After recording Rock Steady in record time, No Doubt appear to be racing to get the album on the street.
The release date for the record has been bumped from December 18 to December 11, according to an Interscope Records spokesperson, who gave no reason for the change. Unlike past albums, Rock Steady was completed in less than a year (see "No Doubt's Rock Steady Right On Time").
Singer Gwen Stefani and her No Doubt compadres said recently they are overly excited about the record, which ventures into several new territories, particularly dancehall, trip-hop and house. One need only look to where the band recorded — along the shores of Jamaica, in London and around Los Angeles — to see why. In all three locations, No Doubt recorded by day and partied by night.
"It's a great mix of L.A., Jamaica and London," bassist Tony Kanal said recently.
"It's so crazy 'cause that's all our influences," Stefani chimed in. "I mean, we grew up listening to English ska and then reggae and all that stuff. And then we're from Orange County, and it's all mixed in."
Rock Steady is anything but steady in its style, hopping from one genre to the next. There's a William Orbit-produced song one minute, a Prince tune the next. One track, "Hella Good," encapsulates several of the sounds. It was co-written by No Doubt and the Neptunes and produced by Nellee Hooper (Massive Attack, Björk) (see "Dre, Timbaland Beats Will Be Absent On No Doubt LP").
"This song has this total collision of all different kinds of styles and influences," Stefani said. "The kind of cultural collision that would happen coming from the hip-hop world and a true band, and it's the first time [we] had written with other people before, and it was really hard. It was like getting naked and trying to get really intimate with people you don't know."
The funky tune revolves around what Stefani called a Michael Jackson beat. "We wanted to write a dance track that you could actually dance to in a club," she said.
"That was a big thing for us on this record, to be able to go to dance clubs and hear our own music being played," Kanal said. "We're going there anyway, so you might as well have your stuff spun in with the rest of it. I think we accomplished that. A lot of the stuff is groove-oriented. It's really fun to dance to."
"Hella Good" is one of two new tracks No Doubt are playing on their current tour with U2, which they began Monday in Austin, Texas (see "No Doubt, Garbage To Preview New Material With U2").
The Southern California rockers said they built a relationship with U2 through various mutual friends and Stefani's involvement in Bono's "What's Going On" project. And it was Bono who helped Stefani with a melody on Rock Steady's first single, "Hey Baby" (see "No Doubt's 'Hey Baby' Pays Tribute To Drooling, Gawking Groupies").
"I'm not going to give him any publishing [credit] or anything like that, but he came in and listened to 'Hey Baby' and he's like, 'Ah, this is great.' And he comes over and he says, 'Jamaica, Jamaica.' ... And he sang this line and we used it. It goes, (singing) 'Hey baby, baby.' Bono wrote that. But don't tell him we used it."
U2/No Doubt tour dates, according to Interscope:
- 11/9 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Delta Center
- 11/12 - Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center
- 11/13 - Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center
- 11/15 - Oakland, CA @ Oakland Arena
- 11/16 - Oakland, CA @ Oakland Arena
- 11/18 - Las Vegas, NV @ Thomas & Mack Center
- 11/19 - Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center