January 16, 2002
The definition of the term veteran these days has greatly changed. Back in the day, you didn’t hit veteran status until you had at least six LPs and a live album under your belt.
But in the 21st Century’s spit-‘em out and spit- ‘em out music business, a band like Bush, who can stick around for four records and a couple of soundtracks, are bonafide elder statesmen.
Their latest album, Golden State, is rougher, grulier Bush than heard on their polished sophomore set, Razorblade Suitcase and their electronic-tinged The Science Of Things.
Don’t think that Gavin Rossdale (vocals, guitar), Nigel Pulsford (guitar), Robin Goodridge (drums) and bassist Dave Parsons have decided to pull that let’s return to our roots so we can get a check the size of Sixteen Stone’s either.
In fact, Golden State, while similar in mindset to their debut, is the sound of a master band that’s gone through some changes. Some of those were (a new label home at Atlantic Records) and some of those were bad (having to change the name/imagery of their first single ‘Speed Kills’ after Sept. 11), but where many of their class has folded, dropped out, died or jumped ship, they are still punching with the same line-up and a penchant for blistering rock.
Gavin recently called up with information.
Are you ready to get roasted by everyone who is going to say you have dropped the electronics to regain the crowd that initially put you over the top?
I quite like that question and I don’t. It’s been coming up. I like it (because) it gives us a chance to compare our records; you know. I would be bored silly if we kept making the same record over and over again. It’s quite nice to sit here and discuss that with someone. It’s not so nice when there’s a tint of nastiness to it.
Come on it’s just a rock record. They’ve all been rock records. The Science Of Things is a record that I’m really very proud of. A lot of work went into it. One thing nobody ever noticed it seems is that you could take out those…. layers, I call them, and it would have been almost the same.
Do you even care what the critics think?
I’ve learned to not want to. But somewhere inside you, you always do. So far it’s gone well with this record. I’ve got my fingers crossed. I almost keep expecting the floodgates to open and all of the negative responses will come out.
I don’t know why (the press) has been up for it so far. You know, over time we haven’t been treated very well by most of them; so it’s a bit odd.
I want it to continue. I just wonder, “Why now?” They say they like to root for the underdog and maybe Bush is the underdog again. Or maybe we have just outgrown or out lasted it, which would be fine as well.
This is interesting. Because I remember the last time that we spoke that you we sort of predicting that Bush would go even more of the sonic deep-end the next time out, which you didn’t. How and why do things change?
You know, I remember saying and doing a lot of things that I never followed through on. The first priority with Golden State was to make a great sounding record; that was it. You try and try to provide some sort of inner view into where you are at in that moment. That applies both in interviews and with records. There’s level of excitement and spontaneity that can be captured in both environments that make them such wonderful things.
The truth is, when dealing with the future, you can never really say, can you? The moment is paramount and I have no idea what I’ll be trying to capture on any given moment. It just better be good.
That’s if, I think we have a certain quality to what we do that surpasses any limitation that anyone could put on us.
Okay, we’ve talked about your expectations, media expectations, but most importantly, what about the public?
That seems to be going well, as well. I don’t know if we’ll ever sell as many records on one album as we did with the first one. But every artist has both a creative and a commercial pinnacle that hit once, maybe twice if they’re lucky.
We just played in New Orleans and it was amazing. There was a crush (of people) in front of the stage and for a second you wonder about everyone’s safety but, that energy, that… anything can happen right now… it was breathtaking.
So I don’t feel as if we are a dead horse. No glue factory here.
Comparing sale from one record to the next has always been deceiving. People’s taste in music change. Some 16-year-old who bought the first one may all of a sudden may flip-flop and get all hardcore gansta by the time you make another record.
That is so right. You can make the most wonderful record after a top-seller and so many things are out of your control by that point, whether or not it’s considered to be a success.
We have always sold well. Better than I ever expected as a teenage, that’s for sure.
How do you separate the private Gavin from the public Gavin? Obviously being half of a star couple with Gwen (Stefani, No Doubt) has its share of intrusions.
I just live my life. I get on with it. At times it can get a bit much. (Pauses). There are times you feel like a dog being poked with a stick. That’s part of it I suppose.
It’s nice to have some who understand what you go through every day. That is a major advantage.
But yet you got rid of your label and your management relatively quietly. Oh, that’s not juicy enough. There’s nothing to get your head around. Who cares about such things? When there’s so called pin-up dirt to dish.
(Laughs). Very true. I wouldn’t change anything. I have a wonderful life surrounded by really inspiring people.
We have what you call now a catalog under our belts and that’s quite a feat. It’s been a great ride so far and (yet) somehow I feel like we are just really getting started.