On March 17, 1992, No Doubt released their self titled debut record. To honor it, the band is releasing the album on vinyl for the first time ever! Pre-order it HERE and read more about the album below.

Set the ska-full mood:


1. Dilly Bar beginnings. The original members of the band, Gwen Stefani, brother Eric and friend John Spence, worked together at Dairy Queen before forming the band in 1986. They’d practice in the Stefani family’s garage.

2. Some doubts… The band struggled to find a name they could agree on, going by “Apple Core” before settling on No Doubt. They named themselves after Spence’s favourite expression.

3. Don’t speak – animate. Although he helped found the band, Eric Stefani left in 1994 to return to his career as an animator for The Simpsons. Yeah, NO BIG DEAL. Just playing in a rock band AND working for The Simpsons. Stefani worked on loads of iconic episodes, including the “Homer Goes to Bat” episode. He also animated the intros for Troop Beverly Hills and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.


4. Secret lovin’. Tony Kanal went to an early No Doubt show and asked to join the band as their bassist. They agreed, and he and Gwen began dating in secret shortly afterward. It was an unwritten rule that no one in the band should date Gwen, so they kept it hidden for over a year. They ended up dating for seven years, before breaking up and inspiring Gwen to write their Tragic Kingdom album in 1995.

5. Startling loss.  Days before the band was set to play a show at the Roxy Theatre, lead singer John Spence took his own life. Even worse, the show was planned so that record label representatives could come check out the band. In the days following Spence’s death, the band planned to break up but decided that Gwen would act as their lead singer instead. Watch the clip below from an early No Doubt show in 1987, with Spence still acting as the lead:


6. Future starts looking Hella Good. Following Spence’s death, the band continued to perform with Gwen as the lead. They began playing smaller venues and eventually landed a gig opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers on their Turd Town Tour in 1988. Excited by the presence of rabid, stage diving fans at concerts and Gwen’s on-stage presence, the band gained attention from the newly-created Interscope Records. They were signed to a multi-album deal in 1991.

7. Still in school. As if they weren’t already busy enough playing shows, getting record deals and writing an album – all of the band members were still in school! Completing their education was important to them, so they split their time between recording and studying. Some songs, including Trapped In a Box, were written as far back as 1987.

8. Cartoon musicFor the most part, music released in 1992 was pretty grungey. Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots and more released some of their most iconic albums that year. No Doubt’s upbeat ska, cartoon-esque sound strongly contrasted the sound of the era, making it difficult to promote sales. With only 30, 000 copies sold, Interscope refused to support their upcoming tour, leaving them to finance it themselves. In the summer of 1992, the band embarked on a national tour playing alongside Rage Against the Machine, Sublime and Public Enemy.


9. Not radio-friendly. Due to the poor sales of the album, Interscope refused to finance the band’s one single. Instead, they decided to record, produce and film a music video themselves for the song Trapped In a Box and treat it as an independent release. The song never made it onto the radio, MTV or VH1, but it did get played on MuchMusic here in Canada. The song was included on the band’s greatest hits album with a message from guitarist Tom Dumont:

“The oldest track in this collection, “Trapped in a Box” is the sole representative of No Doubt’s eponymous major label debut and a good barometer for their development. Beginning as a poem Tom wrote for school, bandleader at the time Eric Stefani then shaped the arrangement with everyone contributing lyrics. Together for six years when recorded, the band had moved beyond their ska roots. The horn section and quasi-ska rhythms remain inspired by those early Madness/Fishbone influences, while the emerging sense of flow and pop bounce makes the track a benchmark for the time and a notable milestone today. Ostensibly their first official single, “Trapped” was admittedly too out there for the radio of the time. It wasn’t aggressively promoted and largely fell upon deaf ears in a world enthralled with an “alternative revolution” mainly centered on male aggression. That changed soon enough.”


10. Rock steady. Unimpressed with the lack of support from their label, the band decided to make their next record, The Beacon Street Collection, independently. With the lack of a proper studio, the band set up a home-made studio to record out of. This caused them to move away from the slick pop sound of their first record and towards a more punk style. The album did incredibly well, selling over 100, 000 copies in its first year – over three times as many as No Doubt. Taking notice, Interscope Records offered the band extensive help to record their third album, Tragic Kingdom, which went on to become the band’s biggest record and help to revive mainstream ska.


Happy 25th birthday to No Doubt! Pre-order the exclusive signed vinyl HERE!

Filed under: Album Anniversary, no doubt