Putting Out is Hard To Do
At some point in time between the Rolling Stones and Limp Bizkit, it stopped being cool to be a groupie. In the 1970's and '80's scantily clad women could hold their heads up high -- well maybe not high- but up -- and admit to being "with the band." Maybe Motley Crue ended things with their over-the top sexual antics. Personally, I think grunge rock killed the blow-a-roadie-to-get-backstage era. Going to great lengths for the "privilege" of having sex with a wealthy but unwashed man-child wearing a thrift-store flannel just didn't have the same cachet.
In fact, the whole groupie phenomenon makes little sense to me. It's illogical to think that an otherwise attractive girl would humiliate herself in order to sleep with the kind of guy that she laughed at in high school. Which is why another writer and I decided to investigate.
While planning to go to The Bloodhound Gang show, Mary Cashiola and I learned that the aforementioned band updates their groupie exploits in a journal on their Web page, sometimes in lurid detail. They get a crew member to pass out backstage passes to girls at the show that they'd like to get to know better, and then they, well, get to know those girls better.
Shocked, offended, inspired, Mary and I mused that wouldn't it be funny to get such a pass, get backstage, flirt a little, and then do absolutely nothing? You know, to avenge all of our sisters who had been maligned on the Web site. Of course, we never thought we would actually go through with it.
The Bloodhound Gang, the Johnny-come-latelys (pardon the pun) of frat boy/ junior high rock hold few surprises. It's not like we expected a band whose most recent hit included the line: "Baby you and me ain't nothing but mammals, so let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel," to espouse social change in their live show. But after a couple of hours of the band paying audience members $20 to urinate on themselves or to eat 25 peanut-butter-and-banana Big Macs- we were ready to leave when the show was over.
Then it happened.
A grubby looking guy in his early twenties approached us.
"Hey, do you girls want a poster?"
"Come on, just take a poster. Take a poster and come backstage after the show."
The crew member was thrusting a pair of backstage passes insistently towards us, oblivious to the guy behind us yelling "I want a poster." Amused, we took the passes -- as well as the posters, which soon found their way into a nearby garbage can.
After summoning our resolve with some brain-freezing liquid courage in Wet Willie's daiquiri bar, we strolled into the alley behind the club where, just as we expected, the tour buses were parked. We knocked on the door of the first bus and a boy named Cheezeball ushered us aboard.
There were about 10 other young women already on the bus being inspected by the boys in the band.
"Let's see if she has boobies," suggested the band's bassist holding up the arm of one young lady. (Bloodhound's current album is called Hooray for Boobies. )
Meanwhile another girl was regaling the others, and disgusting us, with details about the time she slept with David Allen Coe.
Eventually Mary and I were alone on the bus with Jonathan, a roadie, and Q-Ball ("Q" to his friends) the D.J. As we sat there talking and enjoying the endless stream of alcohol such buses boast, the boobie-inspecting bassist came back with a girl that looked like she gotten lost on the way to amateur night at Platinum Plus.
He approached Mary and I and asked us if we would make him a promise.
"Depends on what it is," we told him skeptically.
"Will you promise me that you won't have sex with this girl?"
We gave him our word.
"You see, Allison, I told you that you wouldn't have to have sex with any girls if you came back here with me."
With her mind apparently at ease, he and Allison disappeared to the back of the bus. As the evening was taking on an X-rated tone, Mary and I suggested that we all go to a late night disco - pronto.
Once inside the club we could sense that these young men were growing impatient with us, maybe because they told us so. Nevertheless, we stretched things out until the club closed (something we had never before been there late enough to experience) and then walked with the boys back to the bus. Ever the gentlemen, they held the door to the bus open and waited for us to board.
Instead, we thanked them for a fun evening, gave some weak side-hugs and bade them good night. At this, Jonathan, dropped his pants right there in front of us and began to urinate, leaving the pants and boxers around his ankles long enough after the deed was done for Mary and I to realize exactly what a chilly evening can do to a man.
So we're not groupies. We just couldn't do it. But for decades thousands of girls proudly succeeded where we failed. What happened since then to make groupieness uncool?
Back in the days before AIDS, when diseases were non-deadly (but nevertheless funky), young women bragged about celebrity sexual conquests. Pamela Des Barres even wrote a decently selling tell-all detailing her encounters with everyone from Waylon Jennings to Jim Morrison.
I guess it's the respect factor. Prior to the hair-metal bad boys, rock stars appreciated their groupies. Though they weren't girls they'd take home to meet mama, they were friendly souls offering a service to lonely musicians out on the road. The Clara Barton's of the tour bus, if you will. In those days women like groupie-extraordinaire Bebe Buell could have a child with Steven Tyler (the little girl we all know as Liv) and then go on to raise the kid with Todd Rundgren. Groupies had some clout.
But it seems that when the levels of groupie degradation started to rise, and groupies willingly complied with each demeaning, degrading, humiliating, candy-bar sexual request, the mystique, glamour, and romanticism of the groupie died with Guns N' Roses.
Oh well, at least Mary and I got the last laugh.