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'A LICENCE TO THRILL' INTERVIEW WITH PATTI JOHNSEN (SUPERGROUPIE) BY MEL

I'm pleased to be able to present an interview with a gloriously proud woman, give your full attention to PATTI JOHNSEN.
 
"I worked at the Rainbow bar and grill in L.A from 1985-1993. I was a groupie, out and proud. I never claimed to be anything else. I was about the music, most definitely, and about the men who make it. I just liked having sex with them, too. And I would have married one in a heart beat. ;-). come what may, rock 'n roll is my guiding star, and I will always be a groupie at heart." Patti Johnsen Aug 4th 2008
 
A bit of background information on Patti:
She was born and raised in Battle Creek, Michigan. Music was a great influence on her growing up and her preference was for '60's rock and heavy metal. At 17 she "fell in love" with Van Halen and eventually sold their merchandise on tour in 1981. After this she declared herself a fully fledged 'Groupie'.
Patti followed the metal bands and especially loved 'Motley Crue', Nikki Sixx being her favourite member. She calls him her 'holy grail'.
Patti moved to La la land in 1985 to be closer to her idols and found work in the famous 'Rainbow Bar & Grill.' on Sunset Strip, Hollywood. During which time she had many a close encounter with musicians. 'Lolita' became her nickname. Some of her tales are immortalised in Pamela Des barres book ....'Let's Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies'. One story I am keen to know more about is our very own Billy Idol whom Patti had some dangerous liaisons with.
Patti now lives happily ever after in Denver with her Swedish guitar player husband and two daughters. She still loves Motley Crue and Nikki's music and words have been very influential throughout her life to the current day. Patti's stories have been used in various books, interviews, radio shows and TV appearances.
Patti holds the secrets to many a musicians boudoirs, lets see if we can unlock some today.

Mel - Hi Patti, I'm so pleased that you agreed to an interview as its strong women like you who 'make the rocking world go round'. I felt a song coming on then ;-)

It's obvious to me you lived the life you wanted and mainly got what/whom you desired, you also present as an upbeat person, who still looks fantastic I might add.

Patti - Thanks, doll!

Mel - I gotta ask this question - who was your first ‘victim’? Tell me about it.

Patti – The first time I really ‘groupie-d’ I didn’t even realize I was doing it.  When I was following Van Halen around, I ended up having an affair with someone high enough in the organization that I ended up working for them and I went on the road with the band.  But since making out with David Lee Roth doesn’t count, so to speak, my first rock star lover was guitar virtuoso, Yngwie Malmsteen.

MelYou must have encountered people who disapproved of your lifestyle, whether it is some band members or other females? If so, how did you respond?

Patti - Well, band members never disapprove, they just want in on the action!  As for women, they usually either don’t understand what being a groupie is all about, or they’re just jealous.  For example, a woman I met at the Rainbow once told me that I was degrading myself by being groupie.  I told her that, the only difference between us was that she’d be leaving the club in a Toyota, picking up some beer and going to a cheap motel with the guy she’d just met at the bar.  I’d be leaving in a limo, drinking champagne and going to a five-star hotel with a rock star I’d seen on MTV!  Now who do you think got the better deal?

Mel - Do you hold any regrets at all about any one person you became intimate with? If so why? 

Patti - No, everything is a learning experience.  Wait, I take that back.  I regret not being with some of them MORE… ;-)

Mel - They say life on the road with a bunch of horny young musicians is wild, describe the wildest backstage scene you witnessed-

Patti - I’ve seen everything backstage, from midgets to chickens, but since I was a one-man woman myself, I was usually heading back to the hotel with my rocker when the shenanigans were going on.  I do remember hearing about the all-nude stripper who played golf on top of a table for the band’s amusement.  Apparently, it was where she held the golf club that made it interesting… 

Mel - Who was the A) Kinkiest B) Best lover C) Nicest, Most Loveable, out of the guys you slept with? And why?

Patti – A) Kinkiest- Billy Idol – In his own words, “It’s a bit wild, yeah?  But it’s just a laugh, in’it?”  For example, his choice of sex toys was anything he found lying around my apartment… my hair brush, my stiletto heels…. and he wanted me to use them up his bum.  But believe me; anything he wanted was fine with me.  He was one of the most charming and beautiful men that ever graced my bed.

B) Best Lover - Robbin Crosby of Ratt - Robbin was truly, sex god.  He was 6’6” tall and I’m only 5’2”.  He was hung like a stallion, a master in the art of oral sex, and would keep on going until he had me screaming!  But, he had terrible insomnia and I spent endless nights talking so he wouldn’t be awake all alone.  He was a sweetheart and it’s a pity he died so young.  Robbin contracted HIV in the ‘90s from drug use, and when his disease became full-blown AIDS in 2002, he overdosed on heroin, at the age of 42.

C) Nicest, Most Loveable - Taime Downe of Faster Pussycat- Taime was the first guy I dated when I got to Hollywood in 1985.  Taime was the most down-to-earth, and genuinely sweet, of all the rock stars I’ve ever had the pleasure of being with, and still is to this day.  He is featured all through Pamela Des Barres new book about groupies, and all the girls wax poetic about him because he is such an amazing man.  Did I also mention he’s gorgeous, a great fuck and known for his skilful tongue? ;-)    

Mel - Did you collect their autographs or other personal items, and did you have any photos taken with the guys?

Patti – No autographs, oh my God!  [laughs]  Can you imagine?  Pass me the condoms, darling… and while you’re there, grab a pen!  But, yes, I kept little tokens as keepsakes, and sometimes we took pictures, but not very often.  Again, you didn’t want to seem too much like a fan.

Mel - Did you ever meet any of the Punk bands and get closely acquainted with them? Maybe when the Sex Pistols toured the USA? Or was it purely the 'Metal guys' who you were into?

Patti – When the Pistols did their US tour I would’ve been too young (thank you very much!) but I did meet Johnny Rotten a couple of times at the Rainbow, and Steve Jones was a regular, so I saw him constantly.  But it was mostly the ‘Metal guys’ for me.  Those hard rockers wearing lipstick and eyeliner were my undoing…

Mel - Did you ever manage to conquer 'Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx and what is it about him you find so appealing? Why do you call him your 'Holy Grail'?

Patti – No, I never got my moment with Nikki, but I’ve since realized that I never really tried.  I’ve often wondered why I would have fucked Mick Jagger in front of an audience, yet I could barely even look at Nikki when I was around him.  I’ve spoken to a lot of groupies about this, and it seems I’m not alone.  For some of us there is one rock star that is so sacred, it’s almost too much for us to bear, so we actually maintain a bit of distance.  But all groupies have a ‘Holy Grail’.  The reason we call them our ‘Holy Grail’ is that, they are the rock star we love above all others.  They are our dream man… perfection, rapture, nirvana.  No one can take the place of your ‘Holy Grail’ no matter how much you may want them to.   Your ‘Holy Grail’ will remain your ‘Holy Grail’ forever.  I bet you even have a ‘Holy Grail’, Mel, and I bet I know who he is, too.  ;-)

And what I found appealing about Nikki Sixx in 1981 is what still draws me to him to this very day.  His lyrics speak to my soul, his music courses through my veins, and if given the chance, I would fuck him within an inch of his life.  He was, and is, the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. 

Mel - My lips are sealed lol - Tell me about your first meeting with our very own English man 'Billy Idol' and where did it go from there? Did you see him on more than one occasion?

Patti – I met him upstairs at the Rainbow, in the club called ‘Over the Rainbow’ and I raced to approach him before any other girl could get near him.  I asked him if he’d like to smoke a joint with me when I got off work and he said, yes.  So, I took him to my flat and we smoked a joint and before the joint was even gone, that man had me on the floor!  He fucked me six ways till Sunday and then some, but he was deliciously irresistible.  So cheeky and charming, he could melt the panties off a nun!  And yes, he called me several times after that, whenever he was in town.

Mel - I read he couldn't help being unfaithful to Perri Lister ( the woman he lived with, the former 'Hot Gossip' dance trouper, who appeared in 'White Wedding' video). Did you ever feel a touch guilty about seeing him or any indeed other guys who had wives or girlfriends back home?

Patti – No, I really didn’t.  One, I didn’t know about a lot of these women (probably because I didn’t want to) and two, I wasn’t the one cheating on them.  If these rock stars were married or committed to these girls, then they made promises to them, I didn’t.  I never promised I wouldn’t sleep with their rock star! 

Mel - What would you say was the highlight of your time spent with Billy? 

Patti - Besides talking, laughing and fucking? ;-)  I think my favourite memory is waiting for Billy’s call while listening to ‘Flesh for Fantasy’.  As his sexy voice is oozing out of my speakers, “You see and feel my sex attack… FLESH!” the telephone rang.  I picked it up and heard Billy’s sexy voice oozing out of my telephone, “Hey, Patti?  It’s Billy.”  I apologized for the loud music, joking that I needed my Billy Idol fix, and he said, in his whiskey voice, “Really?  Would you like the real thing?”  I think I broke the land speed record getting to his hotel that night.

Mel - You talk about the Rainbow staff being like your family, describe exactly what it was like to work there?

Patti – Working at the Rainbow was the best time of my life, other than having my children, of course.  I was 21-years old when I started, and it was like having a big Italian family taking care of me, and Hollywood kids just like me, as my brothers and sisters.  The club was packed so full every night, I was sure the Fire Marshal was going to close us down.  Rock stars were my regular customers, to the point that I just became used to them.  It’s amazing how chatting with John Entwistle, of The Who every night, became just another day at the office!

Mel - The Rainbow Bar and Grill was a notorious hang out for Musicians, who hung out there on any given night? I remember when I went in 1998 they had the walls signed with photos of bands, signed autographs everywhere, the place seemed full of wanna be rockers or maybe they were rock stars? Do you remember any particular 'wild nights at the bar? Any Hairy moments?

Patti – Well, there were always bar fights, of course.  But I’ve raced upstairs to tell a rock star his wife was downstairs, so he and his ‘date’ could dash out the back.  And I remember the big Vince Neil/Axl Rose feud, when both of them were talking smack about fighting each other on MTV.  I can tell you who was the man and who was the coward in that fight, and the man was sexy as hell!  I remember one night watching someone come upstairs and tell Axl, “Hey, dude, Vince Neil is here.”  Let me tell you, Axl went stone white and flew down those back stairs like a screaming woman!  [laughs]  Vince Neil was badass.  His famous quote was, “I might be wearing lipstick, but I can still kick your ass!”  

Mel - I noticed you had a photo on your myspace cozying up to 'Lemmy' another English guy (do you have a thing for English men?) Did you and 'Lemmy' ever get closer at one time?

Patti – Of course, I have a thing for English men!  What American girl doesn’t?  As for Lemmy and me?  I wish I’d have fucked Lemmy.        God, that man is sexy.  But no, we’re just friends.

Mel - I see your busy writing your memoirs, tell me about this...will it be along the lines of Pamela Des barres book 'I'm with the band' that was such a fabulous title for the book. Do you have a working title yet? Any publisher?

Patti – My book is a memoir, as well as a brief history of the Rainbow itself.  The Rainbow has such a fascinating history.  The working title is “Over the Rainbow Bar and Grill” and I still haven’t decided on a publisher.

Mel - I believe you appeared on a TV program with Pamela Des Barres could you tell us more about this.

Patti – Pamela and I appeared on a talk show called the Dr. Keith Ablow Show.  He is a psychiatrist who talks about subjects in front of a televised studio audience.  We appeared with several other groupies and discussed the groupie life style.  Needless to say, he tried to make us sound cheap and tawdry, but I am pretty outspoken and I wasn’t having that!  He asked why we were telling all these rock stars’ personal secrets; I told him they were our stories, too.  Like I always say, “If you don’t want to be in my life story, then don’t put your dick in it!”  [laughs]  I have also appeared on a VH1 special called ‘When Metal Ruled the World’ discussing being a groupie in the ‘80s.  (Do you have VH1 in England?)

Mel - Yes we do have VH1 (must check it out) A public reading event was held by Pamela Des Barres to publicise her new book to which you provided a personal chapter, tell me about this occasion?

Patti – It was amazing!  It was my first time in New York City and it was held in Soho.  I read with Pamela and Miss Patti D’Arbanville, and even though I hate public speaking, the audience was fantastic and we had a lot of laughs.  They were there to hear all about our naughty adventures and they had a lot of questions for us.  And it was such a surreal experience to be asked for my autograph!

Mel - You’re now happily married woman with children. Where and when did you meet your Swedish musician, and decided it was time to settle down and have a family. Do you ever crave that past life you once led?

Patti – I met my husband at a grocery store on Sunset Strip, known as ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ Ralph’s, after the Rainbow one night.  At the time he was a student at the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood.  I was 27-years old and ready to settle down, get married, and have babies…  As for craving the past life I once led?  Sometimes I do, of course, but then, my past was pretty exciting!  But being a groupie is forever.  I still go to Hollywood often, where we have put together what we call The Groupie Roundtable, which we hold at the Rainbow.  My best friends are groupies of all ages, my BFF being DeeDee Keel, also featured in Pamela’s book.  She and I get into all kinds of mischief; the most recent was being front row at Motley Crue, right in front of Nikki Sixx  

Mel - That's a very rock n roll story Patti ! - If you could go back in time to any period is there anything you would do differently?

Patti – Yes, I would go back to the ‘80s and try much harder to be with Nikki, at least once.  As it was, I never really tried at all.  Though at the Motley Crue concert a couple of weeks ago, I had the surreal moment of having him sing “She’s got the Looks That Kill” right to me!  It was all I could do to remain upright and breathing.

Mel - I see you’re still taking yourself out to festivals, gigs; do you still have as much fun as you used to do? Do you manage to get backstage at any of these gigs?

Patti – I get just as excited as I used to.  When the band hits the stage, I still scream, jump up and down and lose my mind.  I can’t breathe sometimes from the happiness and adrenaline!  But of course it’s not as much fun as being able to fuck those rock stars! ;-)  And I go backstage whenever my old friends are in town, but if I don’t know someone, it’s a lot harder getting backstage.  Being a groupie is different today; it’s much more corporate and a lot less personal.  It’s just harder now, than it was then.  It’s kind of sad.  

Thanks Patti for being so open and honest with me and sorry if the questions were too personal - Good luck with your book and subsequent TV appearances.May your 'Holy Grail' one day become a reality!

FIND PATTI JOHNSEN ON MYSPACE

 
'RAINBOW BAR AND GRILL'
 
OR
 
 
PATTI'S OWN FUN VIDEO 
This is what you get when you give two groupies, and their talented children, a video camera and a contest involving rock stars, heavy metal and Hollywood!