Pamela Des Barres' Guitar Gods: Jimmy Page

The iconic '70s music historian and scenester continues her survey of her favorite guitar heroes.
Publish date:
Updated on

Back on New Year’s Eve, 1968, I was lounging around with my sweet and wild gal pal, Cynthia Plaster Caster, on her frilly canopy bed, studying a huge poster of a brand new band. “Wow, that one sure is divine,” I said, swooning over dark ringlets and rosebud lips.

“Don’t go near him, or any of Led Zeppelin," she stated emphatically. "They’re dangerous. Especially Jimmy Page.”


Curiosity peaked, when Zeppelin thundered into the Whisky a Go Go a few days later. I was front and center, mashed against the stage, watching Heavy Metal being brought into existence. I had learned that Mr. Page had already enhanced creations by the Yardbirds, and watching him melt the groovers like he’d exposed us to ethereal LSD through the speakers, turned me over, under, sideways, down. Still, I was determined to stay away from the dangerous lad.

A few months later, they were back, and I got a postcard from a friend in England: “Jimmy Page wants Miss Pamela.” How titillating!

I could write pages (ha!) about how I eluded rock’s most luscious lothario for several hot Hollywood evenings, but I’ll just launch into the night I finally relented to his charms.

Jimmy somehow got my phone number. Remember, these were the dark ages—no cell, no internet, no answering machines. Groupie tom-toms did the trick! He invited me to Zep’s next gig in Santa Barbara. As I stood on the side of the stage, so close that I did get stoned on their majestic wicked elegance, I was a goner.

He wasn’t content to just play his guitar, going from maniacal booming precision to tender gentle teasing of those 6 strings. Jimmy whipped out a violin bow and made love to the damn thing with it. He sawed those strings back and forth, the horsehair on the bow shimmering and flailing in the air, a look of passion and danger on his flawless ivory face. He then danced with a Theremin like a matador provoking a bull, creating eerie, sensual sounds that still reverberate in my soul and keep me young. I was fortunate to be on the side of the stage, atop Jimmy’s amp, swooning many, many times, as Zeppelin dismantled stadiums across America.

Jimmy Page had dragons crawling up his velvet-clad legs, a mysterious glint in his eye, a torrid love for the creation of music, and all that is ragingly divine in his fingertips. He is now an elegant gray-haired British gentleman, but I know the dragon still lurks, breathing fire, and spitting hot embers.