Barely 30 seconds in and Pamela Des Barres has not so much name-dropped as chucked her diary on the table. I compliment the author of I’m With the Band – one of the all-time classic rock’n’roll memoirs – on her ornate necklace, and she says it used to belong to Psycho actor Janet Leigh. When I ask if she still has the jewellery gifted to her by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, she replies, bereft: “No, it was stolen, by a kleptomaniac married to one of the Beach Boys.”
Then, as we scan the menu in the rapidly busying Friday night dining room of an in-crowd Hollywood hotel, I idly enquire as to her dietary habits. “I haven’t eaten red meat for 45 years. I went with Don Johnson, one of my dudes,” she says of the then-future star of Miami Vice, “to the first vegetarian restaurant in LA. And I saw on the back of the menu how we get the red meat. And I was so appalled that I stopped that day.”
I’m With the Band, the classic confessional of Des Barres’s sexual and romantic escapades with a cacophony of rock stars, is republished in a 30th anniversary edition this month. In bracing detail, the woman born Pamela Miller in Reseda, California, details her high jinks on the Sunset Strip of late-60s and early-70s Los Angeles.