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Gwen Stefani's on the road behind her new album, The Sweet Escape. Coming along with her is rapper Lady Sovereign, the sass-tastic British import. On first glance, a bill with these two seems perfect. Both deal in happy party music for girls zooming around the 'burbs in their Jettas. Both are "TRL" favorites. (Yes, "TRL" actually still exists, for you people lucky enough not to be stricken with a fiercely unhealthy fascination with JoJo.)
Gwen is a rocker chick in the strongest sense of the term. She began her career in the nineties as a skankin' ska chick with No Doubt, and has gradually progressed into an electro-pop pinup girl with a gang of Japanese indentured servants. Lady Sovereign, whose real name is Louise Harman, is a spitting, yowling feral cat of a female, prone to hoodies, Heinekens and hating. Imagine the Beastie Boys, circa 1986, morphed into the body of an ill-tempered midget, touring with our generation's own Toni Basil.
With each tour come riders, contracts that spell out what artists want — actually, demand — to have backstage before they even get down to performing. Some may just want fresh fruit, some want pool tables and some may want some good, old-fashioned Dutch porn. We did some digging to find out what the requests for this tour would be. Would Gwen demand a hypoallergenic playpen for baby Kingston? Would Sov want bottle openers and a Union Jack-inscribed gravity bong? Here's what we found:
1. Mrs. Stefani insists that at no time during this tour will Lady Sovereign come into direct verbal or physical contact with her person. Mrs. Stefani also requests that if such a fateful incident occur, a special team of medical personnel inoculate Stefani's entire road crew and entourage from whatever unseen dirties are crawling around on that limey muppet.
2. One industrial tub of hair bleach.
3. Three shiny balls for Stefani's husband, Mr. Rossdale, to bounce against walls to while away the time while his wife pays the bills, because if he thinks he can eat on residuals from Sixteen Stone, he's sadly mistaken.
4. Four plastic cages for when a Harajuku decides it's time to be ornery, like trying to take bathroom breaks without permission or speaking English out of turn.
5. One framed poster of Tony Kanal with the caption “May his all seeing eye light our path.”
6. Six rolls of LAMB brand toilet paper, with little anime girls on them. OMG, they are so cute.
7. One random mid-level R&B singer to sing with her, inexplicably, at some point during the show, per the federal Lil Jon Act of 2004.
1. Ms. Sovereign doesn't want any "narsty" bitches, with orange fingers, to be in her backstage area. Furthermore, these intruders will be slapped like the tango man. She also will not be referred to as a chav. ("What's your problem? Wanna make sommin of it? Bling Bling. Com den man, com den init ill beat u up.") It is up to the venue to make sure this demand is met.
2. Eight cases of chilled Heineken. On second thought, your best regional malt liquor will do. Nothing fancy. It's more for the road crew anyway. (They have to cope somehow.)
3. Three Adidas hoodies, size x-small. For when remnants of said Heineken don't reach their "intended" destination.
4. One metal step stool. Just because someone is the "biggest midget in the game" doesn't mean she doesn't need help reaching tall things.
5. One pack of hair ties. You know, for that weird side part that she does. Don't look at me; I'm just the tour manager.
6. Three cases of Walker crisps, in barbecue flavor. These are chips. Please, for the love of God, don't refer to them as chips around her.
7. Two pairs of replacement gold hoop earrings. (Doesn't have to be real gold; she doesn't know the difference anyway. Sometimes when she pukes, they accidentally get flushed down the toilet.)
8. One package of very strong soap, preferably strong enough to rinse the vile smell of potato chip and beer puke off of fingers.
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