The GTOs

The GTOs were a "groupie group" that consisted of Miss Pamela (Pamela Des Barres), Miss Sparky (Linda Sue Parker), Miss Lucy, Miss Christine (Christine Frka), Miss Sandra (Sandra Leano), Miss Mercy and Miss Cynderella. The group hailed from the area around Los Angeles in the late 1960s, with most of the girls being denizens of the Sunset Strip scene.

Miss Pamela had been a member of Vito Paulekis' dancing troupe before her involvement with the GTOs. Miss Sparky had attended Cleveland High School with Miss Pamela. Miss Christine had travelled to LA from San Pedro with Miss Sandra, and both lived in the basement of Frank Zappa's log cabin in the mid 1960s. Miss Christine was the live-in nanny for Zappa's children, Dweezil and Moon Unit, before Miss Pamela took over the position during the late 1960s. Miss Mercy had emigrated from the Haight Ashbury hippie scene to LA due to "boredom", alleging she "couldn't be a hippie forever". Both Miss Mercy and Miss Lucy were involved with a male version of a GTO - a "BTO" - named Mr. Bernardo, a half-Indian multi-sexual.

In her book, I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, Des Barres refers to Mercy at that time as "a human facsimilie", although they are still incredibly close friends. Miss Cynderella was an addition to the group brought by Mercy after the nucleus of the group had been formed. This accounts for Cynderella's presence in some, but not all of the GTOs publicity shots. A self-proclaimed habitual liar, her background history is not well known.

Originally known as "The Laurel Canyon Ballet Company", they changed their name to The GTOs on the advice of Frank Zappa, their financial supporter and producer. "GTOs" was an acronym for the full band name "Girls Together Outrageously", but at one time the 'O' could stand for a variety of words, such as 'Openly', 'Only' etc. Performances by the group were sparse, although they created a strong impression at their 1968 performance at the Shrine Auditorium. A mix of theatrics, off-key singing and dance were staples of their act. Their only album, Permanent Damage (Straight Records), was produced in 1969 by Frank Zappa and Lowell George (track 7 and 11). The songs are mixed in with conversations had between the members of the group, friends, and others, including Cynthia Plaster Caster and Rodney Bingenheimer. The album features songwriting contributions from Lowell George, Jeff Beck and Davy Jones. Permanent Damage was re-issued on CD in 1989 by Enigma Retro.

The most famous and successful of the GTOs is Miss Pamela, currently Pamela Des Barres, author of the groupie-memoir I'm With The Band. Des Barres's new book, Let's Spend the Night Together, a collection of interviews with fellow rock groupies, was released on July 1, 2007. Miss Mercy's 'biography' was expanded at length within the chapter entitled, "Miss Mercy's Blues". Also within the book, Des Barres notes that Miss Cynderella died in 2001 under mysterious circumstances. Miss Christine died on November 5th, 1972, of an overdose in a hotel room, after spending close to a year in a full body cast to correct her crooked spine. Miss Lucy died of an AIDS-related disease in the early 1990s. During her time as a GTO, Sandra became pregnant by Zappa's resident artist, Calvin Schenkel, and had a daughter named Raven. Miss Sandra later moved back to San Pedro and eventually Italy with her new husband and three children. She died of ovarian cancer on April 23, 1991. Miss Sparky is still alive, but not much has been divulged of her post-GTOs endeavours.

Permanent Damage

Track Listing

  1. The Eureka Springs Garbage Lady
  2. Miss Pamela and Miss Sparky discuss STUFFED BRAS and some of their early gym class experiences
  3. Who's Jim Sox?
  4. Kansas and the BTO's
  5. The Captain's Fat Theresa Shoes
  6. Wouldn't It Be Sad If There Were No Cones?
  7. Do Me In Once And I'll Be Sad, Do Me In Twice And I'll Know Better (Circular Circulation)
  8. The Moche Monster Review
  9. TV Lives
  10. Rodney
  11. I Have A Paintbrush In My Hand To Color A Triangle
  12. Miss Christine's First Conversation With The Plaster Casters Of Chicago
  13. The Original GTO's
  14. The Ghost Chained To The Past, Present and Future (Shock Treatment)
  15. Love On An Eleven Year Old Level
  16. Miss Pamela's First Conversation With The Plaster Casters Of Chicago
  17. I'm In Love With The Ooh-Ooh Man

External links

Pamela Des

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