Having told her own story in I’m With the Band (1987), Des Barres now turns the spotlight on more than a dozen of her fellow groupies.
Some are well known (scenestress-turned-actress Patti D’Arbanville, penile sculptress Cynthia Plastercaster), some are underground cult figures (self-professed Lolita and Iggy Pop pseudo-stalker Pleasant Gehman)—but none had a problem with using and being used. Everybody knew the game, they avow, so nobody was too upset that a one-night hook-up, though it might lead to an entire tour’s worth of debauchery, seldom led to anything permanent. Des Barres demonstrates solid journalistic skills in her fourth book, and her profiles of these women are for the most part objective, but she clearly has affection for her subjects. The majority are years beyond their groupie days; many of the book’s photos can be classified as then-and-now shots, tangible proof that these “band aids” have become, well, adults. For music nuts and gossipmongers, the most appealing aspect here will be the ladies’ name-dropping: Jimmy Page, Kurt Cobain, Billy Idol, Rick Springfield and Marilyn Manson are among the rockers who get called out by the likes of Bebe Buell, Tura Satana and the legendary Cherry Vanilla. The boys will probably be flattered, though maybe not a certain lead singer of whom Staci Paige says, “with all the cocaine he’s done, his penis isn’t very big.” As the quote suggests, the interviews provide the same kind of down-and-dirty details that made Des Barres’ previous work (Rock Bottom, 1996, etc.) so raunchily entertaining.
Nasty fun from a bunch of sex kittens who’ve been there, done them.