The post-Cobain era of alternative rock was very kind to Gavin Rossdale and his band, Bush. The band's multi-platinum debut record, Sixteen Stone, thrust them into mainstream and made Rossdale the crush of 16-year-old girls around the world. But let's face it, Bush happened to be in the right place at the right time, and how can you blame them? While they never achieved the commercial success of Sixteen Stone, they formed more of their own musical identity on 1999's The Science of Things before calling it quits after 2001's Golden State.
After an eight-year break, Rossdale re-formed the band and was forced to replace original guitarist Nigel Pulsford and bassist Dave Parsons, who declined his invitation for a reunion. These days, the former grunge heartthrob is a family man who isn't looking to recapture the 90's and has no problem playing for 40-year-old women, as he explained to Up on the Sun during an early-morning pre-tour rehearsal.
Up on the Sun: What time do you usually roll out of bed in the morning?
Gavin Rossdale: It depends, when I am in my real life or in my sloth life when I'm on tour. When I'm on tour it's mellow or when I'm surrounded by an army of children telling me I don't need to sleep anymore.
How many children do you have now?
There's so many I've lost count (Laughs) . We have three boys, but they're all different ages so it's like a relay race of issues in my house, it's cool.
Is this the first time you've been back to Phoenix since you put the band back together?
It's kind of a bit of a blur and I'm better with faces than places, so it's possible. If it is I apologize, if it's not good to see you again.
What were you doing for the past eight years when the band wasn't active?
I did an Institute record with Page Hamilton and sort of did a whole d-tuned wall and had a lot of fun doing that. I did my solo record, which went nine weeks at number one and sold two million singles. Apart from that not much. Stupidly, I regret I never sat on a beach for six months.
Technology has really changed since you first started the band. Do you enjoy it?
Resale Concert Tickets
The closeness has made us further apart. People have their Instagram accounts and don't have to be accountable, and they put up these kind of semi-fake lives. Like, this is me really happy, but I'm not going to document when I'm not happy. There's a sense of it being forced and sort of competitive living where people are like you think you had a good time tonight but look at my selfies.
What's the transition into the digital world been like for you and other artists from the '90s?
It's very natural and I know it's very easy to categorize us all in that time but, everyone's continued on doing what they've done. Is Bono, Bono from the '80s? We all just move forward and don't sit in the past, so it's a natural evolution and I don't suddenly go, "It's 2015! I thought it was 1997." Obviously, there was a time when having a new record out was all about staring at how it was doing and people telling you what it was selling, and now people look at the number of plays you have on Youtube or Spotify. I think the worst thing you can do is be resistant to this change, and I like to think of my band as more of an Uber driver than a cab driver.
How much influence did Nirvana and Kurt Cobain have on you?
What was most amazing about Nirvana and The Pixies, if I go a little further back, is that they were trailblazing the way. They were both incredible bands and they gave me confidence. Music was doing in the way of hair bands style and it was bands like Guns N' Roses. It was so traditional and so blues based and I didn't like it and it didn't connect with me. Bands like the great Nirvana, the great Pixies, or Fugazi they just had a way of making rock music cool and interesting. I think I'm just one of many bands who was guided the confidence to move forward and explore our own world. There are plenty of other songs throughout my career that are separate from that style. I also see music as a legacy and certain bands come along and their very influential and you can't help but have that sort brilliance inspire you. There's lots of bands that have done that for me and I'm grateful to all of them.
Do you still get excited when you hear "Machine Head" at sporting events?
Of course, so excited and so flattered and just so amazed because for me, I remember writing that song. And when you write songs you want them all to affect people. I wrote this current record Man On the Run and I'm dying for people to be affected by it. It's going to sneak through the cracks and I'm obviously a realist and I'm not sure that's really happening to the extent I wanted. Something like "Machine Head" -- I could have never fathomed would have that reach and that kind of power and still has that power today like it came out yesterday. I'm really proud of that song and I wish I knew how I did it and I'd do it again.
Do you have any fear that you might be playing music for 40-year old women at this point in your career?
I personally have nothing against 40-year old women (Laughs) . Do you?
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.