I grew up listening to the incomparable rock composer Frank Zappa. My dad was an avid fan; he had every record Zappa ever recorded – he even named me after Zappa’s wife. (Though, I still think Moon Unit would have been cool.)
On family road trips, my three sisters and me – all squished in the back of his Citröen – would moan when he’d stick in a Zappa tape and my mum would make some comment like, “c’moan, can we no listen to somethin’ else?” in her Glaswegian accent. Baby, Take Your Teeth out was one which made me giggle most, though I had no idea of the sexual connotations as a kid.
Earlier this summer, I met the woman who used to babysit the children of the famous rock composer, Pamela Des Barres – known as the “world’s most famous groupie” and also the inspiration for “Penny Lane” (portrayed by Kate Hudson) in Almost Famous. I texted my dad right away, his response, “Did you ask her about Frank Zappa?” I hadn’t – sorry dad!
Des Barres was a member of one of the first all-girl groups, The GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously), which was produced by Zappa himself in the late 60’s. That alone makes her one of the coolest women I’ve ever met.
But it’s her memoir, I’m With The Band that makes you truly appreciate how much a part of rock music history she was – with stories about legends Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon, Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, and more, you know there is some good dirt – oh, and is there…
This Tuesday, November 19 at 6pm, Des Barres will be in Toronto in The Drake Hotel’s lounge for a free reading from her memoir and a book signing. You do not want to miss this. For more info, go here.
And for a little taste of what you might expect, watch this.