On the second night of No Doubt‘s new tour, Gwen Stefani looked into the sea of fans and screamed, “I fucking love this song!” before launching into “It’s My Life.” It’s the band’s first time on the road since 2004, and the adrenaline is pumping: Stefani also climbed a lighting rig and busted out a set of push-ups during the show, which highlighted the group’s hits. “We’re a live band — we had to get out there and reconnect onstage,” says bassist Tony Kanal, who filled us in on the band’s 55-date tour.
Why tour without a new CD?
We need to find our muse – that’s what this tour is for. Before we made Rock Steady, we had so much fun on the road – having dance parties – that we got excited about dancehall and went to Jamaica to record. When we started writing our new album, the inspiration was missing, so we decided to get out and play.
Have you written any new tunes?
There’s tons of ideas, but we’re not far enough along to play anything live. I put a studio on my bus, so whenever there’s a long drive, I’ll invite my bandmates on board to work on music.
How is touring now that your bandmates all have kids?
It’s a totally different dynamic – there are five babies out there! Gwen and the guys have cribs on their buses; the afterparty room with the DJ rig and bar is being turned into a romper room.
What’s it like to play old songs?
Tragic Kingdom songs like “Happy Now?” and “End It on This” bring back memories. We’re so lucky to be doing this after 23 years. I know it’s difficult for other bands, but not for us. We actually like each other.
This story appeared in the May 28, 2009 issue of Rolling Stone.