Fans Drive Rock Singer to Shy Life

Pamela Marin, a free-lance writer who lives in Newport Beach, is a regular contributor to Orange County Life.

Dear Single Life,

My name is Jimmy. I've been a professional singer/entertainer for 9 years. I have met hundreds of ladies, but never knew if any of them like me for myself or because I'm a lead singer, and I have gotten hurt a few times because I'm not that "fantasy" offstage that I am when I'm on. Plus I'm not into drugs or much drink, so they think I'm either being dishonest or they just can't figure me out.

I am very domestic and would prefer a one-on-one relationship--that's permanent! So even with all the ladies I've met and that are available

Jimmy Frederickson, stage name "Jimmy Clone," settles into a deep leather chair in his Gardena living room. It's midafternoon, but inside Jimmy's apartment--windows closed, drapes drawn, the quiet, carpeted rooms sealed from the noise and dirt outside--it feels like late night. Or the first hours of morning.

Jimmy switches on a lamp. He jiggles the ice in his diet soda.

He has dispensed his resume: 33 years old; born and reared in Gardena; works as a physical therapist in Tustin 2 days a week; lead singer in an oldies band since 1979.

And he has plucked out a few memories of his marriage, which lasted either 3 or 4 years, can't remember exactly, and ended a decade ago.

"I quit my job. I stayed home. I think I went kinda crazy," Jimmy says of the months following the breakup of his marriage. "I felt sorry for myself for about 6 months. I didn't know what happened. I didn't know where I was going. I was scared because at the time I was only a rhythm guitarist in a band, I wasn't a front man, and I didn't know if I had it in me."

So now it's time to talk about women and relationships--the subject of his letter. Jimmy's staccato chatter slows to a halting ballad.

Out of the funk of his failed marriage, Jimmy assembled a group called the Rolling Clones, a Rolling Stones tribute band with himself the strutting Mick Jagger surrogate, complete with custom wigs, stage makeup and costumes. It worked. The Clones played the Hollywood club circuit for a few years, then landed bigger-money gigs--Magic Mountain, Knott's Berry Farm, Six Flags Over Texas. Three grand a night for a couple of 45-minute shows.

Along the way, Jimmy learned about groupies.

"I hope people won't think this is chauvinistic," Jimmy began, "because I don't mean this to be degrading to women. I love women a lot, and I don't feel that all women are like this. But there were hundreds of times when girls would just come back to my dressing room. . . . It got to the point where if I knew something was going to happen, I'd tell the bandleader to do a few extra songs. I'd tell him I'd come on with 'Honky Tonk Woman.' That'd be my cue, when the drums kicked in."

Wait a minute--what about the sensitive, misunderstood singer looking for domestic bliss? "That's much later," Jimmy said with a grin.

"When this all started, I was 24," he said. "I was very naive. I'd come from a very settled family, and I'd been monogamous in my marriage. Suddenly all these girls were picking up on me, and I didn't know how to deal with it. I felt kinda like a bird that had just fallen out of the nest.

"I was very passive in the beginning. I was very shy. I didn't understand that girls would want to sleep with you just because you're a singer. I remember one time this girl came up to me after a show and said, 'Hey, want to go outside?' " Jimmy looks around his apartment as if he were back in that crowded barroom--eyes wide with bewilderment, eyebrows raised and questioning. "I said, 'Naah. I'll just stay in here.' She goes, 'Let's go out to my car.' That's when I knew (what) she . . . wanted."

Which is pretty much what Jimmy decided he wanted, after he "learned to play the game." Seven years rolled by, filled with "countless affairs" and one live-in relationship cut short when his girlfriend developed a drug problem.

He wasn't worried about acquired immune deficiency syndrome, he said, because "I used condoms 90% of the time."

"After (the relationship) ended, I was drinking a lot for a while," Jimmy said. "I had a real bad weight problem. One night I was getting dressed and my friend came in and goes, 'Oh, looks like the Elvis show tonight.' I screamed at him (to get out), I was really (upset). I sat here a couple nights later and realized how fat I was and that I was just kind of at my low spot.

"I was feeling very lonely at the time, but I knew if I told friends, 'Hey, I'm really lonely,' they'd say, 'You're crazy, you've always got all these people around you.' People are very locked into the front of it all."

That was two years ago, when, Jimmy said, "everything started changing."

"In the olden days, if I went out and I played music, and (had sex), I was happy," he said. "Now that I'm older, that's not the way I want to live. I would really like to be in a domestic situation. I think that's how we were designed to live.

"When you're an entertainer, you tend to meet a certain type of women that want to take care of you. They want to mother you. They want to fix you dinner and give you all this stability that you've supposedly never had. To a certain degree, that's okay, but what usually happens is they mother you to the point where you lose sexual interest in them.

"I've talked to other entertainers, and they feel this way too. It's like a loopless cassette. They (women) say, 'I don't like you just because you're a singer. I like you because of you. ' And they really don't know you at all.

"It's like that song by Dire Straits, "Money for Nothing." You know that song? That's exactly the way it is."

That ain't workin' that's the way you do it

You play the guitar on the MTV

That ain't workin' that's the way you do it

Money for nothin' and your chicks for free

Money for nothin' and your chicks for free

"Money for Nothing,"

Dire Straits

Jimmy Clone bounces up the stairs, stage right, in a small bar in Hermosa Beach. Gone are the jeans and button-down shirt of his afternoon interview, replaced with a black jacket, black muscle T-shirt and black leather pants that fit him like a second skin. His platinum hair picks up red and green highlights from the spotlights aimed at the stage.

The singer grabs a tambourine and plants his feet wide apart as the band works through oldies by the Beatles, the Stones, Steppenwolf, Elvis, Van Morrison. He slides easily through the varied accents and styles of the famous men he mimics, directing a lyric here, a gesture there, to women seated near the stage.

By the end of the second set, a blonde at the bar is hooting after every song. "Awriight! Go, Jimmy!" She's a beauty--waist-length hair, full figure, short skirt.

She's 23, a bookkeeper from Torrance.

"Jimmy is really, really cute," she says with a giggle, as she steps outside during a break between sets. "It's like, when he looks at me, and I look at him, I just feel he's singing for me."

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