Bush What Next?

by Tom Lindgren
Hit Parader Magazine
December 1997

Gavin Rossdale stood backstage at the Tonight Show in Los Angeles with an unmistakable deer-in-the-head-lights look in his eyes. It was only a short time before Bush was scheduled to make their appearance on America’s top-rated late-night talk fest, and while the dashing Brit didn’t seem particularly nervous, act particularly nervous or sound particularly nervous– those saucer-shaped, chestnut brown orbs in the middle of his face revealed a bit more of his emotional state than perhaps they should have.

It wasn’t that the good-looking vocalist was truly scared of his impending TV gig– after all he had already performed such high visibility functions countless times on mass media outlets ranging from Late Show With David Letterman to Saturday Night Live– but as he impatiently waited outside of his closed dressing room door he couldn’t fully conceal his excitement or his nervous energy. As he tried to pass the time by small talking with various members of Bush’s musical entourage, Rossdale kept looking around, wondering what he should do next in order to prepare for the band’s brief– yet extremely important– national TV exposure. He rattled ice around in a plastic cup. He toyed with his shirt. He ran his fingers through his curly brown hair. He did everything but think about the impending task at hand.

Soon the “get ready” call from the Tonight Show crew. Rossdale and band mates Nigel Pulsford, Robin Goodridge and Dave Parsons immediately took to the stage in a blaze of rock and roll glory, and performed a surprise rendition of the Rolling Stones’ classic Wild Horses– rather than any of the numerous hits from their recent double-platinum disc, Razorblade Suitcase. In less than five minutes it was all over. Seemingly seconds after completing their musical mission, the boys were whisked back stage for a few quick publicity photos with show host Jay Leno, and then just like that they were on their way off into the setting sun of another beautiful L.A. evening in search of more fun, fame and adventure.

“So may things happen so quickly that you really don’t have time to appreciate them,” a reflective Rossdale said.”Sometimes you have to almost force yourself to slow down so that you can begin the process of absorbing all the things around you .If you don’t, you can become overwhelmed. There are so many hotels, so many special appearances and so many interviews. Each should be appreciated and savored for what it is. When they begin to blur into a single whole, which is mostly unavoidable, some of the fun of this experience can be lost.”

It certainly has been a non-stop whirlwind of activity for Bush over the last three years. From the moment of their debut disc, Sixteen Stone, blasted its way into the public consciousness via such songs as Everything Zen and Glycerine, Rossdale and his band mates have ranked as one of the most recognizable, popular and critically praised hard rock bands in the world. Despite a few minor setbacks along the way– mostly brought on by the reluctance of the group’s European following to fully support them, and by continued State-side comparisons between Bush’s trademark sound and that of bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam– Bush has enjoyed a veritable clear-path run to the very pinnacle of rock success. With Razorblade Suitcase adding further luster to Bush’s already glowing artistic resume, and the band’s sold out North American tour ranking as one of the year’s most eagerly anticipated concert events, these London lads have quickly proven they’re much more than mere one-hit wonders.

“I think that was one of the things a lot of people were curious about,” Parsons said.”They knew we did it once…but could we do it again. We never had even the slightest doubt. We knew that the second record might not sell as many copies as the first one; we really had little control over that. But we also knew that we would make a better record the second time, just as we feel confident that our next album will be better than either of these have been. This isn’t about hitting quick and cashing in. We’re in this for the long haul.”

Despite the ever-present shifts in the rock world, where taste makers come and taste makers go with the seeming blink of an eye, it seems that Bush has now created a solid foothold for themselves in the contemporary music hierarchy. With their rugged sound, boyishly handsome good looks and headline-grabbing off-stage exploits (mostly generated ny Rossdale’s supposed string of high visibility female conquests),Bush have proven themselves to be a band capable of holding the public’s attention on a wide variety of levels. While the group members insist they’d much prefer if all the focus was placed squarely on their music– and none on Gavin’s date book– they realize that each of these divergent ingredients have melded together to help form the Bush mystique, that magical quality that has quickly served to separate these guys from the rest of the hard rock horde.

“You deal with it, that’s all you can do,” Goodridge said with a laugh.”If a fan occasionally comes up to you while you’re in the middle of a meal, or in the midst of a conversation, you deal with. It’s not a very big price to pay for the kind of success we’ve been handed. I think we all realize just how lucky we are.”

Of course, there are still those who openly wonder exactly how much longer Bush’s incredible luck will last. Have they already pushed it to the max with two chart-topping discs? Have they gone as far as they can with a string of sold out concert tours? Apparently the answer is a definite NO! According to Rossdale, Bush has already begun planning for disc Number Three, and if he has his way– and there’s absolutely no reason to think that he won’t– that effort (due to be released in early 1998) will take Bush to an even greater artistic plateau. Perhaps we’ve only experienced the tip of Bush’s musical iceberg– perhaps there’s a whole new world of musical thrills, chills and spills that lie ahead for all of us in the months and years ahead.

“We can do more, that’s for sure,” Rossdale said.”I’ve yet to feel limited by what we do, but I often feel the urge to expand the scope a bit. I think that’s what the future will hold. The idea is quite exciting for all of us.”