by Edward Fruchtman
Bush should be enjoying their status more now than they did last year. Their 1996 follow-up, Razorblade Suitcase has sold multi-platinum worldwide and the quintet are receiving positive recognition in their native England after years of being cast off as Nirvana xeroxes. Before, the quartet – Gavin Rossdale (vocals/guitar), Nigel Pulsford (guitar), Dave Parsons (bass), and Robin Goodridge (drums) – pushed themselves to break it big in the U.S.,playing as many as 230 shows here between the releases of their two albums.
“When we started playing together as a band [in 1992],it was just the time when all the nationalistic crap in England started, you know, the whole Britpop movement,” Rossdale told Circus a few months ago.”They tried to free themselves from the ‘American influences’,didn’t like U.S. guitar rock so it was a logical consequence to take our sound to the states.”
Making it big in the states must have been a huge priority for Rossdale, who used to wear what he describes as the scruffy “American teenager” look. Born October 30,1967,Rossdale was raised in an upper middle class neighborhood in North London. But he felt very uncomfortable in this posh environment, becoming rebellious in his style of dress and behavior.
“I was there during the day but I didn’t feel I belonged there,” said Rossdale.”At night, I hung out playing pool with some mates who were pretty tough lads and somehow I also didn’t feel like I belonged there.” He even moved to the West Coast in 1991 to assume an extravagant, drug-abusing lifestyle (“My life was too safe in London,” he told Rolling Stone) and to pursue a musical career there, after playing in a band he co-formed called Midnight. During his six-month stay there, he was a production assistant for music video shoots. However he returned to London a different man with a new perspective on his goals and needs.”I got it out of my system when I was still young, I don’t have to deal with it now where it would be lethal,” Rossdale said.”I was damned lucky to survive.”
The London-based band, formed with once-aspiring writer Pulsford and Rossdale, took a while to reach this pinnacle of their career. With all four playing in previous bands, they took a slew of odd jobs to support themselves and to finance the taping demo they would shop around to record companies. Fortune finally smiled on them in late 1993 when Rob Kahane of Trauma Records caught their act and offered them a contract. Their debut album, Sixteen Stone, was released in November 1994,and heavily-rotated hit singles “Glycerine”,”Little Things”,”Comedown”,”Machinehead” and “Everything Zen” and appearances on hot TV shows like “Saturday Night Live” elevated sales of the album to the Billboard Top Ten. Around six million copies of the record sold at press time.