Thanks to Mikey for sending into us, Tom gave a great new interview with Arizona Central about how the band never had a doubt they wouldn’t regroup, but Gwen did come to the band directly laying down how she wasn’t quitting the band, but just needed to do “her thing.” He actually goes into really deep quotes about Gwen and how she’s still the same that she was back in the day. Apparently there was a time when thoughts crossed their minds when one year turned into three or four, but they trust each other like siblings and they knew it would not be the end. He admires Gwen’s stage presence, and thinks that she has not changed one bit over the years. He talks about how when the boys were in the studio writing for the next album over the past couple years, they saw Gwen here and there — but Tony and Gwen saw more of each other cause they are both in Los Angeles, while Tom and Adrian are in Long Beach.
Tom also mentions that the band has been experimenting with different sound effects and layering on their “demos” so far!
Question: Was there any doubt in your mind about whether the band would actually regroup after Gwen ‘s solo albums?
Answer: The question developed, but when Gwen (initially) talked to us about it … she was very specific: “I’m not quitting the band, we’re not breaking up, I don’t hate you guys. I need to do this thing. I want to be my own boss and play music that doesn’t fit No Doubt .” She said she was going to take a year. … We know each other like siblings, so there was all that trust.
But that one year did turn into three or four years, and there was a question. … But in the back of my mind, I always felt confident. It was a matter of her … saying to herself, “I want to come out from under the shadow of the band and see what I can do myself.” I think that’s a really healthy situation.
Q: Have you seen much change in Gwen since her solo experience?
A: Gwen is the same, really. Her solo albums were a departure. But when she’s singing for No Doubt , she’s a pretty electrifying female singer fronting a rock band. There are not too many (female lead singers) out there. … Over the years, I’ve watched her grow into an incredible performer. She knows how to connect to people.
Q: After five years away from the stage, was there much rust to work off?
A: A little bit, for sure. Myself, Tony and Adrian started getting together (in February), once or twice a week. It was a little rusty, but it’s amazing how quickly it all comes back to you after a couple of rehearsals. We (later) rehearsed about four weeks as a band, and it’s feeling pretty smooth.
Q: Your band always has prided itself on its live show. Has that helped get you back into shape?
A: Definitely. Before we ever made records … that’s all we did, like most local bands, is play live. We always felt it was something we were pretty good at. Part of what doing this thing this summer is about, is getting back in that groove of being that band we always were and letting that live energy inspire what will hopefully become our next record.
Q: It sounds as if you guys were writing material during the hiatus. Did you see each other much?
A: Gwen was certainly the busy one that whole time. We saw her here and there but more infrequently because she was on the road and having babies (with British rocker Gavin Rossdale). She and Tony live up in LA, close to Hollywood, so they’re closer in that sense. Adrian and I are down in Long Beach. But we three guys hung out fairly regularly. It’s an amazing story, being in a band for so many years and still being friends and still enjoying each other’s company.
Q: Did you get into the studio during the hiatus?
A: Around the time that Gwen started her last album (2006’s “The Sweet Escape”) … we thought that while she was off doing her record and touring, we’ll start coming up with musical ideas (for No Doubt ). Last year, when Gwen got home, we started going up to her house and working on that stuff, but it didn’t get to a point where we felt we had an album in us. What we decided to do was, “Let’s kick ourselves in the pants again and go out and play and try to get inspired and figure out what this album should be about.”
Q: Did you explore new styles and sounds with your guitar in your time off?
A: I did. All my life I’ve been a very simple guitar player — not many pedals and sound effects. I wanted it to always sound like a guitar. The past couple of years, I’ve been fiddling a lot with layering, delays and different sound effects. A lot of our “demo” recordings (of new material) kind of showcase that.
Q: Will you play any of Gwen ‘s solo songs in the live show?
A: We’re keeping it separate. She never played any No Doubt songs on her solo tours, so we’re going to stick to No Doubt songs. I think it’s a good thing to keep those two worlds separate.