No Doubt

 No Doubt

 Gwen Stefani – circa 2001

 “’Cause I’m just a girl, little ol’ me / Don’t let me out of your sight” – ‘Just A Girl’ (Gwen Stefani, Tom Dumont)

Siblings can be a problem.  American rock band No Doubt is closely identified with its vocalist, Gwen Stefani.  However, the band was actually created by her older brother, Eric, who later left the group.  Initially, young Gwen has little interest in music.  She recalls being more involved in watching television show ‘The Brady Bunch’, but her brother kept interrupting.  “He would pound on the piano every morning and go, ‘Come on!’” Gwen explains, recounting how her brother encouraged her to sing.  Siblings can be a problem…but sometimes they also make a big difference.

Gwen Renee Stefani is born 3 October 1969 in Fullerton, California, U.S.A. (The family’s surname is pronounced stef-ARN-ee.)  She is named after a stewardess in Arthur Hailey’s novel ‘Airport’ (1968).  The middle name, Renee, is taken from The Four Tops’ 1967 version of ‘Walk Away Renee’, originally a hit for The Left Banke the previous year.  Gwen’s parents are Dennis and Patti Stefani.  Dennis Stefani is of Italian-American background and works as a marketing executive for Yamaha.  Before marrying and becoming a housewife, Patti Flynn – of Irish and Scottish ancestry – was an accountant.  It is a Roman Catholic household.  The Stefanis have four children: Eric (born 17 June 1967), Gwen, and two younger siblings, Jill and Todd.

Gwen Stefani describes herself as an “ordinary suburban” girl from “a goody two-shoes” family.  “I’d never been a bad girl, or rebel.  I was never into drugs.  I lived with my parents until I was 25.”  At school, Gwen is diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning difficulty.  As previously mentioned, her older brother, Eric, encourages her to sing.  Their parents are fans of folk music.  As a child, Gwen’s first musical interests are stage shows and film musicals like ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘Evita’.  After she makes a tape of her singing for her father, Gwen is encouraged to take music lessons to train her “loopy, unpredictable” voice.

Many of the women in the Stefani family are seamstresses and Gwen too displays an interest in making clothes.  While attending Loara High School in Anaheim, California, she combines two of her interests.  Gwen Stefani makes her stage debut in a high school talent show where she performs the song ‘Confidence’ from ‘The Sound of Music’ attired in a tweed dress she stitches together to resemble the outfit worn in the film.  Gwen is a natural brunette, but from the ninth grade she has dyed her hair.  She works part-time jobs at a Dairy Queen outlet and at the make-up counter in a department store.

No Doubt is born at a Dairy Queen – though whether it’s the same one where Gwen works is unknown.  In any case, it is at one of these soft-serve ice cream emporiums in 1986 that Eric Stefani and John Spence (8 February 1969 – 21 December 1987) first talk about putting a group together.  The name No Doubt is inspired by one of Spence’s favourite expressions.  Eric has been playing the family piano but now purchases an electronic keyboard.  With practice sessions taking place in the Stefani family garage, it is little surprise that Gwen Stefani is roped in as backing vocalist.  Eric has been listening to a lot of ska music, British bands like Madness and The Selecter.  He introduces Gwen to this style of music and No Doubt is originally conceived as a ska act.  With various friends and fellow aspiring musicians, No Doubt quickly swells to quite a large line-up in 1986: John Spence (lead vocals), Eric Stefani (keyboards), Gwen Stefani (backing vocals), Jerry McMahon (guitar), Chris Leal (bass), Chris Webb (drums), Gabe Gonzalas (trumpet), Alan Meade (saxophone) and Tony Meade (saxophone).  The brass section, while relatively uncommon in rock, is more familiar in ska.  “I was completely passive,” Gwen Stefani claims.  “My Mom always said I was the peacemaker in the family.  My older brother, Eric, was the leader, the creative one.  I was just his puppet.”

No Doubt begins ‘playing the party-band circuit around Anaheim’, California.  One of the people who attend their early shows is Tony Kanal (born 27 August 1970).  Tony is the son of Hindu parents from India – his father is Gulab and his mother is Lajwanti (or Lajju) – but Tony is born in London, England.  In 1987 the 16 year old Kanal is invited to join No Doubt, replacing their original bassist.  “I auditioned at Gwen’s house,” he recalls.  ‘Gwen’s house’ is the Stefani family home where 17 year old Gwen still lives.  “When I joined the band, I felt like I found my identity,” Tony claims.  That’s not all he finds.  Gwen Stefani displays a rather more personal interest in the newcomer.  At first Tony rejects her advances, but they soon begin secretly dating.  It is kept quiet because Tony feels that it is a kind of unspoken rule in the band that no one dates Gwen.  “All I ever did was look at Tony and pray that God would let me have a baby with him,” says Gwen of her love-struck feelings.

The ranks of No Doubt increase with the addition of two more players in the brass section during 1987: Paul Caseley (trombone) and Eric Carpenter (saxophone).

By the end of the year, the buzz surrounding No Doubt has built to the point that they schedule a gig at the Roxy Theatre as a showcase for representatives from record companies.  However tragedy strikes on 21 December 1987 when No Doubt’s co-founder and lead vocalist, John Spence, commits suicide, fatally shooting himself with a gun in a park in Anaheim, California.  At first, the rest of the group is so stunned they disband.  After several weeks they reconvene.  Alan Meade is promoted to lead vocalist, sharing the spotlight with Gwen Stefani, whose role is also expanded.  Meade soon leaves the group and Gwen becomes the undisputed frontperson.

Having completed high school in 1987, Gwen Stefani attends Fullerton College before transferring to California State University in Fullerton.  Her mind is not really on higher education though.  As No Doubt continues, everyone works odd jobs to make ends meet financially.  In Gwen’s case that involves working in a clothing store that specifically caters to older women.  “I had a whole wall of polyester pants in every colour,” recounts the part-time salesgirl with a mixture of pride and embarrassment.

In early 1988, Tom Dumont (born 11 January 1968) replaces Jerry McMahon as the guitarist in No Doubt.  A native of Los Angeles, California, Dumont comes to the group after leaving a heavy metal band called Rising.  They “were into drinking [and] wearing spandex,” but Dumont wants to concentrate on music so he hopes No Doubt will suit him better.

After a year of keeping it hush-hush, Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal are openly a couple from 1988.

In 1989 Adrian Young (born 26 August 1969) joins No Doubt.  Hailing from Long Beach, California, he replaces Chris Webb on drums.

In June 1989 trombonist Paul Caseley leaves No Doubt to join the U.S. Navy Band.  Around this time all the brass players are quietly removed from No Doubt.  The new, trimmed down group consists of: Gwen Stefani (vocals), Tom Dumont (guitar), Eric Stefani (keyboards), Tony Kanal (bass) and Adrian Young (drums).

In 1990 No Doubt are signed to a recording contract with Interscope Records.

The debut album, ‘No Doubt’ (1992), is produced by the band and Dito Godwin.  This effort is ‘mostly overlooked’, doesn’t chart, and is, allegedly, ‘not supported by the record label.’  The highlight is ‘Trapped In A Box’, a track written by the entire group with the exception of drummer Adrian Young.  It starts out as a poem guitarist Tom Dumont wrote while still in school.  Eric Stefani comes up with an arrangement and everyone else pitches in with the lyrics.  The song itself rages against conformity and Gwen Stefani’s weirdly eccentric, helium high, vibrato heavy vocal embodies that sentiment as she warbles, “Controlling my mind, what to eat, what to buy / Subliminal rules: how to live, how to die.”  It is ‘admittedly too out there for the radio [playlists] of the time.’

A period of uncertainty follows.  The national tour that follows ‘No Doubt’ is patchy, with the band sometimes finding their album isn’t even available at local music outlets in towns where they perform.  Eric Stefani begins to withdraw from the group.  Unsure what to do with No Doubt, Interscope licenses Trauma Records to oversee the group’s next album.  Matthew Wilder is tapped as producer.  Eric Stefani decides he doesn’t like losing so much creative control.  ‘The Beacon Street Collection’ (1995) is named after the Beacon Street house in Anaheim where No Doubt have set up their own simple recording studio.  This set is ‘much rawer and more punk-inspired than the debut’ but it earns the same lack of commercial success.  Just after its release, Eric Stefani leaves No Doubt.  He becomes an animator on the television cartoon comedy ‘The Simpsons’.

Though this may seem like a low point for the group, the big breakthrough for No Doubt approaches.

The music of No Doubt is a synthesis of five different strands: ska, new wave, synth music, dance, and pop.  No Doubt do not originate any of these genres.  Rather, through plundering the past, they create something of their own in a manner similar to a girl searching through second-hand stores to put together her own fun and funky wardrobe of clothes.

Ska originates on the Caribbean island of Jamaica in the late 1950s – early 1960s.  It is notable for its emphasis on what is, to the ears of white folks, the ‘wrong’ beat.  Ska is faster and more frantic than its better-known successor, the slower, swaying, reggae.  Ska undergoes a revival in England in the late 1970s – early 1980s with acts like The Specials, Madness and The Selecter.  These second generation ska acts were the inspiration for Eric Stefani in creating No Doubt.  Ska remains the strongest colour in No Doubt’s palette.  The Caribbean rhythms are what they always seem to use as a default setting.

New wave is the more eccentric follow-up to the clutch of mid-1970s punk acts.  Although No Doubt are sometimes characterised as ‘ska punk’, it seems closer to the mark to see them as ‘ska new wave’.  They couple kookiness with stripped down rock, without the politics or aggression of punk.  Gwen Stefani points to Debbie Harry of new wave band Blondie for the influential combination of power and sex appeal.

Tony Kanal cites ‘Depeche Mode, The Cure, OMD [Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark]…all the English bands from the 1980s that influenced us so much” as being part of No Doubt’s musical D.N.A.  With the possible exception of The Cure, these are synth music acts, bands that made the synthesiser front-and-centre in their work.  After Eric Stefani’s departure, both Tom Dumont and Tony Kanal pull double duty in playing keyboards as well as, respectively, guitar and bass.  They favour the easy to carry, lightweight synths used by the bands of the synth pop era.  On record, Gabrial McNair often plays keyboards for No Doubt.

Dance music becomes increasingly part of No Doubt’s arsenal.  One of the greatest exponents of that genre, Madonna, is another source of inspiration.  “A lot of my influence came from her early work, like directly, like a Xerox [photocopy],” Gwen Stefani says, but she later qualifies the claim this way: “Show me one girl my age who was not influenced by her.”

Beyond these genres, No Doubt also bear an allegiance to pop music in its purest form – simple, catchy tunes and a desire for mass appeal.

A lot of No Doubt’s attraction has to do with Gwen Stefani.  With her obviously dyed blonde hair, she follows in the mode of Debbie Harry and Madonna.  Her midriff-baring outfits also owe a debt to Madonna.  However, Gwen’s experience as a seamstress separates her from her predecessors.  Her eye for mix-and-match outfits is combined with an admirable sense of humour.  She is equal parts glamour-puss and circus harlequin; too lovely to write off as a joke, and too bonkers to see as a femme fatale.  Her vocal style has a similar mixed message.  Some of the “loopy, unpredictable” aspects of her singing are sanded away as she gains skill and confidence, but there is always a ripple of wilful oddness there.  It’s an engaging approach.  Gwen is also the key songwriter, usually collaborating with Tony Kanal or Tom Dumont, and, primarily, writing the lyrics.

Interscope takes control of No Doubt’s recordings again with their third album.  Trauma Records are not pleased, but an out of court settlement is reached.

Aside from Eric Stefani’s departure, the biggest shift in No Doubt’s chemistry comes with the break-up of the seven year relationship between Tony Kanal and Gwen Stefani.  It is Tony who calls a halt to things, saying he needs “space.”  Gwen recalls, “He said, ‘What should I do?  Should I leave the band?’ and I was like, ‘No, no’.”  The heartache proves to have creative benefits.  “When he broke up with me, all of a sudden I wrote these songs…All these lyrics were coming out of me.  [I thought they were] horribly mean, but [he thought it was] really good.”  Tony Kanal expands on this, saying, “That’s because she put herself out there, people could relate to it on some level.”

‘Tragic Kingdom’ (1995) (US no. 1, UK no. 3, AUS no. 3), released in October, is ‘a document of the break-up of Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal.’  The title is a pun on the amusement theme park Disneyland being ‘The Magic Kingdom’.  Disneyland is in Anaheim, California, also the home of No Doubt.  The album is again produced by Matthew Wilder.  The first single, ‘Just A Girl’ (US no. 23, UK no. 3, AUS no. 3), is vaguely ska inflected.  Co-written with guitarist Tom Dumont, this track showcases Gwen Stefani’s persona as ‘alternately an embrace of little-girl lost innocence and riot grrl feminism.’  Gwen comes up with the title first and its ambivalent connotations.  A Roland Jupiter 8 is used for the ‘bow-wowing synth noise.’  The opening track, ‘Spiderwebs’ (US no. 18, UK no. 16, AUS no. 46) is co-written with Tony Kanal.  Gwen’s inspiration here is the coconut-reggae of Blondie’s version of ‘The Tide Is High’, though that’s not evident in the finished product, a blend of super-charged ska, rough guitars and pop punk.  The real life lyrical spur to its tale of answering machines and unreturned calls is a guy who keeps phoning the singer to recite bad poetry and profess his love.  ‘Don’t Speak’ (US no. 1, UK no. 1, AUS no. 1) dates back to a melody Gwen heard her brother playing at their Beacon Street base, ‘one of the most beautiful melodies she’d ever heard.’  So Eric Stefani gets a co-credit on this atypical big ballad that becomes the ‘band’s biggest hit to date.’  This is the track that most directly deals with Gwen and Tony’s break-up: “I really feel / I’m losing my best friend / I can’t believe this could be the end.”  Tom Dumont co-authors ‘Excuse Me, Mr’, a song that No Doubt tries with a country arrangement and a ‘rollicking rock take that the band prefers’, so it is the latter that ends up on the album.  It’s a frantic and jittery track about seeking some attention.  The keyboard heavy ska of ‘Sunday Morning’ (UK no. 50, AUS no. 21) is squeezed out like a sponge.  It begins life as a song Tony and Gwen write while still a couple.  Specifically, he serenades her through the bathroom door while she is being sick after a big night out.  Eric Stefani gets a co-writing credit with Tony and Gwen.  After the end of Tony and Gwen’s romance, she rewrites some lines to better address the situation: “You sure have changed since yesterday / Without any warning / I thought I knew you.”  ‘Tragic Kingdom’ is ‘one of the landmark albums of the decade.’

Having achieved a breakthrough, No Doubt go on tour for some time.  It takes them a while to orient themselves towards their next album.  During 1995 No Doubt play some shows as the opening act for U.K. alternative rock band Bush.  This is how Gwen Stefani meets Gavin Rossdale of Bush, the man who becomes the new love of her life.

‘New’ (US no. 123, UK no. 30, AUS no. 89) is written about Gwen Stefani’s blossoming love for Gavin Rossdale: “Don’t let it go away / This feeling has got to stay.”  It’s an appropriately exuberant and giddy sound.  Co-author Tom Dumont supplies the guitar that zigzags through planks of synthesisers.  The song is co-produced by No Doubt and Jerry Harrison from iconic new wave act Talking Heads.  ‘New’ is included on the soundtrack for the movie ‘Go’ (1999) and is also added to No Doubt’s next album.

Drummer Adrian Young becomes the first member of No Doubt to wed when he marries Nina Kent on 16 January 2000.  The couple have a son, Mason (born 9 February 2002).  Their next child, a daughter, is stillborn in 2010.  After this tragedy, they have another girl, Magnolia (born 10 June 2011).

‘Return Of Saturn’ (2000) (US no. 2, UK no. 31, AUS no. 11) is released in March.  In the publicity photos of this time, Gwen Stefani’s hair is dyed bright pink.  She soon reverts to blonde.  Aside from ‘New’, most of the album is produced by Glen Ballard.  “I had a very hard time making ‘Return Of Saturn’,” Gwen claims.  “[It] was my coming of age album.”  In fact, the album’s title alludes to this.  It is related to the singer entering her late 20s.  Struggling with confusion and depression, Gwen Stefani is told by boyfriend Gavin Rossdale that it is connected to the return of Saturn.  It takes 29.4 Earth years for Saturn to return to the same place in the heavens it occupied at any individual’s time of birth.  Astrologists see the return of Saturn as a time of self-evaluation.  Although ‘New’ was all about the first blush of love, ‘Ex-Girlfriend’ (US no. 11, UK no. 23, AUS no. 9) is penned during Gwen Stefani’s temporary separation from Gavin Rossdale: “I’m another ex-girlfriend on your list / But I should have thought about that before we kissed.”  True love never runs smooth.  The couple soon patch things up.  Tom Dumont and Tony Kanal share songwriting credit with Gwen Stefani for ‘Ex-Girlfriend’.  The song is originally given a ‘dirge’ tempo but, at producer Glen Ballard’s suggestion, it is goosed into a maddening shake of neurotic guitars.  ‘Simple Kind Of Life’ (US no. 38, UK no. 64, AUS no. 94) is the first song written solely by Gwen Stefani.  Having mastered enough guitar to amuse herself while her bandmates are otherwise occupied during the recording, she bursts in exclaiming, “I think I wrote a song!”  With an acoustic strum and boxy percussion, ‘Simple Kind Of Life’ has ‘a power ballad feel’: “And all I wanted was the simple things / A simple kind of life / And all I needed was a simple man / So I could be a wife.”  ‘Bathwater’ (AUS no. 79) – another collaboration between Gwen, Tony and Tom – is notable for its New Orleans jazz funeral opening that melds into harsh off-beat verses before surrendering to an upbeat chorus.  ‘The allusion of washing in someone’s bathwater signifies an acceptance of your lover’s faults…indulging in the person and all their emotional baggage.’  ‘Return Of Saturn’ is ‘critically acclaimed, but is not as commercially successful as its predecessor.’

In 2001 Gwen Stefani provides guest vocals on ‘Let Me Blow Ya Mind’ (US no. 2, UK no. 4, AUS no. 4) by ‘rap chanteuse’ Eve.  Such a move gives the band the confidence ‘to explore new genres.’

‘Rock Steady’ (2001) (US no. 9, UK no. 43, AUS no. 15) is No Doubt’s finest album.  It shows signs of ‘ska revival and new wave sounds.’  Released in December, the disc is primarily recorded in Jamaica, giving No Doubt first hand access to the sounds that have been their chief inspiration for their career.  The album utilises multiple producers.  In Jamaica, ‘Hey Baby’ and ‘Underneath It All’ both use legendary Jamaican rhythm section Sly (Dunbar) & Robbie (Shakespeare) as producers with Robbie adding some bass to the proceedings in the Kingston, Jamaica, recording studio.  ‘Hey Baby’ (US no. 5, UK no. 2, AUS no. 7) tackles dancehall, the latest variant on Jamaican rhythms, but, with added production from dance music expert Mark ‘Spike’ Stent and Philip Steir, it’s really a rather original mutation.  Amid its buffeting beats, Gwen Stefani coos, “Misfit, I sit, lit up, wicked / Everybody else surrounded by the girls / With the tank tops and the flirty words.”  Gwen co-writes the song with Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont and Rodney Price, the latter better known as Bounty Killer.  The ‘reigning dancehall king’, he ‘toasts’ over the top of the instrumental break (‘toasting’, as in the speech made by a Master of Ceremonies, is the Jamaican equivalent of rap; a rhyming, rhythmic way of talking).  ‘Underneath It All’ (US no. 3, UK no. 18, AUS no. 28) is a slower-paced mango slice of lover’s rock.  This time it is Lady Saw (Marion Hall) who does the toasting.  Gwen Stefani co-authors the song with Dave Stewart of 1980s pop stars The Eurythmics.  Gwen met him while in London visiting her boyfriend, Gavin Rossdale.  U.K. dance music doyen Nellee Hooper brings out another side of No Doubt.  ‘Hella Good’ (US no. 13, UK no. 12, AUS no. 8) is No Doubt’s greatest song.  It is a collaboration between Gwen Stefani, Tony Kanal and ‘hip hop beat masters’ The Neptunes (i.e. Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo).  The simple “Keep on dancing” refrain hovers over an unstoppable, lumbering synth groove.  Choked rhythm guitar and some breathy panting from Gwen makes this “A performance deserving of a standing ovation,” as the lyrics say in reference to a lover.  This shows No Doubt’s gift for combining disparate elements into a seamless whole to its most satisfying effect.  Nellee Hooper also oversees ‘Running’ (US no. 62) which makes good use of some tinkly-bonk 1980s synthesisers.  Co-writing with Tony Kanal, Gwen’s singing is smoother and more accessible here than some of her wackier youthful vocal excursions.  Other famous faces show up on different tracks.  The purple funk master Prince performs on ‘Waiting Room’, a track he co-writes and produces, while Ric Ocasek, from 1980s new wave act The Cars, produces ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ on which No Doubt ‘sound more like The Cars than The Cars.’  Sessions for the album also take place in London, San Francisco and Los Angeles with William Orbit and Steely & Clevie joining the list of producers too.  With such a vast tapestry, ‘Rock Steady’ has the potential to be half-baked and unfocused but instead, ‘No Doubt successfully step between genres at a level which has seen many a superstar fall flat on their face.’

Gwen Stefani marries Gavin Rossdale on 14 September 2002 at St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, London.  The ceremony is repeated in Los Angeles two weeks later.  The couple go on to have two sons: Kingston (born 26 May 2006) and Zuma (born 21 August 2008).

A cover version of British band Talk Talk’s 1984 hit ‘It’s My Life’ (US no. 10, UK no. 12, AUS no. 7) is added to the compilation ‘No Doubt: The Singles 1992-2003’ (2003) (US no. 2, UK no. 5, AUS no. 15).

No Doubt are then put on hiatus.

Gwen Stefani has a solo career, releasing the album ‘Love Angel Music Baby’ (2004) (US no. 5, UK no. 4, AUS no. 1).  This yields the following singles: ‘What You Waiting For?’ (US no. 47, UK no. 4, AUS no. 1); ‘Rich Girl’ with Eve (US no. 7, UK no. 4, AUS no. 2); ‘Hollaback Girl’ (US no. 1, UK no. 8, AUS no. 1); ‘Cool’ (US no. 13, UK no. 11, AUS no. 10); ‘Luxurious’ (US no. 21, UK no. 44, AUS no. 25); and ‘Crash’ (US no. 49).  Then follows ‘The Sweet Escape’ (2006) (US no. 3, UK no. 14, AUS no. 2).  This disc is home to the following hits: ‘Wind It Up’ (US no. 6, UK no. 3, AUS no. 5); ‘The Sweet Escape’ (US no. 2, UK no. 2, AUS no. 2); ‘4 In the Morning’ featuring Slim Thug (US no. 34, UK no. 22, AUS no. 9); and ‘Now That You Got It’ with Damian Marley (UK no. 59, AUS no. 37).  Gwen Stefani also starts her own fashion label, L.A.M.B., in 2004 and becomes a ‘style icon’.

Tom Dumont marries his wife, Meeke, in October 2004.  They have three sons: Ace (born 6 April 2006), Rio (born 18 June 2008) and Koa (born 19 February 2011).  Dumont works on his own solo project, Invincible Overlord, during the hiatus.

Meantime, Tony Kanal co-writes ‘Funhouse’, the title track of the 2008 album by ‘pop rock artist’ Pink, since he has some experience working with colourful female singers.  Tony Kanal marries U.S. actress Erin Kokitz and they have a daughter, Coco (born 24 January 2011).

Adrian Young works on his golf game.

No Doubt reconvene for ‘Push And Shove’ (2012) (US no. 3, UK no. 16, AUS no. 8), their first album since 2001.  ‘Settle Down’ (US no. 34, UK no. 85, AUS no. 41) and ‘Looking Hot’ (UK no. 397) come from this set.

Gwen Stefani files for divorce from Gavin Rossdale on 3 August 2015.  By November 2015 Stefani is dating country music singer Blake Shelton.  Stefani’s divorce from Rossdale is finalised on 8 April 2016.

Gwen Stefani’s solo album ‘This Is What The Truth Feels Like’ (2016) (US no. 1, UK no. 14, AUS no. 6) is released on 18 March.  She considers this to be ‘a break-up record’ about the end of her marriage to Gavin Rossdale.  Singles released from this set are ‘Used To Love You’ (US no. 52, UK no. 157, AUS no. 58), ‘Make Me Like You’ (US no. 54, UK no. 140, AUS no. 47) and ‘Misery’ (UK no. 171, AUS no. 74).

Siblings can be a problem.  However Gwen Stefani’s older brother, Eric, co-created No Doubt, the band that became her vehicle to fame and fortune.  Conversely, she kept the act going after Eric abandoned it.  Although Gwen Stefani was probably always the focus of No Doubt, it’s questionable whether she was better served with a solo career or continuing with the group.  What was less questionable was No Doubt’s achievements from 1992 to 2001.  For at least a decade, they produced some ‘Hella Good’ material.  Was it worthwhile?  In the words of John Spence, the band’s late co-founder, “no doubt!”  No Doubt were ‘one of the breakout rock bands of the 1990s.’  They became ‘a fixture in the worldwide collective pop psyche.’


  1. as at 19 August 2013, 3 January 2017
  2. ‘Sunday Morning’ (U.S. television program, CBS Network) – No Doubt interview conducted by Anthony Mason (23 September 2012)
  3. ‘The Guardian’ (U.K. newspaper) – Gwen Stefani interview conducted by Caroline Sullivan (15 February 2002) (reproduced on
  4. ‘The Telegraph’ (U.K. newspaper) – Gwen Stefani interview conducted by John Preston (19 August 2012) (reproduced on
  5., ‘No Doubt’ by John Bush as at 29 September 2013
  6. Notable names database – – as at 19 August 2013
  7. ‘No Doubt: The Singles 1992-2003’ – Sleeve notes by Paris Montoya, Tom Lanham (Interscope Records, 2003) p. 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29
  8. ‘In Sixty’ (Canadian television program, Much More Music Cable Network) – No Doubt interview conducted by Matt Wells (16 March 2013)
  9. ‘The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time’ – ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine (February 2004) p. 64

Song lyrics copyright Knock Yourself Out Music / Universal – MCA Music Publishing (ASCAP) with the exceptions of ‘New’, ‘Simple Kind Of Life’ (both World of the Dolphin Music / Universal – MCA Music Publishing (ASCAP)); ‘Hey Baby’ (World of the Dolphin Music / Universal – MCA Music Publishing (ASCAP) and B-Unique Music (ASCAP)); and ‘Hella Good’ (World of the Dolphin Music / Universal – MCA Music Publishing (ASCAP), Chase Chad Music / EMI Publishing (ASCAP) and Water of Nazareth Publishing / EMI Music Publishing (BMI)).

Last revised 11 January 2017


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