No Doubt Tells All: The Stories Behind Their Classic Records

"Just A Girl" (1995)

Album: Tragic Kingdom
Label: Trauma/Interscope
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Tony: “‘Just A Girl’ was the first song that was on the radio for us. That was incredible because to hear that song on KROQ-FM in LA, where we grew up, and you’ve listened to KROQ your whole life, and then to hear it on the radio was unbelievable. It just starts spreading, and you start hearing it, and it’s such a crazy feeling. At that point we had been together as a band for nine years. It wasn’t like we had just started and all of a sudden we’re on the radio—we had been struggling and working our asses off for nine years, and finally we’re on the radio. It was such a cool feeling.

“That was the first song that was like, ‘Here’s Gwen Stefani.’ She found her identity as a lyricist, and that was the first kind of shot fired. Prior to Tragic Kingdom, Gwen’s brother Eric, who had started No Doubt, was the primary songwriter and lyricist, and when Eric left in ‘94, it forced all of us to step up. We had half of Tragic Kingdom written, and we had to write the rest of the songs, and songs like “Just A Girl” and “Spiderwebs” came after Eric left. There was this hole, this vacuum, and Gwen had to find herself as a lyricist. Obviously she did an incredible job, because Gwen’s honest and so sincere, and that came out in her lyrics, and people related to them."

Adrian:
“Having a song on the radio or having a legitimate hit on the radio just wasn’t something we were counting on or expected, and to watch that develop and watch our world change around us was quite an experience, and that song gave us our first taste of that.”

Tom:
“When we did record that song, we knew there was something special about it. I just remember by the time we got the keyboard solo on it, we wanted to soften the rockness of it with kind of an '80s style keyboard. The keyboard solo just pulled the song together, and we could feel it. It was nothing like the earlier No Doubt stuff which is so ska, this is like a rock song, and at that time felt really contemporary."

“We got to make a video with Mark Kohr who had done some Green Day videos. I remember the day we made the ‘Just A Girl’ video because at the end of the video shoot, we had to go to the airport and fly somewhere for a show, so things were starting to happen. I remember they were like, ‘The limos are here to bring you to the airport,’ and it was like, ‘There’s a limo here for us?’ It was these little exciting rock and roll moments that happen to you. We had been together—me, Tony, Gwen, and Adrian—for six or seven years at that point. It was exciting, it was like a whirlwind, and with that song, to hear that have it become a hit, that’s when our lives changed."

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