The revived No Doubt is hitting the road this summer hoping to jump-start some fresh ideas for the California pop-rockers’ first new album since 2001’s Rock Steady.
“That’s the whole reason why we’re doing this tour,” lead singer Gwen Stefani tells Metro during a telephone news conference. “We just want to get out there, get inspired and get out of the house. I don’t really expect to be writing any songs while we’re touring, but this’ll be a kind of new experiment to find some further inspiration.”
In early 2008, guitarist Tom Dumont, bassist Tony Kanal and drummer Adrian Young started putting together some ideas while Stefani was pregnant with her second child and wrapping up promotion of her second solo effort, 2006’s The Sweet Escape. She and her alt-rocker husband Gavin Rossdale welcomed a new son, Zuma, that August.
“I just had a new baby which was totally emotional and difficult, and I had to be in mom mode for the last little while,” Stefani explains of why the songwriting process was slow on her part. “You can’t really press a button and just write a song. For me, it’s both labouring and in need of some inspiring.”
At this point, the group admits, it’s uncertain which musical direction the as-yet-untitled record — expected to be released in 2010 — will follow.
When No Doubt broke through in 1995 with its third album, Tragic Kingdom, the four were in full ska-punk-pop mode with hit singles Sunday Morning, Just A Girl and the ballad Don’t Speak, written in the wake of a relationship breakup between Stefani and Kanal.
The follow-up, 2000’s Return To Saturn, maintained some of its ska-punk past with single Ex-Girlfriend but drifted towards radio-friendly pop with Simple Kind Of Life.
In 2001, album No. 5 Rock Steady mixed electronica, funk, Jamaican dancehall and pop and spawned hits out of Hey Baby, Hella Good, Underneath It All and Running. A greatest-hits set followed two years later, supported by an upbeat cover of Talk Talk’s It’s My Life.
So far, the only new song to come from No Doubt surfaced during the recently aired second-season finale to the TV drama Gossip Girl. The four, making a cameo under the group name Snowed Out, performed a pop-rock rendition of Adam & The Ants’ Stand And Deliver.
“We were never planning to do that, it just happened to come along while were making this new record,” Stefani says. “But it turned out to be a really good exercise for us, trying to compete with the perfection of the original.”
No Doubt live
• Toronto: No Doubt plays the Air Canada Centre tonight.