book of the month: i'm with the band

This month’s book was I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, by Pamela des Barres. I’ve been meaning to read it all summer and never got around to it, but I’m glad I finally sat down because I was brought back to the glory rock n’ roll days of the 60s. Pamela’s writing reads like an intimate diary that lets you in on the highest of highs (running into Mick Jagger, parties with rock stars), moments of recluse (a period of contemplation in the Deep South), and even the embarrassing thoughts of an adolescent girl that brings you back to your own overdramatic woes of the past.

I think the feeling that withstands each generation, though, is something that Pamela seems to pinpoint very well- the intense craving to really be someone in your early 20s…

“It’s hideous being 21. It makes me feel as if I should run out and do something before it’s too late…What kind of person am I, really? Not a whole one yet.” (165)

and I needed to hear that.

(courtesy of fox news)

This book was a solid find, and I’d recommend it, especially if you’re like me and quite a bit band obsessed. Pamela dives into issues of female empowerment in that era, which we tend to romanticize as all-encompassing freedom and revolution. she lives the experience of being an over-sexualized young girl that’s coming of age in circles in a male-dominated industry. even when she published this book in 1987, she was slut-shamed by women who looked down on the sexual empowerment she found in being a groupie.

I’m With the Band lets you discover the wacky characters that seem to have existed only in Los Angeles in the 60s. Frank Zappa, Jimmy Page, Jim Morrison, and my favorite, Pamela’s friend Mercy:

“Mercy scared me…She always seemed on the verge of saying something very profound and would catch herself just in time to leave you hanging in suspense until you realized she had left the room. When I met her, she had already taken a thousand acid trips and her mind was on the endangered species list.” (108)