Michael Des Barres’ story reads like a fairytale.
This is a man that is known in many different ways. He is an actor, appearing in some of the most successful films and television shows ever made. He’s been a successful musician for more than 40 years. And ironically enough, his biggest claim to fame may be his marriage to famed groupie Pamela Des Barres.
Born in Hove, Sussex, Michael Des Barres’ first foray into film was in 1967 being cast alongside Sidney Poitier for the film To Sir With Love in which he played an East End pupil who always wore dark sunglasses. Des Barres officially abandoned acting in 1972 and formed Silverhead. After two well-received albums and subsequent tours of the USA, Europe and Japan, he disbanded the group and moved to Los Angeles (with 200 dollars and a hairdryer) where he was met at the airport by a girl who would turn out to be the future Pamela Des Barres. Pamela was dating Jimmy Page at the time but the two soon fell in love and Des Barres managed to remain friends with Page, who subsequently signed Michael’s new band Detective to Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song label. By the time 1978 came along, Michael had radically altered his view on rock music after witnessing an extraordinary Sex Pistols’ gig in San Francisco and split Detective up to later sign a solo deal with Dreamland Records in 1980. Des Barres co-wrote and recorded “Obsession” in 1983 which was covered by Animotion two years later, becoming a multi-million- selling worldwide hit. The late 80’s saw Des Barres head back into acting with roles starring opposite Clint Eastwood in Pink Cadillac and he continued to take film roles in Ghoulies, Under Siege, Poison Ivy: The New Seduction and Mulholland Drive along with dozens of TV roles including the role of assassin and master of disguise Murdoc in the MacGyver series. In 2012, Des Barres released two albums: a studio record called Carnaby Street and a live album called Hot n Sticky Live, recorded at Los Angeles’ Viper Room. Michael Des Barres’ most recent offering, The Key To The Universe, was released on April 7, 2015.
I had a chance to sit down with this incredibly gracious and vibrant man and discuss some of the things that he’s seen throughout his incredible life. An extremely candid and loving person, Des Barres made me feel like I was rekindling an old friendship.