Before launching a successful solo career, marrying No Doubt rocker Gwen Stefani, and having his face planted on every conceivable tabloid magazine, Gavin Rossdale was the frontman of a band called Bush.
Rossdale and Nigel Pulsford (who would become Bush’s lead guitarist) first met at a London nightclub in 1992. The post-grunge band then formed and enjoyed commercial success throughout the 1990s, selling more than 10 million records in the United States alone. Bush’s 1994 debut album, Sixteen Stone is certified six times platinum.
Bush is back and will be performing in Atlantic City at the House of Blues at Showboat on Thursday, Aug. 4.Although members of the original line-up, primarily Nigel Pulsford, could not be convinced to reunite with the rest of the gang, Bush is gearing up for the Sept. 13. release of its new album, The Sea of Memories.
For the new record, the band teamed up with producer Bob Rock (Aerosmith, Metallica), which Rossdale describes as quite the collaborative “lovefest.”
Bush’s new single, “The Sound of Winter,” which premiered on a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, has already made its way up the music charts, stealing a slot on the iTunes Top Ten alternative songs list.
Rossdale, vocalist and guitarist of Bush, recently called Atlantic City Weekly while making his way from a New York City hotel to the airport. Here are excerpts from the interview.
Tell me what happened in London of 1992. When you walked into that nightclub, did you ever think meeting Nigel [Pulsford] that evening would lead you to form Bush?
No. Yes, it was that first night [of us] playing Neil Young into the early hours. No, I never thought that. Nor did he, because he had been around with a band and I think he was resigned to doing music for films. It was a shocker and fantastical. I am very lucky to have met him.
You have had a nine-year hiatus; what has changed the most within the band?
I was personally not on hiatus. I should have been, but I never was. I was just coming in and out of whatever. I never stopped being in the studio, making records, or touring. But for Bush, what’s changed? An enormous amount. The whole business is different. I think this is an exciting time. I don’t have a problem with how the business has changed. Clearly, I want it to be the idea that people start to remember that musicians do need to eat. I think overall it is a dispensing of the major [record] labels. And for too long they’ve had a very punitive system, with all labels. They’ve made far too much money off musicians.
I really enjoyed your music throughout your solo career. Was performing on your own as fulfilling as performing with Bush? What did you miss about being in a band?
Well, the thing is, no matter how good the shows were, no matter how good the reaction was to my career, the question was always: “When are you getting back with the band?” I for one was always trying to get the band back together. And, I thought by doing the Institute record, we would all have time to just be away from the scene and come back as renewed figures. And it took longer than I expected [to be back with the band]. I was really ready to make a record and maybe go on tour. I was always ready to [get back with Bush and] make records.
Since Nigel did not end up coming back, what motivated you to work on a new Bush record and get back out live with the band?
Well, it came about weirdly, as I was writing the songs considering I did not want to come out with them solo, because I thought the songs deserved a wider audience; that’s the irony of it. It’s the songs that turned me back around. It’s much the same way that Robert Smith from the Cure sometimes has his line-up change, but as long as he is always part of the Cure … With this change, I have Robin [Goodridge] who really helped me with the sound between his drumming and my experience with singing — it really sounds like Bush. It’s really cool. Chris played with us in Bush for the last six months and has been with me ever since. So, I don’t really like change that much. Therefore, it is about the same people who are around me, the whole crew and everyone I have worked with forever. There have been some changes, but weirdly enough, my work more or less stayed the same.
Even though the people you are working with and most of Bush has stayed the same, what do you think is different about this new album than your past work?
I think I’ve pushed it a little bit and I got better in the studio. I got more articulate with it and I found a way to express myself clearer. And also, my drive and desires are as strong as ever. If you commit yourself to one craft in your life as your job, then you should keep getting better, so that is what is exciting. It is a marriage between what is new and interesting and yet not forsaking the Bush sound that people are familiar with. It is very important to me that this record stands on its own merit, that people can just pick this whole thing up and fall in love the band just based on this album.
So the album is not just for Bush fans, who have always been there, it is also for a wider audience?
Well, it’s for both. I definitely have made it with the Bush fans in mind, but also with the idea that it has to stand on its own two feet. It couldn’t just be about a few songs, it has to be a record that can stand on its own two feet, which it really does.
Are you happy with the end result? Is the album what you wanted it to be?
Yeah, I think so. As a songwriter, as a performer and musician, you have to always keep going; you could have thought it was fantastic and perfect and that you should just stop. So it’s about those things, but it’s in the right direction.
Do you feel that the press has inaccurately portrayed you ever?
No, I mean the TMZ and paparazzi stuff is not particularly misconstrued, it is more of a dodgefest; it’s a strange way to live. But that’s how that goes, you roll with it, it’s like modern times. I don’t want to be one of those people who is either on a major label or is mobbed by the paparazzi.
So you have somewhat adjusted to being in the spotlight. Do you think you are handling it well?
I don’t know, you tell me! I don’t take it that seriously. It’s not that sinister, it’s a mutual respect for the guys that follow us around the whole time.
Even though you are on the road with Bush, do you still have time to see your family?
I have my oldest boy, [Kingston] with me. That’s a lot of fun with him. I miss my little guy. We make sure that we stay in contact. I’m going home in a week, so it’s not too bad.
Have you ever thought of collaborating with your wife — even though both of your music styles are very different?
Not really. We collaborate on breathing, that’s all really, which is my pleasure. We just try and keep that separate, especially with the band and stuff.
What can fans expect at the show in Atlantic City?
I’m always excited to come there. It’s really going to be a balance. A lot of songs people will know, because I don’t want to have an obscure set and I want to take people on a good journey. Also a few songs from the new record, so that people know we’ve been up to creative and new interesting things. Just really trying to find that balance. Every show treads the line between good and great.
After the show are you going to hit up any of the casinos or hotspots in Atlantic City?
Sure! Oh, of course! It would be crazy not to. I’m going to be up all night like a bat.
How are you going to celebrate the release of your new album, Sea of Memories, in September?
I don’t know! I’m going to dive into a pool of relief and just be shocked that I made it out!
Where: House of Blues at Showboat, A.C.
When: Thurs. Aug. 4, 9pm
How Much: $39.50 & $49.50