Groupie Grows Up

Here's an interview......

'Once upon a time there was a teenage girl on the Gold Coast who dreamed of falling in love with a rock star. Rod Stewart was on the top of her list. It was 1981. While this was not an unusual adolescent fantasy, Nikki went a few steps further and began taking herself to the backstage doors of rock n roll gigs to schmoose with the boys from the band. She lost her virginity to a musician from Australian Crawl just shy of her sixteenth birthday. By day, she was a straight A student, by night a rock groupie. As soon as the rest of her conservative Catholic family were asleep, she would crawl out of her bedroom window and walk to Bombay Rock in the heart of Surfers Paradise.

Nikki has now written a book about her adventures and is finding herself reliving those decadent, hedonistic days. It is called ‘One Way or Another: the story of a girl who loved rock-stars.’

‘It’s a million miles away from the life I live now!’ she says from her Brisbane Queenslander, surrounded by her family, husband, Zeus and five children, aged from twenty-five down to seven.

‘The only rock gigs I would consider going to are my son’s but he won’t let me!’ she laughs. Her eldest son, Benjamin plays bass guitar in a death metal outfit in Sydney.

While her early days were filled with cocaine-fuelled partying with the likes of Michael Hutchence and the boys from Duran Duran, these days you are more likely to find Nikki on the sidelines of a kids soccer match or volunteering for school reading groups.

‘When Duran Duran toured recently,’ she muses, ‘I did think about pulling the thigh-high boots out of the wardrobe….’
‘But I didn’t think it was such a great idea.’ Zeus interrupts with a smile.
Considering the scene in her memoir where Nikki gets hot and heavy with a member of Duran Duran in the back of a limousine, Zeus is probably right. Which brings us to the question of how he is dealing with all these raunchy revelations about his wife. She is now Australia’s most notorious groupie.

‘It was actually my idea that she write the book. It’s such a great adventure. Funny but kind of sad at the same time.’

In the book, Nikki very candidly talks about her early termination of a pregnancy and the terror she felt after trying heroin for the first time.

‘I did go to some dark places in my youth. Depression. A suicide attempt. Drugs. Heartbreak.’
But ‘One Way or Another’ is ultimately a tale of courage and humour and the story of a girl who becomes a woman with many lessons learned along the way. Steve Kilbey from The Church calls it ‘a great Australian rock and roll read,’ and Michael Hutchence’s best mate, director of ‘Dogs in Space,’ Richard Lowenstein, describes it as a ‘Puberty Blues’ for the eighties generation.

But Nikki has lived a very colourful life even since hanging up her groupie boots. She has worked as a film and television actress, appearing in Police Rescue and the Clean Machine, been a housekeeper for Kerry Packer, a family law counsellor, a drama teacher, a bank teller and a medical receptionist.

‘Life has been a bit of a roller-coaster for me,’ she smiles. ‘I’ve had some amazing highs and some deep lows. Five years ago I was actually homeless. Literally homeless.’

After giving away most of their belongings to charity, Nikki and Zeus took the family on a three month camping trip through North Queensland.

‘It was truly idyllic. Living on some of the world’s most amazing beaches, learning about the local Indigenous culture and spotting crocodiles on the Daintree River.’

But after returning to Lismore to resume University studies, the family tent was destroyed in a freak hail storm as was their car and the family found themselves, penniless and without anywhere to live.

‘That was a raw and terrifying time,’ Nikki remembers. ‘But we were a tight unit and started again from scratch. It certainly put things into perspective for us.’

Zeus went on to complete his studies in Primary Education and now teaches at a Brisbane school while Nikki finished a legal degree and then decided that she would rather follow her dream of being a published author than chase a career in law.

‘Zeus suggested I write the groupie tale and it went on to be shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award in the category of Emerging Writer. That opened up the door to me and I was soon signed with Cameron’s Literary Agency and had a contract with Black Inc Books.’

One of the boys in Duran Duran hunted Nikki down to congratulate her on the book and she has had more than a few musicians of old dropping her emails to say ‘hi’.

‘It’s funny, I suppose, that they are popping up now. My, how the tables have turned. But I have so many lovely memories and absolutely no regrets so I am enjoying reliving my youth through my book. It’s like time travelling back to the eighties. What a blast!’

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