Cynthia Albritton, ‘Plaster Caster’ Groupie, Dead at 74
Cynthia Albritton, the groupie known for taking plaster molds of famous rock stars’ penises, has died at the age of 74 after reportedly battling a “long illness.”
The Chicago native stumbled upon her hobby while in college. A regular concert attendee, she initially had difficulty introducing herself to bands.
“I was a shy, fledgling, virginal goofy girl that wanted to get laid by cute British boys with long hair and tight pants,” she recalled to Rock Scene magazine in 2012. “But I wasn’t experienced or seductive, and the only way I could go about getting the zippers down was, it had to be in a goofy, funny way.”
Inspiration struck the young music fan during one of her art classes.
“When my art teacher told me to make a plaster cast as my homework assignment of something that could retain its shape. Something solid,” she explained. “And I’d heard through the grapevine that penises got solid, although I had yet to see that happen.”
It didn’t take long for Albritton to find her first subject.
“I took up the subject with Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders, who was in town that very night,” she continued. “And he was happy to help me with my homework assignment, except that the material my art teacher told me to use to make the negative impression was sand and water, which was not gonna be conducive to a solid state of penis. But that’s okay, not important. More importantly, I lost my virginity to Mark Lindsay just as a result of talking about it.”
So began a unique hybrid between groupie fandom and experimental art that spanned decades. Albritton became known as Cynthia “Plaster Caster,” a legend in music circles. Albritton enjoyed her reputation and rarely had trouble finding volunteers.
“Back then, during the sexual revolution, you had a social obligation to dip your dick into something new and different,” she noted. “And we had something different for dipping.”
Jimi Hendrix, Wayne Kramer of the MC5, Gene Simmons of Kiss and Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks were among her most famous casts.
Though not one of her subjects, Frank Zappa befriended Albritton and helped move her to Los Angeles in order to pursue an art exhibition. After her apartment was robbed in 1971, Albritton agreed to give the casts to Zappa’s business partner, Herb Cohen, for safekeeping. This later proved problematic as, in a strange turn of events, Cohen refused to give them back. The discourse ended up going to court, with Albritton eventually recouping all but three of her casts.
There have been many tributes and homages to Albritton over the years. In 1977, Kiss released the song “Plaster Caster,” inspired by the groupie. The track included such lines as: “The plaster's gettin' harder / And my love is perfection / A token of my love / For her collection, her collection.” Jim Croce’s “Five Short Minutes” was also inspired by Albritton, with lyrics such as: "Well, like a fool in a hurry I took her to my room / She casted me in plaster while I sang her a tune."
Her collection reportedly swelled to more than 100 pieces, with filmmakers and artists added into the mix. Later in her career, Albritton made casts of female rock stars breasts, with Suzi Gardner of L7 and Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs among them.
“I don’t like to play favorites,” Albritton once admitted of her famed casts. “I love them all. And all the experiences were equally exciting and weird and different from each other.”