"Can you deal with the fact that I'm not in love with you?"
July 4, 2014 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Without You I'm Nothing: The Believer looks at the memoirs of the wives and girlfriends of rock stars.
posted by The Whelk (20 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
An excellent article, thanks The Whelk.
posted by Rumple at 11:23 AM on July 4, 2014

Fantastic article, one I definitely never would have found on my own. Thank you for posting.
posted by cell divide at 11:51 AM on July 4, 2014

It blows me away how many "rock legends" were actually serial domestic abusers.

Didn't anybody ever tell them to stop?
posted by Avenger at 12:00 PM on July 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Didn't anybody ever tell them to stop?

Sadly, when the abuser is the one who pays the bill for anything and has the ear and eye of millions, no one will ever tell them to stop for fear of pissing off the golden goose.
posted by Kitteh at 12:06 PM on July 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yeah, good read but just into it, ha ha, flack.
posted by unliteral at 12:07 PM on July 4, 2014

Interesting article, it really drew me in. The ego and the empty meet each other; the 'artist' can project whatever he wants onto an empty canvas, his image of himself perhaps, and then write effusive poetry about it that touches the hearts of the public, which further inflates the artist. Until he meets an ego as self-aggrandizing as his own of course.

Anyways John was never my favorite Beatle.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:47 PM on July 4, 2014

Yet another story that makes me very happy about my totally average life.
posted by freakazoid at 12:53 PM on July 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

Interesting, but...

“Angie Bowie was every goddamned bit as important as David Bowie,” says Pleasant Gehman, rock writer and consort, in Let’s Spend the Night Together. “She was the person who had songs written about her. Angie’s art was just to exist.”

Umm, ok.
posted by sfkiddo at 12:58 PM on July 4, 2014

It's interesting that at a time when half of London was charging their restaurant and bar bills to Apple Corps on tenuous grounds if any, Cynthia Lennon was having to scrounge to support Julian.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:44 PM on July 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

For the teenage Des Barres, being a rock star’s girlfriend might have seemed to promise the glories of rock stardom itself: the admiration of millions, sexual gratification (the reason so many men pick up guitars in the first place)

At the risk of sounding like a saddlesore dudebro, this strikes me as really tendentious, snarky, and tiresome.

It's like the white whale of the sort of hate typically directed at women, wrt being "attention whores". Give it a rest. People pick up instruments because they want to make music. I've been playing music since I was a small child, and went to art school for a while. I've known tourings acts, been involved in a couple local scenes, and in venues. I never met any of these mythical "in it for the ladies bro" guys Anywhere. Womanizing manipulative player assholes sure. And cock rockers are absolutely a thing. But people make music and art because they're driven too.

Some of this article was interesting, and I learned some things I hadn't heard of at all. But between that and the weird stuff about Angie and some similar things just put me off. I agree there's elements of erasure of the Real Story that happened here, but it's not about women just existing to be art objects.

There's a lot of weird push/spin going on here, and it feels like the author is really loading it down with some bizarre ass beliefs they have along with some good content. And I feel that it cheapens some of the powerful stuff in there that it's bed mates with some really weird shit and some total drek. There's obviously some serious baggage here.
posted by emptythought at 3:49 PM on July 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

Seems like a good time to link to the song Golden Lights.
posted by JanetLand at 3:57 PM on July 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Content is good, but the prose is nearly opaque. What is the author trying to say?
posted by clvrmnky at 4:56 PM on July 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

emptythought, I agree about the guitar thing; I thought that was a specious claim to make.
posted by jfwlucy at 5:43 PM on July 4, 2014

Seems like an obviously correct statement to me about guitars or anything else young boys and girls pick up and do that isn't homework. There's always an element of "how will this make me look to the gender I am sexually interested in".

Amazing article. I really want to hear that new Beverly Kutner album.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:41 PM on July 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

What a fantastic article, a lucid window onto something I've spent a lot of time thinking about-- and being (in a sense, as all audiences are) a witness to. I'm of an age with these women and have been reading about them, and hearing them dismissed and mocked, much of my life. The search for an identity separate from men was not just a problem for the conventional housewives of the 60s and was worse in some ways for women in the counterculture, who were supposed to have rejected marriage as bourgeois and were committed to changing social structures.
posted by jokeefe at 6:50 PM on July 4, 2014

The section on Beverly Kutner is devastating. How it is possible for a man to make music as sweet as John Martyn and be such a complete arsehole all at the same time is confounding. The instrumental Beverly from the album Inside Out is one of my favourite pieces of music of all time. But I'll never listen to it with the same ears again.
posted by toycamera at 6:58 PM on July 4, 2014

Well, I'm glad I don't really know John Martyn's work; if I did, I'd have to stop listening to it. It's like how I can't enjoy listening to Bobby Brown, as catchy as some of his stuff is. I can't abide abusers.

In most relationships, that power is the product of friction; getting over a breakup involves the gradual realization that your ex’s marvelousness was partly your own invention. Here the subjective attraction is absolute, and so is the heartache.

I've known people whose music was awesome but whose shows I wouldn't go to, 'cause I didn't want to fall in love with them. Seeing rock music performed live is just sex, so alluring. And me? I walk the line.
posted by limeonaire at 9:41 PM on July 4, 2014

Didn't anybody ever tell them to stop?
Abusers don't stop because someone tells them to stop. They have a very hard time quitting.

Lennon was also allegedly abusive towards Cynthia, and it's interesting that isn't mentioned in this article.

One thing I found interesting was that so many of these memoirs were written by women in conjunction with a man (e.g. "Faithfull, written with David Dalton").
posted by sockermom at 6:00 AM on July 5, 2014

Element yes, but not the primary driver.
posted by jfwlucy at 6:56 AM on July 5, 2014

I've been playing music since I was a small child, and went to art school for a while. I've known tourings acts, been involved in a couple local scenes, and in venues. I never met any of these mythical "in it for the ladies bro" guys Anywhere.

I've met a few. Cover bands. They all played in cover bands.
posted by evil otto at 9:46 AM on July 6, 2014

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