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More Than Skin Deep

Some Rock Stars Have Faces Only Their Mothers--and Millions of Groupies--Could Love

July 15, 1999|JOSE PAUL CORONA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

When you hear the names Dave Matthews, James Brown, Ringo Starr, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, what's the first thing that comes to mind?

Musicians? Rich musicians? Talented musicians? Singer? Songwriter? Guitarist? Yeah, well that occurs to me too, but the first thing that comes to my mind is UGLY! Man, all these guys are ugly; don't want to look at them, wish I didn't have to.

Sure these guys have loads of talent, but you would think that their lack of good looks would make them less popular with the ladies. Well, guess what? That's not the way life works.

If you can sing or if you are in a band, you will be very popular with the opposite sex, regardless of your looks. Having worked a low-level job in the music industry, I know this is true; I've seen it. I heard someone put it quite eloquently once: "Musicians are always surrounded by hot- and cold-running groupies."

I quickly found out its true meaning at a Blur concert when I saw Marilyn Manson accompanied by two very voluptuous, scantily clad blonds. No one can tell me that those two women would have given the time day of day to that skinny Goth had he not been a successful musician.

Dave Matthews is another example of this annoying trend. As much as I like listening to Dave and his band, let's get this straight: He ain't cute. He's a tall, skinny guy who's going bald. Now I know some women find bald men attractive, but if he couldn't sing, wasn't a superstar and didn't have his own band, women would pay him no mind.

He's all-right looking, but he's not the kind of guy you imagine as a knight in shining armor. He looks more like the guy who polishes the knight's shining armor. Now, in Dave's defense, I spoke to a female co-worker, who just so happens to be a huge fan of his. I asked her what the appeal was. What is it about Dave that makes him such a hunk?

"He's like a musical chameleon. His range is so wide. I like his music a lot. There's something whole about it. It all fits together and flows so smoothly."

So what's the cutest thing about Dave? "The way he sings and dances and plays his bass and guitar. But the most attractive thing about him is the things he says. I saw him on 'Politically Incorrect' and he had really smart things to say. He was extremely witty."

I don't know Dave, so I can't make assumptions about his intelligence, but I doubt when he is onstage performing, that intelligence is what all those screaming female fans are thinking about. No. They're probably thinking, "I wish I was his musical instrument for a night," or "My roommate is gone for the weekend and I've got the place all to myself."

And how about James Brown?

Yeah, I know he's "the hardest working man in show business" and, yes, he can sing and dance, but a supermodel he ain't. He's like a human pug--you know, those little dogs with the squishy faces that no one ever takes home from the pound? He sweats all the time too, when he's shaking his "money maker." At least he's entertaining on stage, but I wouldn't want to look at him if I didn't have to.

Then there's Ringo Starr and Mick Jagger. No explanation needed about their appearances but plenty on whom they married. Mick got hitched to gorgeous Nicaraguan actress/human rights activist Bianca Jagger and later, supermodel Jerry Hall. Ringo married "Bond girl" Barbara Bach.

It's definitely their music that makes them appealing. Another female co-worker gave me some more insight into why musicians are so intriguing. She even admitted it isn't their looks that attract her.

"I love Michael Stipe (of REM) and Billy Corgan (of the Smashing Pumpkins), but they're not attractive at all!"

"When you admire someone's work, you want to know everything about them. Michael Stipe was cute before he shaved his head. They (Stipe and Corgan) are talented and come across as intelligent or socially aware people," said female co-worker No. 2.

Fair enough, I guess most of us can relate to that feeling. We all have someone we admire. We investigate, dig up things and learn as much as we can about that person. But admiring someone's work and having the hots for some unattractive guy just because he's up on stage are two different things.

I guess that's just show biz.

This handful of individuals manages to overcome aesthetics because musical ability and stage presence mesmerizes women.

Without their singing abilities, these guys wouldn't be so revered. They would just be another face in the crowd, and a funny-looking one at that.

So I've come to an important decision about my life. Forget about looks. I'm not shaving, I won't comb my hair, brush my teeth or wash my clothes. I'll just invest all my time and energy on voice lessons. Then maybe Jennifer Lopez will be asking me to the Grammys.

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