Bush have been exploding eardrums and melting faces with thick layers of distortion and frontman Gavin Rossdale's booming voice for almost two decades. Even with an eight-year hiatus in the middle and the departure of two original members, Rossdale has managed to keep the classic Bush sound as pure as possible. The band's latest effort 'Sea of Memories' (in stores Sept. 13) exemplifies their triumphant return.
Spinner had a chance to catch up with Rossdale about his band's new-found resurrection and their return to the rock 'n' roll charts. Check out the entire interview below and flip through exclusive photos of the band before their performance at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' last month.
Tell us about Bush's newest single 'Sound of Winter?' What inspired that?
I think just everyday dark clouds, dark clouds on the horizon. A look. A word. A gesture that can set the train careening off the track. That's what that is on the lyrical side. With the record I was trying to find a balance between Bush's people and also putting a new progression in there. With that song, it was strange because when I started playing the music to it, it all felt very comfortable. It seemed to be a very natural display of something more traditional in my arsenal. That's how that came about and the lyric just fit with that.
Original members Nigel Pulsford and Dave Parsons decided not to rejoin the band, but new members Chris Traynor and Corey Britz have since taken up the reigns. How does the new lineup feel?
The new lineup feels amazing! The main thing that I'm so grateful for is how much I like them. That's the best place to make music from. Traditionally, guitar players and singers have a bit of tension between them because their both attention-wanters, and I had a fantastic foil in Nigel who is an amazing guitar player and very singular. And Chris is also an amazing guitar player, but in a different style, sort of more angular -- I supposed more New York really. [Chris and Corey] make me one lucky singer because I get to experience both of them, and they make the old songs sound better.
Are you doing any fresh arrangements of old Bush hits on tour?
You know, we do certain things. It's really tricky. Obviously you don't want it to be karaoke. I always fantasized about doing a remixed version of 'Everything Zen' and breaking other stuff down -- and I've done hundreds of breakdowns of every song to acoustic to one guitar, two guitars, to piano -- but people feel a bit short-changed if you don't nail them with 'Everything Zen' in the right way. I've never gotten around to it, but I've always fantasized about being a bit more creative about that side of it.
You changed the album name from 'Everything Always Now' to 'Sea of Memories.' What brought that on?
Well, the excellent R.E.M. and Duran Duran both had album titles with the word "now" being central in those, and it seemed ironic to call the record 'Everything Always Now' and then delay the record by eight to 10 months. It was too much irony, even for an Englishman. When I'm in the studio, I enjoy making records with some idea of what the record's called, toward the end or something. But it's really good to work under that umbrella. And when I went in to do that second batch of writing, which is about the third batch of writing for the record, that popped out. It's one of the lines from a song called 'Baby Come Home.'
It's one of those things where it almost decided itself for me. I didn't have any option in a weird way. 'Everything Always Now' with the R.E.M. one and the Duran Duran one, it seemed like I was third in line there, so I just thought of something different. It occurred to me, in trying to push forward creatively, it shouldn't be overly self-conscious. But, you really want to make sure you carry your life experiences and observations with you. It's the job of a writer, whether it's autobiographical or fictional or whether you're observing someone, so it occurred to me that all of us exist on a sea of memories and everything we gauge is based upon our previous relationship or connection to those things. And therefore, it seemed so powerful and it seemed so right. It just cascades like fireworks of potential from it, of what it could be and how it could be understood. That's quite a valuable thing within a title.
What's it like working with producer Bob Rock?
He's so musical, so experienced, and I just really like him. We've spent so much time together, all of us, that it's essential that you start by liking each other or else it's a road to nowhere. I like his approach to music, he's a great guitar player, he's really big on sounds and equipment and vintage gear -- all those total nerdy things that musicians love. It was really fun for me, like a daily music master class.
It sounds like you're drawing a lot from that classic Bush sound.
It's weird though, because that so-called classic sound is my dumb voice and a heavy guitar [laughs]. That's the sound! As soon as you have those elements, that's my thing. That's some kind of irony with it.
You're no longer with Interscope. Do you feel like you're more in control of your music?
Absolutely. Generally more in control with everything. It seems to be the modern way. If you get a chance to move forward in music, it would be an ironic thing to move forward with a major label. Especially in my line of music, it's just a no-brainer. Given that, you have to say "OK, how do we keep it as modern and progressive as we can?" It just seemed like the logical way, and the freedom is immense.
This is a return to the Bush moniker. Are you more comfortable under that title?
I think so. It's the ultimate for me. It's the place that creatively I'm least self-conscious. Sometimes with the solo stuff I'd be working hard so that people wouldn't say it sounds like Bush because it clearly, as I said earlier with me singing and any type of electric guitars in there, it just sounds a lot like Bush because that's the sound that we have. Playing with Bush allows me to be creatively really free, it's not the other way around. It's just a lot more fun to play shows. I'm a rock guy, I like names of bands. Solo people's names are just strange, apart from maybe Beck or something. For me, being so synonymous with Bush, it was a hard transition.
Your wife Gwen [Stefani] had similar circumstances with her band No Doubt, reuniting after all these years. Did seeing that influence you at all?
Well, that was obviously always present in my mind because I saw it every day and it was inspiring to see the reaction when they went back out on tour. It was just mostly to do with the fact of where I wanted to be. I had tried a number of times of the last five or six years to try and get the band back together and I steadfastly felt that if Nigel didn't want to do it I would wait until he would come around. And then when I realized he wasn't coming around, I figured it was like I cut off my nose to spite my face, and what was the point? So I was like "I'm gonna do it." I had come to a point -- and I don't mean this in an arrogant way, I mean this in sort of a self-preservation survival sense -- I worked hard to pull that name up, that brand that everyone knows. It seemed a bit dumb to just sort of fake it.
Three times a day I would get people on the street [going] "Where's the band, man?" Even after I sold 1.6 million downloads in singles or whatever, people were like "That's amazing. I love that song! When are you getting back together with the band?" and I agreed! I agreed with everyone.
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