“I’m With The Band: Confessions of a Groupie”
Author: Pamela Des Barres
Review by Tess
First published in 1987, this revised edition brought out earlier this year contains new material from the Pamela Des Barres, including her response to the bitter shaming of groupies and a foreword by Rosin O’Connor, Rock journalist and music correspondent for The Independent and a distinct lack of THAT introduction by Dave Navarro.
This book is unapologetically sex, drugs and Rock n’ Roll.
As a California teenager during the wild 1960s, Pamela has been meticulously keeping a journal since she was young, and it is through these diary excerpts that you experience all her thoughts and feelings that were swirling around being attached to members of various rock bands and other celebrities. More bragging than confessional, the story explicitly details her sexual exploits with Mick Jagger, the late Brandon de Wilde, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, Jim Morrison, the then-future Miami Vice star Don Johnson and many others.
So. Many. Others.
At first, the writing style that comes across in this book is a little off-putting and childish but reading through it you do find yourself getting caught up in her genuine excitement about her sexual awakening and her growing love of boys, in particular, rock-star type boys. I was particularly appreciative that her diary entries seemed to evolve and mature along with her throughout the years.
I do congratulate Pamela for being so bluntly honest about her stories and the emotions that went along with them. Skilfully injecting humor into stories of degradation, which represent the subculture of rock music.
There are parts that are all round sad, you want nothing more than this bright-eyed teenager from Reseda, California to get the rock n’ roll lavish life she so yearns for. You find yourself supporting her to kick the ass-hat rock star who’s never going to marry her or treat her right to the curb, you want her to learn from her past mistakes, but then she goes and does the same song and dance all over again for a brand-new conquest.
Something that really stood out to me is the lack of the woman scorned. Where is her anger? I thought as I read through yet another sexual exploit that left her being used and tossed away by some famous knob with a guitar. The female SheDragon inside me wanted her to rage at these men who had treated her like shit. Where was the regret? Where was the damnation and the pure hatred at these adult men who were having their way with girls as young as 13yrs old and getting away with it? Doesn’t she know that these guys view her as entirely disposable?
That’s when it finally hit me, Pamela Des Barres knows that none of these men really loved her, or ever saw her as anything more than a piece of arse. Pamela Des Barres knows, and she does not fucking care because Pamela Des Barres is too busy having fun. And that is her greatest secret: no one, not even the biggest rock stars in the world, can make you feel used and used up if you are having a good time.
Thirty years on and now in her 60s, There is a “New Chapter: 2018” where she has fought cancer and survived. Watched friends die, seen her son grow and be successful and still forever close with her ex-husband, Michael Des Barres and living every day to its fullest, never knowing what the next day will bring. What’s next for Pamela? She teases us with a movie or TV series about her crazy sunset strip shenanigans (Although it is widely known Kate Hudson based her character from Almost Famous on Pamela) according to Pamela her story needs to be told properly. We shall wait and see…