BARRES - I'm One With the Band
Chicago Review Press 2005
There are a lot of books out there that try to speak about the "groupie" scene in the world of rock music. Most of them are not well written and sometimes, they just try to make the whole thing look so bad and worse and worse, and you get the feeling that you are being "Christianized" by some evangelical that has nothing better to do. I tend to get really ticked off when I see that because there were a lot of very good things in those days, and many pieces of music that were majestic and important and valuable, and in the end, these are the sentiments and the moments that the time will be remembered by, and the late 60's is one era that will likely light up the 20th Century better than most, other than the really big World Wars.
There is, in this book, one of the best looks at the music scene, and who was who, and who the creators and the "rest" really were. You get to know these folks intimately, despite the fact that many of them were probably so drugged out, or drunk that they did likely had no idea what they did or what happened last night. And in the middle of it, you get a sort of miss goody two shoes making it look like that it was all serious and important, and it might have been for a night or two, and a few extra moments, but in the next town there will be someone else in the same position trying to live out a dream and experience that for them is very valuable to their growth and personality.
Regardless of the parade of names, there isn't a soul out there that thinks anyone in any of these bands is a Saint, though Pamela has a way to think that Frank Zappa would be the first one, if there was one. It wasn't just the music! There was a person behind it, and she was Frank and Gail's nanny for their children for a time or two.
You do see, the California scene in the 60's though. And you can just about see how so many folks got so attracted to "California" and its amazing scenes, even though they were actually very different, those 2 being Los Angeles and San Francisco. Pamela's book is really about Los Angeles, and you know and just about can smell the Roxy, Whiskey a Go Go and the Troubadour. It was exactly like that. It's more subdued now, and even Iggy trying hard to excite an audience nowadays, in any of those places, actually looks a bit weird and not totally out of place, but kinda out of time. What was that all about? You never said that in those days, and you just went along and accepted the artistry behind it, even if some of it was not that great or valuable.
The liveliest parts of the book might just be the most salacious of them all and you kinda want more of it, instead of just a whiff and a look. But you get a very strong idea of what really was behind some of the folks, specially Led Zeppelin, and Keith Moon.
Like it or not, dream it or not, there is a lot in this book that you can see in many many many many pieces of music, and in a roundabout kind of way, it helps explain some of it, but sadly, those days were not about the meanings and your relationship to the higher self. It became the tune in, turn on and drop out, and that was just like saying that none of it was worth anything to anyone anyway, and I find that way too hypocritical in the end. There was a heck of a lot of valuable work around, just like there is now, but unlike today where there is no scene and everyone is on to his own trip, in those days, people still believed in having time together, whereas today the only time you do so is when you go spend your hard earned money for someone else's benefit!
It's supposed to help and enlighten you better!
It was a very romantic time and place. And Pamela is no different in showing us that. It has its own beauty and it does not have to come to the level that is difficult and sometimes even scary for most of us in a physical way. We're being manipulated into believing that you can only be happy if we're married and have 2.1 kids and a job that allows you to buy a house. Sadly, the one thing the 60's did, and its aftermath, was exactly take that away from the people. But the "greed" that showed around many of these folks and musicians specially, since the film industry has always tried to be more guarded, was quite visible, and you can see where the whole thing is going to go to within a few years!
Nice book. It has a way to bust ones ideas about a few albums that we all love, because of their people, but in the end, for me, this is what made them the special person that they became, and I accept that, and will not judge them for it.
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