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I'm with the band: Rock's most famous groupies tell all for VH1 documentary 'Let’s Spend the Night Together'

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During the 1960s and early '70s, as such rock royalty as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and the  Rolling Stones burned up the charts, a prominent set of women played a key, but quiet, role in the proceedings.

They were the dedicated fans, the ones who took their love of rock 'n' roll a step further by assuming the role of groupies. They proudly served as treasured paramours -- and oftentimes muses -- to some of rock’s most iconic statesmen. And now they are telling all for a new documentary, premiering Wednesday on VH1.

Adapted from Pamela Des Barres' bestselling book "Let’s Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies,” the doc follows Des Barres -- heralded as the "queen of groupies" -- as she travels across the country reconnecting and reminiscing with the women who lived up to their reputations.

“I’ve been wanting to do a documentary on the true heart of the groupie ever since I was one. The groupie is just a girl who loves music and loves to be around the people who make it. She is the fan that takes it to the next level to experience the whole shebang,” Des Barres said backstage at a private screening for the film.

“Rock 'n’ roll is art, but it also means sex, so it’s just the perfect combination -- especially for the young teenage girl. I remember when Mick Jagger lit me up when I was 15, and I thought, 'OK, I want some of that.' [But] our relationship was purely sexual.”

Des Barres was motivated to log her experiences, and those of her pals, because she felt the word "groupie" had become something tawdry, especially as reality shows featuring rock stars looking for love in a house full of women looking for fame became the norm.

“For a real groupie/music lover, you’re not in it for money. You’re in it for the thrill of being with someone famous,” she said. “Sure, we loved the little bonuses. Being taken on the road, staying in really cool places, but the main joy was to be with this person. We all fell in love. There were relationships.”

Her cross-country journey took her to Utah to see Tura Satana, the woman who taught Elvis a few tricks in the boudoir; Seattle, where Robert Plant's muse Michele Overman resides; Chicago, the home of iconic groupie Cynthia Plaster Caster; California to meet Cassandra Peterson, who was a well-known groupie before becoming Elvira; and Arkansas, to visit the famous Connie Hamzy, known solely as “Sweet Connie.”

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“Sweet, sweet Connie, doin’ her act / She had the whole show and that’s a natural fact,” Grand Funk Railroad sang in its song "We're an American Band."

Hamzy, unlike the other groupies, was never looking to build relationships. She was after sex, and she unabashedly shared intimate moments with virtually every rock star -- even their roadies -- who came through Arkansas.

“Look, we’re not hookers, we loved the glamour,” she clarifies in the film when pressed about her conquests. “We’re getting to hang with celebrities. I’m 55 years old, so I don’t do the things I used to. I don’t look the way I used to. There aren’t women who could do what me or Pamela does. How many songs on the radio have a gal's name in it?”

Sweet Connie never minces her words -- ever. She boasts that she’s bedded -- or serviced -- anywhere from 700 to 1,000 musicians and their crew guys. She says she still gets requests from bands, which she is happy to oblige. Though a lot of her anecdotes can't be printed in this publication, one of her favorite memories is of helping Don Henley join the "Mile High Club" -- with a little bit of help, albeit unexpected.

“I had my eyes closed, because that's what you do when you're making love, before feeling another set of hands on me and it was the pilot. Then I realized, who could be flying this thing? Don tells me not to worry, it’s on autopilot,” she said. “My only complaint is they didn’t ask me how I felt. I mean, it can’t be safe to put the plane on autopilot, can it?”

Hamzy admits she sometimes got attached to some of the stars, including Eddie Van Halen (she also had his brother, “but not at the same time,” she quickly points out).

“I think I let him slip through my hands. I did get attached to some of them. I feel in love with some of them. You build attachments,” she says before catching herself. “But it's pointless. They are here today, gone tomorrow.”

When pressed about relationships with married musicians, she lets out a hearty chuckle. “I was with some and their wives, at one point,  which I didn’t mind. Most of the times the wives detest me. But I will say if they think I’m the only one who’s ever done this with their husbands, then they are very naïve.”

Overman, who also dated a pre-Aerosmith Steven Tyler, puts it differently when she thinks of her teen years with Plant (ironically, they dated at the same time Des Barres was seeing another Zeppelin member, Jimmy Page).

“It was an instant attraction. And he was married, so you know, it didn’t last. But it lasted for three years. I just really liked him,” Overman said. “I really wanted a boyfriend. And when you’re that young, you kinda don’t think about the consequences of that sort of thing. You just think it’s all going to work out the way you want, and you will ride off into the sunset. But it didn’t.”

“Let’s Spend the Night Together: Confessions of Rock’s Greatest Groupies” airs Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. on VH1.

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

twitter.com/gerrickkennedy

Photos: (Top left) Pamela Des Barres and Keith Moon.

(Top middle) Vintage Des Barres.

(Top right) The GTOs, a groupie group created by Des Barres that featured her, Linda Sue Parker, Lucy  McLaren, Christine Frka, Sandra Leano, Judith Edra Peters and Cynthia Cale-Binion.

(Middle left) Vintage Michele Overman.

(Middle right) Jimmy Page with Des Barres.

All photos courtesy of VH1.

 
Comments () | Archives (27)

At what point/age did these girls realize that what they were offering was no longer desirable, ie, too wrinkled and fat?

They prefer to be called "Band Aids"................

Really looking forward to this show!

what a bunch of losers!

but hey each to their own i guess. just sad that they look back with PRIDE on their lives. but i am a boring accountant living a single contented life so what would i know bout sex drugs and rock and roll. lol

I'd rather be a bandaid with Penny Lane

Never understood why any rock n roller would want somebody's leftovers.

"but i am a boring accountant"
Yes, yes you are honey.

“Look, we’re not hookers, we loved the glamour,'

At least hookers are smart enough to get paid.

alyana you should turn on, you could revolutionize accounting with a new awareness.

boring!! haven't we heard all of these stories in countless music magazine articles, interviews, books etc. flogging a dead horse are we? it seems so.

How about a film, no...a series, about the real women of rock? I'm talking about the ones who influenced and continue to influence all musicians: Wanda Jackson, Grace Slick, Fanny, women of Motown (ok they're soul but still..) Patti Smith, Aretha, Chrissie Hynde, Poly Styrene, The Slits, Lydia Lunch, Exene Cervenka, Siouxsie Sioux, Bush Tetras, Kim Gordon, Elizabeth Fraser, Diamanda Galas, P.J. Harvey, L7, Bikini Kill, Beth Ditto, Mira Aroyo & Helena Marnie (Ladytron)....there are so so many more. Must we rehash those tired groupie stories to satisfy boomer men?

It's important, I think, for today's young adults to try and understand the lifestyle and mindset of the late sixties through the early 80's... hedonistic! Prudishness was out. Sensuality was everywhere in the youth culture. Now life (and thought) are so highly regulated, it is almost impossible for those who did not exist in that era to comprehend the richness, satisfaction and thrill derived from life lived passionately, as an adventure! This is what the ladies are wearing like a badge of courage... It was high octane romance, and has been all but extinguished from modern living.

tis the season to glorify sluts and whores... a sad commentary that what they claim as their glory daze were as sperm receptacles for drugged out infected sleazoids.

You youngsters have no idea what the sexual revolution was like....before AIDS came along and changed everything. In the time frame between The Pill and AIDS there was a whole lotta shakin' goin' on (to quote you-know-who). Now you kids get offa my lawn!

Roger -- at what point did you get so bitter about what other people choose to do?

What skin is it off your nose that these women had a good time? Why does that make you so hostile?

Ran into her at a party in Laurel Canyon in the 70's. Place was full of rock n' rollers and groupies. Her husband was there as well. It was a crazy scene with music, drugs and eventually cops shutting it all down. I lived down the street so my walk home was quick. Party started up again and back i went. Those were the days my friend...

DRE DAWG
Great post.

why condemn these girls? when men brag about their conquests they're heroes.
at least they enjoyed themselves and if they have no regrets that's fantastic.
to alyana the accountant : what's the difference between these girls and someone who works for a corporation? these girls got to choose who scr*wed them all day long and they got to enjoy it.
think about that.

I'm looking forward to this documentary.

Losers? I don't know about that. They were young and living their dream. It was era of free love, rock and roll. They have a lifetime of memories....at least as much as they can remember from those drug-crazed days.

alyana,
Jealous?

Groupies are the one side of the story not calling the males the whores they were. I say that with a smile because I was there in Hollywood at the time & many of the well known 'groupies' were my friends.

I was mostly unilaterally mongamous at the time & didn't have an awe of musicians I guess cause they were all around everywhere, & I was into the more fun of costuming them. Also selling them drugs.

I disliked when people assumed I was a groupie on the basis of being female & hip, & knowing musicians & real groupies. Importantly because I felt 'real groupies' deserved respect for the effort they put into their chosen avocation. Miss Pam, Mercy, the Plaster Caster group, & many others I'd have to rev up some memory synapses for their names (& pemission to use them), created a large part of the Rock n Roll glamour; Where would 'sex' be in Rock n Roll without them? Some musical reputations had more to do with what abilities the groupies reported on, then the musical abilities of the musician~~~~;;}

Roger hayden: You overlook that a requisite of being a musician was NOT, is not, beauty or a gorgeous body - just to have an available appendage & make music with sime digits that hopefully were connected to a brain. But that most groupies did have physical beauty & appreciation of their own bodies; which when a person regards their beauty & body as an important tool - parallel to a guitar - they will take care of the instrument.

You could easily ask when did a musician realize that his - or her - music ability they were offering was no longer desirable. Or had only been desirable when attached to another person's talent? Or when paid for by a label pimp?

"She boasts that she’s bedded -- or serviced.."

Serviced - like Jiffy Lube?

"We all fell in love. There were relationships.”

Yeah sure.

sluts! but its ok by me

Trash them if you want but who else can say they taught Elvis to kiss or lost there virginity to David Bowie, Jim Morrison or Jimi Hendrix.

ain't no different from what is going on now with the sports player and they being married but having a little something on the side, like Tiger Woods and everybody else. so wouldn't or should i say that they are losers too. but the only different between the two groups, one group didn't it because they loved it and wasn't looking for a pay day, instant pay that is. but that is what it has been coming. but still if you pay for it wodn't that make you a hooker and the man a john. hey just asking.

 
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