Are You a Groupie???

Last night, I was with some friends at a local comedy club.  Before and after the show, of course, we talked about what is new in our lives and plans we had for the summer.  When I was asked that question, I hesitated.  Do I tell them about the tour I have planned next month?  It is certainly on my mind as Rhonda and I were on the phone, right before I left, talking tour and other things.  Why hesitate?  Why not share something that I’m looking forward to?  Well, I think I gave that some thought before responding about touring because non-fans might not understand.  They might think it is crazy to fly into New Orleans, drive to Biloxi for a show, drive to Atlanta for a show, drive to Durham for a show and then drive to Portsmouth for a show before turning around and going back to Durham to fly home.  Worse than crazy, they might ask one question I always dread:  “Are you a groupie?”  Luckily, they didn’t ask that question and seemed generally excited for me.  That said, there have been times I have been asked that and I’m sure there will be more in the future.

When I have been asked if I was a groupie, I never know how to respond.  First, I never know how they are defining a groupie.  Is it the female lead character in a movie like Almost Famous?  Is it like Pamela Des Barres in her books?  Do I assume that?  If so, then, I assume that they are asking if I follow the band in order to get the ultimate autograph (some sort of sexual contact).  Obviously, the answer here is no…but my answer is really not the important part.  Of course, some may use the word to describe someone who just follows a band.  Nonetheless, the term never feels good.  It never seems positive.  It always feels like some sort of put down. Then, I wonder if I’m the only one who has been asked this.  Are other fans asked this?  What about male fans?  Do they get asked this?  Do fans of actors or sports teams get asked this?  Certainly, movies like Bull Durham would say that there could be sports fans who follow a team in order to have some sort of sexual contact.

Do you know what I think is really strange?  I have seen and heard other fans call each other groupies or have implied that other fans are displaying stereotypical groupie like behavior.  At those times, they certainly aren’t using the term to tell someone that she is fabulous.  Nope.  They used them as insults.  Why do this?  Why would other fans use a term like groupie?  What purpose does that serve? 

So, let me ask the rest of you here.  How do you define “groupie”?  How do you think others typically define it?  Is it a term used only for females?  Is it a term used only for fans of rock/pop bands?  Have you been asked this question of whether or not you are a groupie?  What do you think the best way is to respond to that?  Have you seen fans call each other groupies in an insulting fashion?  Any ideas why fans would do that?  Obviously, I would welcome any and all answers to this.  On top of my concern about having to respond last night, I’m also working on a chapter in the book that mentions groupies.  I generally would like to know how people define it and how it comes up in our fandom, in Duranland. 

-A

32 thoughts on “Are You a Groupie???”

  1. As I've always heard it (and coming from musicians), a groupie is a woman who will willingly have sex with a band member. It has negative connotations and is not a term I'd every identify myself with.

    As in this top definition:

    http://www.bing.com/Dictionary/search?q=define+groupie&qpvt=groupie+definition&FORM=DTPDIA

    “adoring fan: an enthusiastic fan of a pop group, especially a female teenager seeking a sexual relationship with the object of her adulation.”

  2. Hi Girls! Having followed Duran around on and off for the past 26 years I too have had people ask me if I was a groupie. The answer would most definitely be NO!

    A groupie in my mind was not even necessarily a fan, but someone who was willing to sleep with a band member or even someone who works for the band as a way of almost 'becoming' part of the band itself. I have witnessed groupie's following Duran but not necessarily sleeping with the band – session musicians and roadies most definitely get a lot of 'action'!!! I suppose it some people's minds it's a way to get that bit closer the band. The term groupie just doesn't sound very pleasant, does it?

    Michelle xx

    http://thedurandiaries.wordpress.com/

  3. Anyone can be a groupie (male or female). People who follow bands are often labeled as groupies. People who follow sports teams can be called groupies. Heck, even women who only hang around and purposely seek out and date Navy SEALS are called groupies (I was in the Navy and dated a Navy SEAL which is how I heard of this). So, it’s not exclusive to bands or women only.

    What does groupie mean? I think that varies from person to person. I think of it as someone who will do almost anything to get close to the band and ultimately wants to sleep with them. Btw – I’d love to know how members of Duran Duran define groupie!!
    Personally, if a friend jokingly says to me “your such a groupie”, I laugh and shrug it off. I know I’m not the kind of person that is trying to sleep my way through roadies and security, in order to get to the band. However, my love and passion for music and the band is something I’m proud of. Sadly, not everyone will understand. But that is their loss.

    I just have to say that I think it’s interesting that you and Rhonda say that you are “going on tour”. I never heard anyone say that before when following a band. I think it sort of implies that you are “with the band”. I understand a girlfriend, spouse, or family member of the band would say they are going on tour with Duran (such as Gela or Yasmin). I know Grateful Dead fans (Deadheads) that followed the band all over the US. They never said they were going on tour. I also know of Jimmy Buffet fans (Parrot Heads) and they also follow Jimmy and go to as many concerts as possible. Once again, I’ve never heard them say they are going on tour. And lastly, I have a very good friend who goes to as many Bruce Springsteen shows he can afford and physically get to. Yet, he just says he’s going to shows. So, why do you guys say you are “going on tour”?

  4. I've never thought of groupie as anything but a female fan who wants to have sex with the subject of fannishness.

    I don't necessarily view it as a bad thing, just it is what it is, but I can see, with how judgmental society often is over female sexuality, that it would most often be used as a pejorative to insult someone.

  5. I've got to say that my husbands friends (both his male and female coworkers and even their spouses) will jokingly call me a groupie….which is a bit awkward because A) I'm definitely not sleeping or wanting to sleep with any of them. (sorry guys…call me crazy I guess) B) Gee, that *IS* my husband standing right there when they're calling me that….it's weird! I don't take it seriously when it's from them though They're just silly and don't get it.

    I thought a lot about this today though, and I have to say that I don't really know I've heard fans call other fans “groupies”, but I've definitely seen and heard Duran fans call other fans stalker. Typically, if someone dares to mention that they've met the band/hung out with the band/know the band/etc….there's someone else completely ready and willing to call them a stalker for doing so. It's lame.

    As for us – I say I'm going “on tour” because that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm flying out of town, driving to see more than one show, checking in and out of hotels, and generally touring an area of the country while I'm following the band. I don't typically say that I'm going on tour WITH the band though. I just say I'm going on tour to SEE Duran Duran. See the difference??? 😀 I can definitely sense the judgement, but whatever. People can think whatever they want. 😉 -R

  6. Interesting. You are the first person to mention that there can be groupies with other fandoms. I don't disagree, but I do wonder how widely held that belief is.

    As for going on tour, I think Rhonda explains it well in her comment further down. We are traveling to go to multiple shows. If we were just seeing shows in our towns, we would say “going to shows”. Traveling to multiple places equals touring to us. Obviously, if we were touring with the band, we wouldn't have to be driving. 🙂

    -A

  7. I think you hit on something that is definitely part of this in that is a ton of judgement with females asserting their sexuality. Funny, how no one criticizes the rock star…

    -A

  8. I found the following definition of a groupie online. I think this one is particularly interesting and possibly more accurate:

    A groupie is generally considered an avid, often female, fan of a band or musical performer. The term derives from the female attaching herself to a group, the band. While the band is the group, the female is the groupie. Naturally, not all fans are groupies, and not all groupies are females. Further, there are now groupies of sports teams or players, actors, and oddly enough, high profile criminals.

    A groupie is considered more intense about her adored celebrities than a fan. A fan might have all the albums and a few pictures of her favorite band. She or he might also attend all the band’s performances within reasonable distance to his or her hometown. A groupie tends to follow the band, perhaps almost touring with them. The groupie will attempt contact with the band, either conversational or sexual in nature, and may become an annoyance by virtually stalking band members.

    Obsessive groupies will almost certainly involve themselves sexually with any members of the band including the roadies. Even if rejected, the groupie will usually keep trying with the goal of being considered part of the band, or important to a member of the band. The relationship of an obsessive groupie to a band is like a love relationship gone badly wrong. The obsessive groupie has little interest in anything but matters pertaining to the band.

    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-groupie.htm

  9. Many rock stars have often freely admitted that one of the reasons they formed a band and wanted to become famous was for the women (meaning tons of groupies). It's interesting how it's considered cool when they say that but the groupie is viewed as a slut. It's the old double standard.

    On the other hand, I remember reading about the Go-Go's and how they had male groupies (which they took advantage of and enjoyed). It just may not be as common since there are more male bands than female.

  10. I think that when other fans call each other groupies it’s because some ARE groupies (most likely wannabe groupies) or because they are jealous of the other fan. I find jealousy between female Duranies to be pretty nasty at times. You’d think women in their 40’s would behave better…. But, there will always be the “mean girls” no matter what age you are. Not everyone matures with age unfortunately. And, women are very competitive – especially when it comes to men!

    Here’s a question for everyone – in this social networking age we live in, do you notice groupie-like behavior from fans on Twitter? The fan may not be physically at a concert, backstage, or even in the same country as the band but they can still persistently push their comments and questions to band members. It’s astonishing to me how much some fans will badger John or Simon when they tweet. I've seen some fans ask 20 questions in a row and start to say manipulative things in order to get a response. And, some have been blatantly sexual as well. Does anyone consider that groupie behavior (by way of Twitter)?

    -San Diego Duranie

  11. But doesnt Duran” ie” sound like group “ie”. I think the band has alrdy sterotyped us – they just made it sound nicer.

  12. I completely agree with you on the double standard between men and women's sexual behavior. You are probably right that there are more male bands than female ones, which results in hearing less about male groupies. I wonder how much could be the sexual double standard as well. No one cares if men have casual sex but the world cares if women do.

    -A

  13. Wow. I love this comment as I'm sure it will make people think, or it should.

    First, I agree that fans use it because there is jealousy and competitiveness among women. I wonder why, though, they would choose to use this TERM as opposed to other insults.

    Second, I, too, have seen some of the behavior you mentioned on Twitter. I would love to know if others think that is groupie like behavior!

    -A

  14. First of all, the BAND didn't coin that term. Secondly, just because the word ends in “ie” doesn't really make it the same…unless of course you yourself take it that way.

    Gotta admit, it completely bowls me over when a fellow fan wants to accept the categorization and even says that the band themselves stereotyped us that way. At least, that's how I'm reading it. If I'm misinterpreting, then that's on me.

    I was probably eleven years old when I first heard the term…as were many of us…so I don't think the band actually believes the whole lot of us to be groupies in the sense we've been discussing here. Fangirls? Sure. (and for the males amongst us “Fanboys”), but real groupies?? I guess I'd like to believe that the band knows that many of us aren't quite that way, if not MOST of us…. -R

  15. I think that term is used purely because each of us know it's about the lowest thing we'd wish to be called…in many ways it's the opposite of what I am, which is a big fan who happens to write a blog and is in the process of finishing the first of what I hope to be a series of books on being a fan. I'm an intelligent, respectful woman and quite honestly, my husband is lucky to have me. I don't need to bed a member (or non-member LOL) of Duran Duran to affirm any of that. I'd rather just have a bit of their respect for sticking by them for so long. The band is lucky to have fans like me – and there are a TON of us out there. 😀 (yes, I really said that!!)

    I would no more want to be looked at as though I'd accompany any of them to a back hallway, or their hotel room than I would want to be called a stalker. I'm neither… and I pretty much expect (if not downright demand) a certain amount of respect and decorum out of people, so yeah, it matters to me how I appear to others. I watch how I behave and what I say, and while I don't think that all people are very careful, I do think that most of the fans I know are just that – fans.

    As far as Twitter goes – it is SO fascinating to me, and I'm really glad you brought that up, San Diego Duranie. Twitter has really opened the doors for people to say anything they'd like, and I suppose to a degree there's a veil of anonymity, although for many, they are perfectly fine with saying exactly what they're wanting/feeling/etc. and they have no problem with truly badgering John and Simon every single time they're online. I don't even know how to properly describe that behavior. It's like a car crash or a train wreck – I should turn away, but I can't. I'm not sure if that's groupie-like behavior, but it's definitely SOMETHING. 😀

    -R

  16. To R – Ouch! Did I offend you a bit? I don't take offense to being called a groupie. Whether by a friend jokingly or a duranie. Who came up with the term Duranie?
    To A – webster dictionary says – a fan of a rock group who usually follows the group around on concert tours. ????? – Chas

  17. On a personal note, I think that the term “groupie” is offensive unless you're teasing me as a friend might (and if you're a friend of mine then of course I apologize for my somewhat offended tone in my previous reply.) – in which case I don't care, but let me explain why. In the industry we're in: meaning music blogs (fan, critic or otherwise), females are often categorized as groupies, as if we couldn't actually be intelligent enough to get by on our own wit. Never mind that as a fan of this band we get called that term fairly often whether it's by other fans, men who have some sort of an axe to grind or by our friends in a teasing tone. It's offensive. I'd just appreciate a bit more respect from my friends than that, I guess.

    Herein lies the problem though: the term “groupie” has many different meanings. If you're following the definition you've supplied here – then yeah, pretty much all of us fit the description and it's not the least bit offensive. However, that's not the definition that many of us know to be “groupie”, nor is it what is intended when someone slings that word at you as an insult. Most of the time when I hear it, the meaning that is intimated is that you're the type of person (typically female) that follows a band around intending to have sex with them. I don't really know many fans that actually fit that description, although I'm sure there must be a few out there. The point being that since it's sometimes very difficult to know what someone is really implying when the term is used, perhaps it's better just to refrain?

    As far as the term Duranie goes – I've heard a few different stories. The one I know to be relatively certain is that a local DJ first came up with the term back in the 80's back when the band came to the US on the SBS tour.

    No offense though. It's tough enough to “read” people correctly on here without my getting my panties in a wad. 😉 -R

  18. A little late on the convo, but it's an interesting one!
    Coworkers & friends do call me a “groupie” and to me it's something to just laugh off. As many have pointed out here, most people simply don't get the fandom that so many of us have. So why split hairs over how people categorize us? *I* know I'm not sleeping with roadies and my husband knows it. And I'm pretty sure that no matter what people may choose to call me, they don't believe I sleep my way to the band. And if they do, well… that's interesting, lol. Bottom line, other people’s words do not define me. And if anyone does mean it maliciously…despite me not being crazy, slutty or impulsive, chances are that person would find a way to insult me one way or another about something else.

    My coworkers know how often I “tour” because, duh… time taken off work 😉 They frequently joke and ask if I made it backstage or if I remained faithful to the hubby. It never occurred to me to be offended, I just laugh it off and say something along the lines of, “Not this time, unfortunately!” Considering the fact that neither the band nor most of us fans are still in our impulsive 20’s… obviously that sort of stuff isn't going to happen during tours. And as much as I love their music, and as much as my fandom is about their music… I would be lying if I denied the sexual aspect to it all. So many fans ~ you ladies @Daily Duranie too! 😉 ~ insist it's all about the music. Maybe for some it is. But, again as you all have pointed out, there seems to be some… disdain? Maybe that's too strong a word. But there definitely seems to be some lines drawn between a fan who is strictly into the music, and a fan who wants to get close to the stage to get closer to any of the guys. Obviously getting close to the stage isn’t going to get me backstage with JT. And if it *did*… I cannot honestly say that I wouldn’t be star struck enough or smitten enough to be a slutty groupie. Would it ever happen in a million years? Hahahahaha! Um, no. But if it DID….(Would I follow through with it? What if the hubby found out? What if JT has diseases? What if he behaved badly and it ruined my enjoyment of the band? What if he performed badly???? Yikes!) But I can’t deny I have never *thought* about it. Who hasn’t? Going backstage or meeting up with and then . We have all thought it at one point or another and I see no point in denying the fact that I still enjoy how freaking hot JT still is. It is interesting that Duran has always used their good looks, and incorporated a lot of sexuality into their videos and music, and SLB has said and done some very dirty things onstage… yet so many fans cerebrally say, “It’s all about the music” Yeah, right =)

    No, “groupie” doesn’t really describe me. And, yes it is about the music. But this band *does* use their sexuality and their good looks, and many of us do respond to it. Just because it ain’t gonna happen is no reason to deny it exists.

  19. Here's the thing. We all laugh off people's statements about our fandom. I think we are all used to it being so common that we don't even question our reaction, which usually is to laugh it off or blow it off. Yet, I can't be the only one who wishes that people understood fandom better, can I? Heck, part of the reason Rhonda and I are writing our book is to explain fandom to non-fans. We shouldn't have to laugh off anything.

    As for the fact that sexuality is a part of our fandom, I don't deny that. I don't think I ever have. I don't think Rhonda has either. After all, have I not mentioned that I was/am a John girl? Has Rhonda not clearly made her feelings known about Dom Brown? I know that we have talked about the love we have for JoSi. Clearly, some of that is about their looks. At the same time, we absolutely do care about the music. In fact, we care more about the music now. As you point out, we aren't in our 20s anymore. We live in reality. Our fandom is about Duran Duran music. Yes, their looks may have enhanced our interest and may reinforce our attraction but the music comes first.

    -A

  20. Actually, I've never said it's just about the music. If I've indicated otherwise here on the blog I must have been crazy at the time and I'm sorry if that has somehow been the point that's gotten across. I love their looks!!!

    A good portion of it is about the music though, otherwise – to be incredibly blunt – I'd have gotten WAY bored by now. I talk about Dom Brown and Roger Taylor all the time around here though, so I'm not kidding myself – there's a certain amount of attraction that makes it all interesting. 😀 I totally live in reality. I'm not 20 years old. I'm pretty average in size and I can think of 1000 other things to do besides exercise. I will run only if chased. In fact, if you see me running you should probably call the police because someone must be after me. As much as I say that I wouldn't consider going back to the hotel with any of them, I also realize that they wouldn't want me either because I'm no supermodel. I've seen their wives, and I'm completely out of their league(s). It's OK and I've learned to accept that no matter what, I'm not going to suddenly sprout brunette hair, have olive colored skin or be the least bit attractive to any of them. I can take it.

    I really think it's OK to laugh off the term “groupie”. I do it myself in the right situations. I'm certainly not going to slug my husband's boss or his wife because they call me that – so I laugh it off and know they don't REALLY mean it. (at least, I hope not!) In other situations though, I do tend to silently (or not so silently) take offense and then educate a bit. A lot of times people don't realize the negative connotation of the word, or maybe they think my husband must openly agrees to share me with Dom. Or Roger. Or both!

    Ha. No worries on that one, dear. 😀

    Then there are the fellow fans…and the bottom line is that each of us have our hot buttons. Some don't care, some do…our discussion here certainly proves that, and while I have indicated that I think the term is offensive (and I do think that it can be), I really don't take a lot of notice when I hear it these days, outside of this conversation here on the blog anyway.

    I still prefer to be called “Band-Aid” ;D

    Kidding…just kidding…

    -R

  21. I seem to remember though that was done after the DJ started using the word…I might be wrong on when it was said (meaning it could have been said prior to the SBS tour and I apologize but I can't remember the exact date!)…but I would swear I heard it was only done after the fans were called Duranies by that DJ. My memory (as you well know, Amanda) is sketchy though… 😀 -R

  22. I personally reject the term 'groupie', just to avoid any negative connotation associated with it. I've heard third hand rumors about myself regarding my supposed sexual exploits with not only with a band member, but with support staff of the band who I wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. None are true, but I guess that also makes me hypersensitive in regards to the 'groupie' term. Some people are out there spreading rumors so it makes me a tad paranoid when at shows. My friends reassure me that it's jealousy talking (they're my friends, lol, they're supposed to say that) but it does put a damper on my fun sometimes when i think that people are assuming that I go to multiple shows to stalk band members as opposed to the main reason- love of Duran since I was little, friends, travel, and fun. (I really liked San Diego Duranie's comments, btw…)

  23. I've seen some of their conquests- almost never supermodel-like. Many times above-average in the looks dept, usually average weight or thinner. Not always, though. Since we're on the subject! 😛

  24. I've never heard rumors about myself… (except that part about my having “bitch” tendencies – totally true and I don't apologize) but I've heard rumors about more than one person I know from various boards and things, and to the best of my knowledge, none of them are ever the truth. Some are far more creative than others though, and so I give props to the creativity. I mean, if you're gonna spread a rumor, make it a good one. ;D

    I totally agree with your comments. I go to enough shows now to where I'm sure people wonder. I call it “research”. At least, that's what I've been telling my husband for the past year. 😀 -R

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