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Bush's new "The Kingdom," 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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If things had gone according to plan, Bush would be on the road this summer, touring -- with Breaking Benjamin -- to promote its eighth album, "The Kingdom."

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, of course, the tour has been pushed back to 2021. But "The Kingdom" is out -- and Friday, July 17 -- with songs by founder and frontman Gavin Rossdale that tap into many of the sentiments of the times, albeit not by design. But the specter of disease, politics and civil unrest certainly give additional heft to songs such as "Bullet Holes," "Flowers on a Grave," "Our Time Will Come" and "Send in the Clowns."

Without touring, Rossdale and company will be using videos and online appearances -- including a streaming concert on Saturday, July 18 -- to take "The Kingdom" to fans. It's been nearly 25 years since "Everything Zen" launched a string of Mainstream and Alternative rock hits, but Bush is still aiming for more than "Little Things"...

Rossdale, 54, says his aim for "The Kingdom" -- whose "Bullet Holes" was first featured in the film "John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum" -- was "to do a record where every song could be slipped into the set, every song was a banging, huge, heavy-hitter, and it would be an irrefutable record. If the last record (2017's 'Black and White Rainbows') could be bruised and dense, I wanted to make an irrefutable record about survival and strength and really falling into the whole zeitgeist of now, a record that's the sign of the times."

The relation of the songs to contemporary issues was a kind of happy accident as far as Rossdale is concerned. "I wouldn't take credit for that (laughs), but I do feel like it could be a useful record for people, like the soundtrack to a peaceful protest. 'The Kingdom' is meant to represent a place for like-minded people, a sanctuary away from the judgement, the self-righteous people, the racists, the homophobes -- all the people who are stunted in their thinking and that make the world a bad place and make it difficult for other people. I wanted a place where you could sort of share ideas and converse with people, so it was just sort of a utopia. The state of the country was really disjointed, and I was tapping into that."

Nevertheless, Rossdale's personal life -- including any lingering impact of his 2016 divorce from Gwen Stefani, the mother of his three children -- factored into "The Kingdom" as well. "The record was really about sort of emancipation and strength and resolve in the face of challenges. Getting divorced and death apparently are the two worst things that can happen to you; I didn't die, and I came through it and I live a different life and I'm grateful for the life I have. I probably should get a girlfriend so my kids can see me with a girl -- wouldn't that be nice? (laughs) But I don't want a different life, no."

Musically, "The Kingdom" is the first Bush album to feature guitars tuned -- or de-tuned -- to lower keys. "It's the most aggressive Bush, but somehow it seems to be punching on the nose in ways that maybe is consistent with earlier stuff. It was just me experimenting with lots of different tunings. All these metal bands or rock bands -- like Slipknot, which is an incredible band -- are playing with very low tunings to make the sound very dark and wide, so I would get into those things and go to work and tune a guitar a different way and see what it sounded like. It's just amazing to find yourself in these very deep, dark tunings. It's quite difficult to find a melody. It's a challenge. It takes a minute."

While in quarantine in Los Angeles, Rossdale is "trying to keep the focus on the record coming out, but I had my kids, so keeping them occupied and letting them have some fun. I'm a single dad, just living the dream. And playing a lot of guitar and reading some good books -- all the usual stuff. And looking forward to when we can get out there and do some more."

Bush celebrates the release of its new album, "The Kingdom," with a streaming concert at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at BushOfficial.com. Fifty cents from each copy of the album sold during the livestream will be donated to When We All Vote, with the band matching fan donations. Bush will also appear on the Concert For Cuba, starting at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 18, via TWITCH.TV/HotHouseGlobal.

Web Site: www.BushOfficial.com

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