If a kewpie doll sang in a band and had two kids, she’d be Gwen Stefani.
The pop star and style icon turns 40 this fall, but she still uses words like “you know” and “like” at least five times a minute. That’s part of Stefani’s charm, and her carefree teenybopper mentality is one of the many reasons fans are excited about her first tour with No Doubt in half a decade. It’s been 14 years since the quartet busted out of Orange County, California, with its signature sound of sunny, ska-influenced pop. In 2004, No Doubt went on hiatus as Stefani launched the first of two successful solo albums. In the meantime, drummer Adrian Young and guitarist Tom Dumont worked on side projects and watched their families grow. Stefani and her husband — former Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale — welcomed two sons, while bassist Tony Kanal is the only member to remain single and child-free. No Doubt is currently in the midst of a 53-date North American tour, for which they’ve dusted off such classic hits as “Just a Girl,” “Spiderwebs” and “Bathwater.” Each member now travels in their own individual tour bus — a must for an entourage that includes kids, toys and nannies. Watch No Doubt in concert, at rest » CNN: You’d hear rumors every once in a while that you guys were breaking up, or had broken up. Were those annoying, or did you kind of roll your eyes and say, “That’s part of the game” Adrian Young: I think we expected it. And there might even be some people that will think that we broke up, and that this is a reunion tour — and it’s just not the truth. We went 17 straight years without stopping, and we started having families, and we were burnt and we needed to do our own thing for a while. CNN: What was it like to get all four of you together in a room again Tom Dumont: It’s kind of like an old glove. It just fits. Young: Like an O.J. glove Dumont: No, no, no. I know it’s a weird analogy, but in the sense of — you know, it fits. Tony Kanal: You know when somebody says “glove” now, you immediately think of O.J. Young: “If it fits, you must acquit.” That’s our band motto now. Dumont: We’re not going to quit. We’re just great old friends. It’s almost like we’re brothers and sister, and it’s great to be having fun together again. Young: I feel more like we’re married. CNN: I hear it’s a little bit different this time. Instead of sharing a tour bus, you’ll each have your own individual buses. Kanal: This will be our first time on separate buses, only out of necessity. Everyone’s bringing their family. CNN: Are you just trying to get away from the kids, is that what you’re saying, Tony! Kanal: No, no, no! I would love to be on the bus with them. Gwen Stefani: Tony’s going to be making kids on his bus. Kanal: Yeah, maybe my girlfriend and I will be in the process of starting our family. Stefani, Young and CNN (in unison): Really! Kanal (ignoring everybody’s reaction): But by default, I’m putting a studio on my bus. Because I don’t have a crib on my bus — they have cribs on their buses — I’m putting a studio on my bus so we can keep writing if the inspiration comes, and we feel like doing it. Stefani: We’re just putting the studio out there so we can pretend we might go out there and write songs, but we’re really just going to have fun. … We like writing songs, as well [but] I have to tell you, it’s a very tortured process. There is nothing more rewarding when you know you’ve written a hit, and you know this magic happened. CNN: Did you guys really go to group therapy Kanal: No. … We had some self-imposed therapy sessions where we were trying to write music, and we were sitting in the room together, and a lot of stuff came out, and you know, it was kind of an emotional venting. We got rid of a lot of stuff. It was good. Stefani: We spent a lot of time together in the last 12 months. Right when I came off tour (from her second solo album, “The Sweet Escape”), we started to write, and I was pregnant (with her second son, Zuma), and we did a lot of eating, a lot of chatting — and then we had this magic 15 minutes from 4:45 to 5 o’clock where music would actually come out for a minute. One day, I was like, “Argh! I’m in this room still! Let’s go on tour!” And everyone was like, “OK!” It was very spontaneous, and it’s all kind of geared towards getting out there … and getting inspired, and hopefully coming out of the other side and making an album. CNN: Gwen, when you were off doing the two solo albums, did you feel guilty at all Because I know you all were trying to get back together for a couple of years. Stefani: I’m one of those people that I have to follow the inspiration when it strikes. … These guys are just very supportive. We’ve been together forever — forever, forever — since we were kids, and this is just the one time in our lives we’ve had a break from each other. Everybody did their own thing. And I think all of us doing our own thing makes us even more grateful for each other, and kind of definitely not taking each other for granted — not that we ever did before. … But it’s even more intense right now. CNN: Things have changed since the last time No Doubt was on the road, and there a lot of people who don’t have that disposable income to spend on tickets for concerts. Young: One of the things we did for this tour for some of the venues is we have $10 lawn tickets for people that maybe want to come to the show, but they’re strapped — and we’ve never done that before as No Doubt, and it feels really good to do that.
CNN: I was calling this a reunion. Was that bad Stefani: We don’t really care. We’re just so happy that people want to come out and see the show, whatever they want to call it. We’re just happy that people still are even talking about it. … Even if you didn’t really like our songs, or you had this kind of idea about us, come see us live, and we’ll slap you around. You might have some fun, you know.