Many years ago, my boss came into my office and said:
“Ever hear of a band called Whitesnake?”
“Sure; plays hard rock, the lead singer is ex-Deep Purple’s David Coverdale, and so on. Why?”
“My daughter won two tickets to a Whitesnake concert in some competition, but I can’t face going with her because it’ll be too loud. Would you mind taking her?”
“Nope. Gimme the tickets.”
So I took his 14-year-old daughter to the concert, which was okay as concerts go, and then discovered that — surprise, surprise! — the tickets included backstage passes and a chance to meet the band. (I guess she’d forgotten to tell her dad about that little bonus.)
Anyway, all went well: Coverdale and I chatted awhile about Deep Purple and such, she got all the autographs, and that was that.
I was reminded of that occasion when I was reading a series of articles about how David Bowie is supposed to have bonked a couple of underage groupies (among many others) back in his early years, and more recently too.
…and in similar vein, how Led Zeppelin did same with some “baby groupies”, also back in the 1970s.
Listen to me tell it: I played in a (vastly-less successful) rock band back in the 1970s, and even though we were never groupie-bait to the extent that the big guys were, there were plenty of opportunities to get up to (or more correctly, into ) mischief.
Which leads to my my main question:
WHERE WERE THESE GIRLS’ PARENTS?
How could they be so ignorant as to think that unaccompanied young girls were not going to get into trouble in the heady, loud and licentious atmosphere that was a rock concert? How could they allow their adolescent daughters to go by themselves or (worse still) only accompanied by their giggly friends? (For those still unclear on this aspect of parenting, let me explain: without the presence of parents, one kid can get up to mischief; two kids can get up to mischief-squared; and multiple kids will — not can — get into Hiroshima-scale trouble.) As Jimmy Page memorably said: “Everyone knows what they come for.” Groupies gonna groupie, as the modern idiom goes.
I’m not excusing the musicians for doing this stuff, but remember, most of these bands were (and still are) themselves only a few years older than the baby-groupies. Asking young musicians to behave with decorum in such circumstances is an exercise doomed to failure — as is expecting young girls to behave with restraint when coming face-to-face with their sweaty heroes in the excitement after the concert.
Let me get even more explicit. When a fresh-faced young girl presents herself to a whacked-out musician, don’t expect him to ask her for ID before he fucks her. And he is going to fuck her.
It’s just stupid for people to clutch their pearls and accuse these now-septuagenarians of statutory rape committed half a century ago. Leave them alone.
Young people are going to fuck up. What’s needed is responsible adult supervision — just as I provided to my boss’s daughter on that occasion. So if any of you are faced with a similar situation, either with yer kids or yer grandkids, act accordingly. Somebody has to be the grownup, and it might as well be you.