Kerrang!: On the set of "Don't Speak" (1997)

The biggest rock band in America have just walked into Hollywood’s Triange Studios. They’ll spend the day here filming the video for their new single, “Don’t Speak,” and hanging out with friends, family and their top rock star mate, Foo Fighters guitarist Pat Smear. Then No Doubt will wait for things to go really mad…

…Which will, given that thier ‘Tragic Kingdom’ album has not only made the Number One slot in the US album charts but, propelled inevitably by ‘Don’t Speak’, it’s about to take the rest of the world by storm as well.

To the video, then. The band already filmed some live footage for it at legendary venue Roseland in New York City. They’re here today to do the ‘concept’ and studio performance bits with director Sophie Muller, whose previous credits include Hole’s ‘Miss World’ promo. The ‘concept’ bit of the action will involve such things as bassist Tony Kanal sitting bare-chested in a garden munching on a maggot-infested orange, and a ‘photo session’ scene inspired by the band’s first encounter with Kerrang!. Ahem. Onwards…

Right now, beautiful Southern California sunlight pouring onto the ‘rustic’ set and No Doubt are waiting to do the first of many, many takes. Singer Gwen Stefani wanders around barefooted, plays with the hem of her blue dress, and then starts lip-synching — during the first close-up, she actually gets so involved in the song she starts crying. A small portion of this take will remain in the finished video — so look out for a flash of genuinely teary-eyed Gwen.

At the end of the take, Gwen puts her hand over Kanal’s mouth while she sings ‘Don’t Speak’. Tony later claims she did it because he’s currently suffering from “garlic breath.” When Gwen does the same thing to guitarist Tom Dumont in the third take, he plants a wad of spit into her palm. The charmer.

All of No Doubt have brought thier own video cameras down to the shoot, and throughout the day, they’re busy filming themeselves being filmed. Gwen enjoys filming ‘candid moments’ when she’s not on set, and hands her camcorder over to her friends when she’s in front of the lens.

In fact, unlike most rock video sets, No Doubt’s ‘Don’t Speak’ is a throughly wholesome family affair. Just about everyone here who’s not working for the film crew is either related to the band or has known them for years. Tom’s Mum spends the whole day watching her son go through the paces, and Gwen’s Dad shows up at one point in the afternoon. Mr. Stefani brings a tape of his daughter’s recent appearance on MTV’s ‘House of Style’. While the crew are setting up the lighting for another scene, everyone huddles around a pair of monitors to watch male model Shalom interviewing Gwen, then rifling through her clothes and trying on her fuzzy jackets.

Top moment of the day is Pat Smear’s cameo appearance — the Foo Fighter is as cheerful and ebullient today as he was during his now legendary appearance at last year’s Kerrang! Awards. Smear appears in the video’s ‘dream sequence’; Dumont drifting into a daydream and fantasising that he’s playing in a band with the Foo Fighter.

Mr. Smear goes on to hang around the set all day, having a fine old time in the process. But next thing up is that Kerrang!-inspired photo session scene. So we’ll be getting our coats…

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