Hit Parader

Sometimes it almost seems impossible to get a true fix on that band known far-and-wide as Bush. This is a group that almost too often appears to thrive on ambiguity and amorphism, a band that revels in both obscuring the lines that frequently distinguish varying musical categories as well as in obliterating the pretense the so predictably accompanies musical trends. What exactly are Bush? Are they truly cutting-edge hard rock monsters, as some of their followers would have you believe, or are they merely a heavy-handed hit machine? Are they authentic alternative rock pioneers or just another in a long line of tried-and-true followers of the rock status quo? Are they a British band trying to sound American, or an American band trying to sound British? Thankfully, vocalist/guitarist Gavin Rossdale, guitarist Nigel Pulsford, bassist Dave Parsons and drummer Robin Goodridge have decided to waste little of their precious time trying to figure out the answers to such potentially weighty questions. Apparently these London-based lads would much rather focus their abundant energies on the creation of new music and the plotting of future concert tours than on dealing with such superficially mundane matters.
Does anyone really care about where Bush fits into the context of recent rock and roll history? And does even the band's staunchest supporter give a damn about how they can best classify the group's string of chart-topping hits? With sales for their first two discs, Sixteen Stone and Razorblade Suitcase, having now surpassed the ten million sales level, there remains little doubt that no matter what you may choose to call their music, and where you may arbitrarily decide they fit into the contemporary rock landscape, Bush have now solidified their position as one of the most important and influential bands of this decade. "When you start getting caught up in thinking about how you compare to other bands or how your music might be percieved by others, you run the risk of losing focus," Parsons said. "I think one of our best qualities is we can still laugh at all commotion that surrounds us. If we couldn't I believe we'd be running the risk in getting absorbed in rather unimportant matters--things that would definitely take away from the music. From the very beginning we knew that we wanted to make the music and leave the analysis or the criticism to those who choose to do that. Maybe someday we'll all look back and try to understand if we truly did have an impact on our era. But this certainly isn't the time for that."
Love 'em or hate 'em--and there are many who hold dearly to those widely divergent opinions when it comes to Bush--it now seems as if virtually everyone, everywhere has grown to a least admire some of the attitude and the ambition displayed by Rossdale and company. While Bush's heart-wrenching musical excesses may not be geared for the listening pleasure of everybody, and though the group's sound still often draws unfavorable comparisons to the already-dated Sounds Of Seattle, their ability to create two consecutive chart-topping discs has made even the band's most determined detractors sit up and take notice. In fact, only Metallica, Pearl Jam and Green Day now rank ahead of Bush in terms of hard rock album sales in the '90s. And as copies of Razorblade Suitcase continue to fly off of record store shelves in near-record numbers, it's not unthinkable to imagine that before this decade reaches its inevitable conclusion, Bush may actually emerge as the most commercially successful rock group of their time. "It's really interesting to look at who has been successful in the '90s and to see what they actually represent in regard to their impact on the music scene," noted an industry observer.
"Bands like Pearl Jam and Green Day supposedly spearheaded an entire musical movement--grunge and punk, respectively. On the other hand, what has Bush spearheaded? As far as I can tell, nothing! They haven't had much of an impact at home in England, where fans look at them as selling out to America. And over here they kind of exist in a vacuum. They've been grouped in with the Seattle bands, but they really shouldn't be. And they don't belong with the Brit pop/rock groups like Oasis either. Maybe the thing Bush deserves most of the credit for is making it big without the help of anyone else's coattails."
Standing alone is certainly nothing new for Bush. Ever since they first made their mark while playing in London clubs back in 1993, this quartet has prided themselves on the fact that they've never jumped on any particular musical bandwagon. Though Rossdale has openly and often hailed the work of Nirvana, and admitted the impact that Kurt Cobain's work has had on his musical soul, he also quickly refutes any claim that Bush is trying to be Europe's answer to Seattle Angst. Any turmoil that surfaces in such Bush hits as "Glycerine", "Everything Zen" or "Swallowed", Rossdale insists, has far more to do with his own personal views on life than with any attempt at reinterpreting the views of others. Yet with a string of Hollywood and rock world babes on his arm, and millions flowing into his bank account, even the irrepressible Rossdale admits that he has little to complain about these days. As Bush continues to tour the face of Planet Earth in support of their latest album, it would seem to all is as right as it can possibly be in this band's musical world. There may still be some lingering confusion in certain circles about exactly who and what Bush are, but, if truth be known, these guys seem to like it like that.
"Wouldn't it be incredibly boring if everyone knew everything about you?" Rossdale wondered. "The media would like to serve you up on a silver platter for everyone to see, and they do their best to do that. But you really can't allow it. The public side of my life is very public, and I accept that. It goes along with what I've chosen to do with my life, But I do try and maintain some degree of privacy. It's amazing how inaccurate some of the things I've read about myself have been. Even if people don't know the truth, they'll simply make up something in order to sell newspapers. But I accept that as well. I may wish that it didn't happen, that people would just concentrate on the music rather than the people making it. But I've grown to understand that we're not going to be able to separate one from the other. They're all parts of being in Bush."