Gwen Stefani and Rock 'n Roll Stomachs
So what's the deal with this Gwen from No Doubt? Lots of people like her, sure. I mean, they've been told to like her, and people usually do what they're told. She shows up on MTV and dances in slow motion, which kind of makes me queasy, but that's just me. You might like it. It might even get you going, you know? Even when she appears in that new video, the one where she's Madonna about five years ago? She still gyrates around in slow motion with that dot in the middle of her forehead, making me feel kinda woozy. It just doesn't work for me. We were talking about No Doubt the other day. I started to tell someone about my dancing Gwen aversion, but it made me sick just thinking about her lanky old body rotating around like a butter churn, with all those no-name guys thumping away in the background, perfectly happy to remain anonymous. Someone else said, "You know what I can't stand? I can't stand her stomach." Sure, I thought, she's about three inches thick. Obviously a jealousy-fueled complaint. "Yeah, but her stomach sticks out. It's like she's one of those kids Sally Struthers always begs you to adopt at three a.m. when you're just trying to watch Up All Night with Rhonda Shear."Yuck. That stomach. "She sticks it out," another person said. "It's her prize." Well sure, I thought, everyone needs something. Especially if they've got a big dot between their eyes, and can only afford two pairs of plaid pants and half a shirt.So I started thinking about stomachs, and rock and roll, and I decided I don't really want to look at someone's stomach when they're singing, even if they have been working out with the Ab-Blaster. I don't want to see that Marilyn Manson guy's stomach, even if he's carved something important into it. I don't want to see Madonna's stomach either, though I would have a few years ago if it meant getting a quick peek at that Sex book she did. They had it on display at a bookstore near my apartment, but I was too embarrassed to crack the thing open in the middle of the store. Fluorescent lights and everything. You know. Besides, I heard all the pages fell out as soon as you opened it.But back to stomachs. I don't want to see them. In fact, are rock and roll singers even supposed to be in shape? Isn't that the wrong kind of decadence? I don't want my rock and roll with hard abs. Forget the repentant, rock-hard Don Henley of 1990; bring back the love-for-today Don of the '70s. Put the green M&Ms back in Van Halen's dressing room. Remember Mama Cass? I'll have some extra mayo with that ham sandwich.It's eerie. Creepy. Stepfordian. Remember when the Go-Go's kept getting more beautiful and shapely with every album? A few more and they would have been forced to accompany each new release with a corresponding workout tape. And Courtney Love. Did you see her in that People vs. Larry Flynt movie? Nice stomach. Too bad she had someone else's breasts attached to it.Now give me Tad. There's a stomach. And he wisely keeps it covered. Even Simon Le Bon, that international playboy from the '80s who married the runway model before it was a requirement -- he carried a few extra pounds around the middle, just in case of emergency. How about Debra Nyall from Romeo Void? Remember her? Fat. And covered up. Patti Smith? Skinny. But covered up. Proud of that underarm hair, but she kept the stomach under wraps.We kept talking, and you know who I blame? I blame Anthony Kiedis and his little "monsters of sock" crew. Okay, they've got tattoos, so it's understandable. Why get the tats if no one can see them (unless you're the guy in Doom Generation)? But Anthony, are those the beginnings of love handles I see bouncing violently up and down as you swing your long flowing locks? And don't look to Flea for relief. We're lucky if we can get him to wear a pair of briefs. Dave Navarro? Naked -- when he's not wearing ladies' panties down some Paris catwalk, that is. Maybe I can blame Iggy Pop, who was once the archetypal "wasted rock star" but is now a nice big stick of beef jerky. Despite this alarming image, Iggy remains chronically naked from the waist up. Even in videos.I say cover it up, No Doubt girl. Gwen. Anthony. Iggy. Marilyn. Nice shtick, but geez, what would Jim Morrison say? "UhhhÉ GwennnÉ when I said 'hedonism,' I wasn't thinkin' about excessive fitness, ya know?" The Lizard King -- now there was a fat guy. And usually covered up. Well, his stomach at least.