Artsy high school senior Stefani dreams of being a homemaker like her mother, but when older brother Eric forms a band, No Doubt, with fellow Dairy Queen workers, she agrees to join as second vocalist. In December 1987, the band's lead singer, John Spence, takes his own life at age 18. At her brother's urging, Stefani takes over lead vocals. "All I wanted to ever do was get married and have babies, have a house," she tells the Washington Post a decade later. "So it's weird that I'm in a rock group."
No Doubt's brand of pop-ska fusion is a hit on the Orange County club circuit, but L.A. radio station KROQ refuses to play their 1991 demo. Despite the rejection, No Doubt continues performing and catches the attention of Interscope executive Jimmy Iovine. Unfortunately, No Doubt's 1992 debut album is a flop, and Interscope backs off.
Stefani's seven-year relationship with No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal ends and the band is on the brink of breakup, but Stefani keeps them on track by throwing herself into songwriting to work through her pain. The result is Tragic Kingdom.