Groupies and Creativity of The Marginalized


The Groupie Phenomenon:

The groupie lifestyle has changed throughout the decades. Based on popular consensus, a groupie is outlined as a person who seeks sexual and emotional intimacy with a celebrity; in our case it pertains to a musical group. Frank Zappa, the leader of the Mothers of Invention, defines a groupie simply as “a girl who goes to bed with members of rock and roll bands.” While the groupie phenomenon may only date back to the 1950s, groupie behaviour has been explicit throughout history. One comparison that has been drawn with the contemporary groupie phenomenon is that of the women who worshiped the 19th century British Romantic poets.

In my opinion, the groupie phenomenon is deserving of both good and bad recognition within the history of rock and roll. On one hand, groupies offered good and inexpensive promotions to artists; the average groupie could be found praising a person or group to the point of religious exhaustion. Groupies support the cause full heartedly and stand behind whatever that person or group does. On the other hand, a female groupies desire to gravitate towards power and satisfy her sexual appetite can be seen as a primordial impulse; something that can’t be looked upon with good merit. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll make up the environment of the groupie lifestyle, which only help to tarnish the image. In many ways, the groupie lifestyle can be related to the lifestyle of prostitution, in which one exchanges sexual favours for money or power.
Pamela Des Barres

Pamela Des Barres

The groupie phenomenon is closely tied to feminism. This phenomenon has done both good and bad for feminism over the years. Some believe the name “Groupie” has become synonymous with “whore.” While others, such as Pamela Des Barres (a 1960’s rock and roll groupie) feels that “groupies are feminists of the highest order because we do what we want.” Who is to say which side was right? After all, many of the groupies of the early 1960’s were breaking down the conventional norms and values placed on women in previous decades. Who’s to say, if it weren’t for the groupie phenomenon, that a lot of societies stereotypes and conventions placed on women prior to the 1960’s would not still be in place. The women involved within the phenomenon made a choice, a choice to go against the conforms of society in an attempt to revolutionize the image of women, and remove them from the sexually oppressed ages of the past.

In societies eyes, it would appear that sex is what draws the line between what is considered healthy idolization of popular stars and a depraved pursuit of them. However, it is the thin line between infatuation and obsession that I believe can determine what is healthy and just idolization. We tend to idolize others because they have qualities we want for ourselves, it is normal and a part of becoming the person we want to be. But, when the idolization of a star turns from infatuation into obsession, individuals can become delusional and the search for ones self lost.

Creativity of the marginalized; creativity for all:

mothers of invention

Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention

Creativity is something that all individuals possess to some degree, it lays in all of us waiting to be portrayed in our daily lives; it is the act of making something new. Furthermore, the degree and type of creativity may vary from person to person determined through there thoughts and expressions. If creativity was confined to limited individuals with exceptional abilities within society we would be at a loss of self expression. Frank Zappa believed in the creativity of the marginalized, and his selection of musicians for his first band “the Mothers of Invention”, are a testament to his belief. None of the musicians that Frank Zappa selected for his first band were masters at their own respective instruments, but they possessed the attitude to express themselves creatively. Any individual is capable of being creative at any given time, sometimes it takes the chance or opportunity, and other times it takes the attitude and inner approach.

Creativity has no limits. It has nothing to do with any activity in particular, whether it be painting, dancing, singing, or playing an instrument for that matter. The act of these activities doesn’t require creativity at all, because the act is neither creative nor uncreative. Anything can be creative, you as an individual bring the skill and quality to the activity. A person can sing in an uncreative way, no? Creativity comes from the attitude in which an individual looks at things. So, if one expresses themselves purely and passionately with a creative attitude, there is no denying there creativity. Therefore, creativity is not just a product of the arts, but of all aspects of life which range from philosophy, economics, psychology, and business to name a few.

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa performing in Ekeberghallen, Oslo, on January 16, 1977

Frank Zappa’s goal of showcasing and celebrating the special qualities of the most marginalized people in American society, while simultaneously establishing a creative role for audience members and others connected through his music is at the bare minimum a worthy one. During a time of conformity, Frank Zappa took a stand against mainstream music, politics, religion, education, and censorship. He was very much a musical pioneer, which can be seen through his ability to combine rock, jazz, electronic, and orchestral music together. He broke down many conventions in music and opened the door for other musicians to experiment, leaving a footprint on the history of rock and roll. Even if his music didn’t inspire every eardrum it touched, his attitude and persistence went unmatched and were admirable. If you are unable to reconcile your traditional ideas about what constitutes “good music”, then Frank Zappa is not strongly recommended. However, if you are willing to open your mind to a new kind of musical outlook and approach there is no better fit.

 “Most people wouldn’t know good music if it came up and bit them in the ass.” – Frank Zappa

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One Response

  1. Great work man, look forward to the continuation of blogs to follow. The Design looks great as well.

    Cheers!

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