No Doubt: 15 Facts You Didn’t Know (Part 1)

Fred King / PPcorn
Fred King / PPcorn

For nearly three decades, No Doubt has made a name for themselves pioneering third-wave ska in the U.S. and bringing it to the masses. Led by charismatic frontwoman Gwen Stefani, they are one of the top-selling, female-fronted bands of all time. Their 1994 album, Tragic Kingdom, skyrocketed the band into the mainstream, launching the careers of Stefani, bassist Tony Kanal, guitarist Tom Dumont and drummer Adrian Young. Though Stefani has had a successful pop music career outside of the band, she and the rest of the guys have never lost their zeal for the music that has made them who they are and earned them fans the world over. Read on to learn more about No Doubt outstanding career and stay tuned for part two, coming to you soon.

Number Fifteen: Their Current Line-Up is Not Their Original Line-Up. No Doubt was actually started by Eric Stefani on keyboard and John Spence on vocals. When the duo decided to start gigging, they invited Eric’s sister, Gwen, into the mix, along with a few other musicians, to work with them. Tony Kanal, though not in the original group of musicians, joined the band early on as their permanent bassist.  The band’s future was up in the air when Spence committed suicide, but the band continued on with trumpet player Alan Meade taking over until his departure from the band, leaving Gwen as the band’s lead singer. Tom Dumont (guitar) and Adrian Young (drums) joined in as other members left. When Eric Stefani left the band prior to the release of Tragic Kingdom, that left Gwen as the only original member of the group.

Number Fourteen: They Originally Had a Horn Section. No Doubt had much more of a ska influence when they first started than they do now. They even had a horn section from 1987 until 1995, which can be heard on the band’s first three albums. Return of Saturn, released in 2000, was the band’s first album where they used studio musicians for all brass parts.

Number Thirteen: Tragic Kingdom Was Written About a Break-Up. It is commonly believed that much of 1995s Tragic Kingdom was written about Tony Kanal and Gwen Stefani’s breakup. The couple had been going together since just after Kanal joined the band. Ending their seven-year romance in 1994, their break-up fueled the lyrics to “Don’t Speak,” arguably the band’s biggest hit.

Number Twelve: They Wrote a Song with Major Lazer. The band collaborated with the production duo on the title track of their 2012 album, Push and Shove. Jamaican singer Busy Signal was also featured on the track.

Number Eleven: They Had Solo Projects During Their Hiatus. Most people already know about the successful solo career Stefani had during the band’s first hiatus, recording two solo albums and creating a fashion empire. But what did the other members of the band do during those 10 years? Kanal decided to do some production and writing work, producing three songs on Stefani’s solo debut, three for the soundtrack to 50 First Dates, co-wrote two of P!ink’s most successful songs, “Sober” and “Funhouse,” and contributed to a track on Weezer’s Hurley album. Dumont started a side project of his own with Ted Matson under the name Invincible Overlord. The band released one album in 2005. Dumont also produced Matt Costa’s Songs We Sing. Young did some studio work, collaborating with likes of Bow Wow Wow, Unwritten Law and The Vandals.

Number Ten: Stefani sang with Sublime. In 1994, Stefani provided guest vocals for fellow ska-punk band Sublime’s song “Saw Red,” before either band enjoyed any mainstream success.

Number Nine: The Band Collaborated with Prince. They actually had the opportunity to work with him twice. Stefani lent her vocals to Prince’s 1999 album, Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, and in return, Prince co-wrote and performed on a song from No Doubt’s 2001 album, Rock Steady. Look for part two of our list of 15 interesting facts about No Doubt.

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