I’m with the band

If you look up the word ligger. It means things like a plank over a stream, a scaffolding timber, a bed cover and lastly

“A freeloader or hanger-on, especially in the music industry.”

When I used to read the NME in the early 1980s, there were countless accounts of people like Paul Morley ‘ligging’ at various punk and new wave gigs. If you were a music journalist, you had every right to hang out with a band, eat their food and drink and then hopefully write about how fantastic the whole night was. Other liggers tended to be friends of the band, stylish hangers-on and would-be girlfriends. In this video interview from Toronto, the Clash speak frankly, whilst the self-proclaimed liggers hang out back stage.


Note that the girls here call themselves ‘liggers’ and not groupies. Sadly, if you do an internet search for groupies, there are some opinionated and unreconstructed guys ranting on about (male) bands and their female followers. Opinions like this:

“There’s a fundamental difference. Women don’t get into music to get laid.”

and this are rife:

“What are girls supposed to do after the show. Go home to the hotel room and chill out. No wonder Janis Joplin hit the bottle and trawled the bars for young men. It must have been so lonely.”

Sorry, but most musicians I know got into music because they like music. Sex and attention from an entourage of liggers may be a bonus, but there’s not many things better than playing a crazy gig!

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