"Writing: writing? writing! Sometimes such a challenge, sometimes too easy!" Tom Dumont
No Doubt – Champions of Change
More than once timing gave No Doubt their biggest challenges. Suicide, no-show musicians and the mercurial nature of music fads have all played a part in the group’s bumpy road to success. Over twenty three years there have been many stops, starts and delays for this two time Grammy Award winning band.
Dairy Queen was the common thread for the founding members of No Doubt in 1986. Singer John Spence met Eric Stefani and his sister, Gwen, there and the idea of starting a band began. Eric invited five fellow musicians to practice in his parent’s garage with the intention of playing live at Fenders Ballroom in Long Beach, California. The original lineup was John Spence as lead singer, Gwen Stefani as back-up vocals, Eric Stefani on keyboards and guitar, Jerry McMahon on guitar, Gabe Gonzales on trumpet, Chris Leal on bass, Tony Meade on saxophone and Alan Meade on trumpet and co-lead vocals. Tony Kanal joined the band shortly afterward as a bassist. The group played at parties and local venue’s establishing them as a local favorite. A severe blow to the group occurred in December of 1987 when John Spence committed suicide right before they were to perform at The Roxy Theatre for record producers, managers and other music industry employees. Initially the group disbanded but came back together within weeks. Alan Meade became the lead singer and No Doubt continued to build a loyal fan base. In 1988 when Meade left the band Gwen stepped in as lead singer, Tom Dumont replaced Jerry McMahon as guitarist and Adrian Young became the drummer. With each shift the ska-punk sound changed a little and their live act improved to the point that Interscope Records was impressed and signed them for a multi-album deal in 1991.
No Doubt’s So Cal beginnings
As their self-named debut album, No Doubt, was released in 1992 the music world shifted attention to the Seattle based grunge movement and the album received no attention whatsoever. Interscope was disinterested in further recordings so the band went on to release The Beacon Street Collection and Tragic Kingdom album in 1993-94 on their own Sea Creature Records label. The single Just a Girl, released in 1995, carried No Doubt into the mainstream. An extensive 27 month world-wide tour to promote Tragic Kingdom was a commercial success. While on tour single Spiderwebs was released and is credited with beginning the revival of ska in the mid 90’s. The song peaked at #5 on The Billboard Modern Rock chart three weeks after being released. Their next single release, Don’t Speak, topped the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay for a quarter of a year. The mixture of ska, pop, grunge and heavy metal melded into a New Wave sound that won them Grammy nominations in 1997 and by February 1999 the Tragic Kingdom album was certified diamond and is listed with the top selling albums in history.
The bands fourth album, Return of Saturn, contained more than 20 songs written by the group and had more of an alternative rock sound then previous works. The album was released in April 2000 and was certified platinum that May.
The fifth album, Rock Steady, was recorded in Jamaica and reflects a Jamaican dancehall influence. The album was released in December of 2001 and won critical acclaim. Singles from the album, Hey Baby and Underneath it All won the 2003 and 2004 Grammy Awards for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The years between 2004 and 2008 were spent on individual projects for the members of the band. March of 2008 marked the beginning of work on the latest No Doubt songwriting activity with expectations of releasing a new album in 2010.
Did you know that...
- ...No Doubt has won 6 MTV Video Music Awards.
- ...Apple Core was the name of Eric and Gwen’s first band.
- ...No Doubt preformed at Disneyland for Grad Night in 1995.