Back in 1988, when I started out as a young rock reporter, writing about hard rock for one of the main evening papers in Sweden, I didn’t know any other girls that shared the same passion. That was to happen later, but up until then, I was “one of the boys”. It was just the normal state of things.
During that time, the era before Internet and e-mails, I used to receive letters from my readers. There was always a big envelope in the editorial office, containing letters, or sometimes, such as when I dared to write something unflattering about Paul Stanley, a big sack full of angry letters. :)
Some of the letter writers stood out because they revealed a genuine curiosity, passion and interest in music, and they would write to comment on articles, suggest bands that should get more attention in the paper or simply to ask for more information on artists whose work they admired. One of those writers was a girl named Ozzie.
She was mainly very passionate about guitar virtuosos, her letters would often mention the likes of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani or Yngwie Malmsteen for instance. I thought it was incredibly cool with a girl who was genuinely into rock for the same reasons as myself.
I don’t remember exactly how we met up, but we started going to concerts. We went to see Skid Row on their tours of Sweden, keeping the costs to a minimum. At one point, another girl who was also going to those gigs, booked a cheap room for one person at the fancy Park Avenue Hotel (it led to Skid Row!) but then a whole bunch of fans, including me and Ozzie, crammed ourselves into that room to get a few hours of sleep. Somebody was in the bed, someone slept in a chair, some on the floor – there were people everywhere.
Another time I remember sleeping on a kitchen table at some girl’s place on one of those Skids-tours. We were young, we didn’t care much about convenience, it was ALL about the concert experience!
In 1992, Ozzie and I went to England for the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington. That was quite an experience. I remember having interviews scheduled left and right and at one point I was double-booked and was supposed to be at two different places at the same time. Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P was on the interview list in one city while Skid Row were holding a press conference in Nottingham I believe it was, at the same time.
So Ozzie stepped in and did the interview with Blackie. She saved my a** and did a great job.
It was also Ozzie that taught me how to create a web page in the early ’90s when the internet was new and still wasn’t in everyone’s homes. It required html-knowledge and she showed me the basics. She was a bit of a pioneer with that, cause she caught on early on those things. I created my first web page thanks to her tips and tricks and it became a very well visited page in the early days of Internet.
Fast forward to 2021. When life gets in the way, friends also go their separate ways sometimes and we have been busy with our respective lives the past few years but when I read that she had now finished and published her first book, I felt really moved, happy and proud.
The band is lucky to have her do this, because I don’t know anyone who is as thorough as Ozzie, or as passionate and disciplined about something when her heart is all in.
We Came To Rock – The Official Pretty Maids Journals by Ozzie Adenborg is out now. She’s followed the band for a long time. We used to go to their shows back in the day, and then obviously she’s seen many more on her own but it’s such an amazing accomplishment, I can’t wait to read this cover to cover!
She had a book signing today, at a very cool record store in the south of Sweden called Gantofta Skivbörs.
It was great to see her and her “baby”.
The book is in a landscape format rather than the traditional standing format. “I hate it when there’s a great photo in a book and it’s spread over two pages, because it just looks weird. I wanted the entire photo to fit on one page like it’s supposed to be viewed. And most live photos are landscape format so this seemed like the best option“.
See? Why hasn’t anyone thought of that before? It IS annoying with a photo that’s 50/50 on a spread instead of in full on just one page.
It looks fantastic, a great deal of work has been put into this and the result is magnificent!
It’s inspiring to see this and she deserves full attention for this book. I got a copy today and will enjoy reading it now when the dark fall is here. Perfect book-weather!
If you want your own copy, this is where you can get your hands on it: https://www.prettymaidsjournals.se/
My own pass from the show pictured in the book above.
My dear friend Clint, down in Melbourne Australia, recommended me to read the HEART biography “Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll“.
He reads rock-biographies and what he liked about this one was that it was told from a female perspective, which was different and interesting. It just highlighted a different aspect of being a musician – with your balls placed slightly higher up.
It took me a while, but I finally got around to reading it. Or rather, listening to it, as I’ve become obsessed with audio-books. It really had me spellbound pretty quickly. It’s very rare to come across a story where I feel like I could have written big chunks of that story myself.
Listening to Ann Wilson, the undisputed goddess of rock vocalists, telling her story about her constant battle with her weight while growing up, the bullying in school, feeling like you never quite belong anywhere, and the escape into the magical world of music…. I did that – all the time.
I would lock my door and listen to old vinyls that one of my mother’s best friends had given her, cause they didn’t want them anymore, LP’s with Ike and Tina or my favorite, an Australian band called Walrus – or colorful vinyl singles from my grandfather who had worked at a jukebox factory.
When the songs fell off the charts, the jukeboxes had to be “refilled”, so the old singles were thrown away and filled up with new, fresh hits. So, instead of throwing them away, he would take some of those singles and bring them home.
My mom had a portable record player that looked like a tiny suitcase, so I inherited that, and listened to those old, scratchy Brenda Lee and Connie Frances-singles.
They were worn out, cause they had been played all day long for months in that jukebox and weren’t really supposed to be used ever again. I wouldn’t let them retire though, I loved “Dum-Dum” by Brenda Lee especially when I was a little girl.
Anyway, music was ALWAYS my escape. So to hear one of the Wilson sisters talking about growing up with similar thoughts and experiences really hit home with me.
Their story of how they discovered The Beatles. How it was like being hit by lightning, how life was defined as before and after The Beatles. I can barely even remember a time before the Beatles, but I grew up two decades after the Wilson sisters. I loved the Beatles more than life itself, I can’t even explain that feeling. I still get in touch with that feeling nowadays, going to see Paul McCartney in concert.
But one thing definitely also sounded VERY familiar to me. Not quite belonging in a group of other girls. I honestly felt like I didn’t belong with other girls my age, most of my teenage years. Because most girls didn’t care about music on the same level as I did. To me it wasn’t just entertainment, it was everything. It was life. It was…well, it was ME. I can’t even imagine an existence without music.
I didn’t care about chasing guys, I rather wanted to be one of the guys – cause they had the same interests as me – for the most part.
I wasn’t interested in fashion and makeup or going to the latest, coolest clubs. I honestly didn’t give a flying patootie about any of that.
Beatles was the most powerful experience I had had up until I discovered Judas Priest, but that’s a different story. There was a short period of worshipping Duran Duran too – but the one thing that the Wilsons brought up in their bio, is a detail I never really thought about, but it’s very true: Other girls wanted to be somebody’s girlfriend. Live someone else’s life, support their boyfriends in their dreams and goals, but they didn’t have too many of their own.
I didn’t want to be someone’s girlfriend. Don’t get me wrong, I was usually head over heels crazy about some dude – or cried over one – most of my life. But I would never ever allow anyone to get in the way of my dreams. I had lots of them and I pursued them. I ended up staying single for longer than I thought because of it. :)
Ann and Nancy were outcasts who found that playing and singing was like “coming home”, it brought them happiness and a sense of purpose. This must have been especially difficult in the sixties and seventies when women definitely weren’t expected to have a mind of their own.
That’s another thing. I will forever be grateful to my parents for never ever uttering the words: “That’s not for girls” – or have strong opinions about what was supposedly male or female.
They let me do whatever made me happy. If I wanted to race guys down the street on a bicycle, that was fine. If I wanted to climb trees, no problemo. Play cowboys and indians, play with toy cars, listen to rock’n’roll? No problem, what would you like to do today?
The toy stores weren’t as divided into girls and boys back in those days either, thank god.
As a kid I was convinced that I could do anything, that there were no boundaries. So, when I walked into a toy store I was not presented any predefined ideas of who I was supposed to be. I would just go and pick out what I thought look like fun – so one day it might have been a Barbie doll and the next it was a super hero.
So I wasn’t raised to be that coquette girlie-girl. I had other dreams and plans, but it also meant that I was lonely a lot of the time, because most friends couldn’t relate.
To hear two women who have been highly successful, talk about going through all these things, but in their own way, is such an amazing feeling. It means more than I thought to hear that, after all these years. You don’t think much of it, until one day you’re reminded and you realize that you weren’t the only one.
I read Lita Ford’s biography too but I couldn’t relate to her life at all. She was more wild and destructive in many ways, she didn’t seem to have particularly strict parents like I did (and the Wilson sisters) so it wasn’t “my story”. This, however, is – in many ways.
They didn’t want to be girlfriends, wives or groupies. They wanted to BE The Beatles, they wanted to play like John and Paul, not date them. Bingo. That’s exactly it!
I used to be accused of being a groupie for years, cause people didn’t know what to make of me. I was always backstage somewhere or hanging out with some rockstar with a bad reputation – so naturally they took to the only explanation they knew of. A whore. A wannabe. A groupie. It took me almost two decades to earn the respect that I feel that I have nowadays. People know my deal now. Well, better than they did back then at least.
Ann and Nancy talk about their experiences of being the women in the band, life on the road, life in those circles. I didn’t experience it on their level, but yeah, I know what that is like as well. Being that ONE girl, that ONE woman in a male-dominated world.
I never thought of it that way though. I didn’t think of it as not fitting in, cause in my mind it was quite the contrary.
I had the same blunt sense of humor as the dudes, I had the same drive – sometimes even more – as they did, I was pushy and determined, like they were. I shared their passion for music, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
But one thing that I’ve experienced my whole life, is that feeling of being different and sometimes being misunderstood or wrongly labeled.
I wrote a blog many years ago – before the term existed. I called it “diary”. I wanted to explain why I could never be a groupie.
To me, music was WAY bigger than the guy.
I admired them tremendously for the music they wrote, which to me almost made them GODS. They were above regular people. Anyone who could create something that amazing, was not of this world.
So, to sleep with these guys, would just degrade them (in my opinion) and make them common, regular..men. It would transform them into regular dudes with a dick, something trivial, something boring, something way too…. cheap.
What I wanted was their time, I wanted to know what drove them, what or who created the person who could write such music, I wanted to understand their magic, their treasure, their “divinity”.
I could never have slept with any of them. I just didn’t perceive them that way. They were beyond common sex. A monkey can have sex. But a monkey can’t write “Yesterday”…
It was far more valuable to me to understand these musicians, because I wanted to be where they were, being successful in doing what they loved to do and were good at. I had zero interest in being the whore of the evening.
Listening to “Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll” brings up so many memories and so many thoughts and reflections of my own journey. Sometimes it feels like it wasn’t even me.
I’ve lived the way I wanted to live but everything comes at a price. I didn’t marry or have kids. And quite honestly, I don’t regret a single thing. I would do it all again, exactly the same way. Maybe with a few alterations…
Men usually equaled heartache and pain, a waste of energy while my work, my passions and my dreams, fulfilled me. Much like men often prioritize.
I still have lots of things to do, I still love music and the whole world surrounding it, with every fiber of my body, mind, heart, and soul.
So this biography isn’t as much about the life of the Wilson sisters, but also a mirror that allows me to discover myself and see my own life in a different light.
There were others that went through similar things and thought similar thoughts. It means a great deal to realize that this late in life. :) But it all makes sense.
The pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. :D
Reading one of our Swedish tabloids…. On today’s news is the Swedish king’s former mistress from the pop act Army of Lovers – Camilla Henemark, also known as “La Camilla“.
Nobody gave a fuck about her for years. Now she sees her opportunity to get her ass back in the spotlight with the help of an autobiography where she exposes every celebrity that she’s somehow been “involved” with.
It’s been all over the news because she supposedly had an affair with the king of Sweden – and now she’s giving us the details – woo hoo. They were throwing sushi at eachother, rolling around on the floor, whatever whatever. Too much info.
My question is… Why do I need to know this? To me it’s just as uncomfortable as listening to a stranger’s private conversation on the bus. It’s none of my business. Your food-fights are between you and the other person. whether it’s your neighbor or the King of fucking Sweden.
Why is this considered useful information for anyone else – at all? All this nasty crap is beginning to bug me. La Camilla is far from the first or the only one who’s done this.
Another one that comes to mind is a Swedish rock journalist who I used to admire and look up to when I was a teenager. I’m not so sure that the respect I once had is so intact anymore.
A while back he wrote his memoirs – and made sure to include all the dirt and nasty details he could think of about the “rock stars” he had gotten close to throughout the years.
When asked about it, he said that it’s all cool, he had asked all the exposed artists if they were okay with it and according to him they’ve all been absolutely thrilled about being hung out to dry.
So, he’s basically cashing in on the fact that he’s been a part of the industry and was lucky enough to see and hear all those “juicy” things. It’s of course HIS choice how he chooses to portray himself, but how much of a choice was it for the people mentioned in the bio?
Now he’s written an unauthorized biography about Yngwie Malmsteen, kind of saying that it’s the only way to get “the truth” as Yngwie himself doesn’t like NOT being adored.
Well – that last part I actually do believe, because Yngwie is kind of “special” that way. :)
The point that I’m gettig at here is that it’s become a trend to expose other people for your own benefit.
It’s been done many many times, especially by groupies whose only claim to fame is that they’ve fucked guys who managed to do something with their lives and got famous for their music. So – a blowjob or a few orgies is all it takes to make a groupie a celebrity. Easy.
People haven’t evolved since they were cheering at gladiators killing eachother in a ring or watching witches being burned at the stake.
Someone else’s misery is enjoyable to so many. As much in 2012 as in 2012 B.C.
Groupies are one thing, seems that some of them are only doing it to get themselves a bit of the spotlight (although, I see a big difference between the “old school” groupies such as Pamela DesBarres or Bebe Buell and the modern groupie chicks ).
But… when it comes to people who have been close to a band – such as managers, crew people, girlfriends, wives, journalists…. To me it feels like it’s an unwritten rule that if you’re part of the circus, be cool about it for christ’s sake. It’s like any other kind of friendship – where’s the loyalty and the integrity when you go public with the things you’ve seen when being a part of the rock’n’roll package??
That old saying “Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is a rule that applies to the world of music as well. Whatever happens on tour….
None of these “authors” would like their own dirty laundry on display – the difference is that the celebrity can’t hit back with the same weapon, because nobody gives a shit about….a nobody.
It’s an abuse of power that’s really disturbing, when people who have had the opportunity to get to know someone in the entertainment-industry, suddenly decide to dig out all those secrets that were supposed to be kept private – and turn it into public entertainment.
I’ve been betrayed by friends, people I trusted, and it’s a horrible feeling. For most of us it doesn’t become public knowledge. As a celebrity you’re always risking that. It blows when some make rock stars or movie stars targets for these “reveal it all” sort of books. It’s fucking crap and I lose respect for the people who do it. They would sell their mother if they could benefit from it.
This might be a stupid example because it’s on a totally different level than the Yngwie or the “I screwed the king”-thing, but two years ago I had an idea to write a book about the time spent with Jon Oliva’s Pain. It was supposed to be something from a different perspective as I’m not a groupie so it would be written from an angle that people might not be used to.
But after maybe 50 pages or so, I gave up. It just didn’t feel right. Where do you draw the line between privacy and what’s okay to expose in public?
These people welcomed me into their life on the road, shared whatever was theirs with me – food, bus, whatever, and most of all, they always welcomed me with open arms everywhere. And most of them are still my friends.
Not that there was any “Motley Crue” sort of dirt to expose, but just in general – what would they be cool with and what would be stepping over boundaries…? It wasn’t as obvious as I had thought when I first began. I just ditched the whole thing.
I’ve written about “rock stars” for 25 years now. I admit that I made some mistakes, especially when I was younger, because I was so eager to build myself a career and show that I was as tough as the journalists I thought were cool at the time. I wanted to get to the top, no matter what.
I was thrown into this crazy circus as a teenager and was schooled in the world of tabloids. Whatever made a good story was okay, no matter who you hurt in the process or how much of an ass you had to be to get the scoop. I used to think that was true. I don’t anymore and I haven’t for many years.
This (article above) from the early 90’s was my wake-up call.
Sebastian Bach called one evening, as a friend – not an interview. They were off the road and in the studio, recording for what was to become “Slave To The Grind“. After the call I figured it was a “world exclusive” as they weren’t doing interviews at the time. So I turned the private call into a sensation article for the biggest music magazine in Sweden – OKEJ.
I felt horrible shortly after seeing it published, it was so wrong. Guess you don’t learn your lesson unless you’ve already screwed up. I talked to Baz about it after, apologized from the bottom of my heart. He took it a lot better than I had, to him it was just publicity and he was cool with it. However, I NEVER did that again, goddamn awful…!
If an editor in chief wants me to dig up the dirt on someone, to sell a few extra copies of a magazine, he can count me out. Find someone else to do it. I want to sleep at night with a clear conscience – I’m not in this business to be an asshole and I’m not in it for the money either. I got in it for the love of music when I was a teenager and to this day it’s still the sole reason why I’m still here.
I’ve seen and heard plenty of shit throughout the years (especially hanging with Skid Row in their heyday, you can imagine…) but I’ve deliberately left out the worst and juciest stories. Those I’m taking with me to the grave.
Everything is of course always subject to your own evaluation and judgement. I’ve written about stuff that I thought was funny or just as a piece of trivia, but nowadays I’m definitely not interested in remembering the eighties and nineties for the sake of causing a “sensation”.
Fuck that. It’s tasteless and greedy and it just shows that the people who write these books really have no morals whatsoever. Could be that the people they’re writing about are total pigs and “deserve” being exposed, but at the end of the day, it’s not about who other people choose to be. It’s who YOU choose to be. It’s always about oneself, not others.
It’s one thing to write your autobiography, but leave the nastiness out of it and don’t make decisions for someone else what should or shouldn’t become public knowledge. There’s already a Metal Sludge, the world doesn’t need more of that.