No Doubt’s Adrian Young— drummer, California boy and naked guy extraordinaire—calms down for a bit.
Generation: I’m just going to get this out of the way right now: what’s with all the nakedness?
Adrian: All the nakedness…stems from boredom, and it comes from wanting to entertain my friends and family on tour.
G: Did you just decide one day, I’m going to go out there naked?
A: I think what happened was, I used to watch bands like Fishbone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I was kid and I would see them get naked on stage and I thought, “That’s some funny ass shit.” But I always wanted to do it, and one day I just got drunk enough, said I’m-a motherfuckin’ do it…and I just kept doin’ it.
G: I guess that’s how these things happen. Going way back now, you were a big fan of No Doubt before you even joined the band. How do you think that affected your early years in the band, and through today?
A: It affected me in the sense that I was a new drummer, like, [new] to drumming itself. I wasn’t very good even when I joined—I’d only been playing a year. The previous drummer was real good, so I had to work my ass off for a few years to really catch up. It was a little bit hard at times, but look now.
G: Being a fan helped endear you to the band?
A: Oh, yeah. I was a fan before I even started playing drums, because the band was together for two years before I even joined.
G: It was hard for the young No Doubt to get airtime, coming out as you did during the heydey of grunge. Did you even like grunge?
A: Yeah. I mean, I have—I don’t have any Pearl Jam records—but I got a lot of Nirvana records, and Soundgarden records, and Alice in Chains, I have a couple of their records. [No Doubt] started in 1987, and we didn’t get airplay until ‘95, so yeah, we definitely had to earn our stripes in that regard.
G: Were there times when you were like, “No one’s listening to us; what are we doing here?” Did you have moments like that?
A: No, because we always had a good following in southern California that kept us going…We always had shows to look forward to at home…[the band’s popularity] kept growing over time, so it was never like we were going backwards.
G: To what do you attribute your constantly evolving sound, especially on the last two albums?
A: We get bored with ourselves at times, and also, we’ve never really been afraid to try new things. Even after the first year of the band, when the band was totally just a ska band, even in the second year, or the third year, when I joined, we were trying new things then which were different to those particular fans.
G: Your fans were always loyal, always up for whatever you were trying?
A: I think some of them are, probably not all of them (laughs)…that’s always been the case. We’ve never really rested on one particular sound.
G: How do you feel about the new album, Rocksteady, personally? Are you happy with the way things are going now?
A: Yeah, there’s some songs on this record that are so fun to play live, like “Hella Good” and “Rocksteady;” really, really fun songs to play live.
G: How was working with Prince [on Rocksteady’s “Waiting Room”]? That must have been a trip.
A: It exactly was that. He’s a very mysterious human being…I think he might not be human, actually. I think he might be from a different planet.
G: How’d you become associated with him?
A: Well, he came and saw us in ‘97 in Minneapolis, and we went back to Paisley Park and jammed with him late night, and it just kind of started from there.
G: Spin magazine has called you the “last American new wave band.” How do you respond to that? Do you agree?
A: Wow, I don’t know…I think Weezer could be thrown in there a little bit too. I mean, they’re more hard rock, but I think they got kind of a new wave thing sometimes.
G: What would you say are your favorite bands producing music today, current bands that influence you?
A: Bands that I think are just really, really good right now are Weezer…the Red Hot Chili Peppers are still amazing. That’s so hard to sustain a career like [theirs] with amazing music and not cheese out and get shitty…they’re still really good. I like this band The White Stripes, they’re just starting to get play on the radio…they’re a husband and wife team, just two people.
G: How does it feel to have aVH1 Behind the Music?
A: I liked it! I was scared of doing it at first, but I love it, I think they did a great job.
G: Ever been to Buffalo before?
A: Yes. We last played there in ‘96.
G: You have any good Buffalo stories?
A: No. (laughs). My drum tech is from there, though. He lives in California [now], but he’s from [Buffalo].
G: So this is like homecoming for your drums.
A: [trying to make more Buffalo associations] I think the Goo Goo Dolls have a key to the city, right?
ADRIAN PLAYS WORD ASSOCIATION!
Wings: “Paul McCartney.”
Bulls: “Michael Jordan.”
Spectrum: “Philadelphia…that’s the name of the place where the 76ers play.”
Generation: “The Who.”
Dr. Freud says: “Adrian likes sports and music…and nakedness.”