It may be a new lineup, but after a decade Bush is definitely back to reclaim its rock titan status, and at the front of it all still stands Gavin Rossdale – from the beginning to the end.
by Nancy Dunham Photography by Lionel Deluy Styling by Darius Baptist
Grooming by Melissa Walsh @BeautyandPhoto using Dermalogica
Location courtesy of De La Barracuda Boxing Club
Band photo by Joseph Llanes Retouching by www.pixretouch.com
f the song “Swallowed” was released under the name Gavin Rossdale instead of Bush, would it have been a hit?
That’s surely something Rossdale, the songwriter and Bush front man, has pondered during the eight years since the band parted ways. In that time, Rossdale kept writing and recording, forming the band Institute in 2004 and then recording a solo project in 2008. Now that he and Bush are back touring behind their first album in 10 years, The Sea of Memories, it’s given him a chance to reflect.
“I listened to my [former] label (Interscope) and [founder] Jimmy Iovine and to their opinion about what I should be doing,” said Rossdale from the Los Angeles home he shares with his wife, musician Gwen Stefani, and their two young sons. “I suddenly realized the weak link was my name. Does Robert Smith [of The Cure] – one of my heroes – [release albums under his own name]? Does Mark E. Smith of The Fall, another one of my heroes do that? No, they record as The Cure and The Fall.”
It’s not like Rossdale was re-starting the band from scratch. He’d not only remained in contact with his former band mates but had a host of new songs to offer. The new music came together when he returned from a solo tour and felt “so inspired, so in love with music” that he literally went into the studio the next day and began to write. When he realized Bush should rightfully record the songs, he began calling his former band mates.
“I figured I had earned that. I was the first one in the band and I was the last one standing,” he said. “I wanted to find out who else would join me. Robin [Goodridge, the drummer] was gung ho about doing it. Nigel [Pulsford, Bush’s original lead guitarist] wanted to make a record and didn’t want to tour.”
Yet when guitarist Chris Traynor and bassist Corey Britz said they were on board, Rossdale saw Bush could work as the newly formed quartet. “I figured, ‘Well, I’ll have three guitarists. That’s cool,’” he said. “So it began with that and the songs. Nothing else really matters as long as we have the music. The music is the key that unlocks everything.”
What Rossdale means by that is new music. He seems to shudder when discussing the idea of a nostalgic tour.
“If I was to do a nostalgic tour, well, that would be horrific,” he said. “I feel I’m getting more articulate in music and writing and singing. It would be too much to take. It’s really important people who get this record can exist solely on this record. It doesn’t need the kind of symbiotic sonics of the other records. Obviously, we’ll continue to honor people’s expectations when they come see our shows, but it’s essential for us to keep alive and keep awake and keep present.
“What’s incredible is that we are starting to play the new songs now, about five or six in a set, and that invigorates the older songs. When I play “Come Down,” it sounds like it was written on the same day as “Sound of Winter,” which was written three months ago.”