It's a sad fact of life in a band that, sometimes, certain members are going to get a little less attention than others. We can't all be Mick Jaggers, after all. But much like the Beatles before them, who made it an unofficial band rule that the insanely talented and prolific George Harrison was only allowed to record two songs per album, some bands take hiding their peripheral members to dizzying new heights. For example ...
No Doubt is one of those bands "blessed" with a lead singer who's so full of charm and pretty lady parts that the rest of the band might as well not be there as far as any of us are concerned. Once Gwen Stefani started releasing solo albums, everything became a blur. But look at that picture above and then think about everything you know about No Doubt, knowledge I'm assuming that you have stored in the same area of your memory bank that holds your fond remembrances of various xtreme! products and all other manner of '90s nostalgia. Does anything look out of place to you? Here, try comparing it to one of the band's album covers.
I'm sure you already had one out, but use this if not.
If you've ever seen No Doubt in concert or even watched some of their videos, you've seen these two hopping around the stage somewhere in the general area of the keyboards and trombones and other instruments that don't get you girls. And it's been that way for a long time. Bradley (left) joined the band in 1995, McNair in 1993. That gives them damn near 40 years of cumulative No Doubt experience between them. And they both play horns, which, in case you're not familiar with the genre, I should add are pretty vital to a "ska" band like No Doubt.
Yet for all that hard work, they've never appeared on the cover of a No Doubt album.
Self-esteem was especially low during the Rock Steady era, when no one made the album cover.
Now, I get that these two are just technically "touring members" who may not be involved in the actual songwriting, but damn, if there was a written history of No Doubt, those four Japanese girls Gwen Stefani bought and wore as fashion accessories while promoting her first solo album would have a longer write-up than these guys.
They're all drawing fat pensions now.
While I accept that Bradley and McNair aren't founding members, they've both been around since the days of Tragic Kingdom, which was the album that put No Doubt on the map. They may not have been in the fold prior to that, but who gave a shit about No Doubt before "Don't Speak" came out? Nobody. And it's not like making a long-serving touring musician a full member of an already established band is an unusual thing. In fact, my favorite-to-write-about band Green Day just added a fourth member to their lineup after he'd served 13 years as a sidepiece. What's stopping No Doubt from doing the same?
Look, I'm not saying they have to put Bradley and McNair on every album cover ...
... but can we at least give them a little shine on the cover of the live DVDs going forward?
Have you ever wondered where the idea for those ubiquitous trick-photography techniques that chicks use on dating and social networking sites to hide the fact that they're overweight came from? If I had to guess, I'd say the concept originated with the video for Heart's 1987 No. 1 hit "Alone."
This is a super-tight close-up of Ann Wilson, the band's plus-sized lead singer, from the video in question.
These are her three (four if you count the drummer, which no one does) appropriately cocaine-slim bandmates.
And throughout this entire video, if you see all of them onstage at the same time, it's mostly in aerial views like this, which tell us nothing about the appearance of this band other than the fact that there was a sale at the perm store the week they filmed this video.
Check out the personality on that brunette!
Historically, most of the close-up shots of a band during a live performance are going to be of the lead singer. Here, though, while Ann Wilson gives one of the most impressive vocal performances of her absurdly impressive vocal performancing career, most of the action shots go to her guitar-playing sister. Like here ...
And here ...
This is something like if Nirvana's legendary episode of MTV Unplugged consisted mostly of shots of Krist Novoselic and the woman who played the cello. Even during those obligatory moments where the lead singer must be shown onscreen lest she quit the band in protest, great pains are taken to ensure that nobody knows Ann Wilson ...
... is a little bit bigger than her sister ...
Because if people found that out, this song wouldn't be good anymore.
On the bright side, at least it just happened in a few videos. There's another famous band with a much longer track record of selectively concealing their less "desirable" looking members when the situation calls for it.