Click here to stream No Doubt’s interview with KROQ!
KROQ — In the beginning years of No Doubtâ€™s roller-coaster 26-year spanning career, there were both tragic moments with the â€œbig fish in a small pondâ€ kingdom of the Anaheim, California music scene and exciting onesâ€“ones that make lead singer Gwen Stefani really appreciate the struggles of asking her father for five bucks to rent a microphone for rehearsal and scraping up the necessary cash in order to make a demo.
â€œIt was a lot of fun back in those days. The Beacon St. House,â€ said Stefani. Those who grew up in Southern California around that time remember the legacy of No Doubt. They were that Orange County band with the â€œawesome, hotâ€ lead singer that ska and punk-loving teenagers would drive hours to see rock out in some strangerâ€™s backyard. Those were the days that No Doubt were calling into KROQ requesting their hit single â€œJust A Girlâ€ and bringing in chocolate chip cookies for their first interview on the Kevin and Bean Show.
What might have seemed as a gesture of youthful enthusiasm and perhaps music industry naivete was actually a sincere representation of what No Doubt represents as a band. While they may have spent their early years â€œpushingâ€ and â€œshovingâ€ their way to recognition, No Doubt has stuck together through band drama, achieved commercial success, and are still baking cookies for their Kevin and Bean interview.
Except these days, as one of the band members joked, when someone says they are â€œdropping the kids off at the pool,â€ it means something completely different from what it used to be. The band, who is planning their upcoming tour around the school schedules of their â€œtraveling circusâ€ of nine children amongst them, actually means that they are â€œdropping their kids off at the pool so that they can go swimming.â€
Stefani said the songwriting process for Push and Shove was a â€œfun process,â€ but could be torturous because of the bandâ€™s varied schedules and personal commitments. In Stefaniâ€™s case, she was pregnant with her second child, Zuma, right at the beginning of writing Push and Shove and it was frustrating when the band would go to the studio and â€œwould just sit there and nothing would be happening.â€
â€œItâ€™s just really weird because you never know,â€ explained Stefani. â€œItâ€™s such a magical thing when it happens and the whole thing is knowing when somethingâ€™s good or not and when you donâ€™t have that ability thatâ€™s when you feel like hopeless.â€
But this hopelessness lead the band to schedule on a whim what Stefani described as her â€œfavorite tourâ€ sheâ€™s ever been on. No Doubt is most comfortable onstage because as Stefani says, â€œItâ€™s exciting; itâ€™s like you could totally mess up.â€ Through the â€œtearyâ€ excitement of sharing songs with their fans and their children, No Doubt was able to negotiate enough time to get Push and Shove done.
Instead of creating thirty-something songs and picking the best from the creative mass, No Doubt utilized their scarce time in the studioâ€“after the chatting and eating and â€œgetting into the vibeâ€ of courseâ€”to put all their energy into songs just meant for the album, which they all agreed should be â€œaddictiveâ€ and â€œcatchy.â€
â€œWe were really focused. I was coming off of like being up all night with the kids and then doing my thing in the day and then getting in the studio around four and then doing what I just talked about, you know, wasting time,â€ explained Stefani. â€œYou know, when we would have something that we liked, we would just focus on it. Letâ€™s cut to the chase; thereâ€™s no time for anything but greatness, soâ€¦ we all had the same ideas of what kind of record we want to make which was just like a really addictive recordâ€¦We didnâ€™t know it was going to be so upbeat; we didnâ€™t know what it would end up sounding like.â€
What No Doubt did know is that when they were collaborating with Major Lazer for the title track for Push and Shove it was â€œsick.â€ The melodic juxtaposition of the song was both something that they would have done when they were younger when they would play â€œska or a faster verse and then cut into a really rock, open half-tempo chorusâ€ and something child-approved. Adrian Youngâ€™s ten-year-old son apparently chastised his father with a â€œno, duhâ€ moment when Young told his son that the song was going to be played on the radio.
â€œWe thought was an incredible track and then we wrote a chorus to it and it was one of those songs where it was like, â€˜This is going to be the place on the record where weâ€™re not going to have any rules,â€ said Stefani. â€œWeâ€™re just going to do whatever feels good and not try to be commercial, not try to be anything.â€™ Just be wild.â€
After wilding out with new music in the studio and having the Secret Service survey the safety of Stefaniâ€™s house for a party with First Lady Michelle Obama, No Doubt is happy to have their own secrets i.e. their new music out for their fans to hear.
â€œWe also just want to enjoy this moment of sharing the music after kind of hoarding it all this time,â€ said Stefani. â€œNo oneâ€™s heard the music. We had to be so secretive about it and to be able to finally have people hear itâ€”itâ€™s the greatest feeling.â€
This bond with their fans might be one of the major mitigating factors as to why the band has been able to survive together for so long. Another, as Tony Kanal eloquently explains, is that No Doubtâ€™s ups-and-downs, no matter how dramatic, are what has made them truly appreciate each other.
â€œThereâ€™s three other people in my life thatâ€™ve had the same experiences that Iâ€™ve had and weâ€™ve gone from being a band that played in a garage together to being a band that traveled the world together to now being a band thatâ€™s raising our kids together and I think weâ€™ve experienced everything in between and weâ€™ve gone through a lot of crazy stuff together,â€ explains Kanal. â€œYou know, break-ups and a very important band member leaving and struggles with the record company and so many things and I think that weâ€™ve gone through that stuff and itâ€™s only made us stronger and we really appreciate the moment that weâ€™re in right now.â€
â€œAs Gwen said, weâ€™re trying to appreciate the moment. Yes, weâ€™re going to tour; yes, weâ€™re going to do this-and-that but right now itâ€™s all about, â€˜OK. We finished this record. Letâ€™s enjoy this moment.â€™ I think weâ€™re really fortunate. We donâ€™t take it for granted.â€
While we are still waiting for the interview from this morning, check out a photo of the band posing with KROQ’s Kevin and Bean last Friday. In the interview, it was revealed that No Doubt will perform 6-7 song set live for the NFL kick-off show audience tomorrow night and “Settle Down” will be televised for NBC. More details and the podcast should be up soon.