'A WEIGHT WAS LIFTED'
So far, the reception has been enthusiastic. Tickets have been selling briskly for the shows; seven dates in Southern California have sold out, according to Live Nation spokesman John Vlautin, as have shows in Houston, Denver and at Jones Beach on New York's Long Island.
The band started rehearsing in Hollywood, then set up shop in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to prepare for East Coast dates. "As soon as the pressure to make a new album was off, it was like a weight was lifted," Stefani says. "I could get back into learning the songs and planning the show, and it was so much more fun than banging my head against a wall in the studio."
No Doubt wants to make it clear that it's not another '90s band looking to hit the road and cash in on the band's greatest hits. "I don't see us as being part of that '90s revival," Kanal says. "We were always a band, even when we weren't playing together."
The group also wants to make sure its audience doesn't consist entirely of twenty- and thirtysomethings who know the band only through "Just a Girl," its 1995 breakthrough hit single. So it will give away digital copies of its three studio albums to anyone who buys tickets in the top two price tiers. (Seats for No Doubt's run of summer dates range from $10 for lawn seats to $80 for the best seats, with $59.50 and $24.50 price points in between.)
"Tom had the idea to give the albums away electronically for free with the ticket purchase," Guerinot says. "A lot of people like Gwen's solo work but might not be as familiar with No Doubt. There are people who might not have listened to the records in a while."
DuMont says that giving away the catalog seemed like an obvious value-add. "Lots of bands give away their new CDs, but we didn't have one of those," he says. "I've always thought you should be able to go and buy an entire catalog in one click, so you could get a broad representation of a band's work."
In his mind, giving the music to fans is a continuation of No Doubt's time-tested strategy. "When we first started out, we had mailing lists and parties where we'd sit and lick stamps for hours. This is a more modern version of that. And we won't get high off of licking stamp backing, either."