I'm With The Band

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: Not set

Member Reviews

Now, usually I’m all about sharing the joy of books so I guess this marks a bit of a departure as I really struggled with I’m with the Band, by Pamela des Barres (Omnibus), £14.99. 

Recently reissued, this iconic memoir of a Californian groupie in the 60s and 70s and her flings with the likes of Jagger, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix is one that I, of course, knew about but had never read. Thinking that, if nothing else, it would be a funny salacious read, the book is anything but. It is flimsy, superficial, actually gives nothing away – it’s not well written, to be frank, and meanders all over the show – but, more worryingly, is full of spite for other women in her era who did not follow in her steps.

I kind of expected this book to be a tricky read in light of #MeToo and the questionable power dynamics between rock star and groupie but what threw me most was Pamela’s references to women as ‘frigid’ and ‘uptight’; and these were not women who criticised her but peers who were not into what she was doing. And to be honest, it was hard to get past this. Impossible, in fact. The fun book I was expecting turned out to be something very unlikeable instead.
Was this review helpful?
I LOVED this book! It was an amazing insight into some of the most misunderstood musicians of the 60s and 70s. Well written, easy to read, and a great (true!) story.
Was this review helpful?
I know this is all supposed to be about female empowerment and everything, but the young Pamela is just SO ANNOYING! There is interest in the depiction of life in California in the sixties, but I really didn't find the narrative compelling, and didn't really want to find out any more about Des Barres, so this was a did not finish, I'm afraid. Thanks for the opportunity to try it.
Was this review helpful?
A did not finish for me. Although this is a great era and her life and stories are hilariously wild I just couldn't get through the writing style. It's like a teenage girl's diary (probably because it is!) I do salute her though.
Was this review helpful?
I've been meaning to read this book for years and never quite got round to it. I'm so glad to have had the chance to read it now. What a life Pamela has had!  It was absolutely fascinating to read about her adventures and the rock stars I enjoyed back in those days.  Loved it and hope a film will be made.
Was this review helpful?
I have long been fascinated by the whole "groupie culture" and this book is a great description of it all! I love going to concerts and I love meeting rock stars in person, it gives me a thrill like nothing else does. Would I go so far as sleeping with any of them? No, but I can see how it happens. 

As far as I can see, Pamela was living in the right place at exactly the right time and had an absolute ball (most of the time), living her life to the fullest. She had parents who loved her unconditionally, through all her ups and downs and all her crazy behaviours over many years. Her mother sounds like an amazing lady, actually. 

I can see why the guys that Pamela slept with, liked her. She is obviously attractive, lots of fun, a great figure and completely uninhibited. What more could a rock star want? She also seems like a nice person, and I am sure that some of the guys she slept with also enjoyed her company immensely. 

It is very risky, the life she lead, and she is very, very lucky that she didn't end up injured or with a variety of STD's etc. That is probably the main reason others don't go down the groupie path, I would say.  Some parts of the book are a bit on the self-indulgent side and some of the grammar and spelling weren't great, but that is all part of a book like this, especially since the author was also quoting from her diary, back when she was a teenager. 

Nevertheless, this was a very interesting book, a unique insight into this lifestyle choice, and I enjoyed reading about various rock stars whose CD's and records I possess. Reading about Don Johnson was illuminating to say the least, I had a bit of a crush on him, back in the day! I also liked reading about what happened to some of the people from Pamela's past, during the 2018 update. I loved the fact that Pamela remains her own person, even though she is 70 now, good on her. 

All in all, great book. 4 stars from me. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Omnibus Press.
Was this review helpful?
Great book- fantastic stories, what a journey that Pamela went on. Certainly a book for any avid music, rock and roll fan, this book is pure rock n roll.
Thank you to both NetGalley and Omnibus Press for my eARC of this book in exchange for my honest unbiased review
Was this review helpful?
Wow, what a ride! Now in its 3rd decade of reprinting, Pamela Des Barres tell all, fully updated and expanded, at times makes Russ Myers, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, seem like a bio pic. Across the expanse of the swinging 60's to the early 70's, from London to LA, Des Barres memoir sheds light on the role of women and their own creatrix desires within the exploding counter culture revolution. Previously misunderstood by feminists prior to the ascent of Madonna and her fierce ownership female of sexuality, and prior to surge of the Riot Grrrrl movement - thank the Goddess for the 90's - Des Barres, the GTO's and a myriad  of other groupies and model /actress's are now heralded as the foremothers of sex positive feminism. Another great insight into life in Laurel Canyon and I was particularly interested in reading about Vito and Szou, the Freak dance troupe and Frank Zappa. The film rights have sold to HBO so here's hoping to seeing it on the small screen soon. Please let there be at least a movie somewhere in the pipeline about the GTO's! Des Barres message of be brave and always be yourself is an empowering one. In the era of the #metoo movement this is a stark reminder of the meaning of consent.
Was this review helpful?
This book takes me back. I quite believe that this is a pretty good recreation on the 60s even in Australia.  It was an era that had so many extremes and much change that had lasting effects well into the decade.
The story is well written and really bring to life the era in the telling.  I really enjoyed this book, it captured the times without giving offence, and  in an honest way . It says "this is they way it is - like it or lump it " 
A truly remarkable era of freedom and change.
Was this review helpful?
Pamela Des Barres takes you on a journey that only a rock and roll groupie can. She has been all over the world and throughout the sixties and seventies spent some time being the muse for many of the songs that are still popular today. As someone who lived and loved through the '60s and 70's, it was a book I could relate to. Great times. A great book.
Was this review helpful?
I was fascinated by this book. Pamela's style is not for everyone and it took me a while to get into her authorial voice. It is quite something. Her diary entries are mingled with her memories and there is quite a toggling back and forth in terms of time line and perspective. I liked this though, because some of the more challenging stuff for me was not the sex, but the weird mixture of hedonism and sexual freedom, cheek by jowl with a strange domesticity and obedience which saw her going from giving head to all and sundry to washing rock stars' pants and worrying about whether they'd had a square meal. Her own wry amusement at this juxtaposition makes this a lot more fun to read as you realise that she has long since grown out of some of these masochistic domestic behaviours. Thank goodness she's kept up with the rock goddess vibe though. The thing that struck me most was how very young she was when all this happened and how vulnerable and innocent she remained through so much that clearly destroyed so many other people.
Was this review helpful?
A fun, juicy read. All your favourite rock stars and California living all in one place. The credible, smart author winds a tale of hippy fantasy, filth and luxury (but, like, the rock star kind) that is entertaining to read.
Was this review helpful?
Pamelas account of her youth during the early 60's makes for an interesting read, her memoir really brings to life her many exploits of her time in the rock and roll world. I was born  in the 80's - clearly a very different time to the one Pamela grew up in - so I found her book quite the lesson of the world back in the 60's. I was aware of many of famous faces she wrote about, whilst others I had to google and I was able to learn quite a lot about some of the worlds most iconic figures. 

Pamela writes her story in such a lovely light style, I found it all flowed really well. This is a rather light cheerful book which is probably due to Pamelas optimistic personality which really shines through. For the most part, I found her endearing and rather sweet. There is such a innocence to Pamelas story, which is probably a sign of the times - I'm not sure such things would ever happen these days. I must admit to sometimes finding Pamela a little too naïve and I found myself wondering if she did on occasion look back at her past with rose coloured glasses. She does seem to fall in love at the drop of a hat before casually moving onto someone else and declaring her true love to them, it was hard to keep up and I did find this part of her slightly interesting, she does come across as a bit of a flake at times.

This book was originally released 30 years ago and apparently was quite the controversy, these days there are parts which could be regarded as rather tame but there are still plenty of rather shocking moments too. An overall interesting book, I rather my time with Pamela.
Was this review helpful?
I'd wanted to read this book for the longest time, and – maybe because of that – it didn't quite live up to my expectations. I first heard about it in connection with the great Cameron Crowe movie Almost Famous/Untitled, where Kate Hudson's character 'Penny Lane' is somewhat inspired by Pamela Des Barres. Suffice to say, she's not as big a fan of the film as I am, something touched on in one of the several afterwords that have been tacked on to this version of the book.

I think I was expecting more salacious tales of rock 'n' roll bacchanalia, if I'm honest, but in fact this book is rather coy – or "sweetly innocent" as the blurb would have it. It's still nothing less than a fascinating story of how a young Californian found her way out of hum-drum suburbia into a life of cool concerts and cooler parties, babysitting for the Zappas, with a string of famous boyfriends (the bit where Don Johnson leaves her for a teenage Melanie Griffith is very droll) – although it does tend to gloss over the seedier aspects.

There's an interesting book to be written about the way the rock stars of the '60s and '70s exploited young women, but this isn't it. At least, Pamela Des Barres doesn't seem to bear any lasting scars or have much in the way of regrets. The additional material at the end does cover the reception "I'm With the Band" received on publication – they'd call it 'slut shaming' now, but – perhaps it's the passage of 30 years, but it seems quite tame in 2018.
Was this review helpful?
A fascinating journey through the 60's and 70's rock and roll scene from the perspective of someone who witnessed it as it unfolded. Pamela Des Barres was a determined young woman who was in the right place at the right time by putting herself there. 

~Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this title ~
Was this review helpful?
Pamela's voice is almost impossible not to fall in love with and that's what draws you inexorably through this book. She's fun and excited at every turn and never takes herself more seriously so the more melodramatic turns and diary entries are easy to laugh along at with her. Alongside that there's a veritable Who's Who of Rock and Roll to enjoy and the book leaves you almost with a ready-made playlist of tunes.
Was this review helpful?
Unbelievably, this book was written 30 years ago.....

For every girl ever obsessed with music, and with meeting her heroes, Miss Pamela was there before us. And she took it to the limit - and beyond.

Would Miss Pamela's adventures happen now? Probably not, in this over-exposed digital world, where paranoia and political correctness rule the roost.

SUCH a fabulous read!!
Was this review helpful?
It’s fair to say that Pamela Des Barres’ reputation precedes her. Synonymous with the rock n’ roll era of the Seventies she’s long been known as the most famous groupie of all time and “I’m With the Band” is one of the essential books covering that era. Now reprinted as a 30 year anniversary edition with new forward by the author it’s required reading for anyone with a love of bands like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. Back then it was easier to get to the bands, there wasn’t any paranoia about leaks to the press and certainly no non-disclosure agreements. There’ll never be a book this candid written again, there’s hair raising stories involving the likes of Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, Keith Richards and Gram Parsons. The record companies and management would be terrified and the lawyers would have a field day! Along with her cohorts, GTO, (the acronym stood for a number of things but the one that stuck was Girls Together Outrageously) Des Barres got closer to the musicians than she ever dreamed possible. It wasn’t all about the bedroom antics though, the girls were a willing ear for band members to bend when it all got too much. She ends up sat with the Rolling Stones in the aftermath of Altamont as they reflect on a disastrous and tragic day. She also becomes close with the tragic Gram Parsons and is shocked at how his appearance had degenerated towards the end of his life. If this reminds you of the film Almost Famous it’s because this book is clearly the blueprint for the film. The author has some scathing words for the near adaptation though! 

There’s plenty of anecdotes but Des Barres’ voice comes through clear as a bell on the page. She’s an engaging storyteller and while some facets of this book haven’t aged well (the casual attitude towards the age of consent for one) it’s clearly written very honestly and from the heart and is all the better for it. It seems every huge rock band could have done with their own Pamela. 

I received a ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair review.
Was this review helpful?
Des Barres autobiography is a sprite like romp through the 60’s and early 70s that is a lot of fun fun fun.  Her memoir is a history of her friendships, sexual  being and her growth into adulthood with sad and humorous bursts throughout the pages.

Pamela is very honest and deep down sensitive woman who has opened up her life with her direct narrative and reprinting of her diary and journal entries and poetry to give a fully realised document of her life.  She owns up to her life and never once shies away though at times, I imagine the conservative reader might find what is within a bit shocking.  Personally, I felt that this is a true woman who makes mistakes and fully leaves her exposed as she confirms her sexuality.  She never apologies nor should she have to.  This is her story and she should be applauded for her frankness of her decisions.

She considers herself the original groupie and although there is repercussions to this term in today’s climate.  It is a label that she totally embraces as she should.  I would personally call her the facilitator to the male rock gods of yesteryear.  

As in most people lives, there are repercussions in the choices we make and at times, emotionally, we are torn up inside.  Des Barres takes these opportunities to reflect and pick herself up and keep moving forward.  This is a true test of a person who has designs on her life and never backs down or settles.  Not everyone would approve of the choices she makes but you have to admire her tenacity living in a world that is forever changing and standing her ground and trailblazing her emotions in a non apologetic way.

The book originally was released in the 80’s and since this time, it has been repackaged and released.  The new version which is out now has more false endings than a Bergman film but Pamela lets you know what has happened since the original publication which is a welcome addition to the book.

This is an inspiring read and a book that should be embraced by anyone who is looking for the true birth of rock and roll by someone who was there lifting the rock gods to the highest plateau of admiration.  This a story of a girl what owns her life, her sexuality and when faced against the odds, takes life by the horns and moves forward.  A truly gifted read and fascinating read that everyone should at least read and embrace once in their life.  .  Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
I had started reading this because I thought it was an insider's view of a very chaotic, and iconic era. It didn't quite live up to that. It's definitely more of a schoolgirl diary - which it literally is, at the beginning. And while this was okay in a guilty pleasure way, it quickly got boring. There's quite a lot of name dropping and a sense that events have been made to seem more controversial or important than they really were. I was expecting a more factual report of things, and this unfortunately was just not to my taste.
Was this review helpful?