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No Doubt a new band? Nope…read on:
John Spence, a singer who can do a mean back flip, forms the Orange County-based ska group called No Doubt. He is joined by a keyboardist named Eric, and a back-up singer named Gwen.
After several raucous party performances, No Doubt play their first "official" gig at Fender's Ballroom in Long Beach, California. The band was second on a bill of fourteen with The Untouchables headlining. Tony Kanal was one of several hundred people watching. He later joins the band as its bassist.
Oops. Gwen kisses Tony at an Orange County party, but they hide their budding relationship from the band. An organized perfectionist, Tony becomes the band manager as well as its bassist.
Tragically, John Spence shoots himself at an Anaheim park. A few days later, No Doubt plays a big industry gig at the Roxy in Hollywood but, devastated over John's suicide, they call it quits. Days later, however, they reform knowing that's what John would want.
Heavy-metal guitarist Tom Dumont, a college music student, leaves his sister's heavy-metal band, Rising, because the metal scene in O.C. "sucked." After peering in the window while No Doubt rehearsed, Tom pulls his long hair into a ponytail and joins the ska-heavy No Doubt, adding a heavier edge.
Part of the then-underground-ska-scene, No Doubt builds a huge following of loyal "rude boys" and "rude girls" after numerous gigs opening for The Untouchables and Fishbone, as well as their own all-ages shows.
Drummer Adrian Young joins the band after calling a number from the back of a demo tape. He tells his new band mates that he has years of experience, but later admits he only has one. His love of 70's rock and ska made the choice obvious. No Doubt plays their first out-of-state show in Arizona in front of about a hundred people.
Having evolved into a solid five-piece unit, expanding their sound to include the styles of each member, the natural evolution of No Doubt caused a few "rude kids" to fall away. Opening shows for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ziggy Marley and Mano Negra, however, their fan base broadens to the college crowd.
No Doubt signs a "big" recording contract with Interscope Records; they continue driving around O.C. in their old cars and work day jobs (Gwen and Tony are sales people at the same department store, Adrian waits tables at a steak house, and Tom runs a small music equipment rental business).
Between working and going to school, No Doubt drives to a Los Angeles studio as often as possible to record their debut album.
Self-titled debut album sells 30,000 copies, despite receiving no radio airplay. In support of the release, the band embarks on their first two-week, 13-show Western-state headlining tour in two vans.
Still in a van, the band later undertakes a two-and-a-half month national tour. Although, predominately headlining small clubs, they play a couple shows with Public Enemy, Pato Banton, and The Special Beat (a reunited Specials and The English Beat).
No Doubt begins the first sessions for what would be called Tragic Kingdom. The album was recorded in eleven different studios over two and a half years. Tony refers to it as a "battleground" -- and there were casualties. Eric departs before the completion of Tragic Kingdom, and continues as an animator for The Simpsons. After a seven-year relationship, Tony gets claustrophobic and dumps Gwen. As a result, she writes "Don't Speak."
Since local fans were craving new music, No Doubt self-releases the 10-song Beacon Street Collection, named after the house on Beacon Street in Anaheim which houses several band members and the garage studio where most of the tracks were recorded. They sold out of the first thousand CD's within two weeks.
Laying the groundwork for Tragic Kingdom, No Doubt plays the main stage on the first Warped Tour. In October, the album is finally released. The first single, "Just A Girl" becomes a mild Alternative Radio hit. The band tours with 311, and then on their own.
Several months after it's release, Tragic Kingdom debuts on Billboard's Top 200 at #175, and the single "Just A Girl" reaches #10. The video, which features the band in one room and Gwen in another, is all over MTV. Media ignores band and focuses on Gwen's midriff and bindi. Later, "Spiderwebs" (with music by Tony and lyrics by Gwen), reaches #5 on the charts. No Doubt begins their first European tour, followed by dates in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Japan.
In July, Tragic Kingdom goes Platinum. In August, it goes double-platinum. No Doubt embarks on their first sold-out theater-size headlining tour.
November issue of Spin hits the stands with No Doubt on the cover only they forgot there were three guys in the band too. The previously mentioned "Don't Speak," about Tony and Gwen's break up, reaches #1. In December, Tragic Kingdom tops the album chart.
No Doubt begins their third headlining tour, this time at enormous venues. Tragic Kingdom reaches #1 on Billboard's "International Album Eurochart", and is a Top 5 album in the U.K., Canada, Germany, Australia, Norway, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Denmark and Finland.
No Doubt celebrates its Tenth Anniversary, and the entire band appears on the cover of Rolling Stone. The band again plays across Europe, as well as India, Singapore and South America. Tragic Kingdom continues to sell big, reaching the eight million mark in the U.S. and fourteen million worldwide.
No Doubt writes, rehearses, and records their new album.
No Doubt are back with Return Of Saturn.
No Doubt are back with Rock Steady
|New Interscope Bio:||They say you can never go home again.
Yet, on their new Interscope Records release and fifth album, Rock Steady, No Doubt has embarked on a globe-spanning musical adventure that proves, once and for all, that home is where the heart is.
At the heart of the quartet's fifteen-year musical journey is a sound, a style and a sensibility that celebrates their enduring bond with millions of fans worldwide: the sheer pleasure of pure pop - danceable, hummable, instantly accessible songs that have become indispensable additions to the soundtrack of our life and times. And now with Rock Steady, that soundtrack signals a return to some of the key creative elements that have made No Doubt one of today's most popular and enduring bands. Simply put, No Doubt is ready to party.
"It's the hardest thing in the world just to be simple, to let the music and the words speak for what you're feeling and, hopefully, to share that feeling. And the feeling we all shared on this album turned out to be pretty simple, too: we were in a good mood."
So says vocalist, lyricist and glorious gamine Gwen Stefani on the inspiration that ignited the dozen deliriously entertaining new tracks comprising Rock Steady. With all-original material penned by Gwen and No Doubt's dynamic songwriting duo of Tony Kanal and Tom Dumont and a roster of producers that pretty much covers the cutting edge of the studio art, Rock Steady, recorded in such far flung locations as London and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Jamaica, is without question the most eclectic, wide-ranging and stylistically diverse offering in the band's extraordinary career. It is also a
loving tribute to the musical roots that have nourished No Doubt from their very inception.
"We were on tour pretty much all of last year," explains drummer Adrian Young, "and whenever we had some down time, we found ourselves listening to lots of dancehall. It was kind of like getting back to where we once belonged." Dancehall, the exuberant evolution of reggae, ska and calypso currently rocking the clubs and studios of Jamaica, proved a potent point of departure for the group when they convened in early 2001 to begin work on a new album. "We were part of the whole ska revival back when we first got together," continues Adrian. "The fact is, we had to work hard to prove we had a wider range, and I guess we did that. Because this time around we didn't feel like we had anything to prove. The whole point was to follow
the music, wherever it led."
"Following the music" would lead the quartet to a variety of exotic locales as they indulged their instincts and experimented with sounds and settings that would capture the sensational new music beginning to emerge. "This album was less about technique and more about attitude," asserts Tony. "We took it one day at a time and it became a very spontaneous process. Tom had set up a studio at his place in L.A. and we'd meet there just to try out different ideas. Whereas before we'd write everything with a guitar or bass, this time we started with just beats and grooves and keyboards and built from there. After a week or two of songwriting, Gwen had a trip planned to London. Since we were having such a good time we just packed up and followed her over there. We knew we were onto something."
"It felt like starting over," is Tom's assessment. "We had spent two years working on Return Of Saturn because we felt it was important to prove we could do a record that had depth and substance. Once we got that out of our system it was time to have some fun."
Return Of Saturn, the group's smash 2000 release, did indeed establish No Doubt's ability to fashion songs of substance as well as style. It also conclusively demonstrated that the group's 1995 breakthrough release, Tragic Kingdom was more than a flash in the pan, although it was a distinctly dazzling flash that elevated the group to world class status with a solid string of hit singles. "We'd already done most of what we'd set out to accomplish," continues Tom. "We wanted try something fresh."
Something fresh and, as it turned out, something tried and true. "With all the dancehall we'd been listening to it was only natural that some of that rhythm would seep into our new songs," Gwen adds. "We ended up going to Jamaica without really knowing exactly what we'd find when we got there. That was the whole plan from the beginning.not to have a plan."
What No Doubt found in the lush musical environs of the island was a creative collaboration with some of Jamaica's most revered producers including the legendary team of Sly & Robbie who sat behind the board for the album's debut single "Hey Baby" and "Underneath It All," a tune written by Gwen with Eurthymics mainstay Dave Stewart during the group's London sojourn. They would also go on record with the fast rising dancehall duo of Steely & Clevie, who worked their magic for the incendiary selection, "Start The Fire." Remarks Tom, "Going to Jamaica and working with the great artists there had always been a dream of ours. Having that opportunity is one the best things about having some success. It's more important than any amount of fame or fortune."
As the spring of 2001 turned to summer the pace of recording stepped up, along with the group's increasingly bold ventures into new creative territory. In Los Angeles they added hip-hop to the mix with the streetwise sensibilities of The Neptunes, co-writers on the album's opening track, the scorching "Hella Good." Next they huddled with high-profile mixmaster Nellee Hooper on Rock Steady's title track as well as such standout selections as "In My
Head," "Running," "Detective" and the above mentioned "Hella Good." Along the way they logged time with William Orbit for "Making Out," Ric Ocasek on "Platinum Blonde Life" and "Don't Let Me Down," and the inimitable Prince who co- produced and provided backing vocals on the drop dead gorgeous "Waiting Room."
But mixing and matching songs and producers was only part of the creative evolution that took place with Rock Steady. Says Tony, "Our attitude from the beginning was that we'd do whatever it took to make the music work. We've always been a very self-contained unit. This time we wanted to open it up, to find out what other people could bring to the party."
"The whole album was an exercise in spontaneity," adds Gwen, "and that challenged me to write more directly from my thoughts and feelings. I threw away my thesaurus and put aside my influences, everyone from Joni Mitchell to Sylvia Plath. I wanted to write songs about how it felt to be alive right now and that feeling, despite everything that going on in the world, is optimistic and full of hope. This is a time to affirm what's good and positive in our lives and if we can convey even a small part of the fun and excitement we had making this music, then we've done what we set out to do."
Hot on the heels of Rock Steady's release comes news of an extensive touring schedule that includes select dates with U2 as well as an extensive itinerary of international headlining dates. "We're primarily a live band," comments Tony. "That's how we started and that's how we maintain contact with our fans. Over the past couple of years, as the No Doubt machine got bigger, it's been more difficult to maintain that connection. But this time around,we're determined to stay true to the spirit of the music. It's about having a good time, about dancing in aisles and singing along. We all need that and it's what this tour is going to be about."
"After fifteen years together you naturally create all kinds of rules about how things should be," concludes Gwen. "There comes a time when you've got to throw the rules out and start all over again. That's what keeps it fun and interesting. For us that time has come."
It's a sentiment that gets to the heart of the brilliant music on Rock Steady, an album that finds No Doubt comfortable at home with the risks and rewards of true originality. It's also proof positive that, when No Doubt throws a party, everyone's invited.
|Interscope Records, Publicity Department|
For more on the former No Doubt members, take a look at the history of No Doubt.
Contact No Doubt, write to:
P.O. Box 8899
Anaheim, California 92812