On the set of "Chemicals Between Us"
The sign on the gate reads 'Religh Studio's', but this Hollywood
back-lot is begining to look more like a global village. Japanese girls
in traditional clothing giggle as they race passed adults dressed as
Maoris, Hare Krishnas, Arabic belly dancers and representaties of
dozens of other less identifiable cultures. Bush drummer Robin
Goodridge regards it all with an amused expression. His band have
relocated to Los Angeles for 3 days to film a promotional clip for
'The Chemicals Between Us' - the first single from the band's much anticipated
3rd album 'The Science of Things'. For Goodridge, today is the usual
excerise in non-stop time-wasting.
"We did a shoot the other night in a dodgy part of east LA, where
it was just us playing in the middle of a dark, wet street. Today's
kind of the opposite of that with this bizarre garden setting. It looks
very Zen. It's like two videos in one, if you know what I mean."
Today Goodridge and his band mates are fully fitted out in kung
fu-type clobber as they're put through there paces by director
Stephane Sednaoui, who has worked with Garbage and REM.
Rossdale as expected is at the centre of the action, giant fans
sending his newly orange-streaked hair flying across his face. "It's a
video of stark differences," the vocalist reveals during a break in the
proceedings. "We wanted this timeless, placeless environment, so
we created this infinite white space with a few pretty trees in there
to signify a little bit of life. And we wanted all these different people
from different backgrounds. All of us, the band and all the extras ,
we'll be together and then we'll all turn into silver..." He suddenly
realises the sheer ludicrousness of what he's saying, and pauses for
a second. "It's deep" he grins, "but in a fun way."
Rossdale looks understandably heathly and happy. These days the
singer maintains a permanent home in London. He also manages to
spend time in CA with his girlfriend Gwen Stefani of No Doubt,
who also adds her vocals to the track 'Spacetravel'. More
importantly he knows his band are back to full strength after recently
completing a string of low key US club dates and an apperance at
the Woodstock '99 festival.
After concluding the Razorblade Suitcase tour, the quartet went their separate
ways for 6 months. Guitarist Nigel released his debut album
'Heavenly Toast On The Paradise Road', Robin Goodridge took an
extented sojourn to the south of France, amiable bassist Dave
Parsons travelled around New Zealand in a van, and Gavin
Rossdale retired to a mansion on the Irish coast. Despite his initial
intentions to "lead a mook like existance", he ended up writing more
than 25 songs which he then sent to the rest of his band for their
"I took loads of books with me to inspire me," he remembers, "
and didn't get around to reading any of them. Books on painting,
architecture, photography, the collected works of Marcel
Proust...which ended up becoming a wonderful door-stopper."
Rossdale reveals that the songs on the new album are filled with his
most wide-ranging topics yet. "It's full of big themes, love, death,
isolation and chocolate. Plus there's a few about pollution. 'The
Disease of the Dancing Cats ' deals with a Japanese Mercury
poisoning that occured in 1957. They'd dump 80 tons of mercury
into the bay, and later all these cats started foaming at the mouth
and spinning around in circles. That's why they called it the disease
of the dancing cats." Another song 'Dead Mea't deals with the
subject of revenge. It was inspired, says the singer, by a film
entitled 'Star 80'. "It was based on Dorothy Stratton. It's about a
girl who comes back down to earth to make someone pay for what
she's been through. I wanted to write a song for people seeking
'The Science of Things' also marks the return of '16 stone' producers Clive
Langer and Alan Winstanly after the blisteringly raw Steve Albini
production of 'Razorblade Suitcase'. Dave Parsons suggests that this stemmed not
from any great desire to replicate the slick, hook-filled sound of
their debut, but instead from a desire to continue what Bush
consider a fine working relationship. "I think the album we did with
Steve Albini was really good - a raw and live sounding. We didn't
want to do that again, so that ruled him out to a certain extent.
Since we like to work long hours in the studio, it's easier for us to
work with people who we are familiar with." Robin agrees "I think
it's a lot more colourful and textured than the last album. Razorblade Suitcase'
was pretty veiled, I thought. You had to peel away a few layers to
get your head around it. This one is more accessable." Gavin's take
on matters is slightly different from his bandmates. "Musically it is as
stark as 'Razorblade Suitcase', possibly more so, we put a lot of information
down on the tracks and as we were mixing we started to take a lot
of things out. I always wanted the sound to be as pared-back and
thinned as possible. I prefer one guitar, and with Nigel being so
brilliant it's usually him who remains on the tracks, but I get some in
Back on the set, Bush are needed again, and the tedious begins
anew. The band are being asked to keep the floor of the sound
stage spotless, so they're forced to wear ridiculous plastic boots on
there feet. Gavin mentions that there next video will be helmed by
Hype Willians, famed for his hip hop clips for the likes of Missy
Elliot. There's an eager air in the Bush camp. The quartet are
aware that the record company politics have kept them out of
action for far longer than necessary, and 'The Science of Things' promises
to propel them to grater glories than ever. The trick is in attracting
those who might have had their reservations about Bush as well as
satisfying their long time admirers. "I think this album will pull both
all those people, it won't alienate any of our fans - there's plenty of
rock songs, plenty of speed. Anyone who likes us already will be
excited by the new record, and it's not that so far-reaching that it
leaves behind what it was that made us successful."
And if it isn't, at least he'll be able to catch up on his reading.