No Doubt gave a new interview with thewhig.com about how the song writing process is going, their favorite songs to play on tour, and how it feels being perceived as a “nostalgia” act. The interview took place as a conference call with Canadian reporters — they play Toronto, CAN tonight. The band thinks going out on the road is what they were missing in the studio — there has never been a gap like that, they are a live band. Being out on the road is making them reconnect which will turn out a great record. Gwen doesn’t have a particular favorite song to perform, she just loves the hits and the response to them from the fans. Tom and Tony really love playing the old songs including the Tragic Kingdom goodies, “End It On This” and “Happy Now?” Gwen admits that she has been living in the moment for quite some time, and knows she will be a different person after the tour singing these songs. We’ll see what happens next…
On being perceived as a nostalgia act:
Tom: We don’t think in those terms. For us, it’s really as simple as being excited to play music and revisit what we’ve always been about as a band. Which is playing shows and getting to enjoy that incredible gratification of being onstage and rocking together and doing that with an audience that’s happy to be there. And that’s as far as I think we consider it. All that stuff about nostalgia, to me personally, is overthinking it a little bit.
Tony: I think it’s really hard for us to have perspective on that and be objective about it. We’ve been in the band for a long time. To me, it doesn’t feel nostalgic because I think Gwen’s idea of going on the road and getting inspired and reconnecting — the four of us reconnecting, and reconnecting with all the people who have supported us for so many years — is really forward-thinking.
That was the one component that was missing from our writing sessions; we haven’t played for a number of years and it was time for us to bring that part of our band back. That’s how we started; we started as a live band. That was obviously missing; and I think that’s going to help us make a great record.
On their favourite songs:
Gwen: For me, the bigger hits are obviously pretty exciting when you’re playing live because the response from the audience is at such a level that it’s not even about the song anymore … I don’t have a particular song that I love playing more than another, but Don’t Speak, Just a Girl, the hits — there’s nothing like that feeling when you’re playing songs people love and are singing along.
Tony: There’s a couple of tracks we might be playing off Tragic Kingdom that I’m really excited about: A song called Happy Now and a song called End it On This. We haven’t played them in so many years … it brings back memories.
Tom: I feel a little bit the same as all my bandmates. I love the older songs that we haven’t played as often in recent years. And I love the big hits. I especially love any song that has a really great guitar solo. I plan on trying to milk that if I can. (Laughter)
Adrian: We encourage Tom to guitar solo on every song … I think he should be competing with Gwen’s vocals all the time.
On giving away a download of the band’s catalog with tickets:
Tom: You’re not seeing it, but the band is all pointing at me. It was my idea to do that, I suppose. To me, it’s just so exciting that the technology is there to deliver your music to people in such a simple way. And everybody has changed the way they listen to music. If the technology is there, I’m glad we were able to embrace it. The idea is to get our music into people’s ears.
On whether they’ll be working on the CD while on tour:
Tony: I want to answer that question, because all my bandmates have kids, and all their families are coming along with us on the tour this year. So by default, my bus is going to have a studio on it. And I’m going to invite my bandmates to come on the bus and write music with me. It may happen, it may not, but the option will be there. There’s something kind of cool about being able to play shows and then go write music. We haven’t done that a lot in the past, but you never know.
On the songwriting process:
Gwen: It’s just such a magical thing. You can’t really press a button and write a song. It’s just one of those things. And to actually write a hit, a song that people really connect to … you don’t really know how it happens. What’s happened for me — and it’s only me, because the rest of the band guys have tons of ideas and they’re very inspired and they’re ready to go — but I do this every single time pretty much; I always have this little procrastination, writer’s block, whatever-you-want-to-call-it moment.
I’ve been in that moment for a minute and that’s the whole reason why we’re doing this tour — to get out there and get inspired. To just change the atmosphere, to get me out of my house, so I’m not just in mom mode. I just had a baby, which is totally emotional and physical. So to get out there onstage and see people singing these songs that we wrote, there’s nothing more inspiring than that. I don’t expect that I’ll write any songs on this tour. But I think that on the other side of the tour, I will be a different person from singing these songs. So, it’s kind of an experiment.
On the hardest part of the reunion:
Gwen: I feel like it hasn’t been that hard, really. The hard part was sitting in a studio thinking ‘Oh my God,’ and panicking about making a record. As soon as everybody decided, ‘You know what? Let’s just go on tour, let’s just go have fun and take the weight off our shoulders,’ suddenly it was fun again and got really exciting. To tour together is really hard because of our crazy schedules … But playing these songs again was like riding a bike. We hardly had to do anything to remember them. It’s hard, but it’s fun hard.