Rock and Roll Heaven

Young Americans

As the music started, David Bowie looked at me, wagged his finger and gave me a nod. With that, I followed.

I was Mrs. Iggy Pop.

I didn't think about how you have to learn to be a groupie—what to wear, how to act—until I saw a video of myself at 15 and cringed. I had just gone to Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco for the first time and had not even been backstage at a concert yet. But two years later I was, as Blondie sang "Miss Groupie Supreme" at a party in David Bowie's hotel room.

In the video, I'm wearing the hint of what I eventually called my "French flasher look"—a trench coat with hardly anything beneath—except the trench coat is a gaudy blue (probably something from the Salvation Army) and beneath it I'm topless but wearing black pantyhose! I can't see my shoes in the video but I know I was one of those young women you seeing trudging along, trying to get used to high heels—which were really high at the time, sinking into the turf.

The David Bowie party was at the Beverly Hills Hotel after his Diamond Dogs concert. My backstage pass read "Mrs. Iggy Pop" because I was hanging out with him around that time.

I wore my French flasher look but as I was now 17 years old, it had morphed: a classic beige British trench coat with the collar turned up (like a spy), the waist tightly belted with a wide black patent leather belt and gold Fredrick's of Hollywood classic slip-on stilettos (that I stole). I wore a black beret, dark sunglasses and black satin gloves. My lipstick was deep red and I penciled in a mole at the side of my mouth with black eyeliner like Honey West from the '60s TV series of the same name. I kept the sunglasses on all night. Underneath the coat, I had on black fishnet stockings held up by a black garter belt and a black lacy push-up bra. I knew the power of lingerie by then.

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Iggy Pop was annoying that night. He was so fucked up that he kept saying my name loudly, checking in with me to see where we were and what was happening next. Finally, he passed out on a couch.

Bowie's wife, Angie, made her way around the room talking to everyone like a hostess. She was over her androgyny stage and was more into being like a Helmut Newton model than being David's twin. We were all into Helmut Newton then; that's where I got the idea for my French flasher look. Newton's photos were of cool, tall, white women, vaguely in S&M gear, often partly naked, sometimes in suggestive poses with other woman; we all said we were bisexual then.

Angie was in the bathroom with the door opened when I walked in. She laid out a line of coke for me, and then pulled up her tight black skirt and sat down to pee. I didn't care that she was peeing in front of me, but I must have, to have remembered it. She said something like, "Love your outfit. You look sexy." Someone came in with a camera, so we kissed, and then reapplied our lipstick side-by-side in front of the mirror—all for the camera.

There were a lot of famous people at that party: Mick Jagger showed up with Ron Wood; Lou Reed was there; and most of Deep Purple, who'd had a concert that night and were staying in the hotel. Bowie was playing tracks from what would be his "Young Americans" album.

With the first strains of the album, played loudly, Bowie sat in a chair like a throne. His presence and downward introspective gaze made everyone quiet. We all sat in our places, listening respectfully, like we were at the opera. But when the title track came on, I got up and pulled one of the groupies over to dance with me.

When it ended, I was the first to go over to him.

"My favorite song was 'Young Americans,'" I said.

"Good," he replied. "That's the first single."

He smiled at me and said, "I like your drag. What's under your coat?"

I slowly undid the belt and held the sides of my trench coat opened, legs apart, like a central casting flasher. Only he could see.

"Fabulous," he said, then turned to the next person demanding his attention.

I waited. It was just a matter of time. I sat patiently. He saw where I was. I didn't move. Someone wanted to hear the tracks again. The music started and David stood and looked at me. With a wag of his finger and a nod, I followed.

Bowie undressed and put a long Japanese robe over his skinny white body and lay down on the bed. All of him was long and lanky and very white. I took off my trench coat so I was wearing only my black lace padded bra, black garter belt, fishnets and shoes, and sat on the bed. I ran one finger down his hairless chest, and the door opened. Bowie's manager walked in and they had a lengthy conversation.

I just sat on the end of the bed.

After his manager left, Bowie asked me to put on the coat and show him the whole outfit again, which I did gladly. Angie came in and wanted to join us but then got distracted when someone else walked in to talk to her. Bowie got up and made a phone call.

I waited, in a chair by the window, reading a book that I always had in my bag. They were over me, onto the next thing. Eventually we all left the room. I went back out to the main room, head high, acting haughty, adjusting my coat and beret, and putting my sunglasses back on, noticing that the other girls saw me. All the groupies thought I had a threesome with Angie and David. That's what mattered.

   
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