Bob McPhail 6:31 a.m., May 19
Back to My Groupie Days...
The three of us were seated in the audience at the Civic Theater in 1977, when a door to the left of the stage opened. A tall, blonde guy came out and walked up the aisle. Girls were screaming all around him, so pumped about seeing The Kinks and The Hollywood Stars, they were willing to scream about anything. I wondered what he was doing as he entered our row. When he leaned over to talk to me, my heart nearly stopped beating.
"A member of the band has requested your presence backstage..." he said.
The girls around us came unglued. Tammy, Diana and I looked at each other in a "Should we do it? Hell, yes!" kind of way.
We stood in unison and followed him back down the aisle. I was so flustered I could hardly stay on top of my eight-inch heels. I don't know why I was so shocked about getting to meet the band--it wasn't as if we hadn't planned the whole thing. We were dressed in custom-made evening gowns, opera-length gloves and had our hair dyed blue. While waiting in line everyone was staring at us. I heard one guy murmur to his friend, "Hey look at that."
His friend turned, looked me up and down and said, "Wow, she's beautiful."
I lived for that.
Having a sister like Diana wasn't easy. She was five-six with massive waves of long hair and powder-blue eyes. Wherever we went people stared at her and she was often asked to model. I was known as "the smart one" in the family. I got my share of good-looking men; but they were fewer and farther between and often too preppie for my taste.
Backstage, I saw black walls and a trash can full of ice and sodas. We followed the gorgeous blonde across the room where people in raggedy jeans bustled about; and in sharp contrast, men in colorful suits stood around holding guitars.
Soon, we entered a room with plain white walls and a makeup mirror. Terry and Michael, members of The Hollywood Stars, were just hanging out, talking about ordinary stuff. Apparently, Michael had been the one who summoned us. He'd met my sister at The Ice Palace in Escondido a few weeks earlier and had recognized her face in that night's crowd.
We were introduced to everyone in the band and when it was time to go onstage, Michael told us to hang around after the concert, which we did--gladly. They were the best-looking guys we'd ever seen--a species in short supply in Escondido at the time.
I remember my legs were shaking so badly, I could hardly walk back to my seat.
Finally, it was time. An announcer shouted their name, the curtains opened, and five hot and delicious guys appeared on stage amidst some flashing lights. They sang their latest song, "All the Kids on the Street" for all they were worth.
While The Kinks were onstage, I was fidgeting. Their music was great, of course. Do I even need to say it? But I was anxious to go to the party with the guys we had just met. Their band was no hopeless case either.
When the performance was over, the three of us went backstage to walk with them to the Westgate Hotel. You can't imagine what it was like to have a bunch of "stiff-upper-lip" types watch us walk through the elegant lobby. The old men heckled the "chorus girls" with platform shoes and long hair.
My sister, her friend and I were struck, but Marc just made a face and shrugged them off.
I wish I could say that we went to their suite for a night of wild sex and tossing furniture from the eighth-floor balcony, but actually the night was relatively tame. In fact, I told the guys that we were all sixteen and seventeen so that they'd consider us jail bait.
And contrary to what my mother later thought, the party was nothing more than a few "chorus girls" sitting around with ordinary girls and sipping drinks. I was on the bed across from Marc when he tried calling room service and found out the kitchen was closed.
Frantic, he asked if I knew about any nearby stores.
"Uh, no," I said. "I'm from Escondido. I can't think of a one."
The hotel couldn't supply us with any food, but booze was in ample supply. Each of us got our own bottle of champagne, and when I was next aware, a guy was shaking me awake.
Groggily, I opened my eyes to see a Jewish guy with brown, wiry hair and thick black glasses asking me how I got into his room.
"Probably the same way you got in," I said, lifting my head. "But I don't remember a damn thing."
He then flopped on the bed beside me and we started talking. He said he was the promoter for the bands. His name was Lee and he lived in L.A. When I told him I was a student, he asked what I was studying and I told him "psychology."
Around that time, I realized it must be pretty late. My mom would be pacing and sweating by the front-room window. When Lee said it was after three, I sprang from the bed, staggered to the phone and called home.
"You get out of there," my mom shouted. "Right now. What are you doing in a hotel room with the band?"
She didn't believe for a moment that nothing unsavory was going on. But honestly, these guys were so cute they didn't need us--they could have anybody!
Sadly, we told the guys that we had to leave and thanked them for everything. Then we went down to retrieve the car and took off down "A" Street. Almost immediately, we were pulled over by a cop.
I did my best to appear sober. I batted my eyelashes and smiled a lot. "What did I do wrong?" I asked in my sweetest voice.
"Well," he said. "You're driving the wrong way on a one way street."
I gasped and clutched my chest as if I was utterly shocked to have done such a thing. Then the officer leaned toward me to sniff my breath. That's when I started to pray and do a lot of fast talking. I acted as if I were a hick from Valley Center who'd never been in the big city before.
I must have been convincing, 'cause he let me go. I nearly fell over with relief. Diana and Tammy were wide-eyed as I made a U-turn to get going in the right direction.
But Diana and I had not seen the last of the Hollywood Stars. A few weeks later, Michael invited us to visit him in Hollywood. He bought us lunch at a vegetarian restaurant and then we went to his place to watch old movies on the television.
When the band came to Escondido a few months after that, Ruben said he was bored. So I invited him and a crew neighbor I'll call N. (not his real initial) to go sailing with my family. I couldn't believe they actually agreed to go, and I couldn't believe they'd never been on a boat before. They both looked scared and when the boat suddenly hit something hard, they grabbed onto whatever was nearby to keep from falling on the floor.
I had to laugh. When I went to investigate, I saw the the boat had run aground in between two fishing poles that had been stuck in the sand. Dad said he didn't mean to do it. I didn't believe him. If you ask me, he did it on purpose 'cause he didn't like guys with long hair being around his daughters.
That night, the Hollywood Stars performed their last set. As the evening quickly drew to a close, I told Terry that I wanted to say good-bye to N.
"Sure," he said and then mentioned something about N.'s girlfriend. I don't remember the details because I didn't hear the words over the sound of my heart flopping onto the ground. That weekend, N. had neglected to mention he had a girlfriend.
When he finally came out to the parking lot, I can't say I was thrilled to see him. I said good-bye with a certain amount of awkwardness. N. didn't seem to notice. He pulled me close to him, shoved his tongue down my throat and left.