These are the days of magic; days we travel the world performing for thousands of fans, running off to Greece for a post-tour romantic getaway. Days we take spiritual sabbaticals in India, sharing both heavy austerities and the joy of fresh papaya dripping with lemon juice. Days we invest in real estate, tend our organic garden, and sweat out summers convinced we’ve found the only masochist on earth who shares a disdain for recycled air.
My husband is a Rock Star, a type personified by that affable and charismatic scoundrel, Bill Clinton. He’s not as powerful as Slick Willy, and arguably better behaved, but he does enjoy Clintonesque fame in his own B-grade way. Don’t get me wrong – that’s no slight. B-grade fame is fabulous! Jokes about B or C-grade celebrity suggest the status is easily achieved. On the contrary, it takes hard work and B-grade fame enjoys advantages that most people underestimate. As long as we’re talking about real artists and not the latest nasty-ass stripper with her own reality TV show on the Oxygen Network, the lower rungs of fame earn my utmost respect. A-grade fame attracts the crazies and the stalkers, something I learned impressively on tour with A-list celebs, No Doubt. Their fans are for the most part the loveliest a band could hope for. Even so, I was regaled with horror stories of the sordid little things in innocuous little packages that make their way to Gwen Stefani on a daily basis. She’s a down to earth Orange County girl who quickly learned to have security quarantine all incoming ‘gifts.’ Life’s precious privacies are exchanged for A-grade fame in ways one can’t imagine. My gratuitous name-dropping serves as the perfect segue into another story where No Doubt invited us as guests to watch them perform on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I look nothing like Gwen Stefani even on a good day, but with blond hair and apparently what must scream a skater-girl uniform, fans rushed our group as we emerged from the TV studio thinking I’m the diva herself. We pushed through the passionate crowd and into our car, laughing at the madness of it all. They love this woman so dearly they willingly overlooked my clear blue eyes in place of her chocolate browns, and my five-feet/one-inches over her five-seven. Out of the studio grounds and into the labyrinth known as Burbank we five, clueless-in-L.A. New York City punks realized we were lost and made an illegal u-turn. So did five other cars. “Gwen” was being chased! We set off on a high-speed pursuit that would make any Los Angelina proud, weaving in and out of traffic turning left then right, and slicing through gas stations on corners to avoid red lights intent on thwarting our escape. Certain we were no longer being trailed (and quite enamored with our evidently amazing evasion skills) we abandoned the streets in favor of the 101 freeway back to our hotel. Almost immediately we slowed to a crawl. L.A. traffic! But we didn’t care. The sun was shining, and we took the opportunity to drop the top on our convertible Mustang rental. No doubt (pardon the pun) friends back East weren’t enjoying such a warm April afternoon. Within thirty seconds two fans jogged up to the car, huffing and puffing, risking life and limb begging me for an autograph right on the freeway.
“I’m not Gwen Stefani!”
“Yes you are.” A pretty brunette countered defiantly.
“No I'm not! Look at my eyes. My God, listen to my accent!"
“But you signed a CD back at the studio!”
Oops, I did… but only because the crowd was so persistent, and the boys goading me on. There’s no excuse. I shouldn’t have done it. It took several more impassioned declarations that I am not Gwen, noting absolutely all our physical distinctions to convince them. I’m almost sad I did. They were markedly happier five minutes ago.