No Doubt In Their Own Words

An oral history of OC's greatest band and their newest album, 'Push and Shove'

Kanal: I don't know if we're bringing all the kids on all the tour dates; you have to do what the right thing is for the kids—but you know what the good thing is? Lots of Skype.

Adrian: The goal that we're really going for is to bring our families with us. It's different than the old days; there's definitely more parenting and less partying. It's a great vibe, but it's also very grounding because being in a very successful band is sometimes so self-indulgent that it's good to not think about ourselves when we go offstage and just think about how are the kids doing. We'll take the kids to the movies or a park on off days, instead of being self-indulgent rock stars.

Stefani: My kids definitely get into our music. Every time my son hears our song on the radio, his face just goes AAAH! Like, "Oh, no, it's on!" Like, he's excited, and he's embarrassed. I think it's quite weird for them to see me perform; they don't like to share me, but that's just a natural thing for a child to not want to share Mom.

The pre-KROQ days: Ska Parade Intern Greg Raelson (left) and host Tazy Phyllipz (right) flank Adrian Young, Tom Dumont and Gwen Stefani
Courtesy Tazy Phyllipz
The pre-KROQ days: Ska Parade Intern Greg Raelson (left) and host Tazy Phyllipz (right) flank Adrian Young, Tom Dumont and Gwen Stefani
Holy babies! Mama's still got abs!
John Gilhooley
Holy babies! Mama's still got abs!

Kanal: My daughter Coco's almost 2 now. She goes "ge ge ge" whenever "Settle Down" comes on the radio. She flips out—like, I gotta pick her up, we gotta do a dance party, she puts her hands in the air, and anybody else around us, if they don't start dancing with us, she's like, "Hey! Hey! Hey!" They have to join in. It's pretty incredible.


Gwen's solo career hasn't dented the band relationship at all. It's refreshing for her to go back to them.

Kanal: I never, ever thought we were ever going to break up [when Gwen went solo]. I just didn't realize how long our break was gonna be. Gwen had to make those records; she was so inspired, and she creatively needed to have that output. She couldn't have made those records with the band—she had a whole different vision for what she wanted to do, and as a friend, I was so proud of her. She created an empire of fashion, and those records were tied into that.

Dumont: We've known one another so long, and we have a great trust among one another. . . . When Gwen talked to us about going to make her first solo album, she was really clear with us—"I'm not leaving the band; we're not breaking up. We're going to take a break and let everyone breathe for a year or so." It was planned to be a year-long break, and it took three.

Young: The plan was always that we were going to make another record.

Stefani: When I was writing the solo record, I had this fantasy of being in Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. I was making a dance record, and lyrically, a lot of dance records aren't really that deep, so I think I was just more of a creative writer in that kind of way.

* * *

The single thing I'm most proud of is we've been able to make it this far. We've had ups and downs, and we're still together. We still have fun, we're still friends, and we get to share this incredible thing that we've built together, and we're forever bonded by that. We've made it through intact and happy. Coming into rehearsal every day is something I'm excited to do.

Stefani: It doesn't really feel that that kind of time has gone by.

Muller: Their dynamic hasn't changed that much. In some ways, they're easier on one another than they were when I first met them. When you're first making it, you're far more anxious and scared and unsure and insecure about what's going to happen. When [Gwen] got attention then, they felt that they wouldn't be taken seriously or that they wouldn't be a band. Whereas now, they know it's not going to happen; they're safe in the band. And I think that's the biggest change. They feel much more confident in the band around one another.

Young: We still get along, as a band, miraculously. I don't know how, but we do. That's one way to stay together for 26 years.

Jon Halperin, booker for the Glass House and founder of ska label Vegas Records: I think they're still around 'cause they take breaks and they don't burn everyone out. They don't put out that much music, so people anticipate their return.

* * *

They sort of held that ska flag out there for the rest of the world, and I loved that they helped out bands such as the Vandals. I love that they proudly held up that ska banner. No Doubt made that three-letter word a household word.

Aaron Barrett, lead singer of Reel Big Fish: They were always rock stars. You could just feel the energy. They were always important; it was just a matter of time until the rest of the world knew. I still have a signed No Doubt picture in my wallet. We still look up to them and aspire to be that big.

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