In between bites of a Cobb salad at New York's Tribeca Grand Hotel, Gwen Stefani is explaining why No Doubt is going on tour for the first time in five years without a new album to promote.
"Honestly, it's procrastination," she says with a sigh. "My plan was to get pregnant and write a record, but instead of writing, I just ate all the time."
Stefani laughs as she pops a tomato in her mouth. "Writing is always really hard for me -- I hate it and hate it and then I do it, and I'm happy it's done," she says. "I was blocked and I needed to get inspired, and I thought playing live would get the creative juices flowing again."
Which isn't to say Stefani and her No Doubt bandmates haven't been busy since the 2001 release of their last album, "Rock Steady." Stefani, who has two sons, ages 8 months and 3 years, released two solo albums, "Love. Angel. Music. Baby.," which sold 4 million copies, and "The Sweet Escape," which sold 1.7 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Bassist Tony Kanal did production work on Stefani's albums and wrote songs with artists including Pink. Guitarist Tom DuMont produced two records, scored a documentary and was a stay-at-home dad. Drummer Adrian Young did session work and played golf.
Now they'll be together for a tour that starts Saturday (May 16) in Las Vegas and ends August 1 in Irvine, California.
Hitting the road without new material after years of relative silence might seem like a risk, but the band's manager, Jim Guerinot, was delighted when the group approached him with the idea. "I think it's the right move," he says. "Even though they remained friends throughout the hiatus, they've all been working on other projects and haven't spent a lot of time together. They've become more of a unit in the time they've been rehearsing together and played a few shows, and I think this will change things for the positive."