Pamela Des Barres

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Pamela Des Barres
Pamela Des Barres, July 2007.jpg
Pamela Des Barres, July 2007
Born
Pamela Ann Miller

(1948-09-09) September 9, 1948 (age 73)
CitizenshipAmerican
OccupationRock and roll groupie, author
Spouse(s)Michael Des Barres (m. 1977–91)
Children1

Pamela Des Barres (born Pamela Ann Miller; September 9, 1948) is an American rock and roll groupie, writer, musician, and actress. She is best known for her 1987 memoir, I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, which details her experiences in the Los Angeles rock music scene of the 1960s and 1970s. She is also a former member of the experimental Frank Zappa-produced music group the GTOs.

Early life[edit]

Des Barres' parents were from Kentucky. Just before she was born, her father moved the family to the Los Angeles, California area, where Des Barres resides to this day.[1] Her mother was a homemaker and her father worked for Anheuser-Busch and occasionally as a gold miner. Des Barres idolized the Beatles and Elvis Presley as a child, and fantasized about meeting and dating her favorite Beatle, Paul McCartney.[2] Later, upon discovering the Rolling Stones, she daydreamed of Mick Jagger.[3]

Rock music groupie[edit]

A high school acquaintance, Victor Hayden, introduced Des Barres to his cousin Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, a musician and friend of Frank Zappa. Van Vliet, in turn, introduced her to Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones, which drew her to the rock music scene on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. She started to spend her time with the Byrds and other bands, and when she graduated from high school in 1966, she took various jobs that would allow her to live near the Sunset Strip and take part in the rock music scene. She famously went on to form friendships with many of the great musical artists of that era, and became romantically linked with various notable creatives such as Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon,[3][4] Nick St. Nicholas, Noel Redding, Jim Morrison, Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons, Waylon Jennings, Brandon deWilde, Michael Richards, Woody Allen and Don Johnson.[2][citation needed]

Music career[edit]

Des Barres was also a member of the GTOs, an all-girl music and performance art group sponsored by Frank Zappa.[5] The GTOs had only one performance under that name along with the Mothers of Invention, Alice Cooper, Wild Man Fischer and Easy Chair at the Shrine Auditorium in the metropolitan area of Los Angeles, December 6–7, 1968. The entire concert lasted for six hours. The group dissolved just a month after the release of their first and only album, Permanent Damage, due to some of its other members being arrested and detained for drug possession.

Acting career[edit]

During the 1970s, Des Barres pursued a career as an actress, appearing in movies (including Zappa's 200 Motels), doing commercials, and playing a recurring role on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow throughout 1974. She continued to work as a nanny/babysitter for Zappa, who urged her to continue writing the diary she had begun in high school, in which she had faithfully recorded the important details of her life. When her acting career stalled, she continued to work for the Zappa family as a nanny for Zappa's children, Dweezil and Moon Unit.[4]

Family life[edit]

On October 29, 1977, she married Michael Des Barres, who had been lead singer first with Silverhead (signed in 1972 to Deep Purple's record label Purple Records) and later for Detective (signed to Led Zeppelin's Swan Song Records label), and who, in 1985, was tour vocalist for Power Station. They have a son, Nicholas Dean Des Barres (GameFan magazine's Nick Rox). The couple divorced in the summer of 1991.[6]

Memoirs and other endeavors[edit]

Des Barres wrote two memoirs about her experience as a groupie, I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie (1987) and Take Another Little Piece of My Heart: A Groupie Grows Up (1993). It is widely believed that Cameron Crowe drew from these memoirs to create the groupie character Penny Lane for his film Almost Famous.[7][8] Crowe has stated that the character was actually a composite of various girls he knew during his time as a teenage rock journalist, including one named Pennie Trumbull who went by Pennie Lane.[9][10] The memoirs by Des Barres have another connection to the film: actress Kate Hudson read them for inspiration as she portrayed Penny Lane.[11]

The March 1989 issue of Playboy magazine featured Des Barres in a nude layout, published together with an article the author herself wrote for the magazine. In the captions, she was quoted as saying, "I wanted to be in Playboy when I was younger, but my breasts did not precede me. But now I have semicelebrity tits, so they don't have to be as big."[12]

In addition to her memoirs, Des Barres has written three non-fiction books: Rock Bottom: Dark Moments in Music Babylon (1996); Let's Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies (2007); and Let It Bleed: How to Write a Rockin' Memoir (2017). An updated edition of I'm with the Band was released in 2005.

Today, Pamela Des Barres continues to author books, contribute to others' works as an editor and consultant, and pen articles for online and print publications. She writes a regular column for Please Kill Me,[13] in which she confessed that she once kissed murderer and former Manson Family member Bobby Beausoleil in Golden Gate Park during his pre-Manson days.[14] In addition to her work as a writer, Des Barres also teaches creative writing classes in Los Angeles, as well as in several other cities throughout the U.S. and internationally. She affectionately refers to her writing class members as her "dolls".[15]

Discography[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Television[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "I'm With the Band", Pamela DesBarres
  2. ^ a b Nobody did it better...", BBC
  3. ^ a b Des Barres, Pamela (1987). Chicago Review Press (ed.). I'm With the Band. Vol. 1 (5th ed.). Chicago Review Press. p. 320. ISBN 1556525893.
  4. ^ a b Harris, Sarah (2007) "Pamela Des Barres: Her latest book celebrates the outrageous, unsung exploits of her fellow 'band-aids' Archived 2007-10-23 at the Wayback Machine", The Independent, 23 September 2007
  5. ^ Templeton, David (2002) "Groupie Hug: The World's Most Famous Rock 'n' Roll Muse Sizes Up 'The Banger Sisters'", Oakland's Urbanview
  6. ^ Michael Des Barres: Who Do You Want Me to Be? (Documentary film.) J. Elvis Weinstein, 2015.
  7. ^ "Rock, groupies, golden gods and that Quaalude kiss: Almost Famous at 20 by the stars and director who made it". The Independent. 2020-07-06. Retrieved 2021-03-02.
  8. ^ Sharf, Zack (2020-09-14). "The Groupie Who Inspired Penny Lane Gets Angry Over 'Almost Famous': 'This Character Is Pathetic'". IndieWire. Retrieved 2021-03-02.
  9. ^ Ammann, Ana (September 7, 2012). "Will the real Penny Lane please stand up?". Oregon Music News. Archived from the original on September 7, 2015.
  10. ^ Crowe, Cameron (September 26, 2012). "Almost Famous Block Party – San Diego Film Festival". The Uncool. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  11. ^ Lecaro, Lina (December 15, 2010). "Zooey Deschanel to Play Original '60s Groupie Pamela "I'm With the Band" Des Barres in HBO Series (NSFW)". LA Weekly.
  12. ^ Des Barres, P. (1989, March). She's With the Band. Playboy, 36(3), 74–80.
  13. ^ "Please Kill Me Online - the Uncensored Oral History of Punk".
  14. ^ "Pamela des Barres: Coming of Age at Altamont". 27 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Pamela Des Barres' Pajama Party!: Pamela Des Barres' Pajama Party with Her Dolls on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 2021-03-02.

External links[edit]