Once Upon A Rock Star – By Rita Rae Roxx

Title: Once Upon A Rock Star

Author: Rita Rae Roxx

Publisher: Arbor Oaks

Publication Date: July 17, 2012

Once Upon A Rock Star




First-time author Rita Rae Roxx isn’t much for introspection, not unless you count observations like “I looked hotter than ever,” “I looked amazing as usual,” “We looked good and rocked it” or “We rocked that show so hard” as deep. But then, you’re not reading this memoir of – as the subtitle succinctly outlines, “backstage passes in the heavy metal eighties: big hair, bad boys (and one bad girl)” – for subtlety and nuance. No, you’re reading Once Upon A Rock Star ‘cos you’ve just left a matinee showing of Rock Of Ages, you’ve got “Don’t Stop Believing” still buzzing in your ears, you’re still a little turned on from that that soft-core sex involving Tom Cruise, Malin Akerman and a pool table, and you’re still in the mood to rock.

Actually, not just to rock, but to rock out – make that, rock the fuck out.

Omaha-born, L.A.-bound Roxx (love that name, it’s so – eighties, kinda like the gal Lizzza (yes, pronounced “Lisa” but with 3 “Z”s) who used to cut my hair in the late ‘80s and who had a glam-metal guitarist boyfriend) came of age as the archetypal midwestern high-school chick who was too late for punk but instantly primed for metal as the MTV era unfolded. She caught the bug early when first Billy Squier and then Van Halen came to town, and within a year she was ratting her hair, strapping on heels, and doing her level best to score backstage passes for the seemingly endless parade of heavy metal concerts passing through the region. “By now,” writes Roxx, “I had my strategy to get backstage all figured out… give a tech crew guy a couple lines… get myself on the guest list…” Sure enough, by the middle of the decade she’s seriously rocking out, partying, doing blow, etc. in tour buses and hotel rooms with the guys from Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, Ozzy’s band, Van Halen and more. Along the way her descriptions in the book gradually get more, er, descriptive, such as this one on page 34 detailing an after-hours assignation with David Lee Roth:

“Undressing myself while kissing David over and over, I was just dripping with juices of passion ready to mount this man and ride him into the sky of ecstasy. We were both amazing. Where were the sex tapes back then? Afterward, I remember David rolling over, closing his eyes, and me catching my breath just long enough to say, ‘You can’t go to sleep yet, not til I wear you like a pair of old Levis!.’”

 Whoah. To heck with sex tapes – I smell a vintage jeans commercial in the making!

Anyhow, that’s pretty much how it goes for the next 150-odd pages. I don’t think I recall Roxx referring to herself as a “groupie” (that would be too introspective), but she is refreshingly upfront in the way she basks in the buzz of celebrity proximity and revels in the thrill of conquest. At a couple of junctures she appears to fall prey to lingering crushes; Ratt bassist Juan Croucier, for example, gets described in remarkably tender terms, and she clearly regards Kiss frontman Paul Stanley as a sweet guy (Gene Simmons, not so much). But for the most part, Once Upon A Rock Star unfolds as a litany of dressing up in fuck-me outfits, knocking on tour bus doors, flashing the inevitable big vial of toot, and fretting over whether to go back to the hotel with her “A” list musician choice (from the headlining band) or settling for the “B” list guy (from the openers). Roxx makes a few friends, ditches others, has minor feuds with fellow groupies, weathers the occasional cold shoulder from a past conquest, and accumulates a positively awesome stash of laminates, after-show passes, autographed ticket stubs and snapshots of her posing with a who’s-who of hair metal icons. (Much of that memorabilia collection is reproduced in the book.)

To be honest, as the decade wears on, the story also begins to wear a bit on the reader, the before/during/after-show scenes starting to turn interchangeable. That said, Roxx has an amazing memory, and there’s even a handy index in the back of the book listing every group and every bandmember mentioned in the preceding pages. This is a helpful way to remind yourself, for example, that Roxx didn’t pursue metal musicians exclusively: on pages 142-142 you’ll find photos of and details on Julian Lennon and his entourage, while on page 97 you’ll learn approximately how big Peter Buck’s cock is (hint: “huge”). And there are occasional moments of unintentional levity that Roxx injects, like the time Eddie Van Halen fishes her tit out of her dress while posing for a photo with her and two other girls (“I completely lit up,” gushes Roxx); or when she sets her sights on Metallica’s Kirk Hammett but he frets how “didn’t really show any interest in me” (Earth to Rita: c’mon, everyone knows that Kirk Hammett is gay!).

So while you’re not exactly going to come away from this book with any lasting life lessons – well, reading in the final pages, with Roxx now a full-time L.A. resident and aiming to add movie stars to her list of conquests, that Sly Stone, upon disrobing, had a disappointingly short member, almost counts – you won’t feel like asking for your 90 minutes back either. Upon finishing Once Upon A Rock Star, you may even get the urge to keep rocking out at the companion website, OnceUponARockStarBook.com, as it is teeming with additional photos from Roxx’s salad days, some of them (like the one above, featuring Roxx and Eddie Van Halen, center, flanked by a couple of Roxx’s groupie pals) rather sexy, or perhaps in the Spinal Tap sense of “sexy,”  but never less than intriguing. My personal fave is Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot standing stock still in the middle of a stage, having just been smacked in the face with a pie (it was his birthday).

Roxx apparently has plans to publish a followup volume detailing her Los Angeles exploits during the nineties partying with “the rich, the nearly famous, the not-so-famous, the wanna-be-famous, and the totally famous,” so it will be interesting to see if her second tell-all actually manages to tell all. While metal musicians’ depend on their sex ‘n’ drugs exploits to help keep the reputational brand alive, the Hollywood set traditionally favors discretion over disclosure (Charlie Sheen excepted), so plan on the index for Vol. 2 being heavily weighted towards the pseudonymous.

Still, can a screenplay of Roxx’s ab-fucking-fab life be far behind? Only time will tell, but in the meantime there’s always the upcoming DVD edition of Rock Of Ages featuring deleted scenes and whatnot that you’ll be able to tide yourself over with.

Don’t stop believin’, kids.


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