Gold Bush

by Aidin Vaziri

If the world ever needed Bush, the time is now.

Once derided as grunge pariahs, the gritty-but-glamorous British quartet is the only decent thing on the radio these days, turning out a unadulterated guitar racket that confirms the notion that MTV-dominating acts like Limp Bizkit and Britney Spears are utterly useless.

Bush’s latest release, “Golden State,” is its best yet. And not just for the pervy-sounding album title. It presents Bush at its most tender and abrasive with whipsmart songs like “The People That We Love” and “My Engine Is With You.” Not to mention that frontman Gavin Rossdale’s on-again-off-again relationship with uber-blonde No Doubt singer has suddenly made him one of the most interesting guys in rock. Recorded in Los Angeles and London, “Golden State” is the follow-up to 1999’s million-selling “The Science of Things.” How long did this record take?

Gavin: Nine months.

b: Wow, that’s just like making a baby.

G: Yeah, exactly.

b: What’s the stall on this time around?

G: Changes. There were a lot of changes. We have a new manager (Irvine Azoff), we’re on a new label (Atlantic) and stuff. That kind of impacted it a certain way. It gave us not just a new lease on life, but a maverick quality. We had only been with one label in America (Trauma), so for us it was kind of like leaving home. It couldn’t be more exciting.

b: That’s probably why you don’t sound that angry anymore. Just when it became fashionable again.

G: I was really trying to get the balance between being as somber and atmospheric as I like, and yet as loud and abrasive as we like to get. It’s interesting because I do feel apart from everyone else, but I have never known where I belong. That’s the whole point to making music. I just listened to the new Tool record. I like that band a lot.

b: Is that why you decided to work with producer Dave Sardy, who typically works with people on the fringe like Marilyn Manson?

G: Yeah. We were his least goth band. It was fantastic.

b: Do you ever get the feeling like Bush is the last of a dying breed?

G: Well, it’s kind of weird because, in a funny way, we always got in trouble for coming later. So it’s kind of ironic because we’re probably on the tail end of a certain time, yet having to compete and exist in that time. It’s interesting that you say that, because in a way I feel like it doesn’t matter if someone arrives late, as long as they get there. But yeah, I do feel that. I understand that position without understanding why.

b: Well, you may have been one of the last ones to arrive at the party, but you’re the only ones who are keeping the party going now. So that’s something.

G: I was always told it’s better to arrive a little late.

b: Your girlfriend, Gwen Stefani, helped both Moby and Eve score massive hits this year. Why didn’t you ask her to sing on your record?

G: I just thought it would be kind of cheesy since we’re together so much. She was actually desperate to sing on the album, but the right track never presented itself. There’s always the chance she’ll do something in the future with us. I did sing on one of the songs for their new album, but the whole session was scrapped and Gwen ended up singing my parts.

b: How hard is it being in a rock ‘n’ roll relationship

G: I love the fact that we do the same job. It makes us understand each other better, even better than the other people in our bands, because we’re both singers. But we live 5,000 miles apart and we’re both incredibly busy, so it can be difficult at times.

b: Was she part of the reason you recorded “Golden State” in LA?

G: Well, I always say home is wherever Gwen and my dog are. Also, it’s because I’m English and I’m not used to the sun. I kept having to run out to make sure it was still there.