Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, April 30, 1998

Mojo Records
No Doubt plays Maui, Honolulu.

No doubt about it

'Tragic Kingdom' tour
brings band to Hawaii

By Nadine Kam
Assistant Features Editor


Being a rock guitarist is an iffy career choice at best, a one-way ticket to stardom or bust. It's no wonder Tom Dumont remembers clearly the day in March 1995 when he quit his real-world job as file clerk at a mortgage company to enter the realm of videos, world tours, magazine covers and fame.

Then again, maybe the band would sink into oblivion.

The guitarist for No Doubt said, "We had just finished recording 'Tragic Kingdom' and I had a good feeling about it. But quitting was a real big deal at 27.

"I had a side thing where I promoted rock concerts, so I thought I could always fall back on that."

So even though the band's first album was canned by its label, Interscope, Dumont made the break. His office job, he said, "was miserable. Everyone there was miserable. For eight hours, we'd all watch the clock."

The only good thing about the job was being able to look through files of mortgage applicants -- "no one famous," he said -- studying their financial positions and dreaming of the day he would have a mortgage of his very own.

These days, as a member of one of the most popular bands in the nation, Dumont doesn't have to worry about money, and he doesn't watch the clock, so he has to apologize for missing an interview.

"Sorry," he said. "Friday was my day off so I went out and played and I get forgetful."

On work days, the band has been rehearsing like crazy so they can put on a show Saturday worthy, not only of the Honolulu set, but to impress or at least avoid making A in front of one of their favorite bands, Madness, also on the bill for the Nomad Festival at Richardson Field.

Luckily, touring is good practice and the band has done a lot of that since October 1995, crisscrossing the country 26 months out of 32 to promote "Tragic Kingdom."

"Touring is something we really wanted to do," Dumont said. "There are bands we looked up to -- one that really inspired us was 311. They toured constantly and built up a following by crossing the country over and over again.

"We wanted to play Hawaii, which we feel like we missed. We didn't go when we should have at the peak of 'Tragic Kingdom' so we've felt guilty about that. This is our chance to make that better."

No Doubt is one of few bands that takes active interest in tour planning. They favored the switch in Oahu venues from Turtle Bay Hilton to Richardson Field.

"I know (the North Shore) is beautiful, and we'd like to hang out there, but we tried to get it closer to the city to make it easier for people to come out to.

"We try to be proud of everything we do, having the best quality sound system, giving the best experience," Dumont said. "We still go to concerts so we know what it's like to be in the audience.

"Being that playing live has been our strength for 10 years, we wanted to bring that kind of organic experience to people."

Although No Doubt last played Hawaii at the 1996 Big Mele, ubiquitous radio play of "I'm Just a Girl," "Spiderwebs" and "Don't Speak" makes it seem as if the band was never really far away.

To those outside of No Doubt's hometown underground scene in Orange County, Calif., the band seemed to appear from nowhere in 1995 with its playful new wave-meets-ska sound and chirpy-voiced singer Gwen Stefani.

Stefani's so-called "loser band" had actually been kicking around since 1987, representing a joyful parallel universe to grunge's bleak landscape. Dumont joined in 1988.

He saw promise in No Doubt, and an exit from his own frustrating world of rock and heavy metal. "This was in 1988, so you have to keep it in context, but it was a different age and those bands weren't about music. They were into drinking, wearing Spandex. I was into music, and being a part of No Doubt, that was the first time people actually came to see the band."

Still, it's doubtful people will continue to follow a band based on one album, and Dumont says he knows fans are waiting to hear something new. Two months ago the band leased a home in the Hollywood Hills to write and record demos for a new album. This trip to Hawaii represents a vacation from the process.

"We're trying not to set a date for (an album)," Dumont said. "Our philosophy is, just spend the time to make it great. It'll be a step up from where we left off last time.


Nomad Festival

Bullet Featuring: No Doubt (above), the Vandals, Cherry Poppin' Daddies (see story)
Bullet Maui Arts & Cultural Center: 6 p.m. tomorrow
Bullet Richardson Field, Pearl Harbor: 1:30 p.m. Saturday (Madness appears only at this show.)
Bullet Tickets: $26.50 at cultural center, Hungry Ear Records, Radio Free Music Center, Tower Records, Tower Video, military and Connection outlets
Bullet Call: 545-4000 or 1-800-333-3388, to charge

Mojo Records
Cherry Poppin' Daddies perform high
energy swing with a ska twist.

Daddies bring new moves
to brassy swing

By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin


The big band swing of the 1930s and '40s is back with a passionate new twist courtesy of groups like the Cherry Poppin' Daddies.

"It's like the Renaissance," top Daddy Steve Perry explained from a pay phone in an unidentified mainland airport yesterday.

The Daddies bring the hot neo-swing music of their major label debut album, "Zoot Suit Riot," to Honolulu for a concert Saturday at Richardson Field with No Doubt, the Vandals and Madness.

"Stupid people are going to say 'What a pretentious ass, he's equating swing music with the Renaissance,' which is not what I'm doing, but the Renaissance was people rediscovering classical literature that had been laying dormant during the whole middle ages and taking it further.

"Some people don't like music to evolve, and some people may feel that updating something like swing is kind of a sacrilege but we're one of the bands that rediscovers this great music and we're taking it forward."

Perry founded the Cherry Poppin' Daddies in 1989. He discovered swing years before that.

"Eugene (Oregon) was a real melting pot. I'd go to this one coffee house and the juke box would have Black Flag, Harry James, Alice Cooper -- just super-dooper eclectic.

"I'd be hanging out with these pre-hippie original literary arty-farty interesting beatnik types. They were the ones who played this real interesting 'race music' for me, early rhythm & blues, introduced me to big band ..."

The band's name was a last-minute choice.

"I had a friend who collected old 'race records' and put them on tape for me, and there was a line in one of those songs, 'I'll be your cherry poppin' daddy.' We needed a name before our first show and everything we thought of was really stupid.

"Coming out of punk rock with band names like Butt Hole Surfers, and not thinking that we were going to have more than two or three shows, we called ourselves Cherry Poppin' Daddies.

"Right off the bat people got offended and it became our Holden Caulfield red hunting hat -- a badge of honor. We didn't mean it sexually, it was more about the loosen-up attitude of the old songs."

The Daddies became part of the fledgling "swing-core" scene on the West Coast. As third-wave ska bands revived pop interest in "horn bands" the Daddies turned up on bills with Skankin' Pickle, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Fishbone and other brass bands.

Perry has fielded criticism for the lyric imagery of his compositions and sees it as a type of fallout from the era of the self-absorbed singer/songwriter of the 1960s.

"It's that whole individualistic, navel gazing 'This is me' kind of thing (and) the grunge thing is very very personal too. I'm not sure that (critics) understand what I'm saying, but I think they think that anybody who sings is saying something about themselves. That's not my bag. "

Do It Electric!

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