No Doubt Tells All: The Stories Behind Their Classic Records

"Hey Baby" (2001)

Album: Rock Steady
Label: Interscope
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Tony: “We had that song, and we went down to Jamaica to record it. We brought Sly and Robbie in, and they’re reggae legends. They’ve done so many incredible dancehall songs too, and they were the perfect producers for that song. Being in Jamaica and recording that song was incredible. We were down there for a few weeks, and I had been to Jamaica before, but we hadn’t been as a band.”

"We grew up on ska and reggae music, and to actually go to the birthplace of all that stuff was very inspiring for us. I loved the way that song turned out. We were down there and we’d have this schedule like, ‘We got to get in the studio at noon, and we go to record all day.’ We ended up going to this place called the Blue Lagoon, and we’d get drinks and we’d sunbathe, and end up eating lunch. It’d be like 4 o’clock and we’d be like, ‘We really should get to the studio now.’ We’d finally get in the studio around the evening and start working, and every day it was the same thing. It was so much fun. We did four songs down there. We did ‘Hey Baby,’ ‘Underneath It All,’ ‘Start the Fire,’ and ‘New Friend,’ which ended up being on the b-side record.”

Adrian: “Recording in Jamaica was fantastic. It was so good I wanted to do it again for the new record, Push and Shove."

“It was definitely a learning experience, bringing more programming into the world of No Doubt, to go along with my playing. I definitely had something to say about that, but I learned to love it."

Tom: “The thing about our band that happens as we write songs is we just hate repeating ourselves. If we start writing a chord progression that we’ve used before, everyone’s like, ‘No, no, no, we’ve done that.’ We never repeat ourselves, and so on Rock Steady, we were really into Jamaican dancehall. It’s a direct line from ska to reggae to dancehall, and we thought, ‘This is what we’re going to do next.’ We start writing to dancehall songs, and realized really quickly that guitars and bass didn’t sound right on dancehall beats. Me and Tony were like, ‘Fuck it, let’s get some synthesizers in here.’ We’re not very good at keyboard, but we just sat in our little computer studio with synthesizers and that song was so fun to write.

"When we released it as a single, we were surprised at the reaction that our old-time fans didn’t dig the sound of it. We always want to move forward. It’s often that we can move forward and have some bit of path, and with Push and Shove, ithas the most ska-ish beat we ever played. But I don’t know if people are going to get that." 

“KROQ played it for a day, and the pulled it because at that time, KROQ was playing, like, Limp Bizkit, and ‘Hey Baby’ just didn’t fit. KROQ turned left and we turned right and that’s just what happens when you’re pushing forward. You’re going to lose some people and gain some people. It’s still a really fun song to play live and we love that song. I think it’s a controversial one amongst our hardcore fans.”

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