When people think of the word “groupie,” they tend to have a certain image pop up in their minds. For those of us who are older, they tend to think that the phenomenon of crazed fans who follow hair metal bands backstage and do anything the rockers want them to do. Among younger fans, it’s the idea of seeing mainstream singers who have crazed fans that stalk them online and in person.
As a music person, one of the things that really struck me is how common the groupie aspect really is. When my husband (a hardstyle DJ) and I started dating, I was quick to see how many girls would try to get flirty with him as soon as they saw him on the lineup. At one point, one of the girls was so insistent that he actually had to turn her down by kissing me in front of her.
I never really thought it would ever be true, but groupies are very real, even in the most niche of scenes. After a while, I wanted to know how true the stories of groupies on tour really are for people who are indie performers. So, I decided to take a look at what my friends had to say on the subject.
It’s not always what you’d expect.
Jay Diamondz is a personal friend of mine, and he’s an up-and-coming pop star that recently dropped a single called “One Night.” During his time in the indie pop scene, he’s seen his fair share of groupies. While some were girls who tried to kiss him backstage after a show, others weren’t a typical “groupie” image.
He told me that he once had a fan who dressed up as a bus boy from the venue he played, stole food from the kitchen, and used that as a way to sneak backstage. The two ate pizza together, though Jay was mildly weirded out by it.
Thirsty groupies might not really care who you are.
He also happens to be a very big fan of concert-going, even when he’s not performing. This lead to a pretty shocking revelation that made my own jaw drop a little bit. Sometimes, the groupies in question don’t really care who they hook up with.
“I once won backstage tickets to a band that was pretty major in the 1970s. Behind the stage was a line of older women, some as old as 50, waiting to see the band,” he explained. “Rather than wait for them, many of them ended up getting aggressive with me. Several even tried to grope me. It was unsettling, to say the least.”
Sometimes promoters will hook performers up, regardless of marriage status.
Another friend of mine, who wishes to remain anonymous, works in the nightclub life. He once was a promoter for a headliner who has around 10 million views on YouTube, and he had a more shocking thing to say.
According to him, there was a tacit agreement that promoters would find girls who wanted to go backstage for a roll in the hay with the DJ who was playing that night. The girls were very well-aware of what was going on, and they were all in on it.
“Yeah, we sourced girls for him to have fun with in the VIP room. He took two at a time,” he said. “This would be all good and fine, if he didn’t have a wife and kids back home. His wife eventually found out and put an ultimatum on him. Either he stopped touring, or he stopped being married.”
Groupies actually do get to know the person behind the music.
You would think that groupies are simply one-night flings, but that’s where you’re wrong. A friend of mine who was a groupie for Trent Reznor in the early 2000s told me that the groupie life was often a long-term thing.
“I traveled on the tour bus with NIN for about two months. During that time, we’d joke, we’d drink, we’d party…” she said. “I never expected a relationship out of him, but that’s okay. It was just a thing I wanted to experience.”
But, they can also cause serious awkward moments.
A lot of the stories surrounding groupie culture are mired in hearsay. I myself didn’t see this, but I heard it from a third party while I was out at a concert. The rumor that I heard, and honestly believe, was that a girl approached Voltaire, a goth singer after the concert.
In no uncertain terms, she said that she was going to sleep with him and give him the time of his life. Voltaire is happily married, and told her so. She then said that she wanted to sleep with him again. He, again, said no. The girl in question was allegedly on the verge of tears from the rejection, then asked again.
From what I heard, Voltaire was visibly uncomfortable with the entire ordeal. I can’t blame him, if this did happen.
Many groupies are motivated by fame and riches.
There’s something to be said about the bragging right of sleeping with a major performer. It’s something that literally tells people that you’re hot and that you hang out with the cool kids. However, the motivation to get with a band member over clout isn’t always the primary reason why people choose to be a groupie.
Fame definitely has something to do with it. Fame is contagious, and if you play your cards right, you might end up being in the spotlight alongside your musician of choice. Several major names got their fame this way—Sharon Obsbourne, Courtney Love, Paris Hilton…
Music artists are rightfully unsettled by this, and avoid groupies as a result.
Oh, and sometimes groupies steal.
Do you remember how there was that one scandal where Chris Brown was accused a groupie of stealing from him at a party he threw? Apparently, that’s a lot more common than you’d think. A friend of mine who is an underground hard dance DJ, Brandon Grizzly, explained his own run-in with groupie greed and fandom.
“I remember I was playing a gig at Amazura in around 2011, maybe 2012. These mainstream raver girls approached me and told me, ‘You did such a great set!’ It was my first time playing hardstyle out there. One of them told me I looked like Seth Rogen and wanted to hook up. She might have been on something, I don’t know,” he laughed.
“Anyway, I started hooking up with her in what we called ‘the tree house’ upstairs room. Later on, I found out that the girl took the flash drives out of my pocket,” he said. “It was then I realized that I should keep my stuff more secured.”
Some artists actively seek out sexy women as groupies.
There’s a lot of expectation that artists will get girls flinging themselves at them left and right, but this isn’t always the case. Some music artists will actively reach out to models and porn stars in hopes of getting a reputation for having groupies interested in them.
Groupies are a way of measuring clout in certain scenes. Whether or not the artists try to press the girls to act on the expectations groupies have is really unknown. That being said, the terms are sketchy to say the least.
An adult performer I befriended explained, “It’s actually really common to have music artists approach you as a way to gain a reputation for being good with the girls. I know of at least one who has been known to claim to pay girls to take fan photos of him.”
Finally, there’s a big difference between a groupie and a band girlfriend.
Speaking as someone who married a DJ, I can tell you that there’s a huge difference between the way artists view groupies and girlfriends. The same can be said for how they’re viewed by other girls who are dating music artists.
Generally speaking, groupies are girls who are a little too crazy on the fandom of an artist. Artists very rarely want to date fans, per se. They want to date girls who see them as more than just a musician. Because groupies view artists on a rather shallow level, artists tend to view them in an equally shallow way.
There’s a lot of objectification that goes on in the music scene between groupies and artists. Artists view groupies as hot flings, groupies see artists as bragging rights. There’s definitely an understanding there, and that understanding is also known by girlfriends.