By Lesley McKenzie Photographs by Davis Factor/DR Photo Management| March 15, 2011 |
If you thought you’d seen the end of the Bush era, think again. Chart-topping Brit alt-rockers Bush may have disbanded in 2002, but thanks to the efforts of front man Gavin Rossdale, the band reunited last year with a slightly tweaked lineup, welcoming aboard guitarist Chris Traynor and bassist Corey Britz. The band releases its fifth album, EverythingAlwaysNow, this spring. We caught up with the LA-based Rossdale to talk about the City of Angels, the new album and his musically inclined kids with wife Gwen Stefani.
What was the impetus for getting Bush back together? GAVIN ROSSDALE: I’ve been trying to reunite the band ever since [we broke up], to be honest. When I began writing songs after I came off tour for my solo record, I kept thinking how perfect they would be for a Bush record, so I threw it out there again and just willed it; that’s how it came about.
Where did the title Everything Always Now come from? GR: It’s really about the essence of living in the moment. Panic, disease and depression, for instance, are often motivated by either the past or the future. Weirdly enough, if you can sequester yourself in the moment, it’s usually better than you think.
How did you decide on the new lineup for the band? GR:I asked everybody who was in Bush if they wanted to do it. The bass player, Dave [Parsons], decided he couldn’t commit. I kept the bass player I’ve used for the past few years, Corey [Britz], and Chris [Traynor], a guitar player who played for the last few months of Bush and was the last person on tour with the band. So there’s nobody new in the lineup to me. It feels really natural, and they play so well together. The combination is good and slightly different than what the [first] version of Bush was, but not that different.
Did you decide to take the music in a new direction at all? GR:It’s a dilemma. You want to be intrinsically who you are—which means you’ve got to be really present—and you have to be intrinsically who you were and who you want to be. The first song we came out with, “Afterlife,” was definitely a leap, a different style.
The musical landscape has changed a lot since you released the last Bush album, with the proliferation of social media. Has that changed the experience of making and promoting a record? GR:I always work hard to have a very close connection to the fans. We’ll talk to people and see people after shows. In this new world order with social media, it just promotes that connection on a larger scale. And I think it’s strange, because you have to be so much more accountable now. When we began Bush, there wasn’t that much accountability with fans, whether or not you wanted to connect with them. I don’t mind this insight into people’s lives. People write to me on Twitter, Facebook and, to a certain extent, MySpace, and I reply. I always want to answer as many as I can. I’ve never refused to speak to someone, take a picture or say hello.
As an Englishman in LA, what do you like about living here?
GR: I like the mountains and the sea, and that infinite expanse of desert when you drive to Las Vegas or Joshua Tree. To be connected to all of these separate extremes is exciting.
Do you have any favorite local music venues?
GR: My dream is to play either the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre or the Greek Theatre. And when I wasn’t in Bush, I always thought, That’s it, I’m screwed; I’ll never get to play those places. Now that I’m in Bush [again], it’s fifty-fifty. It could happen if anybody likes the record and remembers the band. But I don’t take that for granted or think it’s owed to me. I don’t think anything is owed to me.
Who are you listening to you on your iPod right now?
GR: Zola Jesus. I can’t stop playing [her new record]. I really like Interpol. I’ve got Verdi, Buddy Guy, Fauré’s “Requiem,” Albert King and Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem.” I’m just obsessed with requiems—they’re so mournful, but I like that. Gwen thinks my choice in music is really depressing.
Speaking of your wife, do you two help each other creatively when it comes to music? GR:No. What you get is the understanding of the demands and scheduling, you know, so that’s what I don’t have to explain. The rest of it is healthily separate.
Are your kids showing any inclination toward music? GR:Yes, but we’re not trying to force it on them. You leave all the avenues open—creative, physical, artistic—and let them go down the path they want. So it’s just about making sure the guitars and drum kits in the house are small enough. Let the noise begin!