Formed in 1986 in Anaheim, California, United States as a ska punk band inspired by Madness, the lineup of No Doubt initially comprised John Spence as lead vocal, Gwen Stefani on back-up vocal, and Eric Stefani on keyboards. While playing the party-band circuit around Anaheim, the trio picked up bassist Tony Kanal. Hardened by the suicide of Spence in December 1987, No Doubt nevertheless continued; Gwen became the lone vocalist and the group added guitarist Tom Dumont and drummer Adrian Young. During their early years on the party scene, they played with Sublime, and Brad Nowell sang on No Doubtís PlayTotal Hate 95. Gwen Stefani returned the favour on PlaySaw Red.
No Doubtís live act began to attract regional interest, and Interscope Records signed them in 1991. The bandís debut a year later, an odd fusion of Ď80s and ska, sank without a trace in the wake of the grunge movement. As a result, Interscope refused to support No Doubtís tour or further recordings. The band responded by recording on their own during 1993-94; the result was the self-released The Beacon Street Collection, much rawer and more punk-inspired than the debut. Eric Stefani left just after its release, later working as an animator for The Simpsons. By late 1994, Interscope allowed recordings to resume, and Tragic Kingdom was released in October 1995. The albumís third single, PlayDonít Speak, which although originally written by Eric was later altered by Gwen to document her breakup with bassist Tony Kanal. Tragic Kingdom went platinum and has sold over 15 million copies to date. As Tragic Kingdom obtained success, the band toured furiously until late Ď97.