inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #26 of 208: Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Sat 10 Sep 05 06:13
    
Angus, I am so pleased that you are a fan of those writers. I
literally stumbled across Ellen Willis's writing and was astounded by
her talents and acumen (as well as the fact that she was the rock
critic for the New Yorker in '60s and '70s). I had heard of Roxon's
"Rock Encyclopedia" but didn't know much more about her. When I went
through her columns for the New York Sunday News, I realized that there
was a lot more to her and her career than the encyclopedia. Yet I had
never heard of either of these women when reading about rock critics of
the '60s and '70s. Roxon forms a really essential link between the
Walter Winchell-type gossip columnist and the infotainment folks of
today. I am anticipating doing some more work on her role as (and the
role of)gossip columnist. Willis's work is simply a benchmark for the
field at a very formative time for rock journalism. I would like to see
her work accorded the respect and notice that it deserves. Her
activism, as a founding member of the radical feminist group
Redstockings for example, also makes her unique in American cultural
history. There simply was no one else who was so involved in both of
those subcultures at that time.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #27 of 208: virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Sat 10 Sep 05 08:59
    
I hadn't realized that Willis was part of Redstockings. I've learned as much
about rock from her work as from anyone's, though, and more than a little
about writing.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #28 of 208: Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Sat 10 Sep 05 10:32
    
There is a good account of Willis's involvement with Redstockings (as
a founding member) and NY Radical Women, as a member, in Alice Echol's
"Daring to be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967-1975."
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #29 of 208: Margaret Moser (fairblonde) Sat 10 Sep 05 11:28
    
Angus, Lisa's attention to Lillian Roxon was really gratifying for me
too. I've hung on to my Rock Encyclopedia all these years, feeling like
she'd been shunted aside and forgotten. But she influenced me greatly.
I'd like to see a book on female rock critics through 1980 (which, to
me, is the dividing line between the generations). Ellen Willis I
discovered much after the fact - growing up in suburban San Antonio in
the late 60s didn't offer much access to media - yet she too influenced
me.

I'm also fascinated by Patricia Kennealy, whom I have a passing
acquaintance with. A writer who fell in love with her subject. For all
the dismissal she got for her story of a handfasted marriage to Jim
Morrison, I totally believe it.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #30 of 208: Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Sat 10 Sep 05 15:09
    
I wonder if the groupie phenomenon was a way of flipping the
woman-as-sexual-object
mean on its ass, so to speak.

Treating men as objects, that is.  Counted, compared, brandished, etc.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #31 of 208: Low and popular (rik) Sat 10 Sep 05 17:29
    
For some, yeah.   The Plaster Casters and Connie from Little Rock were
definitely about that.  But far more of the heartland groupies were simply
the smart girls in town who were bored with the local boys, and looking for
some excitement.   They knew that we were on our way out of town the next
day, and wouldn't be bragging around to all THEIR friends.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #32 of 208: Margaret Moser (fairblonde) Sat 10 Sep 05 17:58
    
>>far more of the heartland groupies were simply the smart girls in
>>town who were bored with the local boys, and looking for some
>>excitement.
Rik, that's a pretty accurate aspect of the equation for me. Suburban
San Antonio definitely qualified as heartland when it come to my teen
years as a groupie. In those old daze, before the internet and cable,
gathering information from the underground was a real challenge in the
hinterlands. It was part word-of-mouth and part ideas etc gleaned from
publications like Eye magazine, sometimes Playboy (which I had little
access to), and specifically Rolling Stone. Underground radio shows
were good for music but not always helpful about the general
counterculture. I usually went to the record shop in the mall and nosed
around, looking for reading material. Things got a little better with
the advent of the headshop in the late Sixties, where you could find
other offbeat papers and magazines and meet others with common
interests.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #33 of 208: Margaret Moser (fairblonde) Sat 10 Sep 05 18:06
    
Dennis,

In my second incarnation as a groupie - 1979-1984 - it was all about
empowerment. That was something I tried to impress upon the Texas
Blondes. But I never approached the way a few men do, as strictly
notches on the belt. I always approached it as an equality thing: "I
know what I'm here for and you know what you want." 

If we used anything to our advantage it was the Texas mystique,
especially for English musicians. They loved the way we'd float
backstage in a cloud of drawling girlish chatter. Occasionally, we'd
get slagged as dumb blondes but I taught the girls Dolly Parton's
comeback. "Sure you can call me that but I'm not dumb. I'm also not
blonde."
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #34 of 208: David Gans (tnf) Sat 10 Sep 05 18:17
    

EYE Magazine!  Man, I wish I'd saved a few of those.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #35 of 208: Margaret Moser (fairblonde) Sat 10 Sep 05 18:19
    
A longtime male friend of mine thinks I demean myself by embracing my
groupie past. "That's really disgusting," he tells me. This from a guy
who was notorious as a cockhound in his younger days. But it's true, I
have run into a few men along the way who are really alienated by that
aspect of my life. Most of those don't have much of a relationship with
me but a few do, like my old friend. I just shrug it off. Nothing I
can do about the past now.

And yet as a working music journalist, I continue to cross paths with
musicians who I once slept with or had a non-professional relationship
with. It's not embarrassing nor does it make me self-conscious.
Sometimes they know and remember me but sometimes they don't. John Cale
remembers, Iggy Pop doesn't. What I get out of that in some cases is
priceless: I can ask John to perform at the Music Awards at SXSW and he
will without hesitation. He knows he'll get a good audience and great
press, and that I wouldn't ask him to do anything that wasn't good for
his career. 
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #36 of 208: Margaret Moser (fairblonde) Sat 10 Sep 05 18:20
    
You too can relive your past with Eye magazine, David. I bought an
entire collection (less than two years of publication and a Hearst
mag!) on Ebay.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #37 of 208: Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Sat 10 Sep 05 18:24
    

Here's another question:

There aren't too many film treatments of the groupie scene.

One I'm most familiar with is in "This Is Spinal Tap," which features
the band's encounter with the "ass casters" of Chicago.

http://www.spinaltapfan.com/atozed/TAP00078.HTM

Any comments?  
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #38 of 208: David Gans (tnf) Sat 10 Sep 05 18:33
    

> You too can relive your past with Eye magazine, David. I bought an entire
> collection (less than two years of publication and a Hearst mag!) on Ebay.

Can I just come over and browse through yours some time?
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #39 of 208: Margaret Moser (fairblonde) Sat 10 Sep 05 18:55
    
Absolutely. When I get them back from my editor. Some of them even
have the posters intact. 

On the back of the posters was their gossip section, Electric Eye.
That was the stuff I would devour. They were very NYCentric whereas
Rolling Stone seemed California-y. Between the two, I knew there was a
world out there that was light years from mine, and I longed to be a
part of that excitement. My early groupie experiences in 1970 and 71
were as close to that as I could get. I'd go to high school the day
after and listen to people who'd attended the show the night before and
just smirk. 

I was so shocked the first time I really listened to the words of
Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" and the line "Oh, but tomorrow
morning / She'll have to change her trend / And be sweet sixteen / And
back in class again." I must have been about 15 and leading that secret
life: How did Chuck Berry know about this stuff??? It didn't take long
to figure out.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #40 of 208: Margaret Moser (fairblonde) Sat 10 Sep 05 19:05
    
Dennis, as wicked and true as Spinal Tap is, I can't really hold it up
for analysis since it's pure parody. 

I really disliked The Banger Sisters and suspect it didn't help Goldie
Hawn's career, especially when her daughter starred in my favorite
film about groupies, Almost Famous, at the same time Banger Sisters was
scheduled for release. No wonder it was held for release until the
stardust settled.

One one of the earliest film scenes I can cite that portrays groupies
realistically is in Alice's Restaurant. Arlo is on tour and meets a
grubby little groupie named Reenie (Shelley Plimpton). He turns her
down when she supplicates herself to him. I did know a number of
groupies like her and they usually solo players, not part of a gaggle
as I was.

I am trying to think of more instances of film portrayals of groupies
but drawing a blank right now. Anyone? Anyone?
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #41 of 208: Gary Lambert (almanac) Sat 10 Sep 05 19:51
    

Shelley Plimpton was terrific in that small part in "Alice's
Restaurant."

The ass-casting scene does not actually appear in "This Is Spinal Tap,"
BTW. There are a few seconds of it in the outtake material on the
Special Edition DVD.  But we do see the band entertaining some groupies
in their hotel room during the movie, as in the scene where we first
encounter the great Artie Fufkin of Polymer Records.

I'm kinda drawing a blank on other groupies in movies as well, although
I'm sure there must be some.  One that comes to mind isn't a rock
groupie -- Amy Wright as the girl that Sandy Bates discovers waiting for
him in bed in "Stardust Memories."
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #42 of 208: Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Sat 10 Sep 05 20:14
    
The was a documentary, "Groupies," (Ron Dorfman and Peter Nevard,
dirs. Maran, 1970). Premiered at the Fifth Avenue Cineman in NYC and
played there for a while. Judith Crist, Jonathan Cott, and Pauline Kael
(among others) weighed in with reviews, some of them quite extensive.
Lillian Roxon also had a long review of it in the Voice. Hard to find
now, but it has some interesting footage of several of the better known
groupies and some musicians (Cocker, Alvin Lee, Spooky Tooth and Terry
Reid). 
As far as groupies in fictional film, I think you have covered most of
the highlights that come to the top of my head.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #43 of 208: David Gans (tnf) Sat 10 Sep 05 21:33
    

Any groupies i Paul Simon's movie "One-Trick Pony"?  I haven't seen it in
years.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #44 of 208: Low and popular (rik) Sat 10 Sep 05 21:54
    
That one slipped through the cracks and didn't get the recognition it should
have.   It was well-done, and pretty honest.    And I don't remember if
there was any of that in it, either.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #45 of 208: David Gans (tnf) Sat 10 Sep 05 22:03
    

I remember it being a pretty believable movie.  Great band, too.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #46 of 208: Kurt Sigmon (kdsigmon) Sun 11 Sep 05 01:04
    
Paul goes home with a girl on the road and takes a bath with her.
She's rather sweet, as I recall. That was a great film.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #47 of 208: Gary Lambert (almanac) Sun 11 Sep 05 08:18
    

Mare Winningham was the bath girl, IIRC. That was one of the better
scenes in a film that I found for the most part an annoying wallow in
narcissism, made worse by Simon's dreadful performance. The band was
great indeed, though. And the filmmakers managed to reunite the Lovin'
Spoonful for an all-too-brief appearance, which is another mitigating
factor.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #48 of 208: Low and popular (rik) Sun 11 Sep 05 09:32
    
I haven't seen it in years, but I remember feeling they they got the
dynamics and loneliness of the road down perfectly.     And I still tear up
at "How the Heart Approaches What it Yearns."
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #49 of 208: Low and popular (rik) Sun 11 Sep 05 09:35
    
The band, BTW, was that great gang of New York studio players, Stuff.
Eric Gale, Tony Levin, Steve Gadd, and Richard Tee, who showed real screen
presence and stole every scene he was in.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #50 of 208: Margaret Moser (fairblonde) Sun 11 Sep 05 11:21
    
I liked One Trick Pony despite the flaws. I also really like an
offbeat English one from 1974 called Stardust. It stars David Essex and
features Dave Edmunds in the Stray Cats, obviously a precursor to the
rockabilly trio as Edmunds produced them. It looks dated but the story
holds up well enough.

Spinal Tap is the best rock & roll movie ever on my personal Top 10.
Almost Famous is second. I know I'm supposed to say The Last Waltz but
that's actually low on my list. I have a soft spot for Zachariah and
will argue for inclusion of Easy Rider. 
  

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