The invitation was cryptic: Show up at a nondescript recording studio in Santa Monica at an appointed hour, and the four members of No Doubt will be there, with news to share.
Was it a breakup announcement? After all, the Orange County quartet vocalist Gwen Stefani, 41; bassist Tony Kanal, 40; guitarist Tom Dumont, 43; and drummer Adrian Young, 41 haven't released a new studio album since 2001's Rock Steady. And Stefani's calendar, which includes a solo career, clothing lines, and marriage and two young sons with musician Gavin Rossdale, 45, is packed solid. But happily, no; read on to find out what we learned.
EW So, guys, what's up?
Gwen Stefani Um, we are...what if I said something really bad?
Adrian Young We're all having sex changes!
Tony Kanal We've made a record. We're really excited about it. We're in the final stages now. It'll be out this year.
Stefani We only have a few more songs to finish. It's been a really long process. Fun, but it's starting to get not as fun. We're like, ''Let's hurry up and finish it!''
Kanal We started writing in 2008, when Gwen was pregnant with [second son] Zuma. We spent that year trying to write, and we hit a block.
EW What was the block?
Stefani Not writing songs. Like, going in and hitting your head against the wall for hours and feeling really bad about yourself for days and days. We definitely took a snail's pace, but only because we all have so much going on. My day consists of waking up with babies, and then working out, my clothing lines, and picking them up from school, and then rolling into the studio at 4:30 and you only have a few hours before you have to be up with the kids again. And I can't do it five days a week. I have to be home with them for dinner.