Hunt’s Pier – Chapter 7 – Secret Admirer

Wildwood, New Jersey – Summer – 1980

As I walked up the ramp to the boardwalk, to make the short walk in the golden late afternoon sun down to Hunt’s Pier. I thought about how different my life was now. I had come so far from the world I lived in back in Fel’s Junior High.

Can you imagine being equal to the Golem in Lord of the Rings? That’s how I felt in Junior High School. It was a terrible place for me to go every day. Everything was against me. My face, my mind, my body, my parents, my sisters, the faculty, the kids, the bullies at school, and everywhere around me. I was a thing I didn’t understand. I only knew a small part of how I worked. Just basic functions. I was a disaster.

All of the ways I could describe myself back then. Greasy hair, pimples all over my face, chest, and back. No athletic ability. Bad grades. braces. glasses. weird clothes. I should have just put a potato sack over my head and spray painted a target on it because that’s what I was. An easy target for scorn and cruelty. I brought nothing to the table. I felt like an absolute failure in the house of my life, and I had no keys to any of the locks that held the doors to everything I wanted. I wanted it so much, but none of it was for people like me.

Ugly. A failure as a person already. Not even 14 and I hate my life and who I am already. Everything is wrong with me.

I remember this pretty girl in my art class I liked. I didn’t know how to talk to her, or what to say. She was making some lam picture and kept hitting the paper with a crayon. I asked her about her work.

“Why do you have so many dots on that?”

“Why do you have so many zits on your face?”

How could a child be that cruel to another one? I didn’t even know her. I was just a slug, a nothing, scuttling along through the hallways of this prison. This act of cruelty had to have somehow been learned. How could a girl that pretty have such ugly things come out of her mouth?

She was beautiful, but ugly on the inside, already. I was ugly on the outside but I would never hurt anyone like that. But that was back in 1977.

It was now 1980.

I graduated from Wildwood High with second honors after spending my senior year in a strange school in a dark cold town that I was dropped off in by my father. Ripped from Frankford High, a school I liked with teachers and kids I could connect with. I was a singer in a rock band in Philly. But now I was a guitarist in a band here in Wildwood. I was left here to squirm and perish, but I thrived. How about that?

Anxiety? Depression? Stranger in a strange land? Wildwood in the winter? Awful. But we all adjusted and made the best of it. I know I made the best of it. I conquered Wildwood.

I was no longer the 14-year-old mess. But I’ll never forget him. He has his place in my past, but I’m no longer chained to him.

Pictured: Vince Kostek

I remember coming onto the pier one night at the beginning of my shift and Vince the manager handed me an envelope.

“Hey. This came for you today, handsome.”

“What’s this?”

“It’s a letter addressed to you, and based on that lipstick kiss on the back I’m assuming it’s from some young lady.”

“Umm… okay, thanks.”

“Are you having your fan mail sent to the pier now, Sport?”

I later read that letter and made the connection to the postcard that was dropped off at my ride the other day.

What an elegant gesture. Honest and beautiful. I was honored and in awe. So sweet. Fragile. Bold. Heartbreakingly beautiful. Feels like something that only happens in a movie. But it was real. It was real and it was happening to me. In my life.

The lame cub of the litter…

Now a lion.

I had finally arrived.

All of the money in the world can’t buy a minute of time, and it certainly can’t buy what Gail did for me that day.

If anyone reading this recognizes Gail or knows her from PA, give her my contact info on here, I’d love to chat with her and thank her for her sweet letter. If we had met back then, I would have been honored to take her out on a proper date!

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Footnote: In 1983 when I was in Los Angeles, California I was hanging out in my apartment in Mar Vista one night and I called the number that Gail had written in her letter.

She was surprised and happy to hear from me. But she told me she had heard from a “friend” of mine some years ago and he told her that I was a womanizer and a horrible person in an attempt to destroy her image of me. He was basically describing himself to her which is the ultimate irony.

I had shown the letter to this individual back in 1980 when I originally got it. He had been jealous of me since 1977 and didn’t like the idea of me getting adoration from women. He had peaked in 9th grade and although a bright kid, was a social failure and a pathological liar. Gail told me his name and it really showed me what a truly awful person he was. She told me she never believed a word he said, so his little scheme against me was just another one of his many failures.

I don’t speak to this person anymore and want nothing to do with such a toxic person. But what a sad and mean-spirited thing to do to one of your so-called friends just to make yourself feel better about your own pathetic life. A thief and a liar. That’s what he is.

Even though we hung out a lot back in the 70s, I’ve vowed to never write about him in this blog and will only refer to him as “the neighbor” or “the kid next door” because his existence in my history doesn’t warrant giving him any sort of life in this forum or anywhere else.

The best part is, when I leave this world I’ll leave a rich legacy of wonderful memories with so many great friends, lovers, and family. He, on the other hand, leaves only a trail of bad memories strung together by lies and betrayal.

Like Iago in Othello, he poses as a friend but willfully with premeditation, a clear understanding of their actions, the weight of their consequence, commits injury anyway. 

Just a rotten human being that could have achieved greatness due to his incredible intellect, but instead chose the path of sloth and malice.

Although forgiven, I will never dignify his existence by ever writing about him.

Tales of Rock: Meet Connie Hamzy — Rock And Roll’s “Most Notorious Groupie” and Bill Clinton’s First S*X Scandal

There was one drummer who got away, though. “I haven’t had Neal Peart. That I regret,” she said.

“Sweet” Connie Hamzy Parente (born January 9, 1955), also called “Sweet Sweet” Connie or Connie Flowers, is an American woman who is known as a groupie who claims to have had s*x with numerous rock musicians. Hamzy also received some attention for her claim that she was propositioned by Bill Clinton, then governor of Arkansas.

Connie Hamzy Parente
Born
Connie Parente

January 9, 1955(age 64)

Little Rock, Arkansas
Occupation Media personality, groupie

She is mentioned in Grand Funk Railroad’s song “We’re an American Band” (“Sweet, sweet Connie, doin’ her act/ She had the whole show and that’s a natural fact.”)

Hamzy personally claims to have given oral sex to various members of the many bands that have traveled through Little Rock. Her alleged groupie escapades were detailed in a Cosmopolitan profile in 1974, and in 1992 she wrote a tell-all article for Penthouse.

Sweet, sweet Connie, doin' her act,' Arkansas woman mentioned in ...

In 1991, Hamzy was briefly in the news due to her claim that, in 1984, she had been approached by an Arkansas state trooper on behalf of Bill Clinton. She claimed that she and Clinton had looked for “a place where they could have some privacy for an assignation, but couldn’t find one.” George Stephanopoulos later recounted that Clinton told him a different story of his meeting with Hamzy. According to Clinton, Hamzy had approached him in a hotel lobby, flipped down her bikini top, and asked him, “What do you think of these?” Stephanopoulos secured affidavits from three people who had been accompanying Clinton and confirmed Clinton’s recollection. When asked about Hamzy by reporters, Stephanopoulos responded by denying the story off the record and offering to provide the affidavits, also off the record. Although CNN Headline News reported Hamzy’s allegations once, neither CNN nor other mainstream news organizations pursued the story further.

Hamzy published a memoir in 1995 under the title Rock Groupie: The Intimate Adventures of “Sweet Connie” from Little Rock.

In 1996, Hamzy sought to run as an independent for the United States House of Representatives from Arkansas’ 2nd congressional district but ultimately did not appear on the general election ballot.

Hamzy was featured in a segment of the Insomniac with Dave Attell episode in Little Rock.

Image result for connie hamzy

She was also interviewed on the Howard Stern Show on December 4, 1991, and again on December 8, 2010

As long as there’s an American band around, Connie Hamzy will keep “doin’ her act.”

Connie Hamzy, born Jan. 9, 1955, in Little Rock, Ark., has collected several nicknames over the years. Some call her Connie Flowers, “Sweet” Connie Hamzy, “Sweet Sweet” Connie, or just simply “Sweet Sweet.” A prominent rock groupie, her celebrity status was solidified in two lines from the Grand Funk Railroad’s 1973 song, “We’re an American Band,” which became the group’s first number-one single:

“Sweet, sweet Connie, doin’ her act
She had the whole show and that’s a natural fact.”

Connie Hamzy’s early escapades

Bands she was allegedly associated with include Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Bad Company, ZZ Top, and the Doobie Brothers. In 2005, Spin dubbed her“the world’s most notorious rock’n’roll groupie.” But she wasn’t just a 70s groupie. Hamzy was in it for the long haul.

Hamzy was only 15 years old when she was with her first rock star, the drummer for Steppenwolf, Jerry Edmonton. Then she moved on to Keith Moon of The Who and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.

Arkansas groupie claims she and Bill Clinton 'fondled each other ...

Drummers soon became her niche. “The drummers gravitated to me because they wanted to hear about John Bonham and Keith Moon,” she told Howard Stern in an interview. There was one drummer who got away, though. “I haven’t had Neal Peart. That I regret,” she said.

In the 1980s, while her fellow groupie comrades like Pamela Des Barres and Bebe Buell slowly drifted out of the scene to start families or write books about their wild exploits, Hamzy continued her groupie lifestyle into the 90s.

Connie Hamzy’s affair with politics

Connie Hamzy

In fact, some of the biggest waves she made came in 1991, shortly after Bill Clinton declared his candidacy for the presidential nomination. In a tell-all published by Penthouse magazine, Hamzy alleged that in 1984 she had an encounter with Clinton in a North Little Rock hotel while he was governor of Arkansas and married to Hillary Clinton. Hamzy said Bill spotted her while she was sunbathing by the hotel pool. The two of them went into the laundry room and fondled each other until they were abruptly interrupted.

Hamzy said that the incident fell on deaf ears. Political journalist George Stephanopoulos got affidavits from three individuals who said she approached Clinton and he rebuffed her. CNN picked up the story but dropped it after the affidavits were produced.

In 1995, she wrote a book titled Rock Groupie: The Intimate Adventures of “Sweet Connie” from Little Rock, but her love for rock stars didn’t stop. In her 2005 interview with Spin, when she was 50 years old, she told a story of a recent encounter with Neil Diamond while she was hanging on a tour bus.

Connie Hamzy - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

“Then he gets high with us and disappears backstage. A few minutes later, his manager says he wants to see me in his dressing room. So I knock on the door, and there’s Neil waiting for me in a blue robe.”

It wasn’t an unlikely encounter, given that Hamzy was reportedly backstage at every Arkansas gig well into the new millennium. “She’s a legend in Little Rock,” said Chris King, owner of the local music venue Sticky Fingerz.

Arkansas groupie claims she and Bill Clinton 'fondled each other ...

Howard asked if Connie ever felt insulted that the rockers just passed her around like a plate of potatoes. “Well, a plate of good potatoes,” she replied.

Connie Hamzy, now 63, was back in the news in October of 2016 when she rehashed the sexual episode with Bill Clinton. She took a polygraph test about the alleged Clinton scandal and mailed the results over to Donald Trump’s campaign, to whom she gave her full support.

This is Connie in her final days.

Image result for connie hamzy

“Rock and Roll devours its own young.”Phicklephilly

UPDATE: 

Connie Hamzy, better known by her alias ‘Sweet, Sweet Connie’ died Saturday night around 7:30 p.m.

According to reports, Hamzy traveled to the hospital Tuesday after suffering from stomach pain. She would later be checked into hospice Thursday, with a suspected liver or pancreas disease.

Hamzy first gained recognition at the age of 17 when Grand Funk Railroad’s band manager contacted her, letting her know that she was mentioned in a line of a song that would go on to become a number one record: ‘We’re an American Band.’

Out on the road for forty days

Last night in Little Rock put me in a haze

Sweet, sweet Connie, doin ’ her act

She had the whole show and that’s a natural fact

The line would later go on to change the North Little Rock native’s life as it turned her into a household name in the rock n’ roll community.

Throughout the years, Hamzy spent time with groups such as Queen, the Eagles, and Kiss. She even found herself on tour with Van Halen, her group of choice, during the band’s ‘Monsters of Rock Tour’ in 1988.

RIP, Sweet Connie.

Here are some additional articles for further reading.

Tales of Rock – Lori Maddox

Tales of Rock – Lori Maddox – Part 1

 

Tales of Rock – Lori Maddox – Part 2

 

Tales of Rock – Nothing Seems as Pretty as the Past

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Tales of Rock – Update: Pamela Des Barres’ Memoirs Also Contradicted Lori Maddox’s Story

Since writing and publishing my prior post fact checking Lori Mattix’s (Maddox’s) claim that she lost her virginity to David Bowie the night before his first March 1973 Long Beach show at the age of 15, another significant issue has come to my attention.

Pamela Des Barres’s celebrated memoirs, I’m with the Band, also contradict Ms. Mattix’s account. By late 1972, Ms. Des Barres, aged 24 at the time, had been in a long-standing relationship with Jimmy Page. She ended her relationship with him, however, before moving in with Frank and Gail Zappa (for whom she’d previously worked as a nanny) in February 1973, precisely because of Page’s ongoing relationship with Mattix:

I realized how desperate I was for attention and affection I was when good old Led Zep came to town and I flopped around with Jimmy again. The first night was wonderful, even though he had started to ingest many harmful substances, but the second night he left me stranded in front of the Whiskey like a floundering, faded Jezebel while he sleazed off with a thirteen-year-old nymphet called Lori Lightning [Mattix’s modeling pseudonym]. I sat around all night with the rest of the group, getting pissed, and they all agreed I was too good for that sort of treatment. Oh, well.

Importantly, this occurred before her move into the Zappa’s home in February 1973, and therefore well before David Bowie’s March 1973 Long Beach concerts. Between Ms. Mattix’s own accounts and Ms. Des Barres’s memoirs, it increasingly seems that the fact that the underage Ms. Mattix was already in a relationship with Jimmy Page well before she claims to have lost her virginity to David Bowie cannot be seriously disputed.

 

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Tales of Rock – Lori Maddox

“Lori Maddox was obsessed with sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and they were just as obsessed with her – despite the fact that she was just 14 years old.”

In 1970s Las Vegas, you were hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t either a groupie or someone who wanted to be.

The lifestyle was one people fantasized about, leaving home, living on busses, following legendary rock stars from city to city and getting just the faintest glimpse into their lavish lifestyles. Not everyone could handle it, and those who could became almost as famous as the stars. One, in particular, was Lori Maddox.

The only problem? Lori Maddox was 14 years old.

Fresh out of junior high school, Maddox met Sable Starr, who became known as the “queen of the groupie scene.” Starr, also underage at the time, pulled Maddox into her seedy world of the after-hours parties on the Sunset Strip.

When Lori Maddox was just 15 years old, she met David Bowie.

She and Starr were at the E-Club, one of the nightclubs that dotted the strip and played host to rock stars, and turned a blind eye to drug use and girls that might not be of legal age. Bowie, eleven years her senior at the time, scared her at first. When asked about meeting Bowie, she described him as, “hair the color of carrots, no eyebrows, and the whitest skin imaginable.” She pretended she was with someone else to avoid going back to his hotel room with him.

By five months later, her fears had subsided, and she had lost her virginityto him.

When she wasn’t getting down and dirty with rockstars, Maddox could have been mistaken for any other teenage girl. During the week she went to school, lived at home with her mom, and hung out with her sisters.

On the weekends, she snuck out while her mom was at work, and frequented seedy nightclubs with much older men. Despite what seems like an obvious problem, Maddox never considered her lifestyle unusual. In fact, she reveled in it.

Not too long after her tryst with Bowie, Maddox got a phone call from Jimmy Page, guitarist and founder of Led Zeppelin, the biggest rock band in the world at the time. He invited her to his hotel and even sent a limo to collect her.

“I felt like I was being kidnapped,” she said. “I got taken into a room and there was Jimmy Page.”

If there were ever a time for it to click that her lifestyle was far from average, it should have been then, standing in the bedroom of a man quite literally double her age. But, despite the hostage-situation-like vibes, Lori Maddox didn’t run. Instead, she fell in love.

“It was perfect. He mesmerized me,” she said of the evening. “I fell in love instantly.”

Their relationship was secretive and tumultuous and constantly overshadowed by Maddox’s age. But, Page clearly didn’t care. As Maddox was underage she couldn’t travel state-to-state with the band in their jet, so she would sequester herself in Page’s hotel room, and wait for him to return. Eventually, her life outside of being a groupie began to suffer.

“My whole life was about waiting for Jimmy,” she said. “I tried going to high school, but I couldn’t concentrate. And after Jimmy Page and David Bowie, what was I going to do with a North Hollywood boy? I didn’t go to high school prom because I was too busy living the Hollywood prom.”

Then, suddenly, the fairy tale ended. As rock stars do, Jimmy Page eventually moved on, and one night after returning from a show, Maddox found him and Bebe Buell – eventual groupie/lover of Steven Tyler, and mother to his oldest daughter, Liv Tyler – in bed together. After that, her attitude changed. No longer was she there for love, she was there for fun.

Before she turned 18, Lori Madoxx would take shots with John Bonham, do several different drugs with Iggy Pop, have sex in a bathroom with Mick Jagger, and find herself in a bar fight between Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

Despite her foray into the illicit lifestyle of sex, drugs, and rock and roll all well before she reached adulthood, Maddox has no regrets. In fact, she says, she never felt better than she did all those years.

“I feel like I was very present,” she said. “I saw the greatest music ever. I got to hang out with some of the most amazing, most beautiful, most charismatic men in the world. I went to concerts in limos with police escorts. Am I going to regret this? No.”

 

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Tales of Rock – I Wouldn’t Want This For My Daughter or Anybody’s Daughter: Will #MeToo Kill Off the Rock’n’Roll Groupie? – Part 2

Lori Mattix (sometimes known as Maddox) says she was just 14 when she lost her virginity to David Bowie. Her next lover was Jimmy Page. Now 59, she says she never thought of herself as a groupie, but tells me that the affair with Page was “the most beautiful pure love I thought I could ever feel. I’d only had sex once before in my whole life. I felt like I’d won the lottery.” She juxtaposes it with other experiences “where men have harassed me … it’s a different thing when you allow someone to be with you”.

Keith Moon, drummer with the Who, pictured in 1974 with girlfriend Annette Walter-Lax, left, and Lori Mattix.
Pinterest
Keith Moon, drummer with the Who, in 1974, with girlfriend Annette Walter-Lax, left, and Lori Mattix. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Mattix was under the age of consent, she says, when Page pursued her. Post-#MeToo, does she see the situation differently? “I think that’s what made me start seeing it from a different perspective because I did read a few [articles], and I thought: ‘Shit, maybe,’” she says. As for whether Page was in the wrong: “That’s an interesting question. I never thought there was anything wrong with it, but maybe there was. I used to get letters telling me he was a padophile, but I’d never think of him like that. He never abused me, ever.” Still, Mattix sounds conflicted – rapturous reminiscences (“honestly, I had a great time”) are followed by cautionary notes. “I don’t think underage girls should sleep with guys,” she says. “I wouldn’t want this for anybody’s daughter. My perspective is changing as I get older and more cynical.”

Shirazi thinks that “the model of rock’n’roll is about being as debauched as possible, and that is the model younger bands look up to”. But that’s up for debate in an era when fans are questioning the idea of rock as a heteronormative man’s game. Alleged incidents that might have passed as “rock star behavior” in the past have left some fans feeling uncomfortable and disappointed.

Rochelle (not her real name) was 17 when she was allegedly propositioned by the frontman of a then up-and-coming rock band, whom she met at an acoustic warm-up show in 2012. “I introduced myself and said I was looking for [a place on the] guest list for the main event in the evening, as it had sold out and I was broke,” she says. “The frontman looked me up and down – a developed young woman, wearing shorts and tights from what I can remember – and, with a seedy look, said: ‘It’ll cost you.’ I knew exactly what he meant when he was biting his lip.”

Some would call his behavior typical of a young man emboldened by his growing fame, but Rochelle, now 23, feels uncomfortable. “To know I was 17 – over the age of consent, but still a child really – and not interested, and keep trying it. I’m disgusted,” she says. “I know it’s more harassment than sexual assault, but I worry that he may have done it to someone else.”

A 23-year-old woman told the Guardian that the lead singer of an up-and-coming rock band used his phone to take photos of naked selfies on her own phone screen without her consent in 2014. The band were staying at her house after a show. “I didn’t really know what to do; my dad had already gone up to bed and I was the only one in the room with my favourite band. Teenage, naive me did not know how to handle that situation at all.” She made her allegations public after she heard a few years later that another member of the band had left after allegedly sending unsolicited explicit images to another woman. The woman we talked to reported the singer to police in October last year, but the case was not pursued due to a lack of evidence. The band’s success has continued.

There are, however, those who still embrace the groupie lifestyle. Becky, 24, describes herself as a groupie of the spoof hair-metal band Steel Panther. Although she has exchanged direct messages with band members, she hasn’t had any sexual encounters with them.

“If you’re a single rock star and there’s a fan throwing themselves at you and you fancy them, why wouldn’t you take it?” she says. “I’ve had my bra signed by them: I’ve stood there with my boobs out. If they were to jokingly give them a squeeze and then I tried to sue them for harassment, they’d be in trouble, but it would be my fault.”

I approached three record label employees in an attempt to ascertain whether a contract tends to include specific policies about sexual misconduct by musicians. “Not to my knowledge; it’s really [about] business terms,” says Gary Lancaster, label manager at First Access Entertainment and also a former employee of Warner and Eleven Seven Music. “That’s not to say there isn’t some form of gross misconduct clause. I suspect there would be something to say that in the event of irreparable damage to the relationship – and should both parties agree – it can be ripped up.” The other two people I talk to confirm there is usually a clause stating that an artist can be dropped at any time, but they had not seen anything relating specifically to sexual issues. The Musicians’ Union has an email address that anyone with concerns about sexual misconduct in the industry – be it harassment, sexism or specific instances of assault – can use.

Hill is in two minds about whether top-down policies in the industry would lead to change. “If it’s done in the wrong way, it could definitely get people’s backs up,” she says. “Even if bands start out with good morals, the idea of being a rock star is rooted in these deeply problematic ideas of masculinity. If older, well-respected people in the industry started talking to younger bands about changing those attitudes, that would be really valuable.”

The most notorious rock stars may have made their admissions before the conversation around consent began, but the younger fan demographic is unlikely to see such antics as excusable. Where fans might once have lapped up tales of debauchery, they now want something different from their idols: an awareness of social issues, respect for their fans and an attitude that condemns, rather than continues, the hair-raising exploits of rock’s bygone days. “When I meet fans now, the conversation isn’t: ‘I really love your band,’” one musician told me recently. “It’s: ‘Please don’t do anything wrong.’”

 

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