While looking online, I found this really cool blog from an old school fan, who has been seeing them live in Bakersfield, California since 1988. He looks back and shares some fond memories of seeing the band back then till the most recent 2009 tour. Some of his stories and incredible and it’s pretty touching and amazing that they still have that dedicated fan base from back in the day. No Doubt has that power it seems! We also appreciate his love for No Doubt’s cover of “One Way Or Another” and also agree that they need to officially record it! He describes how Tony would stage dive while still playing the bass, and also recalls Gwen’s infamous story of walking off stage after some guys yelled obscene gestures at her.
Baktopia — I know some of you old school music fans might remember this, but how many people can say they were there?
The old Casa Royale on Union Ave., which no longer exists, once hosted the first local performance of Orange County’s – No Doubt! Tonite they’re playing a big show at the Rabobank Arena. Platinum albums, sold-out tours, and singer Gwen Stefani…a celeb in her own right as a soloist, fashion icon, and actress.
Back in the early to mid-’90s, No Doubt was just another one of the many ska/reggae/punk bands from the LA area. The first time I saw ND play was in 1988 when they opened for The Untouchables, along with the band’s Donkey Show and The Skeletones.
When No Doubt came out onstage, they originally had another co-lead singer, John Spence, Gwen’s brother Eric on keyboards, plus a 3-man horn section.
Their set was a mix of two-tone ska and funk ala’ the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who still hadn’t scored a radio hit.
Fast forward to many other shows around the Hollywood area into the ’90s. No Doubt had a rabid following among the skater crowd and were being sponsored by Thrasher Magazine, etc…
– No Doubt opening for Skanking Pickle, and Let’s Go Bowling, at Club Hollywood Live, now the site of the Jimmy Kimmel show. No Doubt gets a late start without Gwen – then Gwen runs out of the bathroom and onto the stage, sporting her real dark brown hair. Back then ND shows were really out of control. Bassist Tony Kanal would show up wearing overalls with no shirt and would stage dive while still playing.
– -No Doubt at The Whisky with Let’s Go Bowling. Gwen, now officially blonde, would wear a tutu, and run around the stage driving us young men crazy. They played a kick-ass version of Blondie’s “One Way or Another”. I wish they would record it and release it today.
-No Doubt (1992,) at the “Jerry Brown for President” fundraiser at The Palladium, Hollywood – with Mary’s Danish, Stan Ridgeway, and Concrete Blonde. No Doubt releases their debut CD on Interscope, still same line-up, but couldn’t seem to crack the radio. Live shows were still off the hook. The only reason my band’s drummer (Cesareo Garasa – Mento Buru,) and I dragged our girlfriends to the show was to see No Doubt. Gwen and crew blew the other groups away.
– No Doubt (1995,) make it to Bakersfield, via local promoter Tim Gardea. As fans, we all thought the show would be packed. Opening band was local ska Crawdaddy, who were about to implode. Crawdaddy guitarist / vocalist throws his guitar onto an empty dancefloor during the band’s gran finale. We all look and laugh. No Doubt then hits the stage, we run to the front, shout out songs, they were surprised to hear us request. At one point I yelled, “Everything’s Wrong,” a song off the 1988 “Ska-Face” compilation, Gwen looks at me and says, “Man, you remember that song? How old are you?”
The band played the entire debut CD from beginning to end. By this time, the line-up was sanz Eric Stefani, who left to work on The Simpsons, John Spence had committed suicide, and now the current version we all see live now. The show was great, but bummer about the crowd. To make things more embarassing for Bakersfield, a dumb skinhead chick goes up to the front of stage and says, “You suck,” to Gwen. Gwen then looks at her and says, “Nice hairdo.” Everyone laughs, and show goes on with songs off the ’95 “Beacon Street Collection, a series of new home recordings done before Tragic Kingdom.
After some more good songs, a little bit of moshing, the big no-no happens, to my left is a drunk buddy of mine who yells out, “Show me your t*ts!”
Gwen says, “See ya, goodnight…” and that was the end of the show.
Devastated, I ran to the back of the stage with my CD, pleading for an encore. Gwen wiped sweat off her face, and says, “if that guy wouldn’t have said, “Show me your t*ts,” we’d still play. So, no encore; however I did hang out with the band backstage for awhile, and we talked about all the old shows in Hollywood. I even gave them my phone number in case they needed a sax sub…haha. They all signed my CD, and I hugged Gwen. End of show…
1995 – No Doubt’s “Tragic Kingdom” is released, they’re off!
Talk about a band who earned their stripes, No Doubt have been through it all – the garage, opening act, tragedy, bad shows, bad record deals, then triumph.
After the rest of the world caught up to what we fans already knew, No Doubt returned to their hometown of Anaheim, CA. to play their last show of the Tragic Kingdom tour, on June 1, 1997.
I happened to get tix for my nephew’s DJ Mikey, Paul, and myself. When we entered the sold-out Anaheim Pond, little did we know it was being filmed for a DVD concert film (“Live in The Tragic Kingdom”).
When the VHS (haha,) was finally released that November we were pumped. You can actually see us in certain shots of the film. If you want to see what those early shows were like, this film captures it perfectly.
2002 – I saw No Doubt during the Rock Steady Tour in ’02 when they came to The Centennial Garden. Another great show, and No Doubt is getting bigger and bigger.
2005 – While I worked as Production Asst. at the 47th Grammy Awards, Gwen and Eve performed “Rich Girl,” for the telecast. During rehearsals, we were able to invite family and friends to watch the rehearsals at Staples Center. Gwen’s first solo album “Love, Angel, Music, Baby,” was huge and she was exciting as always onstage. After the rehearsals they signed autographs – my son Mark, and daughter Kaitlyn all ran and she signed their stuff.
2009 – No Doubt is back, and in Bakersfield on May 20th.
What a trip it’s been with one of my all-time favorite bands….
See you at the show!
Mento Buru / Bakotopia/ Original No Doubt fan