About 80′s, Guns N’ Roses and being a strong woman, Pamela Manning
This one might be the most special interview ever. Special, important or exciting, no matter how you call it. Pamela Manning has passed some of her lifetime with a lot of groups that I love, especially with Guns N’Roses. She witnessed the best times of music, entertainment and other things and once she realised that there is something wrong, she succeeded to change her life in a better way. She is strong, successful, decisive and still very beautiful. She has no difference from that famous iconic photograph with Axl Rose. This interview is more than a conversation with secrets, it is a proof of how a strong woman can dominate her own life…
Since we go back in history during this interview, I should primarily ask: Do you cling to the past, or are you good at enjoying the moment? Do you miss your old times?
I do not cling to the past, but of course there were moments that made history that can spark my memory. I just so happened to be there during all of it, but even if I do not cling to my past, people seem to remind me of my past and they seem to have some twisted ideas about who I am, because I was the press’s target. I was their new brand and they branded me a groupie, because it got more got attention. So I have sure found a lot of false statements about me, and you have no idea how this can impact a person’s life. The way I think of it all was, I was a young beauty girl back in the day that attracted a lot of rock stars.
I do miss the people who came into my life and have passed, like Charles Bronson; he was very good to me. I was to marry his son back in the day, before he died. Charlie and Jill became like adopted parents to me. Jill would invite me to tea with Nancy Reagan and Betty Ford. I was blessed to be able to sit and learn from these women, and that part I do miss, because they had such good advice that set me on a different path today.
Now as far as the rock stars and the past, I was managed by Wendy Dio back in the day. She would get me rock ‘n roll gigs, and I got paid to be on stage and then later got picked up by music video director Wayne Isham, and forget about it – the (Pamela) brand was born! He made me a video icon, and put me in a few rock videos. This is how I was around the rock stars; it was my job. Now to answer you: Do I live in the moment? Absolutely! And I’m loving it!
It is possible to see you in the most iconic Guns N’ Roses live performance photographs. Can you tell us about Guns N’ Roses of these days? How were their dialogue and energy among each other?
Well, I had been dancing with Guns N’ Roses on stage even before Guns N’ Roses. I came out in a cute outfit, it had guns on them some cute cut-off jeans, and a cowboy hat, Axl had chaps where his butt would hang out the back. It was like playing house to me but we played rock star; it was all about music, how cool you can look. It was also was a shock factor back in the 80′s, anything to get attention.
So that’s what we would do, pretty much – do anything to get attention back in the day. If that meant being wild and crazy on stage, well, that is what you got! “My way, your way, anything goes tonight!” and “Take me down to the Paradise City, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.” And so when I was on stage I had a blast with the band; our energy was magic! We would feed off each others’ energy, yet we would all be in sync with each other. It was so automatic, the music was the main energy. You tap into that stream and you got Guns N’ Roses: that is what fed the audience, the energy that went with the band. After the show we would talk about how the audience’s reaction was.
And I am also a drummer, so Steven would teach me some drums, and we would move on to more creative stuff; we’d sit around and play some more music. “Barbi (Rocket Queen) Von Greif, not Adriana (sexual recording) who was my roommate at the time, we were in a band together for a short time. I was the drummer and she was the singer, and Barbi wanted to name the band Rocket Queen.
Guns & Roses were a music inspiration to us; heck, we inspired each other. This is how we all met up; it was all about music, not hanging with the guys. I did wind up dating Izzy, but Barbi broke us up, not being a true friend to me, as she wanted him. One day he asked me to let him play with Barbi, and when I said no, well, you can guess the rest. That was the end of Izzy and I.
Axl has always been a true friend to me, telling me his deepest secrets and, yep, I have kept them today. I can’t and will not talk about the deep secrets he told me. That is just not me. But wow, if you only knew… I am sure some would understand him a little better. People judge him, and I can understand why. He has not been the best example, but I think if Axl would stop bottling all the secrets, he could be a great spokesperson and could help many.
It was like with any band, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll, but the drug thing… I never liked drugs or alcohol, so I can’t relate in that department. But I had some good times.
How do you find Guns N’ Roses of today? What things are different and better between the past one and the present one?
I had heard from Mark Cantor that last time Guns & Roses was in town that Axl was asking about me, and thought I would show up at his gig. Well, that never happened. Then about 2 years ago now, I had heard Guns N’ Roses were playing L.A., but I had lost all contact with the guys. A friend of mine wanted to meet Axl, so she invited me to go with her, yet I had not known her for very long, yet went along. Well when we got into the concert, I always had VIP and did not feel like going to a concert and not saying hi to Axl, so I made my way to find a way to get in and all I got was “None shall pass.” I finally got a hold of Axl’s manager and he let us all back stage, but only to a waiting room. Then at the end of the night we were told, “Axl has gone home; everyone must leave.” I smelled a rat and someone was not telling the truth!
So alone I walked around and found a staircase that led downstairs, unguarded. I ran downstairs, and guess what: the first person I run into was Axl and the rest is history, Axl asked me to join him in the van and off we went to a private party. We get out to the van with the band and I am handed a rose. I thought this was cool, Axl introduces me to the band and tells them all about me. He put me in the limelight to all his friends, made me feel special. Yet there was a lot of adjustments. He looks different… that was hard. We both changed in looks, but we still had the connection. So after being swept away, I had to call the rest of the group I left behind. I was sure they were looking for me, bad mistake, without getting into much words, the girl I introduced to Axl became my worst nightmare. I took photos of her and Axl, Axl took the photos with her because I asked him to. Well, she went to the press, blasted her photos all over the internet, and caused me & Axl a lot of problems. Later (next gig), Axl forgave me and puts me on VIP list but only me!
By now I had to learn a lesson: if you have a rock star friend, make sure your friends are not starstruck! What a pain that was! Anyway, my relationship with Axl is great now. We have no other problems because we keep the problems out, and it’s great to have been there, growing up with Guns & Roses. It’s like anything; time passes, people change. Some you keep, some you don’t. Axl has stayed in my life, Steve Adler is still in my life; both he and his wife are dearly loved by me, and I’m very close to them to this day. We spend time together when we can. Both Slash and Duff are pleasant to me; since my last interview I had heard a lot of really nice things Slash has said about me, and now I feel bad because our last meeting was at a funeral for a friend and he was kinda rude to me, and I blamed it on his wife because I was told it was all her. But now I realize it’s just someone trying to make trouble. I forgive him and I am sure I will meet up with him again in the future as well. Duff I never talked to much, but he has a nice-looking wife and seems to be very cool and together now. I would like to get to know him a little more than before if God wills. But my part is not to concentrate on rock stars and their lives, but to make a difference in others’ lives if I can. Today if I can, I take advantage of who I know to help make a difference. That would be cool, it’s better than boasting.
Your most famous photographs of those times are with Axl Rose in Guns N’ Roses stage. How is Axl Rose as a person rather than the media’s opinion?
Axl as a person, to me: Deep, quick thinker, devoted, generous at times, sentimental at times. Yet if he cuts you out of his life, I’m not sure there is room to get back in. He believes in God, loves kids, more of a loner even if he is surrounded by so-called “friends.” He has adjusted in life and says he is happy. He makes it a point to enjoy life. I like the deep conversations with him. He gets it, and it’s great to have a friend who just gets it (whatever you’re talking about) when we connect. The downside to Axl is the big ego but that goes with rock stardom and that power. It’s crazy; when I am around him, he lifts one finger and people listen – pretty scary to me! He can pretty much do what he wants in his world. Except for the other people in the music business who try to control him. He finds ways to escape that too, not totally escape, but that is another story.
To me, Axl needs to learn to trust again. I know this is a hard one when trust gets destroyed. Axl has a hard time with his past; there is a lot that gets in his way, and he doesn’t want to go back there! I totally understand that! Friends get hurt, people who want to be in his life, but he had to make choices he might not like for his own good. But if he made the other choices it would be worse; it’s kinda like that song “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” by The Clash. If you get in his way he warns you before he does anything, yet the people who don’t listen… well, they will get the Axl wrath! I pray for him and hope I been a good influence in his life. It’s nice to still have the friendship and I am thankful for that.
What do you think about the other members’ solo careers? Slash, Duff, Izzy…
Slash is doing well. I don’t keep up with Slash because we have not talked in some time, but he has jammed around town. Yet I had not made it out, maybe some day I will. As for as his new band, I heard it’s good. I am not working in rock ‘n roll like the old days, so I don’t keep up on who is playing with whom, but I think it’s great that they all are doing their own thing. The fans like it, that is what matters. They are making money; some are making a difference like Steven Adler, enjoying their music family and friends. It’s cool, and I am all for it.
Are there any rockstars who were close with you in past and still see you today?
Yes, some are still in touch, but I only hang out with a few today. Some have died, and are missed.
You are related with Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe as well. Mötley Crüe decided to separate after a tour. Do you feel sorry about these long-term relationships ending?
It’s sad, but then they made other lives for themselves, and came to a place where they are happy. All are doing OK and it seems to have worked for them. In life some things don’t always stay forever, but you cherish what you had and move on.
Do groupie girls compete with each other, or support each other?
I would not know. In spite of being branded as a groupie by the press, I don’t know what a groupie does, only what I heard. I never could stand to be around them, yet I was always nice to them. Like Tommy Lee, I dated him but met him in New York City, not in L.A., and not at a music place. It was at a bar called the Limelight, where he came up to me and offered me a drink and introduced himself, and yes, I thought he was hot. Then I realized afterward, that he was in Mötley Crüe. Tommy was still a baby and Mötley Crüe were not at their peak yet, and I never went to a Mötley Crüe concert until it was like the ’90s. Izzy from Guns & Roses… we dated, but he was not a rock star at the time we dated. I was in a band with some girls when we met up in the studio. He did not rise to rock star status until after we broke up. A groupie follows the band when they are rock stars.
I wasn’t in a relationship with the band members as Who’s Dated Who so freely speaks. They even got my age wrong. Heck, I had the band members following me around! Should I call the band members groupies?
I got branded because I was wild and crazy on stage for an act, and made my living working with rock bands as well. My interviews I agreed to be in were cut into pieces to make me sound like a groupie, like talking about being a cheerleader and things like that. I have always been one to inspire, male or female. Rockstar or not, I love to inspire, to bring back hope, to help people get their creative juices flowing and that doesn’t mean groupie juices.
Groupie used to mean a lot for many groups and people in the past, but now it looks like they never existed. What’s different from those years until now? Are there no groupies now, or aren’t they as important as before?
Like I said, I never paid much attention to groupies, but I had friends who were. I never hang around with them, but there were times where I would work with them. Some were mud wrestlers. Groupies were there, back in the ’80s for sure. It was hard because you become friends with them, and then they would try to snatch your man. And I really hated dealing with them then. I would guess groupies today are the same today as yesterday. The only difference is that there is not an explosion of rock stars rising to the top like it was in the ’80s.
When did you decide to start a new career?
I got saved in 1997, so after my salvation I had to also change my lifestyle. After much learning, I launched my DigitalPam graphic design back in 2000. But today in 2014, I am branching out with a new skin care line I formulated myself. Plus I have a hand bag line, as a hobby that has me turning profits so I’m launching that too. It’s a lot of hard work, but let’s hope its worth it. And some of the money from the brand Pamalotion will be going to women who have been through domestic abuse (safepassagelives.org).
As much as I see in your social media account, you design things. Did your style change in years or do you still miss the fanciness of the ’80s?
I would say it changed, because my thinking has changed. As for my designs today, I do just what inspires me; a little bit rock ‘n roll, yet a touch of class. A little touch of ancient and today. I like the message in my art to say something like this - there is nothing new under the Son, what is, was, and is to come.
You look young in contrast with your fast life and you are still beautiful. Is it all about taking care of yourself?
I try to eat right, stay in shape and take care of myself – mind, spirit, and body. And I have to say that if I was not locked into God, where would I be now? Scary to think. Yeah, it’s God who pulled me out of the fast lane and touched my heart, healed my soul, and restored my youth. I could give my beauty line a plug but the truth is, God takes stress away, and restores and keeps me. My beauty products only help me look good on the outside, but what is important is to work on the inside before you can shine on the outside.
Would you consider about writing a book based on your past adventures?
Yes, I am writing it now. But earlier I started the book and almost finished it (all hand written). I had not put it into my computer yet, when a roommate who moved into the house (uninvited by another roommate) became a stalker, broke into my room, stole all my books, photos, guitars, poems, writings… It was a great loss that almost made me give up. Then the inspiration came again and I picked it back up, and am re-writing the book now.
What does Pamela Manning plan for the next 10 years?
My plan is to launch Pamalotion. Let’s hope it goes worldwide! Like I said, I am involved with Safepassagelives.org. Some of my profits will be donated to women who have been through domestic abuse. I also plan to manufacture some of my handbag designs. My bags will have some gospel message inside as part of my art creations and expressions, and to create a hand bag line as well. Who says I can’t do both?
And last, if God wills, my website : http://acousticcharityevents.com
My vision: To see at least one person standing behind every orphaned or abandoned adult, to inspire them through music and create a mentor system that helps them “get back up” emotionally and physically. The charity events will help raise money for special needs, with inspiring short stories, speakers, music acts… Heck, I plan to inspire you too! Help us spread this fire of hope.