-- by John Norris
Your band hasn't performed onstage for more than a year, you've got material you've never played before, and you're about to open for arguably the world's biggest band in the world's most famous arena. A pretty daunting assignment, but No Doubt could hardly have been in a better, more relaxed mood than when we caught up with them 24 hours before they were to take the stage at Madison Square Garden in support of U2.
It's a relaxed mode which permeates Rock Steady, their latest album and possibly their most upbeat record to date. Maybe that's all a reflection of the relative ease with which the album came together. After demoing early in the year at guitarist Tom Dumont's home in L.A., the band did some globetrotting. First stop was Jamaica, where the mood enhancement began with Red Stripes for breakfast the better to cultivate the album's dancehall vibes with legendary production teams Sly & Robbie and Steely & Clevie. Then to London for songwriting with Eurythmics' Dave Stewart and production work with William Orbit (Madonna) and Nellee Hooper (Soul II Soul, Björk). Throw in collaborations with the Cars' Ric Ocasek and the artist once again known as Prince, and you've got one hell of an enjoyable record. Despite the darkness of our post-September 11 world, No Doubt has had an uncommonly happy year.
John Norris: Tomorrow night is the first official No Doubt show of 2001. Are you feeling pressure, or are you looking forward to it?
Gwen Stefani: We haven't had time to feel pressure. We've been so busy and having so much fun. We rehearsed until two in the morning and we're freaking out like, "Oh my God, I can't believe we're playing with U2 and we don't know our songs." I'm trying to remember "Just A Girl." I'm like, "God, I can't remember the words." [RealVideo]
Tony Kanal: Those guys know how to drink. They told us they don't like to be outdrank, so we're gonna give them a run for their money on this tour.
No Doubt dance all night long, mellow out in Jamaica and somehow make an album out of it ... NEXT >>