I made another record after I got divorced. Black And White Rainbows. It's a really bruised record. - Gavin Rossdale

Posted: May 28, 2024
"I don't mind having company, so I have a really nice engineer that comes in and helps me. And, this process is how I just finished another record."

Photo by: ODM Photography

It's such an incredible honor and thrill to speak with you today, Gavin Rossdale! Lead vocalist, guitarist, songwriter and founder of the epic, legendary and iconic rock band, BUSH. Thank you so much for taking this interview! You and your British Rock Band, BUSH have sold over 24 million records with a monumental procession of No. 1 singles! And, you have 1 billion streams!  Three decades of creating, recording, producing, performing and touring, worldwide! 

Loaded - The Greatest Hits - 1994-2023 (Round Hill Records) provides an expansive view of your incredible legacy - from your breakthrough hit, "Everything's Zen," to your latest single, "Nowhere To Go But Everywhere," a heavy grunger with surging power chords!

GRAMMY-nominated, multi-platinum English rock band Bush is celebrating its 30th anniversary with an extensive North American headline tour- Bush -Loaded: The Greatest Hits Tour. And, Jerry Cantrell, of Alice In Chains and Candlebox will be special guests on all dates!  Brilliant!  

Most dates are produced by the world's leading live entertainment company, LIVE NATION Entertainment. I counted at least 31 shows in your upcoming heavy-hitting, powerhouse tour. Kicking off in Oregon July 26th and hard rockin' it all the way through to L.A. California, September 15th. Touring is incredibly demanding! The physical, mental and emotional energy needed must be phenomenal.

I recently read a quote of yours, "Playing this tour now is like being in a room full of 10,000 memories. It’s beautiful that with every song, everyone has a different memory. It’s just wild." 


Sophia: Can you please share the power and impact that this particular tour, The Greatest Hits Tour,  has for you as a songwriter, musician and internationally acclaimed band?

Gavin: Thank you so much! What an introduction! I don't think I'll ever do another interview again! Any other will fail in comparison. They're normally out to get me! Haha! 

It's like, I always thought that bands that do "Greatest Hits" tours are retiring. I don't ever want to retire, so I keep on making records. We're just finishing a new record now and we're really excited about that! But, doing The Greatest Hits, doing Loaded, what's great about it is that it's celebrating what we've done, what we've got. There's something to be said for that. I think maybe the English mentality, of like, keep your head down and keep working. Keep pushing, keep finding things and being curious. And, that's what makes me happy. And, then simply, when I took this position of like, okay, you do have these songs, you have these years. But, it's the reflection of other people that's most interesting to me. The effect of the songs. I can't believe I'm so lucky to have written so many songs that have touched so many people in different ways. It's wild! 

Sophia: What I admire most about you is your passion and belief in your music and your unrelenting drive to keep it real, authentic and true to your sound and songwriting spirit. And, despite trials and struggles inevitable in the world of rocknroll, you and your band have survived, thrived and become one of the most legendary bands of all time.  As a singer-songwriter and musician, this speaks to me in a profound way! 

How does the creative process work for you?  What continues to inspire you to write, and what does your songwriting process look like?

Gavin: It's the pursuit of magic. The alchemy of a rhythm and a tone or chord. And, a voice; just weaving together. I really like heavy music but I adore melody. My DNA needs melody. I don't know why, but I really, really respond to a melody. So to me, the creative process is just putting myself in an environment that's musically interesting and can connect to people, because I do think about it in the way of "other people". I could write 20 songs, but if they can't sit alongside or even actually substitute for some of the songs we have, say, on Loaded, then there's no point in writing them. Meaning, they have to be of quite high standard in order to break into the set. That comes from creating music. Imagine, a massive heaving crowd, and it's all about feeding that monster. I read about Rick Rubin saying that art should be for yourself, and have nothing to do with anyone else. I couldn't disagree more; to the extent that I've written personal criticisms. Whenever I'm making music, I'm thinking about how it will affect things. I like that spiritual journey.

The most important lesson I try to take on is that I operate under a massive amount of "feeling". I sometimes wish I was more mathematical about it. Be a bit smarter. Like, okay. Now, if you go to the minor 6th chord, and the 4th there, and that will create this feeling! You can break it down like that, but I just kind of sit in a room and wait until I get inspired and I'll just find things. Whether it's on guitar, bass or keyboard. Any bit of music that I can put on there that makes me wanna sing! It's quite nice now because I'm good enough at engineering that I can get really nice sounds, and put a song together. But, I don't do my own vocals! 

I don't mind having company, so I have a really nice engineer that comes in and helps me. And, this process is how I just finished another record. Then, I take it to the studio and I've got a producer there. I just went in and started collaborating. I do the music that is there for me. A couple of songs I wrote with my producer. So, now I have these 9 songs. I read that Springsteen always has 5 or 6 songs ready to go, whenever he does a record. 

When I did my record this last time, I had a few songs that I had been chipping away at every now and again, whenever I could I'd pop into the studio. So, I'm like okay, I have 6 songs ready to start with! Perfect. Now, I need to complete those 3 or 4 songs to finish the album. So, yeah. It's all been done. I'm really excited; I'm super excited about it!

I know we're here to talk about Loaded, but as a songwriter, you'd understand. That's what makes me feel the happiest. The feeling that I've achieved the most on that day. 

Sophia: Thanks Gavin; beautiful!It feels like every one of your songs is kind of a "special event" that pulls your fans in tight, grabs them, charms and captivates them, in the most sensory of experiences.  

Is there an album that you've written that you're especially close to and proud of?   And if so, what makes it stand apart and hold a special place in your heart, from your other creations? 

Gavin: I like Golden State. It was a pretty disastrous time with Atlantic Records. We took the wrong deal. It was a bad scene. It didn't work out and that just happens in a long career. You can be at the right place at the right time or the wrong place at the wrong time! 

9/11 just happened. The record was called Speed Kills.  In England, that's a road warning. "Speed Kills" meaning, drivers have to slow down. But, we couldn't have anything with "kills" in the title because of the tragedy of the Twin Towers! So, it was re-named Golden State because I was spending all my time going between London and L.A. And, I was always flying. So, I thought a beautiful album cover of a plane would have been the perfect image. No; not to be. So, there was almost a "doom" to the first single. That record kind of got hit and it deserved to be better. 

I sort of feel protective of that record. And, I made another record after I got divorced. Black And White Rainbows. It's a really bruised record. People At War, is one of my proudest songs. I did this song, and the video for the United Nations. It's an incredible video by Jessie Davey! 

So, Black And White Rainbows and Golden State are my proudest musical achievements because they're possibly the two most injured records; they didn't get TLC. And, all the other records were widely embraced. I love the title Black And White Rainbows; I love that record! It has a really great feel to me; I don't know, but it's very bruised! Long answer. Haha! 

Sophia:  You tour with many, many amazing bands! You've toured with the world famous Irish band U2, and the Scottish band BIG COUNTRY. And, back in the day, you opened for both of them.  I read that you're a big U2 fan!  Me too!!!  

The Chief Editor at Guitar Thrills Magazine is a huge BIG COUNTRY fan! And, he continues to honor the now passed, iconic songwriter, singer and guitarist, Stuart Adamson. So, I must mention BIG COUNTRY! Can you please share one of the most inspirational experiences you've had, while touring with either of these epic and legendary bands?  Thank you!

Stuart Adamson Lead singer of BIG COUNTRY

Gavin: First off, the bass player of BIG COUNTRY said to us, you're a really good band, but you'll never be better than us. Haha! I'll always remember that; just brilliant. And, we weren't anywhere near as good as them. They were a fantastic band!  And, I remember we were playing football in the carpark. We were there before the crew. And, I saw Stuart Adamson. He was the big star of the show! And, I was like "Hey, you wanna come play football with us?" And he said, "Can't. I'm gonna do a two and a half hour show." I thought "Aw fuck!" I didn't mean to ask him that question! It was like, the only question I asked him. I had a hundred questions, and I just asked him a dumb one about coming to play ball! He really didn't seem that much older! Haha.

Sophia: Well, I mean, you gotta shoot your shot! Right? Haha! 

Gavin: Yeah, I was trying to get him to come and hang out with us! We were all playing football. I was like "come and play football." I thought that would lead to a "vibe" and he just said "It's gonna be a long tour man; got a long tour!"And, who's the other band you mentioned? 

Sophia: U2! U2! 

Gavin: Never heard of them! I think U3 is a lot better. Hahaha! What was so cool about going on tour with U2 is that we just went on, and they sounded so heavy. Such a heavy band! After that, I started exploring drop tuning consistently, for a whole album. I've done a couple in drop, but I hadn't really gotten into it that much. And when I got into that, well every record, I do one or two, you know!

And then I was like, always at a festival playing every f**king Drop D tune song, so that I could f**k with the metal bands! And, not play anything in standard. And, going out with U2 was really fun because the pressure was kind of off. We played to their crowd! And, the band was shit hot; the songs were shit hot! People didn't know it. And, no one minded. It was like "fuck yeah! okay!" And, it was really, really great! I watched them play every night. I've always loved that band! Remarkable band! So for me, it's a really great memory! 

Sophia: What a life you live! Man, you have a beautiful legacy! 

Gavin: Hahaha! What a life you live too!

Sophia: Thanks so very much Gavin!!! I love your band's grunge/alt-hard rock vibe. All at once!  Your music is mesmerizing; driven by edgy and bold guitar riffs, brilliant writing and vocals and powerful baseline and drums!  I especially love your last two studio albums, #8 The Kingdom (2020) and #9 The Art of Survival (2022).

BUSH consists of you, Gavin Rossdale (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and your bandmates. Chris Traynor (lead guitar), Corey Britz (bass guitar) and Nik Hughes (drums). As a songwriter, I want you to know that your brilliant songwriting and heavy, soulful, hypnotic sound has influenced and inspired me immensely!  I'm a huge fan!

Can you please describe, for your fans, how your different personalities work together and keep driving BUSH onwards and upwards, 30 plus years?

Gavin: The thing is, everyone's really good friends. We get along really well! We like being around each other. So, I think it makes it kind of really "generous" in the playing. There was a great quote once from David Burn, who talked about the TALKING HEADS. At the beginning of the TALKING HEADS, it was like four of them. All four got into little mini cooper cars and they drove off in different directions. You know? 

Conversely, when we're in the studio, it's very, you know, "generous." I'll bring in some stuff. But, then there's loads of stuff that goes on it! You have to choose the "best stuff" and it doesn't matter who's stuff it is! And, you just want it to serve the song. The better the riffs I do, usually, the better the riffs that f**king Chris does! He should just fuck me up and take the attention because he's an amazing, crazy great guitar player! It's like hang on, alright! I'll be the stepping stone. But, it's really, really good what he does.You know? And, I don't mind saying, get rid of mine, if that's the stepping stone to his piece. Or, I may say, uh, I kinda like mine though! You know what I mean? It goes either way. It does go either way!

Because we're such good friends! I mean, me and Chris, we're like f**king brothers! It's like, we all know at the end of the day, if they bring some shit hot music to me, I'm just gonna be the topline guy. I'm like "thank you!" That's brilliant! Maybe, I've gotta do the topline in two hours. Or, I might struggle for a couple of days, and just be playing a riff, playing a piece of music. And, I'm just trying to find something that turns me on, and what I wanna sing about! Then out of nowhere, I'll just sing about stuff because it's jolted me in a way. And you know, I like that process. I think it's really important to have both. 

I mean, I've written so many songs and thought, I don't have to write on my own. I began to write alone. I was always forced to write alone for BUSH because no one wanted to write the songs in the first incarnation of the band. They just wanted to make them great! They'd take the songs in and sort of make them really much much better. And, that's what I'm saying, with these guys. Chris just makes my songs better! Or, he gives me amazing music for me to sing on! It's a win-win. So, I honestly don't care; however the configuration is. 

Sophia: November 2023 (six months ago) you released Loaded - The Greatest Hits 1994-2023. It includes your earliest hit "Glycerine" to your latest single, "Nowhere To Go But Everywhere." This album is already topping the Billboard's Mainstream Rock Airplay chart. This is phenomenal, and speaks to your incredible legacy!

I'm aware that you're known for your humility Gavin, but this makes you a rock'n'roll giant! So, congratulations Rock Star!!! I saw Bush last summer.  It's an exhilarating experience being at one of your shows! I'm going to your August 19th concert, Budweiser Stage, Ontario Place, Toronto, Canada this summer.  It's a rush to get lost in your music!  

I know that you adore your fans and work extremely hard to have a connection with them.  Is there anything that you'd like to say to your fans that are enthusiastically waiting to catch one of your upcoming shows during your summer 2024 concert tour? 

Gavin: As always, thank you for your very kind words! You're so complimentary. We're so thrilled to come, and it's always like repaying a debt of friendship; a debt of love and connection. It's really important, being English, to never take yourself too seriously. Right? But, I do take the people who come to the shows very seriously! And, I take their choice to come and see us, as important. There's lots of options and it asks a lot of people to choose concerts. And, coming to see BUSH is a big compliment!

The best thing about the band, that I'm most proud of, is that whatever we are, and we are many things, we're really consistent; you know. We really, really really bring it! And, Toronto, we're really excited to come to!  And really, all over - I think we should do more shows in Canada! Especially in Edmonton, because you can get really good crispy pork! Hahaha!!! It's really annoying, because it's not easy to find!

Sophia: Right! The last time I had crispy pork was in the UK! Hahaha

Gavin: There you go! Haha! I like those big, far and wide tours. We're thrilled to come! You know, we love playing! It's really fun, because we've got to the point where we can have our own production. 

The last time we played that exact venue, I think it was with Alice In Chains. This year, we've got ALICE IN CHAINS singer-songwriter and guitarist Jerry Cantrell and CANDLEBOX!!! We're always so happy to have Jerry Cantrell with us, because we need that hefty support!  He's such a great, great performer and songwriter. He's gonna love hearing that! Haha! And, all his ALICE IN CHAINS songs. Apparently, his new record is super heavy! I think I'm gonna love it!

And, my son's 17. And he goes, "I can't believe CANDLEBOX is touring with you! I love that band! And I'm like, "how do you know CANDLEBOX? Haha! Obviously, I'm thrilled about it, and I think everyone coming out to the shows will get a lot of great songs they know! And, we're gonna bring it! That's it!!!

Sophia: Anything you wanna add about the Loaded tour? 

Gavin: Just, you know, it's really starting to become real now - it's not hypothetical. I'm really excited; it's super exciting!!!

Sophia: Do you have any "pearls of wisdom" for young writers, musicians, and bands out there, looking to BUSH as their Rock Heroes?  

Gavin: Wow. Yeah. Just, um, it's a really weird balance between listening to everyone and listening to no one. In terms of perspective, in terms of following your goals or desires. Mainly, it's like doing what you want; the style of music you want. And, it's important to be as really brutally honest with yourself as possible, about what you write. You are your own best critic and you know how far you wanna go. 

You see, the hard part is that the people aren't there to realize your potential. Bands take rejection as a sign they're not good enough. When people are just saying they're not good enough that day, for that person. So, you have to have the guts to just follow your instinct and to stay true to your instinct. And, it's really difficult, you know! It's just, it's a total crap shoot! But the more prepared you are, you know. I mean, learn your craft. By learning the craft you give yourself the best weapons. The more you know, the more powerful you are. That's true for me. And, I don't know enough. You know? The more I learn, the more powerful I feel. So, that's what I'd say. Be true to the craft. 

Sophia: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today Gavin. YOU absolutely rock!  It's been a "dream come true" to interview you; truly, a great pleasure!

Long live BUSH! Long live Rock-'n'-roll!

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