Absentee Parents

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.


No shit.

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:


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.


  1. No sir.

    Being a musician does not entitle you to act like an animal or “fuck up” without consequences. In your vernacular, “if you fuck it, you own it”. JFC – where were YOUR parents?

      1. Wrong is wrong. You know better than that. And no, I don’t have to let the rattlesnake bite me to know it’s dangerous.

        1. I’m not excusing it. I’m just saying kids screw up — and coming after the musicians, when there’s plenty of blame to go around, is hypocritical.

          1. OK, I misunderstood you. Going after 40 year old non-crimes is just goofy and shows retarded gofers for what they are.

  2. If what should happen was the same as what could happen, we wouldn’t need cops, judges, lawyers, the military…

  3. “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.”

    My Dad was fond of pointing out that one boy is half a man while two boys are no man at all. Guess that holds for girls too.

  4. I think I have to side with Kim here. In the 70’s everybody knew (or should have known) what went on at rock concerts, festivals, etc. Drugs, sex, drinking – that was part of the “rock-n-roll lifestyle.”

    I would also point out that if a 14 year old was backstage (unescorted) at a Led Zeppelin concert, then chances are good she didn’t have much parental supervision at home either.

    To put it a little more bluntly, that 14 year old may have gotten fucked at a concert by a 21 year old rocker, but I doubt very much that she lost her virginity to him.

    It’s funny to me that for all the “open mindedness” in our modern society we sure have become prudes in a lot of ways. Nowadays if cops bust a party and find under 21 kids there, people are shocked – SHOCKED I SAY! – that kids drink and party underage (as if every one of US didn’t.) Arrests are made, citations are issued, court dates are set, and lawyers are hired.

    Back in the 70’s? If nobody got hurt, the cops poured the booze out on the ground and told the kids to go home.

    And don’t even get me started on the notion of issuing a “minor in possession of alcohol” ticket to a 19 year old who is legally an adult, capable of entering into a contract, enlisting in the military or being tried as an adult in every jurisdiction in the country…

  5. We had no daughters, just one son. At about age 14 he wanted to go to a Marilyn Manson concert with his friends. 175 miles away in Orlando. No way. That was a recipe for disaster. I was more worried about a car wreck than anything else. I told him I’d take him, so I did. Didn’t care for Manson at all. The “wall of sound” was so loud as to be nothing but gargantuan undecipherable noise.

  6. Ah, the 1970’s……
    Forget the music;
    Forget the clothes;
    Forget Jimmah;
    But The Sex!!!!!!!!
    That was almost to die for…
    (the 80’s corrected that…it was to die for in the Age of AIDS).

  7. Reminds me of a conversation I had with my daughters about situational awareness.
    ME: “If you are going to walk into an outlaw biker bar (you can insert frat party or whatever), with a halter top on, bad things are much more likely to happen.”
    Daughter #3 (A budding communist BTW): “A woman should be able to walk into a bar, wearing whatever and be safe!!!”
    ME: “Yes, you are right. And that changes precisely WHAT?”

Comments are closed.