A groupie is generally considered an avid, often female, fan of a band or musical performer. The term derives from the female attaching herself to a group, the band. While the band is the group, the female is the groupie. Naturally, not all fans are groupies, and not all groupies are females. Further, there are now groupies of sports teams or players, actors, and oddly enough, high profile criminals.
A groupie is considered more intense about her adored celebrities than a fan. A fan might have all the albums and a few pictures of her favorite band. She or he might also attend all the band’s performances within reasonable distance to his or her hometown. A groupie tends to follow the band, perhaps almost touring with them. The groupie will attempt contact with the band, either conversational or sexual in nature, and may become an annoyance by virtually stalking band members.
Obsessive groupies will almost certainly involve themselves sexually with any members of the band including the roadies. Even if rejected, the groupie will usually keep trying with the goal of being considered part of the band, or important to a member of the band. The relationship of an obsessive groupie to a band is like a love relationship gone badly wrong. The obsessive groupie has little interest in anything but matters pertaining to the band.
Unfortunately, such groupies are also fueled by the “sex, drugs and rock and roll,” atmosphere of most popular bands and artists. With sex offered, and frequently drugs available, a groupie can easily become somewhat delusional about her importance. This type of relationship is well documented in Cameron Crowe’s film Almost Famous, where the lead groupie, brilliantly acted by Kate Hudson, overdoses on drugs after having been used and then rejected by the lead guitarist.
Based on Crowe’s real experiences as a very young writer, the film is a compassionate look at both men and women losing themselves in their casual use of each other, and their disregard for each other much fueled by excessive use of both alcohol and drugs. Crowe’s conclusion is that these temporary relationships are harmful and tragic. The groupie environment is one that hurts everyone associated with the band.
Not all musicians or groupies would necessarily take that stance. Many feel their experiences have been fantastic and wouldn’t change a thing. Pamela Des Barres novel I’m with The Band for example, is a positive look at the sexually charged groupie environment of the late 1960s and early 70s. The book is very frank and Des Barres does not spare the reader from excessive detail about her sexual escapades. The book seems more like bragging regarding a lifestyle, than an expression of regret for her choices. Many band members certainly take advantage of offers of sexual intercourse. Gene Simmons of KISS has claimed having intercourse with over 4000 women during band tours.
While there are still many groupies, a bit more caution now applies in the post HIV era. Some of the better musicians, like Freddy Mercury of Queen, died of complications from AIDs. It is certain that many years of unprotected sexual intercourse with multiple partners increased Mercury’s chance of contracting HIV. His death brought awareness to many musicians who have since attempted to reform their lifestyle, or to at least be more cautious in their approach to casual sex with groupies.