We attended a Los Angeles high school in the '70s that had to be in contention for "most girls who crashed Led Zep's suite at the Hyatt." When I first saw the movie, Almost Famous, I could have sworn Penny Lane was a composite of pages ripped from my girlfriend's old diaries.
What happened to our crew? My division migrated into radical lesbianism or socialist/anarchist divisions— where the sex and acid continued, but with a different milieu. Please raise your hand if you were a "wimmins music groupie"!
Others stayed for the Laurel Canyon Rock God Hangover, which by the late 70s was Lucifer-like.
The blond glanced over at John when the men came out beside the stage. She gave him the once-over and started to look away, uninterested, until she saw the all-access pass around his neck. Her smile didn’t quite reach her eyes. They were green, big and pretty. Her chest was a little on the small side but even perkier up close. She smelled like marijuana and perfume.
“Hello there,” she drawled with the slightest hint of a southern accent. John smiled and casually looped his arm around her shoulders. No need for pretense. He pointed up at Tom.
“You a natural blond?” John hollered into her ear.
“You’ll just have to take my word for it, since there’s no hair down there,” she hollered back, her voice barely audible over the screaming sax solo.
John nudged her toward Rick and she went obediently. John fell into step behind her and watched her ass move under the denim. Her legs were even longer than he thought. Coltish. She had a tattoo on the small of her back, a little butterfly spreading its wings.
Behind the stage the music was quiet enough that John didn’t have to yell. “Want to come back to the hotel?” he asked, straightforward.
“Depends. Do I get to see Tom?”
“Among others,” Rick promised. Blondie looked him up and down and smiled. Licked her lips.
“I just want an autograph,” she purred.
She didn’t balk about wanting to
stick around to watch the encore. She simply nodded when he opened the
door of the limousine, slid in with those long legs trailing. The door
closed with a luxurious thump and immediately they were in motion,
headed for the hotel. John reached for the bar and she caught his hand
“You weren’t on this tour last year. What do you do?” she asked, her eyes pinning him to the seat.
“I’m a manager.”
“Not the road manager. Publicity? Merchandising?”
She reached for the front of his jeans. She wasn’t too eager, but not too methodical either. Her mouth was soft and warm. John jerked when he felt the surprise of her tongue ring against his cock. It made him instantly hard.
“Nice,” he whispered. Her hair was silky smooth. She moved up and down on him, flicking that warm metal stud against his head when she pulled all the way up. John leaned his head back against the seat and closed his eyes. He thought about Blondie kneeling on the hotel bed, sucking his cock while she took one of the other guys up her cunt.
He didn’t bother to tell her he was going to come. He just grabbed her hair and held her steady while he shot off. When he felt her swallow, he knew he had picked the right one.
“You’re good,” he said as she sat up. She looked him in the eye and wiped her lips with the back of her hand. Sat beside him in the seat and crossed those long legs, watched him zip back up. Leaned over to kiss his neck.
“That’s my thanks,” she told him, flipping his all-access pass on the lanyard.
“I want to fuck you last. After they have all had a go at you.”
Her eyes widened but she didn’t look surprised. “You like that, do you?”
“How many times have you done this?”
She thought for a moment, biting her full bottom lip. There was a lipstick smear on her teeth. “A whole band? Only once.”
“How old are you?”
“Old enough.” She leaned over and flicked his ear with her tongue. Brought his hand up under her shirt, let him feel her up. “Can’t you tell?” ...
SB: Your take on groupie sex was undeniably erotic— but the reader has to pay a price for getting off. It's not like memoirs by plucky groupies who insist on their dignity and spirit of adventure, like Miss Pamela.
How does it feel to make your main female character so unsympathetic? Do you see her in need of rescue, or beyond repair, and simply getting what she wants at the moment?
GM: I had to be unsympathetic toward her because of all she represents: she is the definition of how far our society is willing to go for a bit of what I like to call that "rock star shine".
Just how far is a person willing to go for a taste of that fame? In her case, she's willing to trade her dignity for a chance to bask in the remnants of the bright lights for a few hours. To her, it is a fair trade.
This story was written during the few weeks I spent on an ex-boyfriend's tour. Scenes like that were commonplace...the woman plucked from the crowd, the men who saw themselves as being invincible, the whole "what happens on the road stays on the road" mentality.
Being a part of that life is exhausting, not only physically, but emotionally as well. The bigger it gets, the more disconnected from reality it becomes. You start to realize people will do anything for their fifteen minutes. Anything at all.
SB: The narrator-roadie, John, only gets off when everyone else has "gone first." What do you think those sloppy seconds are all about? Is it homoerotic, or a picture of how much he's a groupie too, or more his fantasy of wanting to be soiled?
GM: I've always seen John as being a complex man. He's trying to do the right thing, but he's in a job that is not conducive to normal life. He considers leaving the road, but in the end he chooses not to do so.
The fact that he stays, that he takes the "leftovers," that he sets up the groupie romp even while he despises what he is doing— is representative of someone caught in the world of his own making, with no way out.
He's punishing himself for feeding the machine. John is the self-loathing of the rock world, the part that no one ever really sees or wants to acknowledge. You can't see the darkness while the stage lights blind you.
SB: What makes rock the ultimate "fucking music"?
GM: Can you imagine rock 'n' roll without sex and drugs to complete the picture? No other genre has become synonymous with the guiltiest of pleasures. It is an unholy trinity that never changes.
The concert happens on the stage but the show doesn't really start until after the lights go down. The men are larger than life, unattainable, and because they are unattainable, they achieve god status in our fantasies.
They are flamboyant, they lead private lives that blow up in rehab and very public divorces, they make half-hearted apologies of some sort, and then do it all again. They convince us they are invincible.
There is such shock when a rock icon falls...but anyone who has seen that life backstage is shocked they make it as long as they do.
We forgive them of anything, as long as they bring us more of that entertainment. It should be all about the music, but the music becomes secondary to the exploits that are played out in the media.