For our current book discussion the Velveteen Lounge plucks a memoir from our incredible paperback rack, Pamela Des Barres' trashy 1987 tell-all I'm With the Band. In it, Des Barres gives every last intimate detail (and I do mean intimate) about her life as the original and most famous rock and roll groupie. To say that Des Barres slept with every male in late-'60s--early-'70s rock and roll is far too limited. She also tackled her share of country musicians, actors and plain old guys. Here's a journal selection, featuring Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page:
|August 6, 1969:
We got carried away into some enchanted land and were swept into each other like the tide meeting the sand...Our bodies were meant to be together and he said, "I hope you know you'll never get rid of me, please keep me around until you don't want me anymore...I'm not like this, what's happening to me? All I can do is look at your face." I held him so close and told him, "I feel like I've been holding you forever," and he said "You will be, we'll be together for a long long time if you want it that way. I've known you for a thousand years, don't you feel that way?" Yes yes yes, Mr. Page. We tried to sleep, but woke up every ten minutes and kissed. Every time he touched me he would moan and sigh and call to God. Such a face, so gentle and soft, I'm amazed at his sadistic tendencies; they're such a part of him that I doubt if he'll ever stop. It was really frightening, he changed into another person, but all he did was chew me and slap me a little. We talked about our ages and he said that five years between couples is perfect. Everything he said drove me nuts. His beautiful grey eyes always there beside me, above me. Everytime I feel doubtful (which is constantly) I look at this ring and all I can see is his perfect face.
As you can well imagine, that ended badly. While the bulk of her young adult years were spent following, servicing, and obsessing about the likes of Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison and Keith Moon, busy Pamela also found time to be a founding member of the GTO's (the girl group formed by her friend and mentor Frank Zappa), appear in TV commercials and degrading films where she tended to perform topless, sew cowboy shirts for the Hollywood elite and take A LOT of drugs. The thing is, it's impossible to not like her and that's what makes this book so much fun. She sincerely loved these guys and managed to remain friends with virtually all of them. She studied acting and really wanted to be a great actress. She never stopped trying to improve herself and she wrote about every bit of it in her journal, many excerpts from which are here. When she finally met and eventually married her Prince Charming I was so happy for her that I was able to overlook the fact that he gave her scabies. I'm With the Band is a fabulous document of the "golden age of rock and roll," told by someone who experienced it from the inside, while simultaneously managing to step outside and observe it. Although it's out of print (as is the sequel, Take Another Little Piece of My Heart, which I'm desperate to find at a decent price), click here if you want to read it and we can probably work something out.
Click here for the Velveteen Lounge Reading Room's first featured selection, The Single Girl's Book: Making It in the Big City.
If you have an opinion about any book you'd like to share with Velveteen Lounge patrons, by all means click here to do so!