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Leaving the Wailing Wall, Gwen is asked for her autograph. "I wasn't planning on it," she said, "but you never know what's going to happen." But when she was onstage, the whole thing welled up inside her – "Fuck you, I'm a girl! The problems of success are less expected, especially as they trip you at a time when you expect to be floating on the cushion of your own achievement and happiness.
And in all of these countries, No Doubt's third American hit, "Don't Speak," is the sad sing-along ballad of now. "I just like the sharp angles, and they're not cool," he will say, and his pride is peculiarly eloquent.
When No Doubt wheel their luggage through Tel Aviv customs, it may well be the sight of Gwen Stefani that sets off the uniformed official, but by the time he finds the words, it is to No Doubt's bass player, Tony Kanal, that he delivers his offering. (A short Tom Dumont anecdote: In the old days, he used to tell Adrian Young that if they sold, you know, 3 million records, he'd get a tattoo.
The girl who worries about her weight and says mean things about herself. ' ") For a while he was the band's manager.
The girl who is devoted to the idea of No Doubt, the band, and who is nervous – especially in these new days of "Hey, there's the blond girl over there! He is famous within the band for being excessively anal.
And now that I get here, I'm not getting the payoff that I was always expecting.""Nobody understands what it's like, and I do understand," says Gwen.
"But there is another Gwen Stefani – less modest, less reticent and a thousand times more a pop star. "He wanted to make it stick so bad, all the glue came off.")Tom Dumont is the guitar player.
The girl who was in a pop group for six years before she realized she might have a few firm feelings of her own that she wanted to sing about.When they were written, back in Orange County when No Doubt were known by only a few thousand fans of the California ska scene, those words – were addressed by Gwen to Tony. And – this is the point – when she thinks of herself, she does not. (A short Adrian Young anecdote: He used to have red devil horns sculpted from his own hair, an idea he took from an extra on the "Just a Girl" video shoot.Internet gossip asserts that she is (1) pregnant, (2) engaged to her boyfriend, Bush's Gavin Rossdale, and (3) a transsexual. (A short Gwen Stefani anecdote: When she was 5, she was in ballet class and needed to pee really bad. One day he got an abusive letter from the original Horn Boy, accusing him of being a fraud: You claim to be part of the dark side, when you're just a big fake, you're just a big rock star.(These are gifts from her boyfriend: "He's like my stylist now. Well, he didn't like it when I had my yellow vinyl bondage pants.") When she is on the camel, three middle-aged men chat with her, their banter a lazy mixture of flirtation and condescension, then one of them hollers: "Where did you get that stupid outfit? (Anyone who can stand onstage in 1997 proudly performing a song with backing vocals – keen aficionados of this harshly neglected form will already be thinking of Kim Wilde's "Kids in America" – deserves your careful consideration.) The greatest moment of both pop bazoom and Stefani-star theater comes during "Just a Girl." These are the words Gwen wrote in 1994 about being surrounded by boys. Or as she puts it, scrunching up her body and voice in an imitation of insecure femininity, "What about all the sweet, cute, little girls? This is not sophisticated, gender-liberating art, but as pop music it is rousing and potent. In London, after Gwen has lost her voice, I hear them explode as it is explained that if Gwen doesn't attend their press and radio interviews, nobody will be happy." When she dismounts, she spots something on the Mount of Olives sidewalk. The phrase "just a girl" made her laugh, and she asked her friends and her sister for everyday examples of the way girls were patronized. When "Just a Girl" was becoming No Doubt's first hit, they played a show at the Costa Mesa, Calif., Virgin Megastore. ("Has it got to the point," Tom rages, "where we mean nothing? If Gwen doesn't speak, we mean And so people photograph the four of them and crop three of them out.And then she turns on the Holy Land TV and discovers the seer and savior of our vicious, uncertain times talking about the very same thing. The men of the band float on top of the sea; Gwen refuses, blaming "one of those real premenstrual headaches." At the Dead Sea gift shop, she buys a present for her boyfriend. Afterward we drive into Jerusalem and visit the holiest sites of Judaism and Christianity. But Gwen Stefani still sings the song, and she still sings it the way she wants. The problems that failure brings at least have the advantage of familiarity; most of us have a lifetime in their company.