My memoir “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist”
Even though the sub-title clearly reads “Adventures of a Music Journalist” I’ve had a few people assume this book is a groupie book. It’s not.
My synopsis on Amazon reads:
“On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” is a fun, upbeat memoir about a girl who loves music and life in general. Maryanne paints a vivid picture of being a teenager in the 1970s and young woman in the 1980s — and how the punk, new wave and rock scene was from a young fan’s viewpoint. Life truly comes together for Maryanne once she creates a career for herself reporting on the music she loves, writing for publications such as The Aquarian Arts Weekly, music.com and Punk magazine. Unlike other music memoirs, there is no downward spiral into drugs and addiction. Nor is it a groupie “tell all.” “On the Guest List” is simply a compilation of mostly happy memories straight from the pages of Maryanne’s diaries — and of course, her heart.
I remember the first time I heard the term “groupie” in Creem and Circus magazines when I was 13-year-old, back in the summer of 1977. I looked up the word in the dictionary. It wasn’t there, but I figured out soon enough what it meant.
I was only joking when I wrote my ambition was to be a groupie in my high school year book. I hated my high school, so putting something shocking was my way of getting back at a place where I spent three miserable years (my freshman year was at a college prep school that I loved).
Even though I was never a groupie, the groupie books are good reads to me because they’re about music. And I’m sure a lot of groupies are cool, as I’ve met a few over the years and had a lot of fun hanging out with them. But for me, I never wanted to be out of control in a relationship. Whether something works out or not, it needs to at least start off evenly. Not only that, when I first became a diehard music fan at the age of 13, when you think of all these bands I looked up to and admired, the musicians were already in their 20s and 30s. And that’s damn old to a child!
At 15 when real boys came into the picture, local musicians were the ones who really excited me. First of all they were cuter then the big rock stars because they were my age. And because they went to my school (or another school) and weren’t in magazines, they were my equal. Plus, they were accessible. I didn’t have to chase after them like groupies chase after famous musicians. While there were times when I made the first move, more often the guy did.
At 15, I had a lot figured out already. For instance, once I met someone really cool and talented, it wasn’t enough to be mere arm candy. So when my first musician boyfriend performed a party, in my basement, it was important to me to introduce the band. That night I wore satin pants and a black beaded hat over my long brown hair, with blonde highlights. Then I took the microphone and got the party started. That made me feel like I was somebody too. Not a lazy person in the background who is identified by her boyfriend.
As a young go-getter I took all kinds of music lessons, but it was writing I preferred. Before I became a professional writer, I co-wrote and co-starred in an off-Broadway play. I always either worked for publishing companies or music companies. I needed to do something I believed in. A lot of people I dated admired me for this, others were jealous about it, so I’d have to leave them.
This is where most groupies miss the boat. They obsess over the object of their desire and lose themselves in the process. I’ve read too many groupie books that ended so negatively. The woman appears sad and bitter as she goes back to living the same simple life she did before she obsessed over the rock star, not knowing or ever experiencing her own worth. Some are married and still sounding regretful for being scorned by their former musician they stalked. It’s so sad and I feel bad for their husbands. Some even exaggerate the relationship and it’s so obvious they are lying.
That’s never the kind of life I wanted.
When I was 17, as I wrote in “Guest List” I was able to meet The Bay City Rollers when they were recording an album in New Jersey. Guitarist Eric Faulkner was a good 10 years older than me and hit on me that evening, asking me to come to his bedroom. We had our arms around each other and were face to face. He was really cute, super funny and very very nice. But I declined. Because if anything did happen, I knew I’d never see him again. Teenage romance is hard enough as it is, I didn’t need that kind of rejection.
Pamela Des Barres wrote in one of her books that her relationships didn’t work because she put these guys on a pedestal, they could only look down on her. And she was smart enough to figure it out and end up leading a happy life. As did many other groupies — the ones who were intelligent and able to move on.
My husband had a taste of success with his 1980s band Pharoah. They were signed, had a video on MTV and played all major NYC nightclubs. People like Jeff Beck, Gene Simmons and members of Metallica were in their audience (Jeff Beck at Club Nirvana and Gene Simmons at The Cat Club). I followed Pharoah around in their earlier years, before they got to that high status. I never knew that in years to come the bass player, Dennis Lords, would marry me. It was at a Pharoah reunion in 2005 that Dennis and I had a nice chat and realized how attracted we were to each other. Some mistakenly thought we were together in the past, but I never ever knew him that way before! I guess our chemistry is so intense, it seems like we’ve been together a lot more than our almost 10 years.
And as successful as my husband was with his music, I never felt like his inferior. From day one he was so impressed that I was a full time journalist. He still keeps the first business card I gave him in his wallet.
When we do something that’s related to his music career, I’m proud to be “Dennis’s wife.” When he does something that is related to my business, he’s happy to be “Maryanne’s husband.” We are a team … as it should be!
This was always my goal, aspiring to have a very happy relationship and marriage. And I got one because I never settled for being second best.
Maryanne and almost famous husband, Dennis Lords
Pharoah on “Late Night with Johnny P”
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X) and “Love Cats” (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YBGVJQS/)
She’s also an award-winning journalist and public speaker.
To have Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta speak at your organization, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing and availability.