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No Doubt: Ska Lives On : The 8-year-old group has just put out a second album, this time on the Trauma label.


Ska happens, especially in Southern California, where ska bands still live long and prosper 15 or so years after the heyday of groups such as the Specials, Madness and the English Beat.

And ska happens in Ventura County. On Friday night, No Doubt will be playing at Nicholby's Upstairs in Ventura.

The 8-year-old band from Orange County got impatient waiting for its label, Interscope, to approve a follow-up album to its 1992 debut. While Interscope was busy counting all the loot it made from Nine Inch Nails, No Doubt signed with a small label, Trauma.

"It's been really hard, lots of ups and downs with Interscope," singer Gwen Stefani said. "Trauma is just what we need. They only have about three or four other bands signed."

No Doubt didn't waste any more time: It just put out an album, "Beacon Street Collection."

"It took a month--that's it," Stefani said.

No Doubt did spend enough time on the new album to make it sound just like most every band that was ever cool on KROQ--when KROQ was cool. Stefani credits the band's maturity.

"I think our first Interscope album, which we made for really cheap, could've been better if we'd had more experience," she said. "Now, we've got a lot of new songs, and the new one was recorded in about 10 different studios, I swear."

Slamming punkers and skate kids make the mosh pit action at a No Doubt gig a mostly male phenomenon. And there is Stefani, a 25-year-old attractive blonde, orchestrating the entire energetic affair.

"I love playing live and having people enjoy our music," she said. "I've been doing this for eight years now, and I never ever thought I would be doing this; it just sort of happened. Some girls look really stupid when they dance, you know? I was just looking at an old tape of myself, and I couldn't believe it. It's just really weird. I couldn't even imagine starting a band right now."

Then there are those long road trips with guys in the band who have the kind of bad habits that keep talk shows alive: Tony Kanal (bass), Tom Dumont (bass), Adrian Young (drums), plus a couple of horn players.

"The guys in the band are very protective of me," Stefani said. "But they can also be pretty pathetic--you know how it is. They're nasty, and they're pretty obnoxious, dirty and gross. But I'm getting used to that, I guess."


* WHAT: No Doubt, Nutmeg.

* WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday.

* WHERE: Nicholby's Upstairs, 404 E. Main St., Ventura.

* HOW MUCH: $5.

* CALL: 653-2320.

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