This Makes for Difficult Reading: Rock’n’Roll’s Statutory Rape Problem

Here’s an excellent article from The Daily Beast that contains some truths that many people will find tough to face–painful, even. Still, it’s important that we have all the facts.

The late music legend famously deflowered a 14-year-old groupie—before she was stolen away by Jimmy Page. Why it’s important for us to take our heroes to task for their predatory behavior.
Since the death of David Bowie on January 10th, fans and media have dissected much of his musical and cultural legacy. Bowie stands as a towering figure over the last 45 years of music, and as a celebrity famous for an ever-changing, enigmatic approach to his life and art, there is much to be analyzed in the wake of his passing. But not all of it is pleasant or even musical. One uncomfortable facet of the iconic rocker’s past has suddenly been thrust into the center of the dialogue, and it’s raised questions about both Bowie and the world that has enabled him and so many others.

The high-profile controversies surrounding contemporary stars like R. Kelly (who was famously accused of statutory rape and taken to court on child pornography charges in the early 2000s) and the backlash against rapper Tyga (following his relationship with a then-underage Kylie Jenner) have led to a broader discussion surrounding legal consent and adult male stars who engage in predatory behavior. And since his death, more fans and commentators have had to question Bowie’s own past with teen girls as well. In a Thrillist piece entitled, I Lost My Virginity To David Bowie: Confessions of a ‘70s Groupie, Lori Mattix recalls a sexual encounter with Bowie when she was only 14 years old.

“He focused his famously two-colored eyes on me and said, ‘Lori, darling, can you come with me?’” Mattix recalled. “He walked me through his bedroom and into the bathroom, where he dropped his kimono. He got into the tub, already filled with water, and asked me to wash him. Of course I did. Then he escorted me into the bedroom, gently took off my clothes, and de-virginized me.”

Rock star escapades from that period have been glamorized for decades with no regard for how disturbing or illegal the behavior was. It became a part of the mythos—a disgusting testament to how little the writers documenting the happenings of the day cared about taking their heroes to task.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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