Gwen Stefani may be revving up her solo career again for 2015, but the year will also be an active one on the festival circuit for No Doubt. After headlining Saturday’s Global Citizen Earth Day Festival in Washington, D.C., the band is set to play over a half-dozen additional festivals this year, including the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Las Vegas’ Rock In Rio, Napa’s BottleRock, Aspen Jazz Snowmass and Del Mar, Calif.’s KAABOO. And at least one more “in the Midwest” is expected to be announced in the coming weeks, the band’s drummer Adrian Young tells Billboard.
The festivals are a delayed tour of sorts for No Doubt’s most recent album, 2012’s Push And Shove, whose official tour was postponed in February 2013 so the band could begin work on its next album. Given the 11-year gap between albums that followed 2001’s Rock Steady while Stefani embarked on a successful solo career, the band seemed eager to stay on its creative tear, stating on its Facebook page, “Our goal as a band is to share this new music with you as quickly as possible — both recorded and live on tour.”
But in an interview backstage at Global Citizen, No Doubt’s Young and guitarist Tom Dumont didn’t have much of a firm timetable to share for its new music. “There was some experimenting going on, but Gwen’s gonna do another solo record and we’re gonna continue to play some more live shows and see what happens from there,” Young says. Adds Dumont, “This year is about playing festivals, many of which we’ve never played before. It kinda feels like the 90s, when we used to play these European festivals as the underdog.”
Besides, the band is just as busy adjusting to having its increasingly large families on the road with them, as its four core members now have a total of 10 children ranging in age from 1 to 14. “As the years go by and becoming parents, so much of our energy and time goes into that,” Dumont says. “Time just goes faster and the band becomes nuts.”
Still, nearly 20 years after the release of diamond-certified Tragic Kingdom, fan excitement for No Doubt showed no signs of fatigue at Global Citizen. Playing to a crowd estimated to have exceeded 300,000 people on Washington’s National Mall, the band tore through hits like “Spiderwebs,” “Hey Baby,” “Hella Good” and lighter-waving set closer “Don’t Speak” that connected just as directly with parents and older millennials as it did with their young kids.
Billboard caught up with Young and Dumont to learn more about their 2015 plans, self-managing after Stefani signed with manager Irving Azoff, and why their kids all feel like “cousins” on the road.
BIllboard: This October marks the 20th anniversary of Tragic Kingdom. Did that factor into your festival plans at all?
Adrian Young: Not really. We’re aware of it. It feels good, it’s quite an accomplishment to have people talk about that record 20 years later. This was just a year to play some festivals.
Tom Dumont: It’s funny how life just flies by us if you’re aware of that number, 20 years. But it’s great.
You played the last Global Citizen Festival in Central Park last September. What made you want to return for D.C.?
Young: It was really Hugh Evans and Global Citizen — they wanted us to remain a partner. At first I was a little surprised and figured they wanted different acts but they wanted us back. This is a big deal, not only to being a part of it but playing for [over] 250,000 people on the Mall. It’s almost too surreal to talk about.
Dumont: Obviously for a band it’s a thrill to play in a big place, but you do hope and assume that this raises people’s awareness to the festival and this noble goal. That’s what feels good about it.
Young: We were just told that Global Citizen reached the 30 million donor mark, which is thrilling.
You took eleven years between Rock Steady and Push And Shove. Will it take that long before the next album is done?
Young: Maybe 11 or 12 [laughs]. It’s hard to say. We don’t have any immediate plans for new music. Like Tom said, this year is about playing festivals and then we’ll see where that takes us. There was some experimenting going on, but Gwen’s gonna do another solo record and we’re gonna continue to play some more live shows and see what happens from there.
Gwen recently signed with Irving Azoff for management. Does that still apply to the two of you and Tony?
Young: The three of us are self-managed now. It’s not really the plan, it wasn’t like we’re gonna be a self-managed band, so we’re in a little bit of limbo right now. But we don’t have a real tour going on or a new record coming so we’ll see where that takes us.
The four of you have all amassed large families since No Doubt last properly toured. Does that mean there’s a lot of kids on the road with you?
Dumont: There’s probably eight of the 12 kids here now. Three for me, two for Adrian, Gwen has three, Tony has two and our trombone player Gabriel has two. It’s almost like we’re siblings and they’re cousins. They all play together. They all have their own relationships and dynamics together.
Young: During soundcheck yesterday, the kids came up a little later and ran up on the stage. All of a sudden, it was like we’re not working. We were just playing music and our kids are running around.
Are any of your kids fully aware of what “No Doubt” means to these 250,000 people?
Dumont: I wonder what they think. Adrian’s son Mason is the oldest of the kids and he understands we’re a band and all that. But the little kids, I don’t know what they think. Koa, my little one, he was saying, “Oh no, not this park. I hate this park.” Nothing interests them about this festival except for each other.
Young: My son is in junior high school and he purposefully doesn’t tell people what I do. He prefers to not be treated differently.
Dumont: And he’s a wicked guitar player.