taken from: Kansas City
No Doubt and Gwen Stefani are back and looking for inspiration
By MIKE OSEGUEDA
Let’s make this clear right from the start — No Doubt never broke up.
Yes, it has been five years since we’ve seen the ska/pop band together as one, but guitarist Tom Dumont was sure they would re-form.
In fact, he had … No Doubt.
“It was always very clear. We were not breaking up. Hiatus is the best word,” Dumont said.
Lead singer Gwen Stefani and the band announced their reunion last year, but they left zealous fans clamoring for tour dates until earlier this year.
While No Doubt was on hiatus, Stefani’s star status grew. She made two popular albums, which included the hit singles “Hollaback Girl” and “Wind It Up,” and toured extensively.
Stefani also had two children. After her second — Zuma, born in August of last year — No Doubt became her musical focus again.
It was Stefani, Dumont says, who urged the band to hop back on the road.
“You know what would be fun?” Dumont recalls her suggesting. “Let’s just go out next summer and play a bunch of shows.”
As you can imagine, coming off a long hiatus is no easy task.
“At first, there was a little bit of an unknown,” Dumont says. “Like, ‘Have we grown apart?’ ‘Are we going to get along?’ ”
Pretty quickly he figured it out.
“We’re kind of like siblings. That’s the way I look at it,” he says. “We have that kind of bond and friendship. We’ve been through this incredible thing together, even though there are periods where I didn’t see Gwen for months on end, or might not have seen Tony (Kanal, the bass player) for a month or so, we would hang out again, or we would go out to dinner or go to a bar, and it was just like brothers and sisters.”
While they clicked personally, they didn’t necessarily click creatively.
The original plan was to have new music ready for the tour. The band had been meeting for writing sessions while Stefani was pregnant last year, but Dumont says those weren’t too fruitful.
“For us, for some reason, making records has always been a process,” Dumont says. “ ‘Tragic Kingdom’ took two or three years. It’s just slow for us. We’re not extraordinarily prolific.”
In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Stefani said pregnancy and creativity didn’t mix for her.
“I don’t know how other women feel, but I lose connection with myself because my body becomes this other vessel for this other human, even after a few months, you don’t have your body back, you’re not yourself,” she said. “I was feeling not very modern, not very creative.”
That’s why it made sense for the band to tour first, then worry about a new record. They wanted to get “reacquainted as a live band,” Dumont says.
So the band is bringing a portable studio on the road and hoping that inspiration strikes while it plays its past hits.
“That’s kind of what this is about. Let’s go out and get that incredible gratification of playing shows and have fun together again,” he says. “Hopefully that will inspire us and help us figure out what we want to make a record about.”
Dumont isn’t too committal about No Doubt’s future.
He knows that without new material, No Doubt runs the risk of living too much in the past.
“We don’t want to do this for nostalgic reasons,” Dumont says. “We do want to have fun and have people be stoked, but we hope we have something new to offer the world in the next year or so.”
And after that? No one knows yet.
“We all have a really good time doing this,” he says. “We get along well, and we’re friends. I don’t see why we can’t do this for 20 more years. But it’s not going to be every year for 20 years.”
NO DOUBT’S HISTORY
No Doubt got its start in the Orange County, Calif., ska scene in the late ’80s but didn’t take off until the ’90s.
1992: Released self-titled debut album to little fanfare.
1995: Released “Tragic Kingdom,” which generated the hits “I’m Just a Girl” and “Don’t Speak.”
2000: Released “Return to Saturn,” which included the singles “Ex-Girlfriend” and “Simple Kind of Life.”
2003: Released singles compilation, which included a cover of Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life.”
2004: The band completed its tour and then went on hiatus. Later that year, Stefani released her debut solo album “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.”
2006: Stefani gave birth to her first child and released her second solo album, “The Sweet Escape.”
2008: Stefani gave birth to her second child. No Doubt announced plans to reunite, record new material and tour.