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This Months Gratuitous No Doubt Items

Does Rolling Stone hate Gwen Stefani? Seriously, how else can you explain that horrific full-page photo of her in the magazine's Dec. 14-21 People of the Year issue? That Tammy Faye Bakker mascara! Those bushy, bushy lashes! The abusive lipstick! That freaky, pulled-back mug, like she's undergoing an extremely painful colonic! And, dear God, those teeth! They take up half her head! It's an image that would give small children nightmares—hey, it gives us nightmares! Really, just because No Doubt was on the cover of Spin earlier in the year doesn't give Rolling Stone an excuse to be mean to, as they say, "The Queen of Confessional Pop" (wait—didn't they call Alanis Morissette that not long ago?). . . . Also hating Stefani—well, at least not liking her very much—is The Village Voice's Robert Christgau, a.k.a. "the dean of America's rock critics"—no joke, people really call him that! (Well, we'd call ourselves that, too, if it weren't already taken.) No Doubt's Return of Saturn album made Christgau's annual Turkey Shoot list of the year's worst records, an honor similarly bestowed upon Lit in 1999 for their A Place in the Sun. Of Stefani, Christgau says that she's "forced to battle the perception that she's shallow because shallow is what she is. Like any human being, she has real feelings, but they run about as deep as her hair color and her commitment to ska." Me-yow! As for us, we didn't think Return of Saturn was one of '00's best albums, but it was far from one of the worst. That would be Orgy's toxic, abysmal Vapor Transmission, which we're proud to report Christgau also despises at least as much as we do—so much that he gave the record his Prize Turkey award, a much-deserved citation. (RK)

>>>HALL OF SHAME So there we were at home one recent morning, getting ready to head in to LowBallAssChatter Worldwide Headquarters, when we happened to notice the list of this year's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees being announced on VH1. Not that we're interested in such things, mind you; the hall has always been a stupid idea, serving mostly as a mutual jerk-off fest/marketing ploy for the record biz during their snooty, tuxedo-festooned induction dinners, a gala that's priced waaaay out of reach for most music fans—you know, the people who buy the records that help put the inductees there in the first place. We've also never cared for the institutionalization that such a hall's existence propagates—rock & roll belongs in many places, but a sterile, poorly attended real-estate project/museum/ mausoleum on the shores of Lake Erie ain't one of them (that the annual dinner continues to be held at the hoity-toity Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New Yawk City while the hall itself is in the decidedly working-class hinterlands of Cleveland also reverbs some mighty jolting decibels—what zillionaire industry suit would be caught dead in a city of such—ugh!—common, working-class folk?). What's more, as additional artists have become eligible for hall-worthiness (a 25-year-long recording career being one of the main criteria), its penchant for blandness has been gradually revealing itself—when Billy Fucking Joel got inducted a couple of years ago, any remaining credibility the Hall had was instantly bludgeoned and left unburied. And on the VH1 broadcast, there was yet more grist, as short, pudgy, dictatorial Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner blurbed about the merits of the year's first announced inductee, Aerosmith, which he concluded with this gem: "And their videos have introduced us to Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler, Steven Tyler's daughter. We have a lot to thank them for." Guuurk! Well, we sure enjoyed the hot buttered toast we had for breakfast that morning—we just didn't expect it to come back up on us quite so suddenly after hearing that bit of hyperbole. As for the rest of this year's inductees, they include a couple of other '70s bands, some oldies acts, a few dead guys and Michael Jackson; we're as uninterested as you should be. (Rich Kane)


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