apologised. Support acts pulled out of touring with the Polish metal band Decapitated after they were accused of gang-raping a woman on their tour bus. (They denied the allegations and the charges were cleared in January.)

Mötley Crüe in 1984 … a reputation for excess.
Pinterest
Mötley Crüe in 1984 … a reputation for excess. Photograph: Paul Natkin/WireImage

Rapper Nelly is fighting a lawsuit from a woman who accuses him of raping her on his tour bus. The suit cites allegations of sexual assault from two other women, one of which allegedly took place after a gig in Essex last December. He denies all allegations. Other, less high-profile, artists, such as Ben Hopkins of the New York duo PWR BTTM and Jonny Craig of the US band Slaves (not the UK duo), were dropped from their respective record labels when allegations of sexual misconduct, which they both deny, were posted on social media.

Even before the #MeToo movement, fans were using social media to share allegations of inappropriate conduct by musicians, but the current high-profile conversation around consent and male entitlement has not only led fans to document their experiences, but even spurred former groupies to question the power dynamic underpinning their experiences.

There is, of course, a gulf between fans who want to meet their favourite musicians and then end up being exploited (or worse) and self-confessed groupies. The latter are actively seeking sex with musicians, while the former are not. Dr Rosemary Lucy Hill, from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Leeds, says the idea of a groupie is a complex one. She cites the example of Pamela Des Barres, who slept with Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Jim Morrison and numerous others, and wrote five books about her experiences – an updated version of the most famous, I’m With the Band, is being published in April.

PWR BTTM … Ben Hopkins (right) denies allegations of misconduct.
Pinterest
PWR BTTM … Ben Hopkins (right) denies allegations of misconduct. Photograph: Ebru Yildiz

“Her idea is that the groupie is the muse,” Hill says. “The way that she talks about sex with musicians as being about getting close to the music is really powerful. When you start to think about music and sex in those terms, it changes your idea of what it means to be a groupie. I’m talking about consensual sex, but some people think it’s never a free choice because of all the expectations. I think both of these things are true at the same time – and that makes it really complicated.”

Roxana Shirazi, 44, a former self-described groupie who wrote the 2011 book, The Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage, about her experiences, says her own desires were her priority when she began pursuing musicians including members of Mötley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses. “I wasn’t a 19-year-old, wide-eyed young girl – I was 28 when I first met a musician,” she says. “I was very in tune with my sexuality. I wanted to be around guys who I liked, and I wanted them to treat me equally. I wasn’t going to be of service to them; I wanted to be happy and turned on.”

Despite her confidence, she saw a dark side to the lifestyle. “It’s never possible to have full agency [as a groupie],” she says. “From the outset, the power structure is not equal. They’re famous, and, unless you’re famous yourself, you’re not on the same plane.” In The Last Living Slut, Shirazi documented what she describes as emotional abuse from the Guns N’ Roses keyboardist, Dizzy Reed(whom she claims pressured her to have an abortion). The reaction was markedly different from the condemnation such allegations tend to receive today – she was, she says, ostracised by people in the music industry. “A lot of the initial reactions were: ‘Good … well done,’” she says. “Women wrote to me and said: ‘I had the same experience with so-and-so. Do you think I should come forward?’ Then it was all shut down. If I went to LA to see my friends, there were places I couldn’t go; it was like I spoke out against this thing that I shouldn’t have.”

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

Author: phicklephilly

Copyright © 2016 by Phicklephilly All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. All stories and characters are based on real people and events. The names and images have been changed to protect their privacy. Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation!”

2 thoughts on “Tales of Rock – I wouldn’t Want This For My Daughter or Anybody’s Daughter: Will #MeToo Kill Off the Rock’n’Roll Groupie? – Part 1”

  1. Groupies have been around many, many years before the 70’s & 80’s seems like women’s behavior don’t change much. Mick Jagger says he never used to get women easily before his band was well known Now today, women that were burned or didn’t get what was promised to them are crying foul. Making claims they were sexual coerce; but won’t admit that they consented to things that they did…Me too movement should focus on legitimate cases of sexual abuse, not these scorned claims from aged out groupies….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well said and in some cases that may be true, but how do you prove it and to what end? For notoriety?? Not me.

      On the flip side, even women who consent to be with them do not deserve to be mistreated just because they made that choice, as it would be for anyone in any relationship. Consider too, the fact that people in abusive relationships have a very difficult time getting out of them. Imagine on the road and you have nowhere to run to? I’m talking about years ago. In those days, when a woman cried “Foul”, she was the one humiliated and “got what she deserved”. It was a different time then. Girls today have a little bit more moxey than they did back then and are supported more than they were then. I was date raped and taken advantage of by my ex-husband. Terrified of having a child out of wedlock, I married him. He had just gotten a prestigious job and when he learned of my pregnancy, he coerced me to marry him to save face. This was over 50 years ago. I had too much to drink and to this day I never drink more than a couple of drinks. I always want to be in control, but even so my mother thought me a slut. No, I’m not but I made some bad choices in my youth and where I stand on this after the fact thing is, let it go. My ex is extremely well off and I would never consider dragging this into the public eye, nor put our girls, grandkids and great grands through all that. Those close to me know the truth anyway and that’s all that counts. Even if I live to 110, I’m too old to waste my time for paybacks.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s