"Every time the songs will take on different aspects for us, because we're in different situations. And a song that you maybe write a year ago or three days ago might be different when you're in a different situation. So sometimes comedown can be like the show the other night at CBGB's, it was just an excellent atmosphere and so vibey that it was just like that song represented not wanting to leave that place or be in that situation. Whereas probrobably when I wrote it, it was less about CBGB's."--g.r.
Tha band has been tanning. They are playing 2 shows a day. Gavin has not found his asshole brother.--summary of interview with Lewis Largent
Bush Manchester Roadhouse
Why does everyone hate Bush?--John Perry
It cant just be because theyre a rock band. Theres none of that big hair, leather-pants-that-lace-up-the-sides nonsense; Bush sound like the essence of Sub Pop, but they look like and are as English as cold tea... Could it be that we just dont like to see Americans having fun ?
Its easy to see how Bush landed that 15 zillion dollar deal with Yankee giants Antlantic while, over in their home of Blighty, their demos lined every record company wastebasket. 'Bomb' has that shimmery Muses/Belly guitar thing, as well as that quiet-loud-quiet Pixies thing. Add singer Gavin's undeniably Vedder-y voice and hey, Kurdt's yer uncle.
Even moody Manchester is prepared to risk life and limb to body surf in the three square feet the Roadhouse allows. Which is, of course, the correct reaction to the wonderful 'Comedown'; it is as powerful and shaggy a beast as anything the Western Seaboard has ever produced.
But weve come a long way down the pop superhighway since the dreaded 'Peralnirvanagarden' virus had us all breaking out in flannel. Sure, grunge is dead, but then so is mod, and were all prepared to welcome a billion Kinks clones with an indulgent smile. No, Bush arent cool, theyre not big, and theyre not even paricularly clever, but faced with the shiny metal of 'Machine Head' or the ,umm, testosterone of 'Testosterone', you cant help but join the floppy fringes as they form human piramids and pop up through the ceiling tiles.
So come on, hang up your button-down, pull on your purple Docs and dive into the sucking heart-beat of 'Everything Zen'. Because Bush need love too. Dude.
Formed nearly two years ago, the London-based Bush met as painters, the obvious beginnings of musical talent, "I thought, if we could paint and whistle and talk so well together, we might as well start a band," says guitarist/vocalist Gavin Rossdale. "The other three were such really good painters, really good."
Since then, playing and hanging and playing and playing is what Gavin. guitarist Nigel Pulsford, bassist Dave Parsons and drummer Robin Goodridge do, and do so well. Their debut show was an outdoor car park converted into a fantasy birthday setting for a friend. Hotter, darker shows followed suspicious places to hungry audiences.
"We played a gig in a really rundown pub in South London," says Gavin. "As we were playing, the place got robbed -- people were stealing money from the till and taking it from behind the bar. Then about twelve to fifteen police ran through, and we didn't know what to do so we just kept playing." Friendlier gigs include the occasional glamorous guest star. "My favorite guest appearance is by my dog." Gavin continues, "I like to bring him on, and he sits there and just kind of hangs out."
Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles, Rob Kahane and Paul Palmer of Trauma Records were being told of this interesting band from London by some large and trusted ears. A few months later Trauma signed Bush -- and boldly left them alone. "The record company were great," says Gavin. "We were left alone to do the record we wanted, and when we finished, we gave it to them -- boom -- no hassle, no corporate creativity."
Bush's debut release Sixteen Stone, was recorded pretty much live in a London studio with revered producers Clive Langcr and Alan Winstanley (Elvis Costello, David Byrne). For their first video, Everything Zen, Bush hooked up with Matt Mahurin. the acclaimed video director (Alice In Chains. Metallica, Peter Gabriel. U2 ... ), rumored to be the last music video he does before moving into feature films. "I saw Matt ice skating in Central Park, and be was such a great mover that he seemed great for the job" Gavin says. Turns out Matt knew how to skate backwards, so they shared a skate to Nadia's Theme and it was a done deal.
True to the band's live energy, Sixteen Stone is explosive in a garagey, sarcastic, yet emotion-filled sort of way. Behind the cryptic veil of ambiguity, Gavin's subjects are personal and revealing. Everything Zen, the relentlessly catchy song that jump-starts the album, cynically declares general disenchantment and was recorded in one take. Motivated by the Covent Garden bombing of a London pub, Bomb explores the incident from the perspective of the man who died in the bombing with chilling effect. Gavin gets into lots of topics, including death and dying (Little Things), sexuality (Testosterone), the ego (Machinehead), losing oneself (Glycerine) and a song about a friend who joined a cult (Monkey). "Our songs take on a different meaning on different days," he says. "Listeners can get their own meaning. I'm definitely no storyteller. Being real is what's important."
Reality for Bush is working as painters, as moped delivery boys for a kosher-sushi restaurant called So Sue Me, and driving an ice cream truck. Members were sacked from all these jobs, but not before screwing with The Man for the sake of the band, To get to gigs, Bush would use the ice cream truck to drive their Sear to and from shows, and they funded Bush by diluting the paint they were given money to buy, the using half the paint cash to pay for rehearsal time, strings, gas and the general cost of band living, "So if the London Bridge looks a bit thin, you'll know why," says Gavin.
Well, I grew up with my dad and my sister, and so I come from quite a small family - although I think it is - there are quite a few people spread out but I don't really know them that much. I've never had quite a big family.--g.r.
I read alot on the road. Just a nice means of escape from everyone else, really. And get lost in different worlds...
I just tried to personalize it [Bomb], and wrote it from the perspective of a guy who got - there was a pub bombing in London and it just struck me that there's this guy - that's why that song 'I wanted to buy you shiny red things' which is how it starts is the guy going shopping, and he's there, and then he gets blown up. And so its the reprucussions through his family... Because for everysingle person, victim of bombing, there must be at least 30 people that are directly affected by it.
In the video of Little Things, for instance, I wanted to use two 6 year old girls, twins, very strange looking, and I discussed that with Matt, The Shining, kind of weird entity... Matt turned that into a story of this guy who takes this girl and guy off, and he figures its the same person, but its actually these twins, and they end up, and its all very etheral and weird. Just again, the process was just to make it as dark and as interesting as I hoped the song is.
Body - I think its about that really difficult question of the difficulity of having friendships with people without... Well, just keeping them platonic, I suppose, keeping them platonic.
Well the video for everything zen came about from looking through a whole heap of videos and finding one of Matt Mahurin's videos and it really just stood out so much more than anybody else's - I loved his work. (mov) - 1.5MB
What I like about living on the bus, is getting off the bus at the end of the journey. The best thing to do on the bus is to sleep, and wake up somewhere else - that a really nice thing about the bus. But its much smaller than it looks.--n.p.
Comedown is either a very uplifting song, or a very moody song. It can mean alot of different things to different people. With Comedown, its alot of buildups, and backdowns, with the guitar I tried to match the voice.
With Machine Head we tried to turn it around a little, in a sense, when we got to the first chorus, we kind of shut down a little, and sort of went very quite. We just wanted to create a different mood, so it kind of sucks you in, and bolts you out in the next verse.
Testoterone is about a distant chezlosovokian poet that was getting into trouble with girls, and we figured that this was a bad thing and so we'd write about it.
The thing I probably miss most is probably my girlfriend and family, and the strange thing is I start fantisizing about my girlfriend, which I never thought I would do - usually some one else's girlfriend, not my own. (mov) - 1.3MB
I enjoyed Swim actually, always have. I loved it in the studio when we recorded it. Just kind of made my hair stand on end when I was playing it. It was a one take, it was start to finish, we went straight through, It was like one of those no fear ones, without any fear of the fact you're recording - and when you come out the other end, its exactly how you imagined it would be. Thats the hardest process of recording, I find is, how you imagine you sound, as opposed to how you sound when you come back.--r.g.
The one thing that I do like about the bus is, you finish a gig, you get on, you have a beer, you have a chat with everybody, and you lie down in your bunk, but your always on the move.--d.p.
Some friends of mine, when I was still in school, had a band and they were losing their bass player. And I wanted to play in a band, and I said, 'I'll do it. I'll do it.' And I never really played one before, but I was so enthusastic, that they gave me the part and I had to pick the bass up and I learned it from there.
I like the bass in Alien, I just like the way - the start is just sparse, there's no drums, and it just sort of drones almost.
The thing I like the most about X-Girlfriend is when we were recording demos before we did the album, we found we had like a spare 1/2 an hour to do songs, so we just decided to do it. Everybody arrived in the morning, they just had to play their part one time, and just mixed it as it was, so it was quite instant.
SPIN: So, is everything pretty much Zen for you guys right now?--SPIN magazine
GAVIN: Everything is very good. It's not quite Zen, though. Zen is just like perfection and enlightenment. It's just it, so I guess you never reach it. The day you do, you just float off skyward.
SPIN: Has anyone ever told you that the "Zen" video looks a lot like a certain video by a Seattle rock group that also makes references to Buddhism?
GAVIN: No. You are the first.
SPIN: No way.
GAVIN: Yeah. But if anyone compares us to Nirvana, I take that as a big compliment. I think there's much more similarity to them than to, say, Pearl Jam. Cosmetically, maybe my hair is the same color as Eddie Vedder's, but that's where the similarity ends.
SPIN: What's the Seattle of England?
GAVIN: We're going to build it. In London, probably in Camden town, near where I live.
SPIN: Who's that cross-eyed Mickey Mouse-eared guy with the goatee in the video?
GAVIN: I hate to give away secrets, but that's a cameo by the director, Matt Mahurin.
SPIN: I read that three of you met as painters. Who's your favorite painter?
GAVIN: Francis Bacon, by about 5000 miles. My favorite painting is the one of the screaming pope. I just love how he can display people by ripping away the flesh, peeling away the layers. My goal is to write songs like Francis Bacon paints.
SPIN: If Oasis is the Beatles of this latest British invasion, who is Bush-- the Kinks, the Dave Clark Five?
GAVIN: Well, I'd love to be the Sex Pistols with a future, but maybe that's a misnomer. Maybe the Stones, but that's not really us. Wait, John Denver. We're the John Denver of England.
SPIN: What's the most embarrassing record you own?
GAVIN: Well, Ray Gun was going to have us and this other band, Prick, interview each other and they turned it down, saying we weren't "serious enough about our music." So I'll say the most embarrassing record I have is Pricks. It flies pretty good through the air, but otherwise it's a fucking load of shit.
SPIN: You appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman recently. Who did you meet in the Green Room?
GAVIN: The only guy that I did meet, and was fucking genius to meet, was Norm from Cheers. I met Norm!
SPIN: You mean George Wendt?
GAVIN: Yeah! That's the guy. Cheers, NYPD Blue, and Roseanne are the only shows I watch. I just love them. So I went up to Norm and said, " You've given me years and years of pleasure and I've got to thank you. We love your show in England."
SPIN: If you could be anybody in Pulp Fiction, who would you be?
GAVIN: The guy that's married to Uma Thurman, she's just to die for. Marsellus Wallace. Actually...Okay, I'd be Marsellus Wallace, but before that Deliverance, squeal-like-a-pig section.
SPIN: What's your favorite American expression?
GAVIN: "Motherfucker." No, "Here's your per diem."
SPIN: Who's your best friend?
GAVIN: My dog Winston. He's a Hungarian sheepdog, a Pooley, one of those dogs with dreadlocks. He's on the inside cover of the album.
SPIN: Can he do any tricks?
GAVIN: He can roll really good joints.
SPIN: What's the dumbest thing on your rider?
GAVIN: Forty cigarettes. They're for the guitarist, bassist, and drummer.
SPIN: You don't smoke, huh?
GAVIN: No, not tobacco.
SPIN: What's your favorite vice, then?
GAVIN: That's pot in England. Bush. Also, I like the ambiguity of the word. In England, you smoke bush, and bothe men and women have bushes--which is a very important point, it's not some kind of sexist thing. And we live near Shepherd's Bush. Also, I just like the "shhh" at the end of the word.
At a recent festival in Portland, Ore., Bush singer Gavin Rossdale was devastated to find that a banana in his fruit basket had been broken in half. "I don't understand how this could happen," a member of Everclear heard him shout. "Who would do this?" Adds the witness: "I really thought about taking half a banana from my own plate and walking in."--Rolling Stone
There's an aching familiarity about Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale's voice - it instantly calls to mind Kurt Cobain's smoky rasp, but there's also something deeper and more velvety, a bit reminiscent of Peter Gabriel.--Linda Laban
The fragile looking Rossdale speaks with a calmness that belies the cynicism behind most of the lyrics on Sixteen Stone , Bush's debut album with Trauma Records.
Rossdale grew up in North London, cutting his teeth on late '70s British punk bands like the Clash. But, by the '80s, there was little left in the music scene that interested him. He hung out, spent some time in New York, partied and played, with no thoughts of a career in music. A couple of years ago, however, Rossdale met guitarist Nigel Pulsford, bassist Dave Parsons and drummer Robin Goodridge through a mutual acquaintance. It didn't take long for the four to become Bush.
The band did rounds in London's pubs for several years. It looked like they would go no further, until they caught the ear of someone at Trauma, and were signed in 1993.
The label wisely decided to circumvent the British weekly music press' antipathy for rock music by whisking Bush straight off to the U.S.
"Being signed to an American label, it seemed obvious that this is where we should start," Rossdale says. It hasn't been a hip little promo tour, either. The band has hit every major U.S. city, and many smaller ones, in a tour that has lasted more than two months... two months in a van, sleeping in strange hotels and battling with unsanitary bathrooms.
Rossdale, is speaking from a "brown hotel room somewhere in Kansas."
"It's just great," he says enthusiastically, despite the hardships.
"The places we're playing are sold out- sweaty and steamy. We could have got a support on a big tour - we were offered Page and Plant - but his is much better, playing three or four hundred people who are there to see you."
The response to Bush's music, which mixes both soulful rock and dirty grunge with a touch of British roots punk thrown in for good measure, has been incredible. Billboard recently featured them on the cover, along with The Stone Roses and Oasis, as being part of a new British invasion. That's no mean advantage for an unknown band, but Rossdale refuses to take his press too seriously.
"I didn't think anything of it. It's nice, but I'm not going to get into the media thing. What was really thrilling was seeing us at No.69 on the album chart," he says, respectful of the the fickle nature of success.
During one of Bush's U.S. radio appearances, Rossdale did an impromptu Q&A session with the station's callers. One 14-year-old girl, in particular, sticks in Rossdale's mind.
"After hearing Bush, now I've got someone to replace Pearl Jam with," the young woman said.
Rossdale responded, incredulously, "You can have more than one CD in your collection, you know."
But the young woman missed his point completely: "Yeah, now I can stop mourning Kurt Cobain." Rossdale shakes his head at the memory. Sometimes the whole thing just gets really silly.
It's probably going to get sillier, too. Bush is about to return to Europe for the next leg of the tour. After that, they'll return to the U.S. to play the larger halls that they could just as easily have filled out.
The members of the band aren't in a hurry, though. They're just trying to keep body, soul, and sanity together. Without a doubt, these guys are in it for the long haul.
Bush may not be a superstar band in their native England, but they have hit America like a storm.--IGuide
Just one year ago, the Brit newcomers performed at New York Bowery club CBGB on their first American tour. Now, after one solid year of touring, fueled by a big, pop-grunge record and a heartthrob lead singer -- Gavin Rossdale -- Bush (Rossdale, Nigel Pulsford, Dave Parsons and Robin Goodridge) have had three Top Forty singles and recently held the Number Five spot on the Billboard charts with "Glycerine" -- all from their double platinum debut album "Sixteen Stone."
Along with fame and fortune, Rossdale has already had his share of unwanted media attention. He's been slagged by top Brit band Blur, mentioned by Boy George as a former "date" of the [male] singer Marilyn, and coupled in gossip columns with Courtney Love.
LR: How did you react to Boy George talking about you in his book [in his recent autobiography Boy George claimed that Rossdale was a former boyfriend of Marilyn, the ambisexual '80s rock star] ?
GR: Right, good old George ... well, that was his take on it. From hanging out with them and being friendly with all of them for years, that was my mention in the book. I don't really care, there is a far bigger queue of people annoyed at what he said. I don't mind, I wish him well and I hope his book does well, but if I see him again, I will say 'what the fuck was that all about? What was the mileage intention there?' It was like 10 to 12 years ago, I was 16 or 17 just going out in London and having a laugh.
LR: Do you have a girlfriend now?
GR: Yes, I totally do. Jasmine and I have been going out for four years now.
LR: Is it hard to be considered this heartthrob here -- and keep a relationship going at home?
GR: I don't know. I guess if you love someone ... She comes out on the road with me sometimes, and at different times it is particularly hard. But anything is possible. At least I'm not an actor; actors change lovers every film. I worked as an extra years ago on some kind of TV thing and I tell you, two weeks on the set I started having terrible thoughts about everyone on the set. You get totally attached to people and any boredom induces sexual thoughts. That must be why office parties are such a nightmare.
LR: Damon Albarn from Blur told me that Bush can't really be considered part of the British band scene; he said you don't sing with an English accent and no one in Britain takes the band seriously. What are your thoughts on that?
GR: I think musically, Blur is like a vaudeville act with some good tracks. What really pisses me off is that it's just so arrogant to assume that because we don't play his quirky style of music that there's no Englishness to it. I doubt that he knows my record; there's plenty of stuff that's sung in an English accent. I think that he's really bitter, it's been the biggest thorn in his side that he wants to be the biggest band in the world but up until now, well, they're just not the most exciting band in the world. He's a bit irrelevant to me. I'd much rather talk about certain American bands and all the good things going on like Chavez, or Helium.
LR: When you started out, you told journalists that you were all painters? Was that true?
GR: No, I just lied. I think I told Billboard Magazine that we all met working on a ship. An oil rig.
LR: You've certainly had quite a bit of success this last year.
GR: Well, we just kind of continued to play and we worked; we've done lots of touring and I think that's been the major thing.
LR: People have said you sound a lot like Pearl Jam and Nirvana.
GR: I totally hear the Nirvana thing because I think that that is right and not such a bad thing. I do think the spirit and the passion of those bands is something that was lacking in England. I was totally inspired by that and I've never seen the crime in that. I don't feel like we've plagiarized in the way that many bands either copy The Small Faces or The Kinks and then call that their own music. I don't feel like there are direct copies or lifts. As for Pearl Jam, they're way more bluesy and solo-y.
LR: Where would you say your music fits?
GR: Well, with us it's more about being an outsider. That's all of the stuff I really like; that's why I really like Patti Smith and think that the French poets really have it, I think that's why Allen Ginsberg really had it. It's that ability to slice through everything superficial.
LR: You were a punk as a teenager; did you ever imagine having a Number Five single?
GR: This is way beyond my wildest dreams. I just feel that it's a totally exciting position and the best thing for me to do is to just do the work, because that's what got me here. The work is it; I'm totally frustrated to have not done more records and I'm really looking forward to doing the next one. I'm going to be working with [famed alternative producer] Steve Albini and I'm totally psyched. I just want to get good. You know, I don't think being Number Five is a reflection of our quality. Do I think I'm better than Sonic Youth because I sell more records? Of course not.
Courtney Love Rumors:
GR: "Last summer Hole did a few concerts with us and Courtney and I kind of ended up hanging out and just getting on. We've just been kind of friendly, it was quite cool, and that was about it, pretty dull really. But I guess she's quite a magnet for attention, and the trappings of our situation make it such that I would be sitting in a bar with my band, talking to a journalist, she happened to stop by, and at 3 a.m. when everyone goes home, she goes off, I go to sleep and the next day there are all these sort of accusations. I find it really weird, but I'll get used to it."
Producer Steve Albini:
GR: "I'm going to do the next record very quickly with [famed producer] Steve Albini. When I made our record, his records were the ones I referenced; I just loved [first Pixies album] 'Surfer Rosa' and [first Breeders album] 'Pod' and I loved all of Big Black, they were my favorite records of his. I also liked plenty of the Jesus Lizard stuff that he did, and then there's that band Souls at the moment, which is my kind of current favorite band. So, when I was in Chicago, I just rang him up and I went for lunch with him. The way I see it is that the next record we need to make has to reflect the fact that we've been on the road for a year and a half, and I don't think there's anyone who's sonically better than him. I'm so excited, there's no one in the world I'd be more excited about."
GR: "Since I've been doing this, I have always really avoided trends, I've avoided everything like that and it's always been my ultimate aim to be the least trendy band. I don't care about gangs and I hate the idea of safety in numbers. I like much more being out on your own, just traveling light. So all those other bands are successful in England, but we're not. But we are in America and I know that's a real thorn in some of their sides."
GR: "I grew up listening to punk music when I was 10, in 1977, when it was really starting to happen. I was living in England, so even though I knew of The New York Dolls and The Ramones, I was really into X Ray Specs, The Sex Pistols and The Clash. I went to see my sister's boyfriend's band called The Nobodys, but I couldn't really get into anywhere. I used to try. I used to go see Adam & the Ants, I looked like a little punk with spiky hair and I put egg white in it. I used to wear one of those white dinner jackets that Sid Vicious wore; I loved that."
UK Music Scene:
GR: "Punk became really uncool after awhile. It got really commercialized and became suburban, and that just wasn't the deal, you know. We liked it when we first were doing it. Then, it was like a shock, the biggest youthful revolution ever -- it was way, way bigger than rap could ever be in the sense of shock, just to have a safety pin in your mouth
GR: "I've been in a couple of other bands, I've played for a few years wondering where my life was going. The ironic thing is that this band was my least ambitious band. I was a bit concerned about where my life was going, but I felt tied to making music and that's all I wanted to do from when I was 18. When I started writing, I thought this was an excellent release and the first time I felt I could do anything. When you're young, there's a kind of ceiling on your head."
British Music Business:
GR: "The criteria for signing someone in England is because someone else wants to sign them. It's very boring, and those A & R people take really bad cocaine; I know a lot of record company people because I've been in bands for a couple of years and I'd come into contact with them because I lived in London ... This is just the sweetest revenge for me, because they're all so full of crap. For me, it was the strangest thing to find out that for an industry that's generated so much entertainment and money, on the administrative side, it's run by idiots."