Grand Funk Railroad - We're An American Band
I began to write about Sweet Connie from Little Rock, aka Connie Flowers, a while back and wrote a sketch about the lady known as one of the most famous non-celebrity Groupies during the Golden Days of Rock. She was far from the prettiest, or smartest, but she was prolific in her trade beyond belief.
Connie said that the secret to her success to getting access to really big names and servicing them, was to do all the Roadies first; good thinking in a business where many of those guys wore T-Shirts that read, "No Head, No Backstage Pass." I decided to respect her privacy until recently when another old Promo Guy told me she’d written a book ("Rock Groupie: The Intimate Adventures of 'Sweet Connie' From Little Rock") and been interviewed by Howard Stern. That makes her fair play, and my story has a different twist than a roll-call of clients.
Sweet Connie, (nee Hamzy) was enshrined in Rock and Roll history when Grand Funk Railroad sang about her in "We’re An American Band," ("Sweet, sweet Connie, doin' her act/ She had the whole show and that's a natural fact.").
I should answer a few frequently asked questions about the lady:
First: Sweet Connie was masterful at her craft, which made her popular with many people backstage.
Second: No, she didn’t do the promo guys, at least as far as I know. Most of the Groupies considered us at the same level as themselves -- that is, we were looking after the acts and keeping them happy.
Third: She had a good understanding of the value of Advertising, and was an expert in Public Relations. She had orange day-glow stickers many of the record guys had on their bags that said: "Connie in Little Rock (phone number)." You’d see them everywhere on the road, from Coast to Coast.
But this isn’t going to be a story about any individual or band she entertained, it’s about her family. One night I was talking to the Stage Door man at an arena concert in Little Rock... I think it was an Alice Cooper show. At some point a modestly dressed man in a gimme cap and jeans showed up at the door and when admitted and said, "Anyone know where Connie is?" The door man called him by name and said he that he thought she was still in one of the dressing rooms and should be out soon.
The man sat down on a bench and I walked over and introduced myself. It turned out he was Sweet Connie’s father and waiting to take her home. I was raising a teenage girl myself, and I asked, "Excuse me but may I ask a question?" He nodded and I continued, "It’s obviously none of my business, but doesn’t it bother you to know what your daughter does with these bands?"
He paused for a second in thought and said, "Well sir, Connie’s mom and I know that a girl like her would never get to meet all these famous people, eat in good restaurants, ride in Limos and even fly in private jets otherwise. She was even sung about in a hit record." I stood in shock for a moment, decided you couldn’t argue with that logic, and bid him a goodnight.
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