Seattle Times: A Q&A With Gwen Stefani (July 2009)

Stefani, loving life, at home and on the road by Marian Lu

Gwen Stefani is no doubtedly back with No Doubt. After taking a five-year break from the ska-band, the 39-year-old singer has found success outside of No Doubt – with a fashion label (L.A.M.B), two hit records and two kids in tow.

But this summer she’s back with the band that launched her, and in its 1990s and early-2000’s heyday, sold more than 27 million records and won 2 grammys.

No Doubt plays the White River Amphitheater in Auburn on Sunday. Stefani talked to the Seattle Times:

What classic No Doubt songs will you play at the show?
We’re just trying to do the songs that make people really happy — the hits. … There’s no way you’re going to walk away and not have fun. We put everything we have into it — all of our love, all of our energy, everything.

As a solo artist, you sold 8 million albums and won a Grammy. Why did you decide to get back together with No Doubt when you had such personal success?
Since we were 17, we had never taken any time for ourselves. It was always band band band band band, because we loved it. … It was an opportunity, a window in time to just do something different. … It was never intended to be so long.

Are you going to do more solo work?
Not that I’m planning on. I feel like I’m in a time of my life where I can’t really make plans. … It’s really about living in the moment, because if you start to look ahead too far, you kind of miss where you’re at. Right now, I’m just so grateful that we’re out here. I can’t even think about writing. I mean, I think about it, and I get excited, because I listen to a lot of music when I put my makeup on. When you’re a mom, you don’t have a lot of spare time. … The whole point of going on tour was to fill myself back up, because I felt really empty after having that baby. It’s just like — wow, I don’t have anything to give, talk about or say. So now, when we go home, the idea is to just go and start writing and do No Doubt records.

There was some criticism — from folks like Margaret Cho — about appropriating Asian-ness. How do you respond to that?
People catch bits of things, so they don’t see the whole picture. But if you go back and listen to the whole song — “Harajuku Girls” — the song is clearly a song about loving a culture and being inspired by a culture. That’s all it is. It’s just being a fan. So, if anybody takes offense, of me publicly saying this culture is amazing, then there’s something wrong with them. It was very positive.

How do you describe yourself?
I just see myself as really busy and really passionate about all the opportunities that have come my way. … Now I have a family, that takes up obviously my No. 1 priority, and I try to make some good kids, you know. That’s the newest, hardest thing I’ve ever done.

How do you balance family life now that you and your husband [Gavin Rossdale] are on separate tours?
He’s actually here right now — he just got in last night. … I think when you have the family involved, you take it to a different level. It’s such a very self-centered lifestyle out here. It’s about just doing everything you can to put on a great show and that takes a lot of energy, emotionally and physically, and so when you have two little humans … and you’re missing your husband, and you’re trying to work it out all the time, and you’re catching me on a day when you’re like, “How’s it going to work?” Some days it doesn’t work and most days, it just works itself out.

Would you want your two kids to be rock stars?
Hell no, they’re not allowed.
No, I want them to be happy. I think the most important thing, the most blessed thing is I get to do what I feel passionate about. I love, love performing. I love being creative. I love designing. Being able to be passionate makes you able to work really hard and just do so many things and just enjoy life. My life is so rich and full because of that, so I hope they find something that they love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *