Kelly's Reviews > Let's Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies

Let's Spend the Night Together by Pamela Des Barres
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Sep 24, 11

bookshelves: favorites
Recommended for: rock music lovers
read count: 2

I somewhat understand other reviewers hating on this book. Yes, the rock culture of the '70s and '80s generally viewed women as consumables like drugs or alcohol. But did you not know and expect that going into this book? How can you fault the writer for portraying the culture as honestly as she could? In my opinion, that honesty is far better than some sort of false feminist empowerment. This sort of cavalier sexual attitude is still pervasive now among average twenty-somethings.

This book, I felt, wasn't as much about "groupies" in the transient, one night stand sense. Most of the women interviewed seemed to be musicians' go-to girls in their respective cities, ongoing muses rather than forgettable faces. A hierarchy of groupies does exist, just like one has best friends and acquaintances. So interviews with the women who had closer relationships with musicians provide insight that music lovers like me devour. We all wish we could have been there, hanging out in those hotel rooms or backstage and seeing favorite artists during their downtime. Those small anecdotal stories provide a unique insight into those small personality quirks that make these artists seem more real to the reader.

The women who didn't have as close relationships with one rock god still offered fun stories about a plethora of famous names. Let's face it - these women had realistic expectations about their interactions with rock stars. They weren't expecting anyone to fall in love with them. For anyone who suggests these women pick up a guitar to get closer to music, I rebut that their primary motivation isn't to get closer to 'music' as some abstract whole. It was about sharing some sort of connection with these artists whose music spoke to their soul in some way. As an avid music lover, I understand that feeling. There's no feeling like standing right up front at a show, inches away from someone who poetically articulated what you feel. It's only natural to want to keep that connection going, if you had the opportunity. I argue that these women got as much out of the experience as the musicians did. I'll also add the Des Barres provides a background on each of the women and details what they are doing today, so you'll learn as much about these women as you will about the musicians.

I think it's important to go into this (and any) book with the right mindset. If 'promiscuity' and casual sex bother you and you expect stories written by women to strictly adhere to second wave feminist ideals, you won't enjoy this book. If you want to read personal anecdotes from women who got close to your favorite musicians in order to understand these artists better, then you'll enjoy it. In the words of Cyndi Lauper, girls just want to have fun, so don't expect any sort of moral, behavioral, or political statement.

On a related political note: People who look down upon these women for sharing their stories only contribute to the Madonna-whore atmosphere that lumps women into overarching categories and makes those deemed 'sluts' in some cases become pariahs of their communities. One story covers this and to me, it's saddening that fellow women still fall into the trap of judging other women by their sexual history and choices. This isn't the 1600s. It's time to evolve.
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