It’s the infamous magazine cover that sparked breakup rumors, media frenzy, and even the theme for the “Don’t Speak” video. This week on Flashback Friday, BSO brings you No Doubt’s first major magazine cover, SPIN magazine from November 1996. I spent about three hours transcribing the article for everyone, it’s very long, and very good however. There are some really nice quotes from Gwen and Tony on the early days of No Doubt (John Spence specifically) and their past relationship with each other. We love how Gwen claims Gavin was “just a friend” back then and goes into detail on the details of how Interscope and Trauma Records treated the band. I am heading out for the day, but HQ scans from the magazine will be up later this afternoon. Below are some of our favorite excerpts from the artilce and interview, please follow the link below to read the full feature. If you use this on your sites, please, please, please link back to us and provide credit. Enjoy!
Eric Stefani of Anaheim, Orange County, California, was one of the latter group. Among the oddities he brought home from the local import bin was a picture-sleeved seven-inch Stiff single “Baggy Trousers” by Madness. For Eric’s little sister, Gwen, that record was a revelation. Ask her now about her teenage years and she’ll flatly retort, “In high school, the only thing I was really into was Madness.” She fell for their vaudevillan swagger and the way they dealt with the bleak mudanities of everyday English life — taking the bus, standing in the rain, the British school system — all housed in a romping environment.
A Loara High School classmate, John Spence, was similarly stuck on ska and it was he who, in early 1987, motivated the Stefani sibs to form a band. The core of Eric’s keyboards, Gwen’s teeny harmonies, and Spence’s hoarse bellow, plus a few makeshift musicians, popped up at a various Anaheim parties. “We sucked,” recalls Gwen, “but for some reason there was automatically this built-in following. People loved the fact that it was a girl, that it was 2-Tone, and it was me and John up there.”
In December 1987, Kanal recieved a phone call from Eric. “He just said, ‘Come over right away.’ I got there and he said ‘John’s dead.’ He shot himself in the head.”
“There was some problems there,” recalls Gwen. “He was kind of in and out of high school. His mom kept taking him out of school. He wasn’t really in with the bad crowd, but his mom was really paranoid about it. For all the years I knew the guy, I only went to his house one time, but compared to my family, The Brady Bunch family, church every Sunday — it was different.”
Alan Meade, described by Gwen as a “disco-smooth dork,” took over vocals until he purportedly got his girlfriend pregnant and left the band to get married at 17. That left Gwen as sole proprietress of vocals.
“I forced Tony to go out with me,” says Gwen Stefani. “He wasn’t even interested. When we made out that first night, I think he thought it was more of a one-night kiss. But then we started going out and after the first year, I was going, “When are we going to get married?'”
“When we broke up, I still forced Tony to kiss me,” says Gwen. “I was in denial. I might have lost the title of girlfriend, but in my eyes we were still together. For, like, a year, he didn’t have to come to my house when I demanded it. He didn’t have to do anything, but when he felt like it, I was there. It was horrible.”
“At first it didn’t seem to get to Tony,” says Dumont. “He was like ‘I don’t know, for some reason it doesn’t bother me that all these songs are about me.’ Maybe he liked it. But now I think it’s starting to bother him a little. Some guy wrote an article about us saying, ‘Why is Gwen so sad? What did Tony do to her to make her write all those lyrics?'”
While Stefani admits to phoning Kanal and reciting lyrics to “Happy Now” (“Are you happy now? / You’re by yourself / All by yourself / You have no one else”), this self-admitted Woman Who Loves Too Much maintained intense loyalty to her ex. “Everybody’s like, ‘God, that guy is a jerk.’ which is not fair because he didn’t have his lyrics to talk about me when I smothered him and he didn’t have a life. It must have been hard for him to take when people write ‘How could you leave Gwen, she’s so great.’ But they don’t know me. They don’t see my faults. They just see me however they want to see me. They think I have abs and I don’t. I have fat.”
“It’s very tough,” he admits. “I care about her a lot. I’m not given the opportnity — nor do I want to — to write my own lyrics. But hopefully people with some logic will realize that it wasn’t just me, that it’s not just a one-sided thing. I’m not such a bad guy.”
Stefani claims her post-Tony love life has not been a densely populated affair. But there were those rumors linking her tousie-headed labelmate Gavin Rossdale. “Everyone wants to know about me and Gavin,” she smiles. “We’re just friends. Although he’s definitely cute.” … “A lot of boys like me now. But it’s not like I’m making out with people, you know, ‘Hey baby, come back to my room.’ I’m the kind of person who would way rather just spend time with my boyfriend watching a movie at home then going out to a party. That’s the way I’ve always been. I’m not used to being on my own, because, like, I’m into it. I think about him all the time.”
Turning plainitive, she sighs, “I want to have a time when I don’t need a boyfriend. But it’s just nature to want someone. There’s nothing better than that.” She pauses for a second then leans towards me. “So what did Tony say about me?”
Going on to tabulate further examples of Non-Rock Chickdom, she brings up examples such as her yearly trips Knott’s Berry Farm to see the Ice Capades, her recent trip to Paris where she went jogging without money or I.D., got lost and had to call her friend back in the States to find the address of her hotel and, most heinously, that she still happily resides at home (as does Kanal). “I don’t pay bills. I don’t pay rent. The only thing I pay is my phone bill and my car insurance.” She does, however, harbor vague notions of one day moving to L.A. “If my dad will let me.”