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113 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Vicarious Adventure Without the Disappointment
After reading other books by other groupies (who adamantly refuse the title of groupie although that's what they were), I wasn't expecting too much but was so sweetly surprised. This is how I always imagined a groupie should be like--star struck, believing that by adoring and being available to these rock idols would somehow make these idols fall hopelessly in love. And...
Published on October 19, 2005 by Nocturnal

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108 of 128 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kind of sad.
This is an infamous book, and as I worked in the concert business for awhile, I've been interested in reading it for some time. I finally did, and now I'm kind of sorry. The book isn't really that revelatory or even titillating; it's mostly just kind of sad. Because far from being a story of female empowerment, it's about a woman who is cripplingly insecure and lets that...
Published on August 23, 2010 by GadgetChick


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113 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Vicarious Adventure Without the Disappointment, October 19, 2005
By 
Nocturnal (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie (Paperback)
After reading other books by other groupies (who adamantly refuse the title of groupie although that's what they were), I wasn't expecting too much but was so sweetly surprised. This is how I always imagined a groupie should be like--star struck, believing that by adoring and being available to these rock idols would somehow make these idols fall hopelessly in love. And no matter how many times she got her heart broken she kept believing, continued to be optimistic and open far longer than most of us would have been. I am glad Miss Pam did find someone to love who loved her back for awhile at least--she deserved it--and hasn't wound up a has-been with nothing of her own to lay claim to (as so many other groupies do). I enjoyed the adventure; she captured a slice of what life could sometimes be like for a flower child with stars in her eyes.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Groupie Can Write, August 28, 2000
By A Customer
Yeah, yeah, everyone and her cousin's writing a memoir now, and there's been some disgusting cashing in, like Di's groom's book. But I'm With the Band is one of the best memoirs I've read, period, and a giant in the hangers-on autobiography ouevre. PDB pokes just the right amount of fun at herself and she knows how to shape a narrative.
Best of all is her command of language. She loved rock stars for almost 20 years, and she changes her tone to fit the era and the rock star she's obsessing over. I also lent mine and never got it back, so I can't refer to it, but she first loved from afar someone like Paul Anka because he was "a dream date"; 60s conquests like Gram Parsons were "groovy and spiritual"; Jimmy Page had "dark, chilling powers" (and whips in his suitcase). The scene where she finally gets Mick Jagger and all she can do it flash back to masturbating to Stones records is a gem.
The book is gossipy, smart, self-aware, and refreshingly unapologetic about sexual behavior that most of the world still reviles. [...]
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108 of 128 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kind of sad., August 23, 2010
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This review is from: I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie (Paperback)
This is an infamous book, and as I worked in the concert business for awhile, I've been interested in reading it for some time. I finally did, and now I'm kind of sorry. The book isn't really that revelatory or even titillating; it's mostly just kind of sad. Because far from being a story of female empowerment, it's about a woman who is cripplingly insecure and lets that insecurity guide her life and choices.

Pamela Des Barres claims she was "the original groupie" back in the late 1960s/early 1970s. I have to say, if that is true, I had a completely different idea of what a "groupie" was than apparently is the case. I thought a groupie was someone who followed and/or slept with rock stars because they enjoyed being close to fame, but they chose who they followed and who they slept with, and it was mostly about the conquest - not about trying to find true love. Pamela, however, basically falls in love with more or less every rock star she meets, and in addition to sleeping with them, she does things like make them clothes, cook for them, do their laundry, etc. Like a maid or nanny that also provides sexual services. The entire book is one anecdote after another about how she met this famous person, was fascinated by them, slept with them, fell completely in love with them, and got her heart broken. Over and over and over. She fixated on these famous men to the point of creepy-stalkerish behavior (the stuff about her relentless, unrequited pursuit of Marlon Brando was really embarrassing. He finally had to tell her to leave him alone and look for answers inside herself - the problem is, I don't think there WERE any answers there). I hate to say it but I was reminded of that line in Silence of the Lambs when a character, describing Jame Gumb, the serial killer, says "Jame wasn't really anything, you know, just this total sort of lack he was trying to fill...he would walk into the room and it would feel a little emptier." It's pretty obvious that Pamela was suffering from the "my daddy didn't pay enough attention to me" kind of neurosis that leads women to latch on to train-wreck men who treat them poorly. The only thing is, instead of a series of average alcoholics, drug abusers, womanizers and head cases, she latched on to famous ones. I don't think she came out any better for it, other than that she was able to write this book about it later and make some money.

And that is another thing that bothered me about the book. She pursues an acting career but it keeps going nowhere and she has to repeatedly move back in with her parents, who aren't in any better of a financial situation. She is continually broke and the only skill or trade she has is making clothes she sells to entertainment people, but that isn't enough to keep her going. To me, part of being an "empowered" woman is having some financial independence, and ability to self-determine. Throughout the book, Pamela seems to have almost no self-determination; her goal in life is finding the next famous guy to sleep with. She develops her own fixations on people but then if someone from her past shows up and wants a roll in the hay, she'll drop what she's doing and go running to him.

All in all, I was confused by this book. I didn't think it was glamorous and I don't understand why people think it's such an amazing portrait of a decadent rock and roll lifestyle. I thought it was really sad. Pamela is the type of woman I feel sorry for; I don't want to emulate her. When I think of an independent, free-spirited, sexually-adventurous, "empowered" woman, I would say Samantha's character from Sex and the City is more what comes to my mind: a woman who has forged her own path and can support herself, and freely chooses to engage in serial superficial relationships without being "devastated" and going into a "trademark collapse" every time a casual relationship ends. (I kept wondering why Pamela didn't figure out, after one guy after another left her for another woman, that the only commonality between all these men was her. My mentor used to tell me, if you keep encountering the same problem over and over, there are two possibilities - either the entire world is in conspiracy against you, or it's you. Which is more likely? In Pamela's case, her grasping neediness and aimlessness was the problem, but I don't think she ever did figure that out.) I guess maybe for the time, being sexually free was the same as being powerful, but that's certainly not the case any more. I would hope young women wouldn't read this and think that providing homemaking and sexual services to a parade of famous men is a ticket to fame or fortune, because in most cases I think groupies end up as Pamela says most of her friends did - with diseases and drug problems that all-too-often prove fatal. In any case, this book to me is just a sad recounting of the pathology of a textbook case of histrionic personality disorder. Not fun, not uplifting, and not even really that entertaining. Just kind of depressing, in the end.
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54 of 64 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The literary equivalent of a bad hangover, March 29, 2008
This review is from: I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie (Paperback)
Reading this book reminded me of that enervating feeling I once felt, circa 1979 or so, during a midnight viewing of Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains the Same." It was a flash of horror in which my excitement over the rock n' roll life (I was in a band at that time, my head filled with ambitions and pretensions) gave way to a feeling of aimlessness: What is with all this cheesy medeival imagery? How come these guys don't look cool, but just scrawny and strung-out? Do I really need to hear an eight-minute drum solo? What the hell have I been doing wasting my time with all this?

Des Barres' book left me with a similar feeling of the blahs: some books make it seem like there was more to the 1960s-70s rock culture than previously realized. This book makes one feel like there was a lot less.

I picked up the book hoping that it would bring the sights, sounds, and philosophy of a unique time back to life. It didn't. Despite having had dalliances with titanic figures ranging from Mick Jagger to Jimmy Page to Gram Parsons to Don Johnson, the author conveys very little of their artistry. In fact, she rarely tries to discuss or describe their music at all: passages on what makes a Mick Jagger or a Jim Morrison sexy sound as though they could have been written about any high school bad boy, musician or no.

And indeed, that adolescent attitude pervades this book. The book begins with the author entering a boy-crazy period in high school, and is related largely through excerpts from her diary, replete with CAPITAL LETTERS and exclamation marks(!!!!!!) about how COOL this guy is and how WHEN HE KISSED ME I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO FAINT!! Blecch. Most of the remainder of the book has a similar tone, merely transplanted to a larger stage.

The effect is more trivializing than anything else. I had hoped this book would reveal something about this woman and her ability to connect with these creative figures. Instead, this book made it sound like her life was nothing more than a series of hedonistic distractions, draped over a nothingness. The book makes the reader feel not as though her generation was liberated from the hidebound ways of the previous ones, having moved on to higher, more exciting pleasures, but rather that no more original ideas existed in her life or in her head than finding the next naughty guy to sleep with.

That's perhaps a bit harsh: she does deliver a couple of winning passages in the book, one on the excitement of a Led Zeppelin performance, another on her less-than-stellar acting debut. She also managed to convince me that she had an aesthetic value or two, specifically in advocating for the Burrito Brothers' injection of folk/country influences into the psychadelic scene.

But the lingering images of the book are the downers: the poor three-year-old son of irresponsible substance-abusing-party-addicts who let him plummet to his death through a skylight -- barely interrupting their partying lifestyle for a few months. The look of scorn and contempt on John Lennon's face, when witnessing the author's pathetic attempts to put meaning in her life by flinging herself at the band. I didn't find myself judging the author so much as feeling badly for her. Well, I *did* judge her writing, I suppose, and not favorably.

It's not a terrible book; it's too light a read to be that. But if you are looking for a book to make you feel that the 1960s were a time fraught with meaning and revolutionary philosophy, you'd be well advised to avoid this one.
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67 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock On Pamela!, October 22, 2005
This review is from: I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie (Paperback)
I read this book a long time ago, before this latest re-release. It was so funny and I wish so much that I could have known Pamela Des Barres because her sense of adventure and her uncanny knack of putting it all down in print left me in awe of her.

She led the life that I could only have dreamed of leading. Of course, there are people out there who would call her names and scorn her for what she did in her past, but all I can say is "You go Girl!"

I suppose you could call this book No Holds Barres, because she was so candid and she let us all into her world and it was a world full of magic and love and such fun. I think Pamela would laugh if she could see the copy of my paperback book. It is covered in suntan oil and the ghosts of many Pina Coladas, since this was like my bible for many summers of laying by the pool.

So many of the people she met went on to lead productive lives and are still in the limelight, others met an unfortunate demise, but one thing for sure, they all loved Miss Pamela and she loved them back. I think anyone would be lucky to have a friend like her. You would never get bored because the tales she has to tell would keep you interested for an eternity.

Read the book, it's a rock and roll journey you don't want to miss.

Love you Miss Pamela

from a devoted groupie!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All about a groupie!!! Wild, wacky, fun!!!, April 12, 2002
I still have my dog-eared copy from ages ago. It's sorta like a bible. Every once in a while I'll pull it out and skim through it. This is all about the life of a groupie chasing rock stars from her late teens to mid-twenties!!! From the late 1960's to mid '70's, the ultimate Rock'n'Roll peak!!! If you want to hear all about Pamela ending up in club closets with all the members of Iron Butterfly (not all at once), then read this book! She takes you there, Sunset Strip in the late '60s. This book is also about Pamela invading Jim Morrison's home to do a stoned-out backbend in his face (to the annoyance of his long-time girlfriend, also named Pamela!), losing her virginity to a member of Steppenwolf, hanging out with Frank Zappa and Cynthia Plaster Caster (famous groupie who "plastered" rock stars like Jimi Hendrix), and playing "hard to get" with Jimmy Page (it took the Led Zep guitarist two days to get her). She also lived with Don Johnson for a year. Keith Moon wore her panties. What a fun life! Pamela has a self-deprecating wit and a great way with words. I hope they re-print this book before my old copy disintegrates!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Queen Of All Our Dreams..., February 7, 2002
By 
Steven Cain (Temporal Quantum Pocket) - See all my reviews
Superb. This is still my favourite of all Pamela's books and a true Rock Culture classic. Anybody who was Frank Zappa's nanny and Jimmy Page's girlfriend in the same lifetime has to be worth reading - and this gal can write.
Unlike some books, this is in no way a name-dropping cash-in. Pamela actually did all these things, was all these things. She WAS Don Johnson's girlfriend, and buds with a young Vince Furnier (Alice Cooper), Robert Plant, Mick Jagger, Keith Moon etc. with an awesome collection of photos to prove it.
Written with the wisdom and humility that only comes with the approach of middle age, (when, in my opinion, women are just beginning to enter their prime), IWTB is a very human look under the hood of the Rock Machine. There are so many delicious insights into the whole Led Zeppelin era, that by the time you have devoured the book, you feel like you had actually been there.
Unfortunately IWTB is presently out of print, but her ElectricGypsy website may have some information about future availability. If not, keep surfing Amazon. It will be worth the wait.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lovely story, poorly told, December 3, 2011
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I'm With The Band / 9780450506376

I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn't get much past the first third of the book. Somehow, impossibly, this fascinating life story just could not hold my interest.

"I'm With The Band" is maybe a cautionary tale of the difficulties of writing an autobiography and the importance of a good editor. Pamela tells her life-story chronologically, but the chapters of her book have nothing to tie them together, no high highs or low lows around which the text is meaningfully organized. Everything just sort of flows from her early teenage years onward, carefully inter-spaced with increasingly longer entries from her diaries kept during those times. I think a skilled ghost writer or capable editor could have shaped this story into something with a little more punch, and a little less repetition.

Things I liked about this book, though, include: a very sex-positive and people-positive look at a fascinating time and a fascinating life. The writing, though sometimes repetitive as young Pamela bounces from new causes and new bands and new friends, is very earnest and largely feels extremely honest and open. It's very fascinating to read about the sit-ins, the be-ins, the drugs, the bands, and the people as though you're really there seeing everything through Pamela's eyes, and the diary excerpts underscore that these experiences aren't wholly filtered through the lens of memory and nostalgia.

Things I didn't like about this book: sometimes there's some shaming of other women, as when Pamela speculates that certain people who didn't live her lifestyle are probably miserable now anyway, but I imagine that Pamela has been given her fair share of flack so I won't judge her for being a little defensive. The disorganization of the material means that there are a lot of names to keep track of as they fade in and out of Pamela's life and it's sometimes hard to keep straight who everyone is. Without organized 'themes' in chapters, the writing starts to become a little repetitive: Pamela finds a new cause, a new friend, a new boy, a new band, a new drug, or a new job; falls intensely in love with the new thing; and is slowly pushed away from the cause/friend/band/boy/drug/job as it becomes increasingly unhealthy and/or a bad fit for her. I can see someone sticking with the narrative for the experience of the times, but for me I started to just get very sad at how many people weren't treating Pamela as nicely as I felt they should.

Also, the Kindle edition of this book has some errors that proved distracting (such as extraneous periods that slipped into sentences every so often) and the "teen speak" is a little heavy at times in the narrative, such as the desire to use triple adjectives like 'he was dreamydreamydreamy' and similar sentiments.

Finally, and this is going to sound a bit voyeuristic, but in a novel that advertises to be a "kiss-and-tell-all", it's very frustrating to me that in at least the first third of the book, scenes are written so vaguely that I have no idea what's going on. A recurring theme with the first third is Pamela's virginity and who she chooses to give it to, and I lost count of the times when I *thought* PIV intercourse had occurred, only for Pamela to bring up a few pages later that she was still a virgin. I'm not expecting graphic detail, but when everything is cloaked in vague descriptions and heated metaphors, it's really hard to follow the story. I note that Pamela describes her book as more of a coming-of-age tale in the introduction, and I think that's accurate -- at least for the parts I read.

Whether or not you will enjoy this novel will probably depend on what you're looking for. If you want an honest, open romp through the past and a close look at the drugs and rock of the period, I think this book will probably deliver. If you want a sexy tell-all that starts fast and keeps you hooked, I'm not sure that you won't find the book to be a touch of a slog.

~ Ana Mardoll
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42 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great book for chicks & classic rock fans, April 14, 1999
By 
Lori Newell (California's central coast) - See all my reviews
This book is especially enjoyable if you're into celebrity "name-dropping" books. You won't believe some of the famous men that made Pamela's acquaintance! I don't name-drop, so read the book for yourself if you're intrigued. I will say, however, that among them are several musicians of the 60's & 70's and one actor who briefly made white suits popular again.
This book will also be of interest to true classic rock fans.
While the author is no Shakespeare, she sure knows how to spin a tale! I admire her because she followed her heart and lived an "alternative" but fulfilling lifestyle when other women her age married young and started breeding. Bravo to Pamela for lavishing in her youth and "getting it out of her system"!
Read this if you're looking for something fun that'll keep you turning the pages...but not thinking too hard...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One woman's journey through rock music..., July 15, 2007
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This review is from: I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie (Paperback)
I grew up in the 70's, about a decade behind Ms. Des Barres, and found her book to not only be a sincere look at her emotional journey, but a fascinating perspective on the music scene during a time when I was still pretty much in elementary school.

Miss Pamela's writing style kept me interested and entertained, while her journal notes added insights into the workings of her mind and heart during this long and winding odyssey. A fun read, but with more depth than I expected.
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I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie
I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie by Pamela DesBarres (Paperback - October 28, 2005)
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