So, I'm reclaiming the word 'groupie'. They're not all pointless sluts, they're just girls who like their men to be in bands.
Note - Story is written with some strong sexual content. Warnings will be posted prior to any chapters which contain such scenes, or at my readers request they can be left out if you so choose, thus shortening the chapters in question though. Completely up to the majority vote. Also just to note where I need to space between some parts, I shall use a series of / to do this. I would try HTML, but I am completely and utterly useless!
"I still cannot quite believe I'm here. Just when I thought I'd be stuck in smelly, dirty London all summer," I tell Joanie, my closest friend while leaning against the guard rail on the top deck of the ferry we boarded an hour ago. Joanie hates flying, and avoids it at all costs if she can. I find that quite amazing still, considering her pass-time.
"Berlin, here we come!" she says triumphantly, with a huge smile on her face.
"Marius Becker, here comes Joanie Philips!" I announce, smiling when she begins to laugh raucously. Maybe I should take a few minutes here to fill you in, since you're probably wondering why we're currently travelling to Berlin, what Joanie's pass-time is, and who the hell Marius Becker is also. Okay, so it's like this. We're groupies, but please do not all get up and shout at once. Also, please wipe all those preconceptions the word 'groupie' conjures from your minds. Joanie is a lot better travelled in the realms of all things groupie than I am, that is for sure. Well, let me rephrase that. She's more willing to put out than I am. Not that that is a slur against my beloved Joanie at all, oh no. I have bedded a couple of musicians myself, I must admit! I prefer to talk to them though, to have conversation. I like to hear their words and listen to them tell me about their musical influences, what drives them to write, and to know what makes them tick.
If Joanie had Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue lying next to her in her hotel bed all night, she'd have definitely had sex with him. For me, I just wanted to talk to him about his career and his book, titled 'The Heroin Diaries' which I read cover to cover in the space of a day. Again, not to make slurs against Joanie or any other groupie, but I personally found that these musicians sometimes like it a lot more when the girl who wants to spend time with them wants to do it for their mind rather than their body. They feel flattered in a way they didn't expect to. I still have Nikki's personal cell number in my phone book to this day. We've become friends, and the only time he's ever touched me is to give me a hug or kiss my cheek in greeting or parting gestures. Marilyn Manson is another man I have spent a great amount of intimate time with, without ever being physically intimate with him. Like I stated before, I have had sex with a few leading men (I like my vocalists), but I do not kiss and tell. I'm a lady like that, even when most would label me a slut. I'm twenty four and I still haven't had sex with any more than fifteen people. That's not bad at all.
I've always been fascinated with musicians, what inspires them to create too. I love creative people, so musicians were just a natural draw to me. I tried to emulate my rock and metal heroes, before I found out very quickly I didn't have a musical bone in my body. I can drum a little, just about but that is it and certainly not good enough to do for a living. I swing around a pole for that cash. Pole dancer, lap dancer, that's me. Yeah, yeah, I can hear all you hardcore feminists over there gasping for breath. Not to sound mean, but get over it. It's my body to do what I please with, and it earns me the kind of quick and easy cash I need to pay off my tuition fees and be able to drop out of the daily grind like this, to up sticks and follow a band for a few weeks. Last time, it was a few months. Myself and a certain member of a band who will remain nameless struck up quite the connection, for three months at least.
Anyhow, I digress. The reason we're currently aboard this ferry so large I am unsure how the hell it manages to float is because we're on our way to attend the German leg of the Solitaire Rising tour, aka Joanie's favourite band. Remarkably enough I don't know too much about them despite Joanie waffling away about them almost constantly. Their music is good if not a little brutal for my tastes, but they are just one of those bands I haven't taken the time to truly get into. The only reason I am here is because her friend Kate (who I sort of know) decided to cancel on her, and I didn't want to let Joanie down. She's dying to see Marius again, after spending a week with him when Solitaire Rising toured the west coast of America a month back. There was a very specific reason Kate pulled out of going to see the band tour through Germany, or rather the story behind the reason that is currently spreading like wildfire through the rock press, but which I haven't really digested for myself. About two months ago now, on a break from touring their lead singer Lee Bauer was arrested for spousal abuse. Apparently upon arriving home he discovered his wife in bed with another man, and thought it just to beat seven shades of shit out of her.
That's just what Joanie told me, and to be honest I've been too busy with work and my studies (I'm studying for a degree in anthropology in my spare time) to sit and read anything about it, until now at least. I suppose I should find out more about him and his band, since I'll be seeing them in little over nine hours from now. After heading back down from the top deck to the bar area we both sit and absorb ourselves in various reading materials while drinking coffee. Joanie choose her book, a well-read copy of the Pamela Des Barres autobiography (our heroine and groupie queen, how cliché) while I trawl the internet on my phone, deciding to actually read something about what Joanie told me regarding Lee Bauer, and the rest of Solitaire Rising. I start with the band as a whole first, figuring I should at least know a little more than I do about them presently. I read on the bio section of their site that they formed in 1996 and are three parts German (Hank and Lee, and also Marius, who is actually half Dutch on his fathers' side, I read) and two parts British (Darren and Jim), have released eight full length albums (two live) and three EP's to date, have toured the world many times over and are one of the highest ranking metal bands on the scene today.
I move onto another site, and read various testimonials written about them by their peers over their musical prowess. They seem to be extremely well respected, with many favouring their latter releases opposed to the first couple of offerings. From the impression I get, it was only after the first two albums that they found their feet more and developed their niche sound. I then move onto finding out a little more about their music, by putting my headphones in and actually giving it a listen. I then realise I have eight albums to choose from. Hmmm.
"Joanie, give me a Solitaire Rising recommendation. I might as well at least try and acquaint myself with some of their songs I suppose," I ask my friend, pulling her from her reading trance as she sharply looks up at me with wide eyes in surprise.
"Their last one, Nietzsche is something I think you could get on well with," she replies before turning back to her book. As I've stated, they've never been a band who I've had time to really get into. Joanie played me a few tracks off their first album, and I've heard odds and sods while travelling in her car, but they've never really interested me enough to sit down and thoroughly absorb them. So I choose Nietzsche, and look it up on YouTube.
The first track off the album is a spoken word intro, the sounds of guitars screeching and a bass rumbling low over the spoken words of Lee and another man (no idea who is offering the second vocals), their voices going from talking, to growing, to a single voiced roar that extends into the next song, a pumping riff laden and heavy double kick drummed offering called 'Carnivore' that blows my eardrums with its assiduousness. To my surprise, after two verses and a chorus I'm finding I actually like it. One thing I observe is that their vocalist has one hell of a powerful voice, and an excellent range. He has a truly unique voice, with such veracity behind every word that it actually makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It's at this point, thinking of the man behind the voice that I decide to read more into what Joanie briefly mentioned about the altercation with his wife. I type the name Lee Bauer into Google, and get a barrage of results. All the ones in the news section of course cover what I am curiously looking for. The first one is an article on the popular, but gossip riddled metal news site Blabbermouth.
Tuesday 15th April, 2011.
Lee Bauer, the front man of Solitaire Rising was arrested at his home in Berlin last night, following allegations of spousal abuse from his wife, Irish model Carla Moran-Bauer. The singer is alleged to have flown into a rage and beaten her at some time around 8pm. He was arrested shortly after 8.30pm and detained pending questioning. More news to follow on this story as it comes.
I scroll down through a few more pages and find much of the same sparse information, until I come to a statement made by the Solitaire Rising drummer, Hank Lehmann. It's among a report stating that whereas Lee Bauer himself had made no statement, Hank was ready to jump in and defend him.
'Carla was cheating on Lee, and he just lost it, you know? I mean, the guy comes back off tour and he finds his wife in bed with another man. How would you take it? Also, I do not believe he hit her at all. No way. Lee has a bad temper, but he wouldn't raise his hand to a woman. If you want evidence too, look at the size of Lee and then the size of Carla. If he'd punched her, she would have been injured more seriously than she was. I think she inflicted it on herself, to make him look bad. He maintains he didn't hit her but holds his hands up to the fact he physically dragged her from their home. I believe him, and other people should look on that glaring evidence (his size in comparison to hers) before they judge him also.'
After going back a page and searching again for pictures of Lee, and then after seeing the picture of his wife with a big black bruise three quarters of the way up her face, I have to say that I'm unsure. The bruise to the side of her face and head is huge, but I think if Lee had hit her full force he'd have hospitalised her, like Hank Lehmann hinted to. Is that me doing my usual thing of trying to look on the better than the worse side of things? I often see the good in people before the bad. After looking at his personal information detailed on the bands' website I see he stands at six foot six inches tall, and weighs in at 215lbs. No wonder he has the nickname of 'the iron giant'. He's a formidable looking man, and one who I learn after further research has a history of being quick with his fists. Various fans, security operatives and anyone else who has pissed him off seems to have all suffered the same fate as Mrs Bauer.
Looking through the various pictures of him online though, I cannot help but find one other thing very glaring about him and that is he's very attractive. His size, although intimidating, is an object of my focus. Huge muscles beneath heavily scarred and tattooed skin seem almost chiselled out, like he's been made of rock. He looks menacing and in some pictures of him, one in particular of him covered in blood with an eyeball hanging from his mouth (a cows, I think), he looks insane. I'm not naive enough to believe that public image has anything to do with what kind of person is underneath, absolutely not. I have met Alice Cooper after all, and let me tell you he is one of the sweetest, most down to earth musicians I have ever had the pleasure of being in the company of. He's a thoroughly lovely man, and to look at him onstage and remember his antics over the last few decades you'd think he was the farthest thing from nice. But, Alice doesn't have the kind of violent past Lee does.
"Shit, he sure made a mess of his wife's face didn't he? If he did wallop her one," I say to Joanie, who looks up from her book with a little confused frown before she takes in the picture of Carla I'm holding up on my phone to show her.
"Yeah he did, and I can believe it all too. He's never been friendly with me or any of the other groupies around the band. Unless he sees one who takes his fancy, and then he just drags the girl off without even speaking to her. I saw him do it when I was in California with them; he just grabbed a girl around the top of her arm and marched her off to his hotel room. Nasty piece of work, he is," Joanie replies, frowning heavily. "Gorgeous, and hung like a horse apparently, but dangerous." She adds in afterthought.
"So you'll be sticking with Marius then?" I ask her teasingly.
"Hell yes! I'm not stupid Beth, and any woman who goes within three feet of Lee Bauer is really fucking stupid if you ask me!" she replies, aghast at the very thought. I decide to leave my research where it is, and not bother looking up anything else. I trust Joanie's word, so leave my searching about Solitaire Rising right here. Needless to say, I know have absolutely no interest in finding out anything else about their temperamental vocalist either. If I can leave Joanie with Marius happily enough, I might even sell my tickets for the rest of the tour and just go home. I'll see. I have to say, I've been rather put off.
I don't want to write off this five week trip just on that though, nor do I really want to ditch my best friend. I enjoy spending time with Joanie, and not having work or studies to worry about (I'm practically done until September, just one dissertation to email in) I'm going to do just that. That enjoyment starts when we dock in Rotterdam, and then take a quick bus ride to the nearest hash cafe. This is reason number one why I love Holland. Weed has never been a big deal for me. I was a child who grew up with a very relaxed mother who openly smoked it. She claimed it helped with her Glaucoma. It's just a shame that in the end, she became way too relaxed with other stimulants and depressants too, but that is another story entirely.
"Ahhhhh, hello kif, how I've missed thee," I announce after lighting up the only joint I'm going to have time to smoke. Our stay in Holland is for all of an hour and ten minutes, with us having to board an express train to Berlin at midday. We'll arrive there at about six thirty tonight.
"We, my dear, live the good life. I mean look at all these people across the water there, all trussed up in suits dashing this way and that, and here's us at ten past eleven on a Friday morning smoking bud and drinking beer," Joanie replies, with pride in her voice. She loves this life as much as I do. We make our own rules; we go where we want and when we want. Not a lot of people can say that; can live exactly on their own terms like we do. I'll settle and become a professional at something or other at some time or another, but not yet.
"Well said," I reply, chinking my bottle off of hers before taking a swig. I like beer, but I don't like a lot of it. If I'm getting drunk I hit tequila, and that and weed are the hardest things I do. I've been in the company of so many people taking so many drugs for so many years (eight to be precise), but none of it has ever tempted me I'm proud to say. We sit and enjoy our time while we can, talking about life and people back home while we smoke and finish our beers, leaving the hash café come bar at ten to twelve ready to board the train. The main Rotterdam station is just a five minute cab ride away. I feel nicely stoned enough to fall asleep on the train too, since Joanie distances herself from any conversation with her teeny tiny i-pod as soon as we sit down aboard the train.
Before I do fall asleep though, I sit and read through the latest copy of Metal Hammer that I picked up before we boarded the boat back in England. I flick through it in a lethargic way, no particular article grabbing my attention. I then turn the page again and land right on a picture of Mr Lee Bauer, shirtless with a large pagan looking symbol painted in black on his bare chest. His eyes burn right through the picture, pure pale green and as creepy as they are beautiful. Okay and I just turned the page quickly. I didn't like that sudden feeling of mild arousal I felt at looking at that picture, at him. Wife beaters and thugs just ain't my style, but oh, oh how quick I will find that opinion turned upon its head, little do I know now. After arriving at our cheap and cheerful hotel seven hours later, a German version of a Travelodge, we unpack, eat the large and greasy takeout meals we brought en route and begin to get ready at speed since we have to be at the back doors of the venue at 8pm. Marius has the necessary backstage passes bestowed to any groupie worth her salt, and will be meeting us there and then to hand them over.
"Oh, Jesus you're thorough," Joanie winces, giggling as much as she can bearing in mind I'm currently lacing her into her corset. If you want me to lace you into one, be prepared for me to do it properly so it doesn't come loose. This usually equals pain, but I don't give out what I can't take, and I can take being laced into a corset. Although that isn't what I'm wearing tonight, tonight I have chosen my black leggings, a long top made entirely of fine silver chains, and my knee high leather boots. I wear my long, light red hair down and apply a small amount of makeup (I don't like wearing much, and I'm lucky enough not to need foundation at all) before packing all my necessaries into my bag and leaving with Joanie, who is fizzing with excitement over seeing Marius again shortly. I have to say that looks wise the bassist isn't my cup of tea at all. Thin and pale with long white dreadlocks to his waist, ever present square lens glasses and a triple lip piercing (labret and snakebites either side), but when I actually meet him, I find his personality to be absolutely amazing.
"JOANIE!" he shouts as we round the corner of the venue and come into his view, lifting his glasses and pointing right at my friend. She breaks into a smile and a gentle run to him, jumping up into the long arms that catch her while I make my way to them at a slower pace. This gives me time to not have to stand there awkwardly like a gooseberry while they suck face.
"So you're Beth, hi I'm Marius, nice to meet you babe," he says to me, swerving Joanie and reaching out to hug me and kiss my cheek in a warm manner.
"Hi Marius, nice to meet you too," I reply, inhaling the nice smell of whatever aftershave he's wearing before we part and he slides and arm around Joanie's waist, stealing her cigarettes from her back pocket sneakily.
"You crafty fucker!" she announces with a burst of laughter, snatching her cigarettes back after he's managed to quickly jam one in his mouth and light it up.
"Oh come on, I left mine inside and it's about a five mile walk back to the fucking dressing room," he replies, winking at me in a 'aren't I cheeky' way while I laugh. He then excuses himself to turn away from us and begin posing for pictures and signing the tickets of a small cluster of fans hanging out around the back, before walking us through to the small compound fenced off around the back of the venue to finish smoking. We stay out for a couple, since of course Germany has also suffered the smoking ban. It's just as we're heading back in that the double doors sealing the rear of the venue fly open, and a massive blur comes flying through them at the speed of light, throwing one of the doors open so hard it crashes loudly against the wall. Marius turns to where the huge form of Lee has just gone, shouting down his phone irately in German.
"So there's the temper tantrum then," Joanie snorts, earning a frown from her honey.
"He's on the phone with his lawyer, again. Poor guy," Marius laments, shaking his head full of snow white dreads sadly.
"Look, I know he's your friend but I'm sorry, I can't muster sympathy for someone who beat up his wife," Joanie replies, taking Marius' hand in hers. He still continues to shake his head.
"No Joanie babe, don't let what you've read in the press decide your opinions for you. He didn't hit Carla, she's a lying whore. I can't say too much because of the court case and all, and it's up to Lee if he tells you what really happened, but just don't judge him. He'd never lay a finger on a woman in a bad way, and I know that for fact. As for how moody he's been when you've been around, he's going through a divorce he didn't envisage he'd be going through. He's unhappy." Marius replies with a big shrug, in a voice meant to reassure us both as he looks between the two of us.
"Well, whatever come on let's go enjoy ourselves!" Joanie, forever the goodtime gal says before we head inside, and all talk of Lee is forgotten and over. As soon as we hit the dressing room, all the men I recognise as the band members cheer a big 'WHEEEEY!' as soon as they see Joanie, leaving me to think how nice it is that we'll be in company of such a friendly group of guys. Maybe not their lead singer though, who returns once, says nothing to no one and then leaves again, phone still wedged to his ear. Another thing I like is the fact that whereas there are girlfriends of the band present (Darren's wife Kim, and Jim's girlfriend Tiffany) neither are the jealous types around us. Some girls don't give a flying fuck about going after guys in bands with girlfriends or wives. I'm ardently against that, and so is Joanie. But still, even when we make that fact perfectly clear in backstage circles, the cat claws still come out from a lot of the girlfriends. They both make us feel very welcome within this circle.
Before I know it though it's time to head out and let the boys have their run of the dressing room, with us heading to the bar. No one seems too bothered to see Decimator, the support band. Towards the end of their set we all leave the bar area and stake out our spots in the stage wings, the best place in the entire venue to be if you ask me. Right up close there next to the stage with a view of the band so clear you could spit on them. The roar of the crowd at our backs reaches a deafening crescendo when all the house lights suddenly plunge the huge venue into total darkness, and the same eerie guitar screeching of the spoken word track 'Night terror' comes flooding through the speakers, the growly, bass laden voice of a Lee booming out as he spits each word, the venom in his voice escalating with each one.
Then, one by one each musician is displayed under a yellow spotlight to the raucous cheers of the fans. Finally, the ear splitting roar that finishes this and launches right into 'Carnivore' echoes through the speakers before boom, every single stage light goes up and there are Solitaire Rising in all their glory, Lee in all his six foot six towering menace right there in the middle of the stage roaring his lungs out into the mic. Instantly I feel completely pulled in by the awesome energy they radiate off the stage as a group, all up there looking like they're enjoying every last second of it, no matter that this is the last leg of a long and tiring world tour. Despite myself though, as I watch each musician in turn, I can barely tear my eyes away from Lee. Dressed in a pair of black jeans and a deep green tank top, he commands the kind of attention that makes it impossible to look away.
He has the kind of immense presence on stage that makes it look like he's completely filling it just with him and his aura. While Marius and Jim are a whirl of hair and energy behind their respective instruments, Lee stands rock like for the most part, his movements beginning to gather momentum slowly until he's exuding the same amount of energy as his band mates. He definitely knows how to work a crowd, and make sure thousands of pairs all fall firmly upon him. All together though, this band put on one hell of a show, with the kind of commitment to make sure not one second of it is boring or repetitive. I think at this rate, I could find myself becoming quite the fan. Joanie was absolutely right, their older stuff isn't to my tastes at all but all the newer music they play in the set I find myself foot tapping and head nodding to without even thinking about it.
The only thing that begins to distract me is the fact that I keep feeling someone looking at me, and eventually lock eyes on a tall guy with blue spiky hair over at the other side of the stage, blatantly giving me the eye. Hmmm, I don't usually pay much interest in men who aren't in bands (yes, I'm a groupie snob like that), but him? He's cute. Half an hour later, he's still looking too. I enjoy the attention, but then once again make my main focus the stage. A cute guy cannot take your focus off of a band like Solitaire Rising for long. Like I said before, they have this aura around them, and it's unlike anything I've ever seen. The performance is absolutely brilliant, and I enjoy myself so much I actually omit a little 'awww, its over' at the end, before swiftly reminding myself I am following the tour and will see them play again when it kicks off again in Magdeburg in three days.
"C'mon, I heard you say to Tiff that you liked tequila, and I need a shot buddy!" Darren's wife Kim tells me, taking my hand and Joanie's and leading us back through the backstage area, right around the huge corridor (Marius' sarcasm that it was five miles long certainly wasn't out of place) and back around to the small bar at the rear of the venue, where the after show party is taking place.
"Can I just say Kim; you're such a cool woman. It's so nice being treated nicely by girlfriends of band members because I'm really not used to it, being a groupie and all," I say to Kim, pushing a shot of tequila in her direction.
"Thank you! Look, I met Joanie on the last leg of the US tour and she's such a nice girl, you can tell with girls like her too that they don't hang with skanky sluts who don't care about us girlfriends either. You're great girls, so let's drink to that!" she says, omitting an excited 'woo!' before she lifts the shot glass to her lips and downs the tequila. Even only after an hour, I know this is going to be the start of a great night. Especially when Mr tall with spiky blue hair finally comes and introduces himself to me after we've exchanged many a flirtatious look across the bar. We exchange names and enjoy a few opening conversation pleasantries (even though his English isn't very good, he manages) before he excuses himself to buy me a drink.
"Well since I've been watching you with your friends you've been at the tequila, so I thought I chose right," he tells me with a smile as I take the shot glass from him and happily sink it while he keeps on smiling at me. Literally as soon as I've put the glass to my lips though, I hear a loud noise behind me. After that, I don't even get chance to put the glass down. A massive weight suddenly pushes me full force in the back via a large hand between my shoulder blades, and keeps on pushing me as people begin to jump apart and clear the way.
"What the...? Get off!" I shout, aghast. I turn to see who the hell it is who is pushing me, or rather marching me with his other hand now clenching my shoulder in the direction of the door. When I look up and behind me I see the face of a very, very angry looking Lee Bauer, and immediately remember Joanie's quip about him taking whatever girl he fancies, and how she saw it with her own eyes. This is when the fear sets in. Joanie, someone who I try to turn to find but cannot because of a huge wall of people and a massive furore breaking out in the middle of the bar, and then I'm being pushed through the entrance door and out into the corridor. Trying to struggle against such strength is futile, and now beginning to panic, with many thoughts revolving my head I feel my heart beat racing in fear that I'm being physically removed from a room with the only person I know still inside, by a man with a temper more lethal than cyanide. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. I'm scared.