The R&R gallery in downtown L.A. is teeming with young rockers and well-dressed boomers one recent evening. The photographs on display show beautiful young ladies in various degrees of undress, hanging out with heavyweight rock luminaries of the 1960s and '70s.
One woman in particular garners the most attention as she moves through the gallery: the world's most famous groupie, the still-beautiful Pamela Des Barres. Her memoir, I'm With the Band, catapulted the tales of her rocker conquests into the stratosphere and into the general public.
On this night, TV cameras trail Miss Pamela as she films a VH-1 special about her supergroupies, called Let's Spend the Night Together, also the title of her most recent book.
Miss Pamela's roster of elbows rubbed and pillows shared is mind-boggling. The Doors, the Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks, the Who, Frank Zappa and Rodney Bingenheimer are just a few who are/were real friends.
“I'm mainly a spiritual person, which surprises a lot of people,” she says. “I'm considered a loose woman because of my past dalliances with rock stars. But I just want to make people happy. I want to cheer up the world. I just want to make it a better place for myself and everybody else.”
As a young woman raised in L.A. — she was born in Reseda 61 years ago — her preoccupation with the burgeoning rock & roll juggernaut was but one of many things that set her against fairly straight-laced elements of America.
“All my hippies, flower children and freaks, I considered us a special unit of people who were out to change the world,” she says. “We protested the [Vietnam] war, we protested racism, we protested people who were afraid of gay people. We were trying to knock down doors and I think we succeeded in a lot of ways.
“A lot of it had to do with the spiritual revolution that was taking place at the same time as the music revolution. That was opening a lot of people's eyes to 'We are all one,' and that's still going on, but it's taking a long time.”
In November 1966, police descended upon the Sunset Strip to disrupt a large gathering of L.A. youth who were protesting curfews and the no-dancing laws. Things got nasty, and a full-on riot ensued. Miss Pamela was one of the kids sitting in the middle of the street, holding hands, singing and halting traffic on both sides of Sunset Boulevard. That day, hundreds of hippies and flower children were smacked around by cops, and several were arrested.
Miss Pamela hung with others: Miss Sparkie, Miss Sandra, Miss Christine, Miss Mercy, Miss Cynderella and Miss Lucy. They were a groupies group, known as the GTOs.
Frank Zappa saw the appeal of these irresistible young, hip waifs. Though a considerably underground phenomenon at the time, the GTOs are now L.A. legends.
Most guys secretly (or openly) want to be rock stars. Miss Pamela is every guy's dream girl, a direct reflection of the stars who have gazed into her eyes. If she is the dream of the biggest stars, imagine what effect she has on a regular Joe.
Pamela is a specialized desire. Treat her nice.