Wednesday, January 4, 2012

With the band...because I couldn't be in it.

I think it would be quite reasonable to say that I am fascinated by groupie culture. Earlier in the year, my world was rocked when I read Pamela Des Barres' tell-all memoir 'I'm With the Band', and since then I have devoured all things old-school-groupie; books, documentaries, you name it. Currently, I'm hooked on music autobiographies for a similar reason, to absorb myself in the scene that was classic rock'n'roll, something that is harder to come by in our squeaky-clean-Disney-revering-indifference-to-talent times. There is a real sense of grit, raw-ness and authenticity that leaps off the page and right into the life you're living. Sure, in the groupie stories there's a strong undercurrent of bitterness, nostalgia and sometimes their desperation to cling to their whirlwind days basking in the glory of their famous lovers is a little bit off-putting, but it all somehow seems so much more attractive than the current scene. So postmodern, I know.

Pamela Des Barres.

Recently, I've been wondering why it is that I am so fascinated by this particular kind of reading. It wasn't until I read Chrissy Amphlett's 'Pleasure and Pain' that I figured it out. When I was younger, I was an avid performer. I took singing and dancing lessons for several years until I got fed up with the politics at the school that I attended (even as an 11 year old I was politically apathetic, it seemed). As Miss Amphlett described the pure rush she would get from belting out a tune in front of an audience and the constant adrenaline that accompanied performing, I realised just how much I miss singing. When I was taking those classes, I knew all I wanted to do was sing and dance. I gave up on that dream for a decade and I feel it may be descending upon me once again.
I was always a good singer, but having been out of practice for so long I would never be up to scratch to do it professionally. And dance is such a competitive industry, that the weight of such an ambition seems to crush any possible desire to take that professionally. Perhaps I am simply frustrated at myself for not taking performing further when I was at a riper age (most performers are well on their way by 20 years old), and wanting to soak up others' experiences is that frustration and desire manifesting in a safe, rejection-free way.

Marianne Faithfull.

Is it time to pull the dream out of the closet, give it a shake and try again? I live in an extraordinarily music-focused city which is beautiful. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so much music. So much good music. People are always looking for additions to their music projects. Could my life be taking a fortuitous turn thanks to this realisation? Failing that, I could always try my best to insert my name into the groupie Hall of Fame. Judging by the few chapters I've read of 'Faithfull' by Marianne Faithfull, some seem to master the art of combining the two, like Miss Faithfull, herself. But then again, those were different days. The Swinging Sixties when anything and everything was possible. Sure, it's easy looking at eras passed through rose coloured glasses, but hey, it's beats reality sometimes, doesn't it? So, so postmodern.

And so I pose a question, on which side of the stage would you prefer to be? The performer or the groupie? The music or the muse? Tough question, indeed...


[photos courtesy of,]

1 comment:

LyddieGal said...

I totally know how you feel about not wanting to pursue your dream because you don't feel like you could ever be good enough in such an oversaturated market where there is seemingly an endless supply of talent.

i do believe that in the end it has more to do with how well you market yourself than the level of skill and getting just the right people to give you exposure.

Of course I think you should go for it, and see if you've got enough determination to make it happen for real.

(and welcome back, and happy new year!)