The Real Story

Pennie Lane

Welcome to the site of the real-life Pennie Lane. Yes, she does exist! She walks among us. You might pass her on a street, in a store, or while riding your bike. You might catch her eye in a crowded restaurant, in an art gallery, or more likely, in a small club listening to a hot but unknown band. How would you know if it was her?

The fact is, you wouldn’t. Pennie Lane is, and has always been, very careful about that. She believes that her personal life is, well, personal. She never believed in selling her memoirs, although she has been asked. She just doesn’t kiss and tell!

It is a fascinating story about a woman who never planned to tell it. In the end, she didn’t have to, for someone else did. Sometimes life takes some unexpected turns, and opportunities present themselves in the most unusual ways. Pennie Lane understands this. She believes in destiny.

Although she met and loved men who were rock legends, her motivation for meeting them was not marriage, money or personal gain. She simply did it because their music touched her in ways that nothing else could. Her motivation was pure and it was simple. Perhaps because of that reason, she was able to meet and connect with the men she so admired.

“Rock Stars? I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention.”

As she watched musicians living their dream, she realized that anything was possible. She also knew how seductive the lifestyle could be, so she carefully created a personal time line. She allowed herself three years…the time between her junior year in high school (17) until she started college (20) to live, tour and get to know musicians.Maybe it was protective intuition, but she never could tune out a tiny voice in her head that kept warning her…”this isn’t real”. Yet she allowed herself the jet set luxury and took the risk. Sometimes she had to hold onto her heart with both hands…but in the end, she knew that it was the right thing to do. (And for you film buffs, there were no drug overdoses!)

Pennie Lane knew, however, that it would soon be time to go. She realized even then that she had only been a spectator on the sidelines. She had watched, listened and learned a great deal from her rags-to-riches rock star lovers…and also from their managers, record companies, promoters, roadies, travel people and even chauffeurs. She had a pretty good idea of what she wanted out of life by that time, and more importantly, what she didn’t want. She was ready to focus on her own life and her career. It was time to begin the next chapter of her life. After all, it was 1974.

At age 20, Pennie Lane walked away, got on a plane and flew home to Portland, Oregon. She went back to her real identity and closed the chapter on this amazing and secret part of her life. She knew that rock and roll would go on, and she also knew how quickly groupies were forgotten. She went to college, graduate school and enjoyed a stellar marketing career. She was even married for 10 years. The one thing that never changed was her love of music.

Then a very strange thing happened. In the year 2000, she received a phone call. Someone had remembered her. Ironically, it was not a rock star, but a writer. Even more amazing, in the past three decades the writer had become even more famous than some of the people he had interviewed! He was a man who loved the music as much as Pennie did and, more importantly, he really understood what it felt like to be a fan. They were both very young when they met in 1973, and were good friends for that short period of time. They had not seen each other in 27 years.

The writer wrote a story…not just about Pennie Lane, but about the many girls who loved musicians. He knew that many of us may never be cool and at best, we might be almost famous. Movie critics have said that this kind of life never existed in the music business, but it really did…in 1973. If you were not alive at that time, it might be hard to fathom. It was post-Woodstock and pre-Punk. Men loved women and women loved men. It was the last decade of innocence in rock and roll.

Pennie Lane would like to say just one thing at this point…”Thank you, Cameron, for your memories.”

The world’s best beard…


International men, with beards and personality beyond belief, showed up in Portland recently for the World’s Best Beard & Mustaches Championship… and I was asked to be one of the judges!  It was truly an honor and so much fun!  In a fast paced 5 hours,  I saw more creative facial hair than I’ve ever seen in my life!  The competition was held in one of Portland’s most respected auditoriums (The Keller) and it offered a posh place that set the tone for this unique event.   It was unusual and amazing and one of the things I liked best about it was that it gave everyone who had probably never been on that kind of grand stage, in a proper theater/opera hall, a once in a lifetime experience.  It was really great to watch the men when their names were called out, and to see their transformation as they walked from backstage into the lights and turned it on for the crowd.  Most of the contestants that I met were not professional performers…just great people having fun. But these men were confident in their beards and it showed when their true star quality emerged.  The crowd was enthusiastic and wild.  The event was indie and causal (thankfully, not like the Academy Awards), but it was authentic Portlandia all the way.   Although the judges all agreed on the winner, we each had our favorites.  Mine was not pictured, but he was a man who had his beard styled into a gorgeous Gibson guitar, probably about 18 inches across.  I never had imagined anyone wearing a guitar on his face before, but for any girl who loves guitars,  it was a fine and a beautiful thing.  Don’t give up on me… I’ll keep trying to find his picture.  Until then, take a look at this year’s contestants!



In Memory of Reno

Losing any animal you love is a sad experience, and often devastating. And I’ve found it doesn’t matter if you lose a horse, a bunny, a cat or a dog… you still grieve if you have loved.

Reno was not my horse- he was owned by a Native American friend. John owns one of the largest farms on Sauvie Island and is partial to the fine breed of Tennessee Walking Horses, who can cover a vast amount of ground at a very smooth running walk gait that no other breed of horse can do.  John needs to inspect his farmland daily, so he just saddles up one of his walking horses and leaves the truck in the driveway. He always preferred Reno, because that horse knew the program and went straight to work.  He could cover more ground faster than any other horse.

When I had to put my last dressage horse down, Androcoles (Andy), I was “horseless” for the first time since I was 12. I’ve spent over 10,000 hours of my life with horses, so the pain of going through horse withdrawal was long and hard.  John saw this, and in his kind, understated and caring way, called me up and asked me to come over to “help him out” and ride Reno. Thus began our special friendship.

I rode Reno several times over the past 4 years, and I grew to admire, respect and love him. It slowly filled up the hole in my heart and he kept me connected. He was an intelligent, honest, and athletic horse with a great work ethic. And that running walk! You could hold a glass of champagne, lean back and let him rip and never spill a drop! That just tells you how smooth the Tennessee Walker’s gait is!

He was not old, but his time was up. Fortunately, he didn’t die alone. John was with him till the end. And when the pain became too much, the vet ended his suffering.  We all know that this selfless act takes an enormous amount of courage, and I’m grateful that John was there. He and Reno had a very special bond.

I will always remember Reno ripping down country roads, at what felt like a 40 mph running walk, with my hair flying and marveling that riding a horse could be so much fun (vs. a dressage horse which is  so much work!)

Last night, it was actually warm in Portland,and I was sitting outside and looking at the stars.  I visualized Reno, mane flying, at his fast running walk, streaking across the sky- and I smiled.  By now, I’m sure he he has made it all the way to Heaven.

Please join me! Corb Lund and The Hurtin’ Albertins LIVE Mon. May 5, 2014 at the Star Theater!

I’ve always loved musicians from Canada, so it goes without saying that, like most everyone else in that country,  I’m a big fan of Corb Lund and The Hurtin’ Albertins!   Just off a month-long Germany/ Switzerland tour, I bet the boys will be ready to drink some proper Pendleton Whiskey after all that bier!  To get all of you fired up, I’ve included a link to  “Bible On The Dash”- with the duo of Corb and Texan Hays Carll- another one of my favorites!  Tix are going fast!  My favorite CD?  Horse Soldier!  Favorite song that cheers me up and makes me laugh every time?  “Cows Around” … and I know, but I’m a farmer now, remember?  C’mon down and I’ll see you on Monday night!

You can get tickets now on Star Theater’s website.