Young comes from the opposite background of Stefani. He was born to hippie parents, though his mother left when he was young. The exhibitionist of the band, Young is a madman with a conscience. When he heard that a girlfriend was cheating on him, he got drunk, wrote that she was the Antichrist across the driveway of the Anaheim, California, house where the band lived and passed out on the roof. Since the house belonged to Stefani's parents, he spent the next morning scrubbing the driveway.
Now married (to a woman who used to work in the band's touring production office) and with a child on the way, he's mellowing out. He just wants to drive some golf balls and be with his wife, though he still can't seem to avoid singing, “Hey, we want some pussy,” during any lull in the conversation.
An evening with Young, age 32: In the bar of a New York hotel, Stefani lifts her glass for a toast: “To fifteen years of blood, friendship, love and the release of our new record.” Young stands up and takes off his jacket. Underneath is a faded No Doubt shirt. “It's from 1987,” he says. “I bought it at a No Doubt show.” Young is the band's newest member, having joined in 1999; before that he was the band's biggest fan. “You shouldn't wear that shirt,” says Stefani. “You should frame it, and cut it so that both sides show in the frame.” Young says nothing, but it is clear that in his mind, shirts are for wearing.
Kanal, as cool as he seems, is the band's most tightly wound character. His father and mother moved from India to London and then emigrated to America with their two young sons in 1981. Eventually, they opened a store in Anaheim called Kanal's Gifts and Fashion. “They're such beautiful people,” says Stefani of Kanal's parents, “and they have such open minds. Especially in their community, because all their friends' kids are rich and going to Harvard. And here was Tony. In a band. With a white girlfriend.”
An evening with Kanal, age 31: After a twelve-hour photo shoot and a Korean meal, he offers a tour of his house. “This window isn't supposed to be open,” he says when we enter the bedroom, sounding like a cop on patrol. In an office upstairs, he finds a few discs out of order. “I can tell when my brother's been borrowing my CDs,” he says, rearranging them. They run from Eighties groups such as the Human League and Men at Work to Oasis and U2. “We judge everything we do by the Clash and U2,” he says. Every time it comes to making a decision, No Doubt ask,“What would the Clash or U2 do?”
He pulls out a daybook, in which he's listed a chronology of each day's events for the year of making Rock Steady. “Adrian has golf, Tom has surfing, Gwen has Gavin, I guess, and this is all I have,” says Kanal. “I wake, eat and sleep No Doubt.”
Dumont grew up as the only adopted child in a family of three kids. “His dad was really strict,” says Stefani. “Like, if a chair was pushed out from the table when he went to bed, he'd have to go back and push the chair in. I think his parents' divorce was just so hard on him. And he really takes care of his mom.”
An evening with Dumont, age 34: He invites me to his small West Hollywood apartment to hear the original Rock Steady demos, recorded on a mini-Pro Tools rig in the living room. He plays an unreleased track recorded to a Dr. Dre beat and a failed jam called “Expensive Sushi” with improvised Stefani lyrics and samples he downloaded from Napster. “I'm the opposite of Tony,” he says. “I'm lazy — I would just let something go and later on regret it. I always do this in my life.”
Four days after Rock Steady is released, the band is backstage at Saturday Night Live. After touring with their idols U2, the success of the KROQ show and the buzz about Rock Steady, No Doubt feel like they are getting a second chance. On their first walk through the gauntlet of popularity, they were too confused to enjoy it. Kanal remembers that when No Doubt played Saturday Night Live last time, in 1996, he was so nervous he screwed up.
Tonight, there is other drama. Young's wife, who is seven months pregnant, is sick. And Young is worrying himself sick, too. He calls her a doctor and returns to the dressing room, his face ashen. Stefani walks in with a torn black top and a haircut that basically amounts to a mullet. She isn't feeling very sexy in her high heels tonight. “They're too high,” she says. “I can't feel my feet.”
She switches shoes while Young places a paper bag next to the drum set in case he vomits during his performance. All goes smoothly, however, and after performing “Hey Baby” and “Hella Good,” the band, plus Rossdale, climbs into a limo. “Can I borrow your phone?” Dumont asks Kanal. “I need to call my mom. She's been upset today.”
As we sit in the limo, waiting to go to the Saturday Night Live afterparty, it sinks in what a strange group this is. You've got a mama's boy who's completely uncomfortable with himself, another guy who's so compulsive that he keeps a log of what he does every day, a punk with a mohawk who is actually a sensitive golf-playing father-to-be and a blond sex symbol who is actually a totally traditional love-smitten woman.
“Most people don't get it,” Stefani says in the limo. “I love that you are getting it.” And with that, she grabs Rossdale by the hand and jumps in another limo, and the lovers disappear into the night.
This story appeared in the January 31st, 2002 issue of Rolling Stone.
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