3.14.2012

She's with the band but I'm not in one


Pamela Des Barres is a Los Angeles legend, and all made sense in the world when I saw her commemorated in the People issue of the L.A Weekly, which celebrates the movers and shakers in Los Angeles. Except this guy. I read her book I’m with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie while in high school, and my imagination ran wild with images of barefoot hippie nymphs traipsing around the shady groves of Laurel Canyon in the middle of the night. Young, stoned and beautiful, they would drift from bed to bed, party to party. Even to this day when I drive down Laurel Canyon, I think of her recollections of Jim Morrison and Frank Zappa.

After moving to Los Angeles, I realized I needed to simplify my life with a lighter load, and went on e-bay to sell I’m with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, among boxes of other things. The winning bid sold to a lady in West L.A. Her name? Pamela Des Barres.

I literally sold the book back to the person who wrote the thing. The one that evoked unbelievable fantasies to an impressionable teenager living in the Virginia suburbs. Perhaps Ms. Des Barres wanted a collection of all the different versions of her bestseller. Clearly my paperback was published in the 80s, with hot pink and neon green color blocking on the cover. I had her home address for shipping, but I wanted to take the opportunity to tell her how amazing her book was. Aaaaaand offer to drop it off in person to meet her. She gave a polite, “No thank you. Mailing is best.”

At first I wondered if she was offended that I wanted to purge her book from my shelves in the first place. But she was probably being cautious. I could've been a crazy person. I read Laurel Canyon, live in a cabin off that famous thoroughfare, and admit to being a little crazy for that hazy place in time, trapped in golden amber for newer generations to marvel at. I'm not saying the sixties didn't produce a bunch of braindead and whining baby boomers. And maybe in retrospect my youth will be defined by something other than technological breakthroughs in communication. Perhaps that should be enough, since we were the first to experience the life-changing advent of the internet and cell phones. But I haven't been inspired since the 80s. Pamela Des Barres may be famous for her talent in bedding the talented, but our current culture consists of American Idol, gruesome video games and Miley Cyrus. Pamela's generation wins by a landslide.

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