The life of a rock stud

YM Magazine

Gavin probably came into your world about three years ago, when Bush’s first single, “Everything Zen,” raced up the charts. But what was he up to before that? Here’s the whole story, top to bottom:

Gavin’s born in London on October 30, 1967- which makes him a quiet philosophical Scorpio. And we mean quiet. He doesn’t speak until he’s four years old!

After his parents get divorced, he grows up living with his father and big sis. You’d think that he’d be the ultimate cutie as a kid, but he says, “I was a 10-year-old punk. Spiky haircut, egg white in the hair, the whole bit.”

Gavin spends his teen years skateboarding and partying. “I was sort of different for my dad to live with, because by age 15 I was going out every night.” As for his snooty private school- Westminster- he says, “I was intimidated a lot, and I would just sit in the back.”

At age17, he drops out of school to play on a semi-pro soccer team. There’s just one problem: Gavin’s too sweet for the game. “There’d be fighting every single training session, ludicrous macho stuff.” He ends up quitting because of an injury.

His band, Midnight, gets a record deal but sells close to zero records. Later in his life, when people say Bush is only popular because of Gavin’s looks (and not his musical talent), he’ll say, “I didn’t have success before [Bush], and I’ve always looked the same.”

When he’s 23, Gavin moves to L.A., where he lives for six months and works as a production assistant on video shoots. His life is less than thrilling- except for one night, when he sees Nirvana in concert. Totally inspired, he heads back to London and learns how to play the guitar. He starts dating Jasmine Lewis, the model who will be his girlfriend for the next five year!

He meets Nigel Pulsford (guitarist) outside a concert. They decide to start Bush, snagging bass player Dave Parsons and drummer Robin Goodridge to join them.

British they may be, but Brit-popsters they’re not; Bush’s demos sound like Seattle grunge rock. The English record labels’ response? Talk to the hand, boys. Lucky for Bush (and us!), they got signed anyway- by US label Trauma Records.

When Gavin’s 27, Bush’s album Sixteen Stone is released. (In American talk, the title means two hundred and forty pounds. Gavin liked the idea of a record with a weighty name.) Within six months, radio stations are playing their single “Everything Zen”- and MTV’s pounding the video in Buzz Bin.

Bush’s first American tour last for a year and a half; the guys play more than 230 concerts. During this time, they put out two more rockin’ singles- “Little Things” and “Comedown”- and inch their way up the Billboard charts. Gavin’s psyched, though he misses Jasmine and his dog, Winston, who he had to leave back in England.

Critics dis Bush-hard. The sweetest comment the press can munster is that Bush is “a cross between Pearl Jam and Nirvana minus the passion.” This totally bums Gavin out. “I’m terrible with criticism,” he says, “so this is the worst job for me to be in. Whenever something horrible comes out [in the press], I think, No one’s going to come tomorrow.”

Bush’s next single- the awesome ballad “Glycerine”- goes straight to number one, and the album jumps into Billboard’s Top 10. Rock star life begins: playing on Saturday Night Live, headlining huge radio festivals, and posing for magazine covers.

Rumors fly that Gavin’s dating Courtney Love from Hole. No way, he says: “Anyone I ever hang out with, people think I’ve got to be sleeping with her.” But he does admit to thinking she’s the coolest. “She’s a superstar. She’s one of my favorite people, completely brilliant.” Says Courtney, “I’m me,and even I can’t say anything mean about him.”

Gavin meets No Doubt diva/YM cover girl Gwen Stefani early in 1996, when her band opens for Bush. True love strikes! Gavin starts writing Bush’s second album, Razorblade Suitcase, and that summer the band stops touring to record it.

Bush performs its fifth and last hit single from Sixteen Stone, “Machinehead,” at the 1996 MTV Music Awards- and wins the Viewer’s Choice award at the ceremony. “[It’s] because the people voted for it,” says Gavin. He’s right- seven million of ‘em bought the record.

Razorblade Suitcase is released in November 1996, and the band takes to the road for a 78-date US tour.

With each smash single off of Razorblade Suitcase (“Swallowed,” “Greedy Fly,” “Cold Contagious”), Bush takes over the Billboard charts- again! For a while, the album even competes neck and neck with his sweetie’s album, Tragic Kingdom.

Gavin starts his own label (spun off from Trauma Records), which he names Mad Dog Winston. (Have we mentioned that he loves this dog?) His first signing is a band called Souls.

Gavin and Gwen are the supercouple at the 1997 MTV Movie Awards. Bush’s song “Machinehead”- from the flick Fear wins Best Song from a Movie.

Gavin and his band wrap up their US tour in July, take a summer holiday, then hit the road in Europe. With luck, we can expect a new record next year.

Gavin Talks…

Watching Gavin’s chiseled form onstage rates higher on most girls’ stoke-o-meters that acing the SATs. But imagine talking to him….

on his pretty boy-ness: “At least I’m a guy, so I don’t get hassled about in the street. It’s not like I’m Claudia Schiffer.”

on that poster in your room: “The hardest thing is that sometimes I feel I have to live up to the pinup image. Like, if I come in and I’m tired, I’m waiting for someone to say, ‘You look better in pictures.’”

on the downside of babeness: Remember the barechested shot of Gavin on the cover of Rolling Stone last year? Females planetwide might have dug it, but Gavin was not psyched. “It was supposed to be on the inside,” he says. “It frustrates me, because I know how hard everyone else in my band works, and it undermines the music.”

on relationships: “I’ve only had three or four girlfriends, ever. I never go out drinking with my mates. I’m definitely the companion type.”

on the Gavin-loves-Gwen story: “I was asked by my record label to help No Doubt [by letting them be the opener for Bush]. And I figured the record label had done so much for us that it was like, ‘Okay.’ I didn’t want to. I didn’t like No Doubt at all. But I met Gwen and I thought she was really cute, and then I was like, ‘Good call!’ She is definitely the best thing about the band. I think that she’s amazing.”

on the L-word: When YM nabbed Gavin at New York City’s K-Rock Disfunctional Family Picnic in July and asked if it was love at first sight, he smiled and said, “Of course.” Go, Gwen! So, will Gavin and Gwen get married? He’s been straight up with the press: “It’s by no means out of the question,” says Gavin. “Who knows? She might spend time with me and realize she hates me.” As if!

Gavin Stats
full name: Gavin McGregor Rossdale
height: 6’1”
eye color: brown
hair color: brown with sexy blond streaks