Cleo Odzer

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Cleo Odzer about how she went wild

Well, when I was fifteen, that's the year I went WILD. It was 1965, I'm so old. It was in the middle of the Viet Nam era, so that was really the middle of the Hippie
movement, the antiwar demonstrations, the drugs, the women's rights battle. This was the time I became an adolescent, sort of a "human being", and growing into the
world—all this was taking place, and this shaped my personality.
So, um, politics, I didn't really care so much about politics. I understood the war, but... I liked the idea of free love, and free drugs, and partying. So when I was fifteen
I started to go out wild every night. There was this discotheque called The Cheetah, and it was right next to my house. So my friend and I used to go. And because we were cute little girls… I had fake ID, everybody had fake ID, and the legal drinking age was eighteen, so it said I was eighteen (I was fifteen), and I went every night. I would sneak out of my house. I would pretend I was going to bed and then when everybody was asleep I snuck out the kitchen door, and it was only a few blocks to this discotheque called The Cheetah and I started to hang out, and party, and do marijuana. Nobody knew what the smell was like, we could smoke it anywhere, and they didn't know what the smell was like. It was amazing.
And then, at the Cheetah there were, um, "groups". Every two weeks there was a new group. And at that time, the Hippies were just starting to come into fashion, so
guys with long hair were the fashion. And the musicians were the guys with the long hair. So if you went into a nightclub, the cutest guys were the guys with the long hair, the musicians, and they had the velvet clothes, and fringes (I love fringes), so sexy. So I started to… I had a new boyfriend every two weeks. Every two weeks there was a new band, and every two weeks I had a new boyfriend. It was heaven.

Cleo on her romance with Keith Emerson and on being a groupie

And then I fell in love... of course, there's a big love affair. And at that time he was with a group called The Nice… nobody has ever heard of The Nice, and his name was Keith Emerson. And later he became famous from the group Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. But at that time, nobody knew who he was. But I saw him... he played the organ... he was dressed in fringes, he had long hair... he was so talented... I was in love. Oh, was I in love!
And at the time I was writing for a village newspaper called The Downtown. I had a column about the new groups coming in. "Pop Sounds By Cleo," it was called. So I had a good excuse to meet the guys. So I saw him, I wanted him, I got him. And we had a relationship, while he was in New York he was with me. And I went to England twice to see him. And then we got engaged. And then all of a sudden this whole scandal about groupies came out, and it was in Time Magazine, and they mentioned my name, they had a picture of me, "Super Groupie Cleo." But they had a quote from another woman who called herself Cleo. I didn't say that, because I never thought I was a groupie. I did not say that quote. But it had my picture. And when I had gone to London before, the secretaries from the office… they knew me and they were jealous, they were catty, because I had the cute guy. So one day they made him sign his check on the Time magazine article that had my picture as "Super-Groupie Cleo." And he got really angry and he broke off the engagement… and I was heartbroken... I was heartbroken. This was the first love of my life, and it just... killed me.
So that was the end of my, uh... Well, no, actually it was the beginning of my career as a groupie, because for revenge… I never believed I was a groupie, but for revenge I said, "If he's going to call me a groupie, I'm going to be the most famous groupie." So I made an album called "The Groupies," where we talked about all the different groups,.

Cleo on how she went to Goa

I left the United States because I had to work and I didn't want to work. I grew up in a very rich family and my father died of Parkinson's disease when I was sixteen and till then nobody told me anything about money or work; and I just left. I said "I amb leaving forever". There was a hippie movement I knew travelling across Europe and I heard about freaks in India. But you know it is something you hear, a word here and there. And then one day I saw a sign that a bus was leaving from Athens to Goa, India. I had never heard of Goa. We went from Greece through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan (wich is now gone), Pakistan and into India... Goa!

Cleo's wishes for the future.

I don't know what the future brings, but I know what I don't want: New York is what I don't want, that culture is what I don't want; it's not right. I don't know what is right. I don't think our old life was right. I don't see a new culture that is right, but we have to continue trying, that's the best we can do, that's the best any of us can do, to keep trying. To make something that is peaceful for everybody, that makes people happy, that is fair to everybody. And that's all I want.