Bush is back — something frontman Gavin Rossdale feels was inevitable.
But it didn’t come easy.
The hard rock group, which sold more than 10 million copies of its first four albums, broke up in 2002, after 10 years and hits such as “Everything Zen,” “Glycerine” and “The Chemicals Between Us.”
Rossdale struck out on his own, forming another band (Institute) and then releasing a solo album in 2008. But he never shook Bush — nor, he says, the desire to be in Bush, which is why “The Sea of Memories” came out last month as the band’s first new release in nine years.
“I felt the other stuff was cool. They were brilliant, but it was more default than by design,” explains Rossdale, 45, who co-founded Bush during 1992 in London and now splits his time between there and California with wife Gwen Stefani and their two young sons.
“That whole time I was doing those other things I was thinking, ‘Man, why is it not Bush? This is so crazy.’ It felt very much like being in a fistfight with an arm tied behind your back, or going up a mountain with a bag of rocks on your back.
“Now I’m so pleased because I’ve got my voice back. To be in Bush and to be in the band you’re basically born to be in, it’s like a suit of armor. It’s very exciting.”
Rossdale, who also worked with Blue Man Group and Apocalyptica during the interim, notes that his other endeavors were not without success — particularly his solo album “WANDERlust,” which sold 1.6 million downloads and spawned a Top 30 hit, “Love Remains The Same.” But it hardly had the impact of Bush, which, in addition to its sales, launched 10 Mainstream or Alternative rock chart hits and enjoyed a strong track record with MTV and as a touring act.
Once he decided to put Bush back together, Rossdale reached out to original drummer Robin Goodridge as well as guitarist Chris Traynor, who replaced co-founder Nigel Pulsford in 2002, and bassist Corey Britz in place of Dave Parsons.
Rossdale says he did reach out to Pulsford to be part of the group again, most likely along with Traynor, but the guitarist “doesn’t want to travel anymore; he’s doing his own thing.”
Rossdale’s design was to have the first album from the new Bush out in 2010. The group recorded a set called “Everything Always Now” with producer Bob Rock and even released a single, “Afterlife.” But things began going awry before the album’s projected release date.
“Ever single person who worked with us at Interscope (Records) had been fired,” Rossdale recalls. “It was a sinking ship, the worst way to bring out a new record on the planet. We knew we weren’t in the right place, so we elected to leave — but leaving a major label takes a long time, four or five months in our case.”
Rossdale, who had also brought some new managers into the band’s operation, opted to deal with the wait creatively.
“I thought, ‘Can I make my record even better?’ and went back into the studio and wrote five new songs ... and continued to work with the other songs I wanted on the record,” he says. “It was a healthy creative process, and out of the other side of it I think we came out with a better record.”
Listeners will, in fact, hear the results of that process on the version of “Afterlife” that appears on the album. “I just figured I could heavy it up a bit and put it through the kind of Bush wash,” Rossdale explains.
“When you hear it on the album versus the single that came out (in 2010), you can tell the difference.”
And that “Bush wash,” he adds, was applied to a great deal of the material on “The Sea of Memories.”
“One of the mistakes I’ve made in the past is not listening to my catalog enough when making a new record,” Rossdale acknowledges. “I would, in the past, make music almost aggressively to appease people that didn’t like me, anyway, just to try to win them over and prove I could be hip or something like that. You’re mistakenly looking forward and you fail to look at what’s behind you or where you’ve come from.
“This time I thought what I should do is embrace the people who I know like me and really enjoy Bush. That’s what I focused on. I made my audience my muse.”
Bush fans certainly seem to appreciate that effort. “Sea of Memories,” which was issued on Bush’s own Zuma Rocks Records imprint, debuted at No. 18 on the Billboard 200 chart, while the single “The Sound of Winter” is No. 4 on the Alternative survey and Top 10 on the Mainstream poll. It’s a strong start, and Rossdale feels it justifies the decision to resurrect the band name.
“To be doing Bush again, it’s a juggernaut,” he says. “It’s really hard to keep up with the interest and all these flattering, amazing things — lots of press request, lots of shows we can play. While (Bush) was off I just always felt incomplete and not fulfilled, and now doing Bush is to be re-complete.
“It just feels very at home and fully functioning and complete. You still have to fight to get out there and be heard amongst everything else. You don’t know if you’re gonna win the fight, but at least you have your best weapons.”
Bush and Chevelle perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Tickets are $29.50-$55. Call 313-861-5450 or visit www.livenaton.com.
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