Bush: Back and Just as Golden

Linda Koffman
October 26, 2001

It’s been awhile since Gavin Rossdale and band has taken the spotlight. Let’s face it, in the past few years the frontman with the much hyped model good looks has been mentioned more for his romantic involvement with No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani. But now, he and his mates are back to reclaim some golden musical respect first established with their hit packed 1994 debut Sixteen Stone.

The Brit foursome who seemed to have been MIA since 1999’s little talked about The Science of Things, are ready for a straightforward rock return with Golden State after a tumultuous break from Trauma Records and landing a new home on Atlantic.

The band’s fourth studio album ditches any excessive electronica ornamentation and compiles a 12 track guitar-grinding rock menu, whose primary “Glycerine” features are found in the delicate and ethereal ballads “Inflatable” and “Out of this World.” Those being the exceptions, Golden State thrusts hearty instrumentals aggressively accompanying Rossdale’s dream sequence-style lyrics.

Following professional upheaval, personal transitions, and the Sep 11 acts of terrorism on America that continue to shake the world like an emotional tremor, one rock golden boy talks about starting over with a new album and renewed appreciation for life.

Virginmega.com: You changed the title of the first single from “Speed Kills” to “ The People That We Love” to be sensitive to the terrorist attacks and current world affairs. Do you feel a responsibility to be optimistic or positive in your music?

Rossdale: Not necessarily. I feel a need to be truthful in my music. It depends on what the subject is, but not everything is optimistic. There are many aspects of everyone’s lives that are not optimistic but the artistic responsibility may be to kind of sort of see a way through it or to have it as some kind of catharsis.

Virginmega.com: What was your feeling following Sep 11?

Rossdale: I got a letter recently from a friend, telling the story of this guy who goes into the drawer in his wife’s room and he says to a friend, “This box has this underwear that I have for my wife and she was always saving it for a special occasion. We bought it when we were first in NY together and this must be one of those occasions.” So he takes them out and he gives them to the guy, who is dressing his wife in a coffin. And you realize through the story that she’d died. From that day forward there was no such thing as a special occasion. Every moment is a special occasion. You should always have the best of whatever you can and save nothing because you just don’t know what life will bring. Especially at this time, you just see that it’s just so harrowing, all the terrible waste of all these amazing lives.

Virginmega.com: As far as the album title, what do you envision as being the ultimate golden state?

Rossdale: It’s like a sense of euphoria and a sense of elation. A sense of coming though hardship and just sort of finding your way across and over a mountain.

Virginmega.com: You’ve undergone major changes professionally and personally since the last record, considering the band’s lawsuit against Trauma Records and your engagement to Gwen Stefani. How did these events influence your writing?

Rossdale: I think I felt very, very bewildered by all of the above. There were so many things going on that we just faced inwards. Sometimes it’s hard and it makes it very difficult, but if you face inward you gain strength. The four of us got some strength from that and I think the songs are very strident and they reflect the power of the four. I think that very much what we’ve been through would have destroyed most bands, but we refused to allow that to happen.

Virginmega.com: You’ve said that this album is a very naked record. How so?

Rossdale: Well naked in the sense that it’s just kind of no holds barred. Less people involved, no other programs and stuff. I mean there’s quite a few textures on it and we really wanted to have it so that you could do more than straight ahead four piece stuff, but we worked so hard on the bass and I think this is Dave’s best bass work.

Virginmega.com: After the dispute with Trauma failing to promote your last record, do you feel you’re having to reestablish yourself with this new album?

Rossdale: To a certain extent, yeah. But it’s very important to make music for the sake of making music, which sometimes doesn’t seem to be the case these days. Sometimes people make music to make the right video, to be on the right awards show or do the right campaign. For us, I didn’t know what was in store for us. I didn’t know whether we were destroyed or whether we were still happening, or whether people give a sh*t about us whatsoever. I just think if you can be as relevant and as brutal with yourself as possible then you might have a shot.

Virginmega.com: Do you feel having originally achieved success in America before England was a detriment?

Rossdale: Oh it was a huge detriment. You know the English hate success, so it’s always been a stick to beat us with! It’s still just a weird f**king country and the media is cross-eyed and very, very shortsighted, so it’s a difficult one. But you know, we have fantastic fans and every time we play there’s five, six, 10,000 people. So we have our fanbase and we have the audience—but no one’s allowed to know.

Virginmega.com: As far as your own CD collection, what’s new that you’re a fan of?

Rossdale: At the moment I have Roots Manuva, who’s an English hip hop artist who’s tremendous, the new Sparklehorse record, Tool, I really like the Tool record and System Of A Down I love. I bought Slipknot and they’re obviously very scary because I hate masks, but the record just lacks a bit of sex for me. It’s a little bit teenage boy for me.

Virginmega.com: Do you think Golden State is sexy?

Rossdale: F**k yeah! That’s why the bass is so good. Are you kidding me? I mean that first song “Solutions,” I mean I can brag because it’s not me playing it, but it’s one of the best bass lines I’ve ever heard. I could listen to that bass line for 15 minutes easy, no sweat! In fact, I’d like to sweat. I’d like to dance to it for 15 minutes, it’s excellent.