Gavin Rossdale and crew

Gavin Rossdale and crew to play sold-out 9:30 Club show. Bush drummer Robin Goodridge was inspired by the Clash, disdains comparisons to KISS, and remembers huge rats at the old 9:30 club.
The Free Lance-Star
February 28, 2002

You can be certain that Bush drummer Robin Goodridge was shaking his head in bemused astonishment when KISS played the closing ceremonies at the Winter Olympics on Sunday night before a TV audience of nearly 100 million.

He recently told The Free Lance-Star that the undeserved deference accorded KISS exemplifies what’s wrong with the American music media establishment. That’s a sore point for Goodridge, because many critics who have bashed Bush seem to love KISS. Those same critics often ask him if KISS was an influence on his career.

“Yeah–an influence to make music not anything like them,” he snickered. “If it sounds anything like KISS, it’s gonna be bad.

“KISS is a real big joke in England,” Goodridge said. “Amazingly, everybody loves KISS in America–even the people in cool bands.”

He was a little reluctant to talk about the savage criticism Bush absorbed when it first broke through in America in the mid-’90s.

The British alt-rockers were sneeringly derided as “Nirvana Two.”

“What does that make Puddle of Mudd, then?” Goodridge pondered. “Nirvana III?” Nirvana was a great band, he said. But that has nothing to do with Bush, which simply had the misfortune to come along just after Kurt Cobain killed himself. “It was an easy shot,” Goodridge said about the attacks on Bush then, “because Kurt died in the late summer of ’94 and our first tape [‘Sixteen Stone’] came out the fall of ’94. We were the first big band after that sad moment.”

Some believe Bush would have had an easier time with critics if it had not done so well commercially so quickly after Cobain’s death.

“We played rock music, like Nirvana–and like hundreds of other bands,” Goodridge said.

Bush finally may be getting some respect. “Golden State,” released in October as Bush’s fourth original album and first on the Atlantic label, is also the group’s first to earn widespread praise from the critics.

Lead singer Gavin Rossdale has been quoted as saying that he keeps expecting to hear critics take it back, to say they were joking.

“I’m not used to it,” Rossdale told CDNow. “I feel like an abused child that is now being treated nicely. I’m a bit [wary] of it.”

Goodridge told The Free Lance-Star that “Golden State” deserves every bit of the praise it has received. With the new CD, Bush is returning to what it does best, he said–leaving behind studio tricks for a basic formula of roaring guitars and heartfelt lyrics.

“Golden State” sounds more like Bush’s live shows.

“The performances on the record are pretty much performances,” he said. “It makes for the show to be like the record.”

Goodridge looking forward to playing a sold-out show at the 9:30 Club on March 18. Bush first played the old 9:30 Club in 1995.

“I remember seeing the biggest rat I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said. “It was like a dog. It was the first show we ever did with a monitor and sound man. I remember a vast improvement that night, sonically speaking.”

Bush usually plays arenas, not small clubs like the 9:30. Goodrich is eager for the intimate venue.

“That’s kind of cool,” he said. “The object of the exercise is to have some fun with smaller gigs. I guarantee they’ll be exciting.”

It’s gotten a little harder to tour as time passes and the band ages, he said, but it’s worth it. Goodrich, 35, recently began lifting weights to help him withstand the rigors of touring.

“You can get in shape first, but then by the end of [the tour] you look pretty rough,” he said.

Goodridge was inspired to become a musician at age 13 when he saw the Clash in concert.

“I was in the front row,” he recalled. “I recall thinking ‘This is what I want to do.’ It was one of those struck-by-lightning moments.”

His brother gave him an old drum kit, and he went from there.

“I’m eternally grateful for that and all the things that happened since,” Good-ridge said.

“I still wake up in the morning and can’t believe I’m doing this for a living.”