Mark Ellis talks about the devoted, clinging women he’s sought out his whole life, and how that behavior was modeled for him growing up.
The model of feminine desirability was always the groupie for me. I’m convinced that’s because my mother was a groupie. Wait, no, not like that. She was devoted to her husband. That’s it; I wanted my own groupie like Dad had.
Here was a woman who found a handsome and upwardly mobile man and spent the rest of her life trying to look her best and following him everywhere he went.
Coming of age I saw that rock stars had groupies—embodiments of the relationship dynamic I had witnessed at home. With the goal of finding my own private groupie I embarked upon the quest for female companionship.
I was helped along by a guitar, and in those tumultuous years groupie-types were the only women I knew. The ideal evolved in my psyche. Patty Boyd, teeny-bopping a go-go in A Hard Day’s Night. Plaster-casters and Runaways, then Lita Ford’s triumph over just being with the band, “Kiss Me Deadly.” Pamela Des Barres with her aftermarket memoir.
That guitar is still nearby, and too, even today, after the battering of the years, the groupie dream endures. My constancy in this regard is a testament to the primacy of early parent-child relationships. Unfortunately it has outlasted the availability of such women.
These days watching Karen Carpenter sing “Superstar (Groupie)” on YouTube is one way that I can re-visit the core dynamic of the groupie paradigm. Or I can visit my mother.
My father was in total control. Benevolent, mostly, a good man by historically relevant standards. At age 84, after 60 years of marriage, Mom recently confessed that “never once in all those years did I ever stand up to him.” It was a matter-of-fact revelation, not particularly tinged with apparent regret. More like acceptance.
It all started with her, my obsession with the devoted, enamored and acquiescent woman. Not because she was ever a real groupie, far from it. It’s just that most of the women I’ve met in real life who reminded me of my mother were groupies.
Photo courtesy Mark Ellis