The regrouped No Doubt opted to tour before recording a new album in order to jog the band's - and particularly singer/lyricist Gwen Stefani's - creativity. And so far, band members report, the strategy seems to be working.
"We definitely feel on top of our game right now," bassist Tony Kanal tells Billboard.com. "We feel really good about playing together again, and I do believe that's going to lead to a very inspired record as soon as we're done with this tour."
Guitarist Tom Dumont adds that "the proof will be in the product, in what we produce, in the album. But I think (the tour) was the right move. The good thing is we're playing together and we're having fun...kind of recharging our confidence and getting ourselves to a place where we're excited to do it and hopefully Gwen figures out what to write about."
It was Stefani's acknowledged writer's block during two sessions last year that spurred No Doubt to go on the road before recording its first album since 2001's "Rock Steady." The tour, No Doubt's first in five years, kicked off May 2 and is booked until Aug. 12 in Honolulu, but the group isn't committing to a studio date just yet.
"I don't think we'd do that to ourselves," Kanal says. "I'm sure we're gonna want to decompress for a week or so after the tour, then just get on the phone and say, 'Everyone ready? Is it time to get together and start working?' We're definitely not going to put pressure on ourselves. It's gonna happen when it happens."
Kanal adds that expectations the group would do some writing on the road have proven "over-ambitious," but he's keeping a portable recording studio on his tour bus "just in case something can happen."
"It depends on the album, but it usually takes us about a year" to record, Dumont says. "There's been a lot of musical ideas; really, the dry side has been lyrically. The plan is to get to work in the fall when we get home from the tour. We hope to have (an album) out some time next year, but I don't know how long it will take."
No Doubt has been taping and filming each of its shows, and Stefani's brother Todd has been capturing offstage footage as well. But Kanal says so far there are no plans - yet - for a live album and/or DVD from the tour.
"It's a different world now," he says. "You look out there and you can see so many people filming with their cameras nowadays. I can go on YouTube and see last night's show if I want to. It's out there. A full-production DVD is...not something we've talked about for this tour, but it would be nice to document it on a real level."
Thanks for the report to Billboard.com.