Thanks to Lori Majewski, I read a fascinating interview yesterday on thrillist.com, titled, “I Lost My Virginity to David Bowie.” I know many a Duranie has had their moment(s) fantasizing about the “what-ifs”, and perhaps many of those moments have also included what I like to call (facetiously, of course) “The Ultimate Autograph”. Well, what if you had your moment? Would you take it? And what if that happened at 14….and you were a virgin? With David Bowie?
Lori Mattix did. Mattix was a groupie, and at 14, her playground was the Sunset Strip alongside other groupies like Sable Starr, and Bebe Buell. This interview on Thrillist describes her experience as a groupie, and I think it’s worth reading for any of us who have ever wondered, “what if?”
As I read, I really tried to capture my own thoughts. At first, I read it as any “fan” might, except that I’m not really sure Lori Mattix was really a fan in the same sense that I may have been at 14. To begin with, when I look at Lori’s photos – she’s gorgeous. Very bright-eyed and young, but beautiful all the same. In one of the photos included with the article, she’s wearing platform heels that I am pretty sure are higher than any I’ve ever worn. I, on the other hand, was a frizzy-haired awkward mess at 14. Heels? Are you kidding me? I would have been photographed wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and probably a pair of Vans. (In the early 80s when I was 14 – Vans were king. Bonus points if they were custom – which mine typically were.) I’d have never talked my way into a club (which still holds true today), much less asked to return back to a hotel with a rock star.
In fact, I can attest to the fact that I have been at a specific bar (not even a club…we’re talking a dive bar here) after a show in a large city (that was not Los Angeles or New York) here in the US, and the bouncer dude at the door (who was not even really a bouncer, just a bartender that had to stand there because the bar was so full) wouldn’t let me in, even though about 50 of my friends…and members of Duran Duran….were already inside. I stood outside shivering as friends saw me and waved through the window. That’s right people of Duranland…I really AM that uncool. Never one to be deterred, I just walked across the street and had drinks in a hotel bar instead. No Duran Duran, but better drinks. 🙂
Mattie explains she didn’t even really go to the shows, she would wait at the hotels or wherever she needed to be, for the rock star she was with at the time. I think that’s where we differ, because I really am a music fan. I’d hate not being at the shows. The music comes first for me. For example – I don’t think I’d travel to wait outside of a venue for Duran Duran without actually seeing the show. That’s crazy, even for me. At some remote point within me though, I wonder.
What is it really like to be a groupie? Do they feel as used as I feel they’re being used when I’m reading their experiences? I doubt it. Why can’t I understand that? What is it about these women, these girls, that make them unable to see the same things I see. Why don’t I see their experiences as amazingly wonderful the way they seem?? Am I the more well-adjusted one, or just a very sheltered, prudish, middle-aged, MOM? (You were all thinking it!) Perhaps then I’d understand. I would love to have some of Lori’s devil-may-care attitude, though. I always worry about what people might think.
It’s not that I would want to be that girl…. that groupie. (never mind the whole “I’ve been married for 20 years….and I’m 45 years old”, thing.) In fact, if I’ve ever said “Hey, I’d love to see you!” to a member of a band, they would have been incredibly, ridiculously, wrong to assume that I was just out looking for a thrill. I know it’s hard to believe (which is a curious question in and of itself), but maybe I’m just that kind of person that just wants to hang out, have some drinks and talk….like a normal human, no less. Imagine that?? If I could just have the same sort of self-confidence as someone like Lori Maddox, without the automatic assumptions that I’m looking for a night with a rock star, that’d be great.
As I replied to Lori Majewski and several others on Facebook, “I was never going to be a groupie [back when I was 14], and probably to the great relief of every single member of Duran Duran and beyond – I’m never going to BE a groupie. LOL I feel better now that’s out.”
I’ve written about the whole groupie label and context many times. In many ways its unfortunate because any time a woman such as myself makes the overture to even get remotely near a band – any band – whether that’s Duran Duran or otherwise – the assumption is that she must be looking for “something”. Perhaps that is a reaction that has been “learned” over the years by men, or it is a label thrown around by other female fans, or it’s the very idea that a woman can’t possibly want or need anything else. Maybe it is just the whole fan/band member screwed up relationship thing. Perhaps it is difficult to decide who is truly a fan, who is a friend and who really IS trying to be a groupie. I’m not sure, and it’s probably beyond the scope of this particular post to go much further. I just find it one of the more uncomfortable parts of fandom at times.
I am sitting here thinking back to some of the very reasons Amanda and I wanted to start Daily Duranie. Both of us felt there were labels and images being applied to fans that were so incredibly incorrect (in many cases)…and the “dialogue” between the fans and the band was nearly non-existent for all but a sacred few. We may never sort out every assumption and label completely. Groupies exist, fans exist, and fans who have sometimes fantasized about what it all might really be like exist – and the lines between it all are pretty blurry at best. Not an easy fix. Amanda and I liked to characterize fandom as a type of dysfunctional family – which still seems to sum it all up fairly well. For me personally, I’ve enjoyed observing the fan community on this level for the past several years (even prior to beginning the blog). It has forced me to continually re-evaluate my own feelings and biases, and some things that I felt certain about on Daily Duranie Day One, are now notions that I see completely differently now on Day Whatever-This-Might-Be. My only hope going forward is that we continue to be unafraid to broach the “hard” subjects. No, we may not find the right answers – but if we don’t even bother to look, what point is there?