Editor's note: We normally run Metal Mondays on, well, Monday, but took yesterday off in honor of Memorial Day. So please enjoy today's "Metal Monday" column, by our resident rock 'n' roll lady Lauren Wise, one day later than usual.
Groupies have always fascinated me. They look like supermodels, wear about 10 square inches of translucent clothing accompanied by wickedly spiked heels (should they need to kick past security), and have the type of deluded self-confidence that causes guys like Fred Durst to think they are awesome lyricists.
The term usually has a negative connotation, since groupies are basically seen as women who will do anything in order to sleep with a musician . . . which doesn't inspire a great deal of respect. But most of them relish the thought of being celebrated as sex objects. And when it comes to groupies, heavy metal is not an equal opportunity employer: You gotta be hot, stand out, and have the drive to steal a musician from his current supermodel wife and whatnot.
I've met a lot of groupies in my line of work, and most of them aren't exactly there for the music. Ask them to list five songs played by the band they are currently jonesing for. Right.
I remember being at the 48 Hours Festival in 2011 in Las Vegas, where two chicks hanging around to tag-team the singer from the Sick Puppies looked absolutely dumbfounded when I asked whether they admired the band's smokin'-hot bassist Emma Anzai ("There's a chick in the band? But I thought he was siiiingle!")
But one thing's for sure: For every five of these musically defective Jezebels, there is one that is truly the ultimate fan.
Last weekend, I attended Rock on the Range, as those of you may remember from my second (or maybe third?) week in a row of writing my Metal Monday column on a plane, nursing a hangover with those adorable baby bottles of Jack Daniels. While I attended originally for press purposes, the other main reason was this: I fancy myself an ultimate fan.
Call it "groupie" if you must; many people who don't know me have, in the past, automatically assumed as much since I'm a heavy metal girl in a testosterone-driven world. But I guess the main difference is I don't sleep with any musicians. That, and the extent of my rock 'n' roll fashion sense ends at deciding between a baggy Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd T-shirt.
But I flew all the way out to Columbus, Ohio, to see a bill of more than 30 bands, including Halestorm, Chevelle, Slash, Five Finger Death Punch, Incubus, Cypress Hill, In This Moment, Megadeth, Down, Marilyn Manson, and Rob Zombie; the latter three being strong players in my metal fandom world and also not coming through Arizona this year.
The three-day excursion was packed with heavy tunes, networking, and true believers battling insane humidity. I was lucky to be able to consistently wander into the front row and watch from the side stage. It made for a great view of the bands and even better groupie watching.
These girls, man . . . These girls were nuts. String bikini tops bulging with 36 FFFs. Shredded fish nets and piercing-bedecked pretty faces. Garters and thongs topped with KISS-patch-adorned jean jackets. Military hats and assless chaps. And as the weekend went on, they actually got skimpier, believe it or not. I don't know how they did it, or kept their eyeliner-caked faces from melting off in the heat, for that matter, but they acted like it was the most natural thing in the world to strut around with their hoo-has hanging out in front of a crowd of 100,000 people.
But I guess the ultimate fan doesn't care what people think of their admiration. I certainly don't. Even as a professional, I was giddy at the sight of Phil Anselmo during Down's set, and my CFH ink was proudly on display as I watched in awe from front and side stage. I'll admit: I'm not an avid Down fan, but as an avid Pantera fan, it was fantastic to see Anselmo in his vulgar display of glory.
Rob Zombie's set was incredible, with an impressive pyrotechnic display and his usual assortment of gigantic robots, ghouls, and LSD-worthy light show -- and I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of his wife, Sherri Moon, someone I'd totally go groupie for.
Marilyn Manson crept out on stage as Zombie's opener, reportedly upset that the sun had yet to go down, and drenched me in the face with a mister while brandishing a butcher knife and threatening the press. His new album, Born Villain, had been stuck in my head for days prior to Rock on the Range, courtesy of my friend Caleb, who'd been playing it nonstop. (A guy I'm convinced is only hanging out to hear any tales that might ease what I suspect to be a slight case of the Manson groupies.)
Let's make it clear: there are different categories for these female fanaticos. One "groupie" tag does not fit all.
Steel Panther's guide to groupies, for example, includes such stereotypes as Jail Bait (groupies who say they're celebrating their 18th birthday when it's actually their 14th birthday. Avoid.) to the Town Bicycle (Risky, because they might have just been through the Motley Crue backstage area).
And then, of course, there's the psycho-bitch groupie who only wishes to drink in a musician's soul -- you know, like Fergie in Slash's "Beautiful Dangerous."
And with Slash's killer performance at Rock on the Range, he had a few of those lurking backstage. Watch out, dude.