Lori Mattix

Lori Mattix (born November 29, 1958),[1] sometimes known as Lori Maddox or Lori Lightning, is a former American child model and "baby" groupie of the 1970s. As of November 2015, she is a partner and buyer for the Glam Boutique in West Hollywood.[2] She is perhaps best known for an interview with Thrillist in 2015 in which she made allegations of being involved in sexual relationships with David Bowie, Jimmy Page, and Mick Jagger; relationships which would have occurred while she was underage and while the musicians were in their twenties. Her experience has become a notable discussion point in the Me Too movement, with her story marking one of the more notable examples in the shift of the movement's focus from the film industry to the music industry.[3]

Life as a groupieEdit

At the age of 13, Mattix began frequenting clubs on Sunset Strip with her friend Sable Starr,[4] particularly the Rainbow Bar and Grill, the Whisky A Go Go, and Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco.[5][6]

Mattix says that when she was 14 years old, she and Starr were introduced to David Bowie while he was on tour in the United States. When Bowie's tour returned to Los Angeles five months later, on the night before Bowie performed at the Long Beach Arena in March 1973, Mattix claimed, Bowie's bodyguard was sent to pick up her and Starr for a sexual encounter. According to Mattix, as she told to Thrillist in 2015, she and Starr met Bowie at the Rainbow Bar before the three went to Bowie's hotel suite and had sex: "...[Bowie] de-virginized me...That night I lost my virginity and had my first threesome."[2] However, Starr gave an conflicting account of the night's events, claiming that she alone had sex with Bowie and that Mattix was no longer present by the time they were at the hotel.[7]

Mattix also gave a different account of her encounter with Bowie to music journalist Paul Trynka, in which she claimed that she and Starr sought out the hotel room Bowie was staying in and sneaked inside, uninvited. Mattix claimed that when they found Bowie, he was “tired” and initially reluctant to have sex with them, but that they eventually persuaded him.[8]

Mattix's allegations regarding her experience with Bowie have also been called into question due to timeline issues; she may have already been in a relationship with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page by the time she claims to have met Bowie, as Led Zeppelin's 1972 North American tour came to Los Angeles in June, several months before Bowie's Ziggy Stardust Tour arrived for the first time in October 1972.[9][10] Mattix's account is contradicted by fellow groupie Pamela Des Barres' memoir I'm with the Band,[11] in which Barres described Page being in an relationship with Mattix by late 1972 and before February 1973,[12] therefore before March 1973 when Mattix claimed to have lost her virginity to Bowie.[13] Mattix had also previously claimed that she had lost her virginity to Page,[14][15] contradicting her own later accounts. Furthermore, unlike the numerous photos of Page and Mattix together, and the "heavily corroborated and well-documented evidence of their relationship", no photographic evidence of Bowie and Mattix together exists.[9]

In June 1972, while Led Zeppelin were in Los Angeles for their 1972 North American tour, the 13-year-old Mattix began dating Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.[5][16][10] According to Rolling Stone, Page went to great lengths to keep the relationship a secret due to the possibility of being arrested for statutory rape.[17] At the insistence of Led Zeppelin's manager, Peter Grant, Mattix was kept in a locked hotel room with a security guard at the door during the band's subsequent U.S. touring.[5] Mattix did not travel with Led Zeppelin while they were on tour; she claimed Page stationed himself in Los Angeles and would frequently fly back there to see her between concerts in the band's private jet, The Starship.[18][2] According to Mattix, after they had been together for a year, Page was willing to be seen in public with her and began bringing her to concerts.[14] She claimed she ended the relationship when she was 16 years old after finding Page in bed with Bebe Buell.[2] Buell gave an alternate version of these events, claiming that despite the fact that Mattix "had given herself exclusively to Jimmy (Page) from age fourteen to sixteen," she was barred by Page's security from seeing him once he began dating Buell.[19]

Lori Mattix is said by Led Zeppelin biographers[20][21][22] to have been referenced by the band in the song "Sick Again", specifically with the lyrics:

One day soon you're gonna reach sixteen
Painted lady in the city of lies

Mattix alleges to have had a physically intimate relationship with Mick Jagger when she was 17,[2] whom she claimed to have met in 1975 at a recording session featuring John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr; the claim has since been disputed, as the only recording session with Lennon and McCartney happened the previous year, and there is no evidence Mick Jagger was present at that session.[9] She has also claimed to have had affairs with Jeff Beck, Ronnie Wood, T. Rex's Mickey Finn, Angela Bowie, Keith Emerson, Carl Palmer, and Jimmy Bain.[23]

Cultural impactEdit

In 2015, an interview with Mattix was published in which she detailed the alleged relationships between her and Bowie, and later Page. The issue later became a central debate topic across social media, prompting a widespread review of how such stories should be understood in the #MeToo era.[24]

When asked whether the Me Too movement had changed her opinion on her groupie years, Mattix admitted that she hadn't seen her relationships as exploitative at the time, but that the movement had forced her to view these years in a different light, and that now:[25]

I don’t think underage girls should sleep with guys... I wouldn’t want this for anybody’s daughter. My perspective is changing as I get older and more cynical.

Commentators have used Mattix's story to highlight the differences between social attitudes in the 1970s regarding the sexual exploitation of minors, particularly regarding people in positions of power, compared to more modern sociological values. Rebecca Hains, a children’s media culture expert, viewed the problem as a symptom of sexism in the music industry, arguing that it is a "sad commentary on our culture that modern masculinity can be so entitled, so toxic, that we are repeatedly put in the position of both loving the art and hating the man behind said art for what he did to women and/or children."[26] Journalist Stereo Williams framed the problem of lax social attention to such crimes as one endemic to the time period – considered unworthy of concern in the 1970s and earlier – but incompatible in a modern era where society has a greater focus on "protecting victims and holding celebrities accountable."[27]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Lori Maddox: The Complete Story of the "Baby" Groupie of the 70s". rocksoffmag.com. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e Maddix, Lori (November 3, 2015). "I Lost My Virginity to David Bowie". Thrillist. New York City: Group Nine Media. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  3. ^ Cross, Alan (February 11, 2018). "The music industry is hurtling towards its own #MeToo and #TimesUp reckonings: Alan Cross". Global News. Vancouver, Canada: Corus Entertainment. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  4. ^ Healy, Claire Marie (August 10, 2015). "The 70s groupies who broke the rules of style and sexuality". Dazed. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Williamson, Nigel (August 2, 2007). The Rough Guide to Led Zeppelin. Rough Guides UK. pp. 94, 253–254. ISBN 978-1-84836-226-0.
  6. ^ Blake, Mark (October 25, 2018). Bring It On Home: Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin and Beyond: The Story of Rock's Greatest Manager. Hachette UK. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-4721-2687-0.
  7. ^ McNeil, Legs; McCain, Gillian (1996). Please Kill Me: the Uncensored Oral History of Punk (1st ed.). New York City: Grove Press. pp. 137–138. ISBN 978-0-8021-1588-1.
  8. ^ Trynka, Paul (March 1, 2011). Starman: David Bowie - The Definitive Biography. London: Little, Brown Book Group. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-84744-238-3.
  9. ^ a b c Gates, M. Sullivan (May 10, 2016). "A Word on David Bowie, Lori Mattix, and the Speed of Information". Medium. San Francisco, California: A Medium Corporation. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Case, George (October 1, 2011). Led Zeppelin FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Greatest Hard Rock Band of All Time. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 216–217. ISBN 978-1-61713-074-8.
  11. ^ Jones, Dylan (September 7, 2017). David Bowie: A Life. Random House. p. 749. ISBN 978-1-4090-5263-0.
  12. ^ Des Barres, Pamela (1988) [1987]. I'm With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie. New York: Jove Books. pp. 236-237. ISBN 978-0-515-09712-2.
  13. ^ Gates, M. Sullivan (May 20, 2016). "Update: Pamela Des Barres' Memoirs Also Contradicted Lori Maddox's Story". Medium. San Francisco, California: A Medium Corporation. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  14. ^ a b Davis, Stephen (1997) [1985]. Hammer Of The Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga. Boulevard Books. pp. 171-174. ISBN 978-1-57297-306-0.
  15. ^ Mark McLaughlin (director) (2004). A to Zeppelin: The Unauthorized Story of Led Zeppelin (Documentary). United States: Passport International Entertainment. Lori Mattix: "We were taking a drive down to the Hyatt House to go meet the band and I was terrified, because, first of all, I was still a virgin — I mean, I was a baby! — and this was Led Zeppelin."
  16. ^ "Jimmy Page: "Forget the myths about Led Zeppelin"". Uncut. February 27, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  17. ^ Greene, Andy (November 21, 2012). "Jimmy Page Dated a 14-year-old Girl While He Was in Led Zeppelin". Rolling Stone. New York City: Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  18. ^ Hoskyns, Barney (September 4, 2012). Trampled Under Foot: The Power and Excess of Led Zeppelin. Faber & Faber. p. 250. ISBN 978-0-571-25936-6.
  19. ^ Buell, Bebe; Bockris, Victor (July 19, 2002). Rebel Heart: An American Rock 'n' Roll Journey. St. Martin's Press. p. 82. ISBN 0312266944.
  20. ^ Mick, Wall (November 9, 2010). When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin. Macmillan Publishers. p. 324. ISBN 978-1429985611.
  21. ^ Kellett, Andrew (September 9, 2017). The British Blues Network: Adoption, Emulation, and Creativity. University of Michigan Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0472036998.
  22. ^ Calef, Scott (2009). Led Zeppelin and Philosophy : All Will Be Revealed. Open Court Publishing Company. p. 282. ISBN 978-0812696721.
  23. ^ Des Barres, Pamela (2007). "Lori Lightning". Let's Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies. Chicago Review Press. pp. 183-185. ISBN 978-1-55652-668-8.
  24. ^ McLean, Craig (May 6, 2018). "Good time girl: memories of super groupie Pamela Des Barres". The Guardian. London, England: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  25. ^ De Gallier, Thea (March 15, 2018). "'I wouldn't want this for anybody's daughter': will #MeToo kill off the rock'n'roll groupie?". The Guardian. London, England: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  26. ^ Hains, Rebecca (January 11, 2016). "Reconciling David Bowie's genius with rape". rebeccahains.com. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  27. ^ Williams, Stereo (January 17, 2016). "Not Above the Law: David Bowie and Rock 'n' Roll's Statutory Rape Problem". The Daily Beast. New York City: IAC. Retrieved August 13, 2018.