IN THE EARLY 1970S, the Sunset Strip was a magnet for rock stars: Bowie, Zeppelin, Iggy Pop, Mott the Hoople, The Who. They all hung out in the VIP rooms of louche LA nightclubs like E Club, the Rainbow, and Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco. And with them, of course, came groupies. Scantily clad 14- and 15-year-olds like Sable Starr and Lynn “Queenie” Koenigsaecker sipped cherry cola, dropped pills, and evolved into pubescent dream girls for the platform-shoed rockers who could get anything and anyone they desired.
Decades before Drake dissed Tyga for dating 17-year-old Kylie Jenner, and R. Kelly faced multiple allegations of having sex with minors, the most visible rock stars in the world blithely made it with girls who were barely out of junior high school. It was all glorified in the pages of a glossy magazine called Star, which reveled in the underage groupie scene for five issues. Other publications, such as the rock ‘n’ roll bible Creem, flicked at the Sunset Strip doings without so much as a wagged finger. Hell, in 1973, a leisure-suited Tom Snyder devoted an entire show to interviews with some of LA’s highly desired teenage groupies.
Starting from the age of 15, Lori Mattix ranked among the most desired of these so-called baby groupies who were helping to satisfy the sexual appetites of Jimmy Page, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and others. She hung out at the Playboy Mansion and modeled in the pages of Star. In time, she and Sable Starr helped inspire Kate Hudson’s character in the film Almost Famous.
These days, she has found success as a partner and buyer for the Glam Boutique on Melrose Ave in West Hollywood. But the past is never too far behind. Over cheeseburgers at Father’s Office in LA, she told me that when the 71-year-old Jimmy Page, now dating a 25-year-old, recently came to town, they met up. As Mattix remembers it, “He said to me, ‘Lori, we were both children back then.’ I felt like telling him, ‘At least one of us was.’”
Here she is, in her own words, with the occasional interjection:
Sable Starr lived to fuck rock stars. She was so glamorous, totally one-of-a-kind, wearing scarves for shirts and going topless without hesitation. My junior high school friend Queenie became friends with Sable and introduced me. I was 14. Sable was the same age. I felt completely in awe of her. My mother owned a concession at the movie star restaurant Chasen’s. On weekend nights, while she worked, I snuck out of the house to hang with Queenie and Sable at the clubs on Sunset Strip.
What I remember most about the E Club was Bowie. I met him when he was doing the Spiders from Mars tour. I had not yet turned 15 and he wanted to take me to his hotel room. I was still a virgin and terrified. He had hair the color of carrots, no eyebrows, and the whitest skin imaginable. I grabbed on to [DJ and club co-owner] Rodney Bingenheimer and said I was with him. So we all just hung out and talked. I had probably kissed boys by that point, but I wasn’t ready for David Bowie.
Next time Bowie was in town, though, maybe five months later, I got a call at home from his bodyguard, a huge black guy named Stuey. He told me that David wanted to take me to dinner. Obviously, I had no homework that night. Fuck homework. I wasn’t spending a lot of time at school anyway. I said that I would like to go but that I wanted to bring my friend Sable. She was dying to fuck Bowie. I figured that she would sleep with him while I got to hang out and have fun. At the time, Sable and her sister Coral were both dating Iggy Pop, spending time at the home of Tony DeFries [then-manager of David Bowie and Iggy] up in Laurel Canyon. People there were so high all the time — Quaaludes, heroin, whatever. In the limo ride to the Rainbow, Sable said, “If you touch David, I will kill you.” I didn’t think she was kidding.
We sat at this corner table in a private room. Stuey rolled enormous blunts. John Lennon and Yoko Ono stopped by to say hello. We were drinking cocktails and looking at menus when some crazy guy dove over the table and said to David, “You flaming fucking faggot. Kill Bowie!” Next thing you know, Stuey’s got the guy pinned down and we’re being escorted out a side door and back into the limo. “Danny’s Song” was playing on the radio and Sable started singing to David: “We ain’t got honey, but I’m so in love with your money…” He laughed so hard. He thought it was hilarious.
We got to the Beverly Hilton and all went up to Bowie’s enormous suite. I found myself more and more fascinated by him. He was beautiful and clever and poised. I was incredibly turned on. Bowie excused himself and left us in this big living room with white shag carpeting and floor-to-ceiling windows. Stuey brought out Champagne and hash. We were getting stoned when, all of a sudden, the bedroom door opens and there is Bowie in this fucking beautiful red and orange and yellow kimono.
He focused his famously two-colored eyes on me and said, “Lori, darling, can you come with me?” Sable looked like she wanted to murder me. He walked me through his bedroom and into the bathroom, where he dropped his kimono. He got into the tub, already filled with water, and asked me to wash him. Of course I did. Then he escorted me into the bedroom, gently took off my clothes, and de-virginized me.
Two hours later, I went to check on Sable. She was all fucked up in the living room, walking around, fogging up windows and writing, “I want to fuck David.” I told him what she was doing and that I felt so bad. Bowie said, “Well, darling, bring her in.” That night I lost my virginity and had my first threesome. The next morning, there was banging on the door and it was fucking [Bowie’s wife] Angie. I was terrified of her. David said not to worry about it. They were already at the point where they had separate rooms. She probably knew he’d be in there with girls… or boys. He was totally bisexual. I saw David many times after that, for the next 10 years, and it was always great.
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