That would certainly explain his band's success in America. Bush wasn't just the first new English guitar band since the Police to crack the American market---it was the only one to do so. Brit-pop bands like Oasis, Blur, and Elastica were sensations in the U.K., but, unlike the Brit invaders of the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties, they hardly made a blip on U.S. radar screens.
The release of Bush's debut album, Sixteen Stone, in late 1994, brought the group both commercial success and a lot of critical carping that it was merely a Nirvana clone. Suspicions were further raised when Rossdale and company hired one-time Nirvana producer Steve Albini to produce their sophomore effort, 1996's Razorblade Suitcase.
But as Rossdale explains, Albini was chosen because he had produced albums by the Pixies, P.J. Harvey, and the Jesus Lizard, who are among Rossdale's favorite artists. "We were playing hard-edged guitar music with bleak, searching lyrics and positive twists for years," says Rossdale. "We were inspired by some of the same people who influenced Nirvana---specifically the Pixies. I thought most of those Eighties English rock bands, like Judas Priest and Def Leppard, were terrible. I grew up on punk music, and the Pixies made me realize I could combine hard-edged guitar with searching, emotional lyrics about my internal life."
Bush's latest album, The Science of Things (Trauma/Interscope), is the group's most sophisticated and emotionally compelling work to date. On tunes like "The Chemicals Between Us" and the current single, "Warm Machine," Bush blends raucous guitars with electronica and looping effects. The application is subtle, but the results are dramatic. How did the group create a guitar-electronica hybrid where other great rock bands---from U2 to the Smashing Pumpkins---failed?
"Electronic progressive music is in my blood," says Rossdale. "I grew up around that stuff, so it felt natural. The only difference between my contemporaries and me is that I love punk and the Pixies."
Rossdale's mix of guitar-driven British/American alt-rock and contemporary English electronica makes for an exciting and exotic 60 Minutes collection.