Being a rock star has its advantages, but the spotlight is usually only big enough for one person. Circus took a behind stage look at the people who are making it together — and the people who are not.
MANY YEARS ago, when rock was very young and all the stars were 16 years old, love-and-marriage was something they all sang about. The pop music boys at that time promised true love and everlasting bliss (though they skipped the specifics), which were all any reasonable girl yearned for. No one ever knew much about it, though, except that after you’d held hands for a couple of years, you went to the chapel and weren’t lonely anymore.
Now, however, the rock stars are getting it on. Both in their music and in their private lives, love is on the rise. The rock profession, though, is an especially hard taskmaster that demands constant dedication, and when real love is introduced into the daily regime, the unpredictable emotion can be tossed about like a butterfly caught in a cattle stampede.
How does love survive alongside the merciless competition of a gruelling career? Some couples assimilate the problem with total involvement in the business. Others try to keep their private and professional lives as separate as possible. Invited into the lives and homes of a few who have made it work, Circus Magazine attempted to find out how a hard-rocking pro gets away with love.
DAVID and ANGELA BOWIE: Starman and Star-Maker
The couple most likely to succeed both personally and professionally in rock entertainment are Angie and David Bowie, who have now been married about four years. Both are sure-shooters in the art of star-making, and they’re so perfectly matched that rock escapades are usually a joint emotional adventure they both share.
Even before Angela knew David, she was interested in developing talent, working for a man who was looking for performers to manage. When the pair first saw David Bowie perform, the man hated him — but Angie fell in love. After getting into many fights about the talented composer with her short-sighted boss, the blonde personal assistant quit her job, and continued attending David’s concerts. Once they met, the exquisitely featured couple ended up having many mutual friends, and exactly the same taste in music.
“They’re like the same person,” says MainMan’s Leee Childers. “She’s had a tremendous influence on his career, on the style of his act, and the sound he’s going after. He consults with her on everything. They’re a creative team, and David is the result of the collaboration.”
For weeks prior to David’s Pin Ups recording session, for example, the couple could be found on the floor of their bedroom plowing through stacks of old records. Not only was Angela instrumental in selecting the material for her husband’s latest LP, she also assisted in the production in France. Every morning at the Chateau recording studios, they’d discuss his plans for the day’s work over breakfast, with Angie making comments and suggestions. Says Leee Childers, “She has a good sense of what sounds right for him.”
On tour, though, the heightened tensions and energies between the Bowies are so amazing that their relationship would probably short-circuit if they didn’t separate at times. “Hotel living makes Angie crazy,” confided the platinum-haired Childers, “and when they’re together it’s real madness. It’s too frenetic for her to stay with the tour, so she flies in and out, especially for the fun cities. They’re other people when they’re apart from each other.” In fact, the reason David called off the massive American tour he had planned for autumn ’73 was manager Tony DeFries’ advice that it would produce unnecessary strain on them all.
The Bowie marriage is passing through an experimental stage at the moment, as the two creative forces attempt to separate their careers. Angie’s done some photo modeling with David in the pictures. Eventually, however, when he or she is acting, they don’t intend to be a Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn type team. Maintaining her professional modelling name, Angie will be known as Jipp Jones.
Both Angela and David encourage the world to appreciate their mate even to seemingly extreme lengths. When the pair became intimate friends of the Jaggers, word had it that every possible sort of sexual partnership was being explored. David attended all the Rolling Stones concerts last fall, and Angela and Bianca have reportedly become very close friends. And back around the time of Pin Ups” conception, David was having a “mad little affair” with Jean Millington of Fanny. And Angie was digging it. But the Bowie partnership, contrary to the pedestrian logic of other moralities, consistently remains one of the world’s strongest private mutual admiration societies.
CAROLINE RICHARDS and CHIP MONCK: Pearls before swine
Chip Monck, the staging/lighting genius of a thousand projects, and his lovely housemate, Caroline Richards, were highly productive adults long before they knew each other. Yet when love walked backstage to join the two hard-working individuals, some skillful gear-shifting was demanded before the pair meshed their lives for their mutual benefit.
As Caroline told Circus over a round-table in their stylish New York living room, which was strewn with plans for a recording/recreation village complex in Jamaica, “I’d seen him on the Rolling Stones ’72 American tour, but I was very much against his sort. I figured in the rock business he had to be into drugs and groupies. Of course I was in the music business too, I’d managed the Bitter End in New York, but I was Miss Jet Set Pearls. I’d never even owned a pair of jeans!
“But I was very attracted to him and really wanted to meet him, so I asked him out to a Bobby Darin concert, which was a thriller. The Stones tour was just over that day, so I’d only seen him totally caught up in that world, and all of a sudden I thought he was a really nice person. The next day we left New York together.”
“We just went sailing for three weeks,” the handlebar-mustachioed Monck continued, with his blue eyes twinkling. “In the rain, sleeping on deck, everything. Here we were in Newport poaching a lobster trap and she neglects to tell me the Mayor’s boat is going by! Then she dropped the bag of lobsters overboard. And amazingly we got along.”
But the vacation had to end. “You come back to New York,” Chip went on, “and have to generate income again and it’s the other side of the coin. Suddenly I’m out or on the telephone all day setting up a convention in Nashville or making plans for a TV talk show, and we’re trying to realize how to live together. I had been alone and in absolute control on the Stones tour, a totally chauvinistic situation by necessity if it’s going to work. Then I was reasonably overcome by her; and then I was back working again only I was with her this time. We’re just now getting more into a working relationship. We’ve become helpful to one another and it’s exciting.”
“You see, I had never lived with someone before,” the elegantly blonde Miss Richards elaborated. “I’d never had an old man. I’d been on my own, a tough career girl always. Now all of a sudden I really love being his old lady. I love the house, getting cigarettes, making sure the clothes are clean. I really like that!
“He loves the house too, but you can’t imagine how difficult it is to get him here. He loves being on the road. He could start in San Francisco and find a way of not coming here for five years. He just generates enough interest wherever he is.” In one month recently, Chip Monck had 35 rent-a-cars. He’s considered decorating his Manhattan office in Holiday Inn style (“I do all my work in that attitude”). And now Caroline knows how to read airline schedules for anywhere in North America — in the special abbreviated code of expert travellers. Recreation time for the pair is whatever fits into the work schedule.
Describing their new functioning relationship, Chip said, “The work isn’t a unifying element, but it’s an absolute necessity to maintain the lifestyle. And the other set of eyes and the other mind’s input are most important. You try to listen to it in a selfless way for business, and work it for yourself and your growing. That kind of assistance is the most important there can be. And then you try to destroy the relationship to see how real it is, by experimenting with incredible cruelties, testing the tension. It’s like putting another brick on a wall to see if it will break. And when you see how strong an assist you’re getting in your life, you find you really can’t do without it.”
GRACE SLICK and PAUL KANTNER: Yin Yang fascination
“It wasn’t particularly amazing,” Grace Slick said of her initial meeting with Paul Kantner. Yet several years after the formation of the Jefferson Airplane, the pair seem to have found somebody to love. As Grace explained to Circus, calling from their comfortable San Francisco home one rainy afternoon, their informal relationship benefits from mutual respect for their separateness as well as affection.
“We have two different rooms, and that helps a lot,” the mellow-throated singer said as Paul listened in on the extension. “If we didn’t have two rooms, we probably wouldn’t be together. It would be too continuous and that makes it hard to think.
“We like to be with each other, so we’re doing that,” Grace explained casually. “I can’t think of any church that has anything to do with it, though. That’s the only reason I’m not married, I just don’t understand the point of it yet.” One point is that there are some practical advantages to a legal union. Paul and Grace have to pay more taxes since the parents of 2½year-old China are officially unmarried. Shrugged Grace, “Marriage is O.K. If you want to, get married, what the hell.”
The San Franciscans are usually together professionally as well as regularly, so they don’t have to deal with long separations. Is there ever a period when they can enjoy some relaxation and recreation? “Only when we’re recreating,” Paul dead-panned. “I also like to drive around the city looking for things to happen.” Grace outlined her own use of free time by describing the contents of her bed: China (her daughter), dressmaking materials, a list of things for RCA, a list of things for her own manager, and an appointment notation for the dentist — a neat mixture of the mundane and the marvelous. “I write everything out that I have to do, because I have absolutely no memory.” Paul had also just bought her a weird new disc she was listening to called Matching Mole’s Little Red Record.
Did Grace think there was one major factor that kept the couple together? “Yeah, I like him a lot. He’s totally opposite me, in a Yin Yang sort of way: in appearance, mind, body, the whole deal. It’s fascinating, because I never know what the hell he’s talking about.”
CHUCK and ROSE LANE LEAVELL: Georgia peaches
Like Grace and Paul, Chuck Leavell, 21, and his wife Rose Lane, 25, grew together as the days they shared with the Allman Brothers matured around them. Chuck and Rose Lane had been “more or less good friends” for a long time, but on New Year’s Eve, 1973, while the band played in New Orleans, they got together and stuck together for good.
On June 26, their road manager, Buffalo Evans, an ordained minister in the Church of the New Truth, married them. “We had six people counting us and five bottles of champagne and one Cold Duck,” Chuck told Circus just prior to stepping on a plane for Europe. “And it was all gone before long. It was more of a party than a wedding. How did we reach the decision? Just digging each other in different situations we lived in. Of course we had to look.”
What they found was a life together that sounds almost normal, despite Rose Lane’s disclaimer that “You definitely couldn’t say we were normal people. We travel and have a good time, we have time to be ourselves with more freedom than most people.” Certainly not every household operates on the Leavells’ touring schedule.
But the easy pace of life in Allman territory seems to have saved Chuck and Rose Lane some of the pleasures denied more urban rock stars. “We do a lot of gardening in the yard,” Chuck drawled, “and we went to a hockey game the other night. We like to stay outside. Macon’s a small town and they don’t get into a star trip here — they don’t try to rip your clothes off.”
Even in dusty Macon, however, the pressure on the peach-eaters could be intense if Rose Lane weren’t an old pro. They’d known each other for about two years, while Rose Lane was working for Capricorn Records. She started in 1970, around the time of Idlewild South, when they were all just beginning to make it big, and she grew up with the organization. “Besides being deeply in love,” Chuck said, “we’re very good friends, and we have a lot of time to do things.” “We just bought a house we’re getting settled,” Rose Lane elaborated. “It doesn’t matter if the antiques and everything match perfectly, just so you know it’s comfortable and livable. We’re pretty relaxed people.”
MICK & BIANCA & KEITH & ANITA; Two sides of the Stones
The Rolling Stones’ situation seems to indicate that the survival of a rock and roll marriage depends most heavily on the adaptability of the star’s mate, since the breadwinner is irrevocably tied to his profession. Bianca Perez Moreno de Macias, 23, was a social standout well before she married Mick Jagger on May 12, 1971 in San Tropez. One recent former boyfriend was the actor Michael Caine. Mick took private catechism lessons to accommodate the Roman Catholic religion of his bride. But Bianca, not a rocker by nature, requested a selection of tunes from Love Story for the ceremony.
“They’d known each other about nine months,” their private secretary told Circus, “but I was as surprised when it happened as everyone else.” No one has ever quite found out exactly why the King of Rock decided to get married. Friends just say that, while before Mick used to say ‘Look at so-and-so, he’s so unhappy,’ suddenly he was saying ‘Look at Charlie Watts. He’s very happily married.’
The social Bianca and her husband became an unsteady, volatile mixture as time went on. They had a terrible month and a half trip through Africa, where they started to hate each other. “We were so mean,” said the Nicaraguan beauty of the days under the hot equatorial sun. “I thought we were going to leave each other. We didn’t trust each other. It gives me the creeps to think about it.” And even into the end of 1973, rumors flew of a liaison with Ryan O’Neal (ironically enough the star of Love Story), while Mick whipped himself across the stages of Europe.
Mick is the star. In private society, though, they are both stars, and the stir they cause together occasionally strains human relations. During their splashy wedding, for instance, Mick’s mother was unable to reach her famous son in the crush to give the couple their wedding present. Commented the wilted Englishwoman, “I just hope my other son doesn’t become a superstar.”
Keith Richard and Anita Pallenberg seem to have much smoother sailing, and it may be due to Anita’s long and familiar association with the world of rock. The blonde star of Performance was originally Brian Jones’ paramour. Keith and Anita, unlike the Jaggers, live a more secluded life. When their twelfth century cottage burned down last summer, allowing sightseers to gawk as the pair rushed in and out rescuing property, it was a rare public appearance.
“She’s an incredible chick,” the swashbuckling lead guitarist says. “She found us through Brian a long time ago, and she’s been involved in it all. There are some people you just know are going to end up all right. It’s really nice. That’s why we had Marlon (their son). We just knew it was the right time. We’re very instinctive people.”
‘Wild Horses’ was written following Marlon’s birth, in fact, and illustrates the bittersweet tension placed in the heart of the jet-age dad. “I knew we were going to have to go to America and start work again to get me off my ass, but I didn’t really want to go away. The kid was only two months old. It was a very delicate moment.”
IAN and TRUDY HUNTER: Passionate struggle
For Mott the Hoople’s ringletted Ian Hunter, the official stamp of marriage was a convenience. “It was mainly the work permit thing,” he told Circus. Ian’s wife is from Long Island, so when they were in England and unmarried, she had to renew her visa every three months. “It gets to be kind of a drag. And she likes to get a job now and again for a few weeks, like when I’m busy recording, and now she can. I’ve whipped a few asses in my time, but I’m a happily married man now.” The Hunters were married in September, 1972, after they’d tried it out for about a year.
Ian’s rational explanation of the union, though, belies a passion and vehemence that the lead singer expresses quite openly. “We fight about once every three months. I threw a good TV set out the window because of her once, and this is how it goes with me and my wife. Life is but a struggle, you know? If you don’t want to struggle, then you shouldn’t be living. I’ve met guys who have very proudly said they never argued with their wives. And then they got divorced. Trudy and me are still going; we take each day as it comes. I don’t know what’ll happen this time next year, but I’ve never met anyone else I’ve dug as much.”
The Hunters first met in London where Trudy was going out with a photographer friend of Ian’s. Sometime after, Mott the Hoople came to the States on tour. Trudy was on Long Island, her photographer boyfriend wasn’t coming from London for a week, and Ian seized the initiative. “I rang her up immediately and leapt in the deep end,” Ian sighed suggestively. “She was well tied-up by the time the guy got here.”
According to Ian, the pressures of his chosen profession promptly began creating “absolute hell.” Explained the constantly-shaded singer, “My wife has a B.A. so she’s pretty intelligent, and she isn’t allowed full exercise because she’s travelling so much. She doesn’t tour with me, but she’ll be in the country, staying with her parents if we’re in the States.
“She just wishes she could be part of it more,” the understanding husband sympathized. “It’s difficult when you’ve got a six-piece band. If I took Trudy, all the guys would do it too, so that’s six ladies on the road. And I don’t believe in women being together, they annoy me intensely. I think women should be seen and not heard. Mine’s heard to a terrible level morning, noon and night, but what can you do? I’m mad on her. Always have been. Still am.”
© Stephen Demorest, Circus, February 1974