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I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie
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I'm With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, by Pamela Des Barres

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message 1: by Stacey (last edited Oct 12, 2016 10:27AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stacey D.  | 1758 comments This entertaining tale, read for Week 11: a book from the Rory Gilmore challenge, could have easily gone awry, if it weren't in the hands of a credible, lucid and intelligent author. Des Barres brings us her juicy, sex and love-flled story that took place in the flower power-hippie counterculture-peace-free love-sex, drugs and rock 'n roll timemachine that earmarked the 1960's through the mid-70's.

This memoir is starstudded with legendary musicians, actors and very memorable characters whom the divine Miss P met and knew intimately (wow!) way back when: Jagger, Page, Jim Morrison, Robert Plant, Gram Parsons, Don Johnson, Frank & Gail Zappa, Melanie Griffith, Waylon Jennings, Chris Hillman, Michael Des Barres, Brandon de Wilde, Keith Moon, Noel Redding, Nick St. Nicholas, The Beatles (yes, all four of them). Even Woody Allen is in there. As one of the original rock groupies who hung out with the likes of Led Zeppelin, the Flying Burritos, the Stones, the Byrds and others, Pamela shines, as she makes no apology for her actions. She has absolutely no regrets. Interestingly, she notes that being a groupie at that time was "more about the music than anything else." But she did manage to do everything else as well.

Set mainly in the SoCal area, the book basks in that sunny, trippy vibe that only late '60's locations in Laurel Canyon and Hollywood can radiate. The author literally lived hand-to- mouth through her fledgling D-movie career and sales of handmade country-western shirts. She gets by on the kindness of strangers (and others), while frequenting concerts at the Shrine, Altamont and legendary clubs on the Sunset Strip, like the Whiskey a Go Go and the Troubadour. And, under Frank Zappa's mentorship, she becomes one of the core members of the GTO's - one of the first all-girl rock music/performance groups on the scene.

Meanwhile, Des Barres is plagued with her fair share of religious soul-searching and career doubts; she is also an egomaniac at heart. But her tale, while rollicking and often slutty, is honest and soulful. I really enjoyed the way she narrates this epic for the ages, which is interspersed with her actual journal entries that reveal a vulnerable young woman coming of age.

Oh, and here are a couple of favorites snippets from the book:

- Jim Morrison really didn't believe in the whole drug scene. He told Pamela that it was an act for his image. He also got her to kick a nasty Tritan sniffing habit by throwing the vat of it out his car window into some bushes. Pam's night with him was my favorite!
- Vito Paulekas was an old wack-o pedo "artist" and part of the freak scene living in Laurel Canyon who liked to have hippies around him - especially girls dancing naked and crazy in clubs and his home. It's also rumored that Vito and his bohemian/freakish pal, Carl "Captain F**k" Franzoni may have been partly responsible for Charles Manson's rise to infamy.
- In the '90's, Des Barres met Jon Voight, who told her she reminded him too much of his daughter, Angelina Jolie.
- Don Johnson had a monstruous temper and consistently berated Miss P on her shortcomings. He also started seeing Melanie Griffith when she was only 14 (and while still dating Pamela).
- Miss Pamela babysat for Moon and Dweezil Zappa back in the day.
- Keith Moon was a nut and was haunted by a horrible, yet accidental, death.

If you like sex, drugs and rock and roll and want to commune with one of the original groupies to the stars, read I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie.

message 2: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sawphie) | 2920 comments Thanks for the review, I might consider it for the "book about music" in next years rejects.

Stacey D.  | 1758 comments It's a page turner, but I found it to be more about the fringe benefits (no pun intended)- than the music. Pamela virtually discusses nothing on music technique, i.e., vocal arrangements, composition, lyric writing because she's not a musician. Although once in a while she throws in a poem or lyric.

Nah, this is strictly gossipy: sex, drugs and R 'n R all the way. This woman had F-U-N with a capital F.

But if you want something that's more concerned with the music per se, two great books that included that stuff and discussed the music were Motley Crüe's The Dirt and Keith Richard's excellent Life (but it's massive).

Stacey D.  | 1758 comments That's funny. I can't decide what I'm going to read for that week, which rejected genre to pick. I'm 90% finished with my selections and 11 of those are 500+ pages! How far along are you with "the plan"?

message 5: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sawphie) | 2920 comments Thanks Stacey, maybe I'll go with John Lennon: The Life, then. I read loved Keith Richards' Life last year and loved it!

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