Bush is a post-grunge British band that existed during a decade, between 1992 and 2002. The band started with vocalist Gavin Rossdale and guitarist Nigel Pulsford, and released seven albums, though only four of them were studio albums.
The band was the most important post-grunge band, becaming a referent, although they weren't American. They reached platinum sales with most of their albums and their members took part in different formations after they split.
Back in 1992 singer and guitarist Gavin Rossdale had left his band Midnight, and decided to form a new band along with lead guitarist Nigel Pulsford, who had also recently quit hid formation King Black. They shared common taste in music and wanted to make grunge music, starting a band called Future Primitive along with drummer Robin Goodridge (after trying with Sasha Gervasi, Amir and Spencer Cobrin) and bassist Dave Parsons.
The band started slow with Gavin, Nigel and Robin working as painters in day time, and playing gigs at local bars at night. In the meantime they recorded demo tapes and sent them to radio stations, managing to make "Everything Zen" be aired on some of them. That's how they caught the attention of Trauma Records, who eventually decided to sign them.
The band soon decided to change their name to Bush, because they were originary of the Shepherd's Bush London district, but encountered problems with a previous band that had registered the name in Canada, so they were called Bushx instead. Soon they reached a monetary agreement with the original owners of the "Bush" band name, and finally were able to get rid of the "x" at the end of their name, to be forever known as "Bush".
In 1994 they released their first album "Sixteen Stone", often regarded as their best by their fans and its sales. The album was a complete success, with four singles that got to the top-40 on the lists and high on the Billboard.
Things started slow, as the two first singles didn't quite succeed at first, "Little Things" and "Everything Zen". Later down the road they were released again and went straight to the hits lists though. Their third single "Glicerine" was the first one to catch peoples attention to the band, and was followed by an awesome "Machine Head", that made their sales go through the roof.
When Gavin Rossdale was asked about the title of the album his answer was "Once upon a time there was a lonely man... my friend, who called a phone number advertising a '21 year Scandinavian beauty, new in town.' When she arrived, she was forty years old and sixteen stone".
In January 1995 the band went on their "Black Dog Tour" all over the US, which lasted over a year and all the shows were sold out.
The album sold over 6 million copies in USA alone, and videos were released and aired for all its singles.
Sixteen stone was an excellent debut that resembles classic grunge bands in every aspect: guitar riffs, deep bass lines, and even Rossdale's breaking voice and angry lyrics, the album feels like an explosive combination of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, only British this time.
The album obviously lacks originality in its concept but, as years go by, it's undeniable that many of its songs (Glicerine, Little Things..) remain in collective memory as classic singles of the 90s, with sticky riffs and well constructed solos. Regarded by some as a "clone band" when the album was released, it's a fact that it has stood the test of time when listened these days, which proves its inherent quality.
A couple years later, in 1996, Bush released their second album "Razorblade Suitcase", recorded at Abbey Road's Studio Two.
"A Tendency to Start Fires"
"Straight No Chaser"
Once again their album sold millions of copies, though not as many as their debut. Starting out with the single "Swallowed" which hit nº1 in USA for seven weeks being the band's most successful single. It was followed by "Greedy Fly", "Bonedriven" and "Cold and contagious". The album sold very well in UK too, and the band went on their "Razorblade Suitcase" tour.
The album sound is harsher than their previous one, some tracks such as History felt too unpolished to be aired on the radio, and the album is certainly more noisy in general. Lots of power chords and short solos thrown in the middle of Gavin's lyrics make for an excellent album that still didn't deliver as much as "Sixteen Stone" made their fans expect.
Although there are some unexciting tracks in this album such as "Bonedriven" and "Mouth", the album treasures some of Bush classics such as "Greedy Fly", "Swallowed", a catching "Tendency to Start Fires" or the amazing, more relaxed, "Distant Voices". All in all a good album with some songs that would have probably been better left out as B-sides.
The band released a remix album in 1997 called "Deconstructed".
"Everything Zen" (The Lhasa Fever Mix)
"Mouth" (The Stingray Mix)
"Swallowed" (Goldie/Toasted Both Sides Please Mix)
"Synapse" (Philip Steir/My Ghost In The Bush Of Life Mix)
"History" (Dub Pistols Mix)
"Personal Holloway" (Fabio Paras/Soundclash Republic Mix)
"Bonedriven" (Mekon/Beat Me Clever Mix)
"Insect Kin" (Jack Dangers/Drum and Bees Mix)
"Comedown" (Lunatic Calm Mix)
"Everything Zen" (Derek DeLarge Mix)
"In a Lonely Place" (Tricky Mix)
Being a remix album it didn't really contain any new material, but a bunch of versions of their previous songs with an electronic touch, result of the bands collaboration with different producers.
The Science of Things
Come 1999 Bush released their third album named "The Science of Things", which was a big change in their sound.
"The Chemicals Between Us"
"40 Miles from the Sun"
"The Disease of the Dancing Cats"
"Letting the Cables Sleep"
Their third album surely goes away from grunge and more into electronic music territory. Guitar riffs are still there but blended with lots of synth this time. The first single was "The Chemical Between Us", which is a good example of this new hybrid sound in their career. "Letting the Cables Sleep", a softer, melodic track, was another famous hit from this album.
Although the album somehow still sounds like Bush its sales weren't as good as their first two. Bush had been touring all around the USA during previous years promoting their first two albums, and in 1999 they made an excellent concert at Woodstock.
The album opens with the powerful, classic Bush sounding "Warm Machine", surely one of the best tracks of the album, followed by the bassy "Jesus Online", and gets to the great, but so different, "The Chemical Between Us". Some interesting riffs can be heard on "English Fire" and "Spacetravel" and then the album gets a bit softer with a slow ballad "40 Miles from the Sun".
One of the most different tracks in the album are probably "The Disease Of The Dancing Cats", with lots of electronic mixes and the funky "Altered States", which certainly sound different from anything the band had previously recorded. All in all another solid album from the British band, with some tracks not to be missed.
Their last studio album was to be released on 2001, it's name is "Golden State"
"Headful of Ghosts"
"The People That We Love"
"Land of the Living"
"My Engine Is With You"
"Out of This World"
Bush went with a new label (Atlantic Records) on this one, and it proved to be a mistake, as the band didn't get all the support they spected and the album failed, with sales numbers much lower than any of their previous titles. After release Pulsford left the band and was replaced by Chris Traynor on lead guitar.
The only single that was a hit from this album was "The people that we love", a powerful song that reminds of their debut album. The album keeps true to their original sound in tracks such as "Superman", "Solutions" and "Fugitive", but also keeps moving into industrial/electronic with tracks like "Reasons". The album also includes one of their heaviest songs released "My engine is with you", and all in all it is a good album that for some reason didn't quite succeed as much as it should.
After releasing the album the band went on their last tour. They started it in 2001 with their original lineup, but after Pulsford left Traynor (ex-Helmet) helped them to finish the tour.
The band split after their Golden State tour finished in 2002, and Gavin started a new alternative rock project called "Institute" along with Traynor, the band only released one album later in 2005 called "Distort Yourself". Appart from music Gavin has also appeared in some films such as "Constantine", "Zoolander" and "The game of their lives".
Goodridge took part in the British rock band "Elyss", and in "Spear of Destiny" afterwards.
As for Bush, the band no longer exists though they have never ruled out coming back in the future. The band still released a couple albums after they split: a recopilatory named "The Best of: 1994-1999" in 2004, and a live album called "Zen X Four", in 2005.
Style and Influences
Just paying attention to some of their debut album tracks makes it obvious that Bush were heavily influenced by the american wave of Grunge bands, mainly Nirvana. Gavin is often regarded as one of the best grunge vocalists, and his verses, riffs and rhythms obviously resemble classics such as Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.
Though they are a U.K. band their sound is far from british, and that's one of the main reasons they were successful in the US and not as much at their country of origin.
Rossdale and Pulsford have also stated that they decided to start Bush when they realised that they shared the same taste in music, mainly The Pixies, Bob Marley, Jesus Lizard, MC5, Husker Du, and Big Black. So the band has more influences than just Nirvana and the like.
Gavin Rossdale uses Fender Jazzmaster/Fender Stratocaster with seymour duncan alnico pro II humbuckers stringed with Ernie Ball Regular Slinky. His usual amps are Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifers and Trem-O-Verbs with Mesa Boogie cabinets.
Both Gavin & Pulsford are known to use Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion and EH Big Muff for distortion effects.
Parsons plays Fender Precision bass along with Ampeg amps.
Gavin Rossdale – lead vocals, guitar
Nigel Pulsford – lead guitar
Chris Traynor – lead guitar (On their last tour)
Dave Parsons – bass
Robin Goodridge – drums
Sacha Puttnam – keyboards
1994 "Sixteen Stone"
1996 "Razorblade Suitcase"
1999 "The Science of Things"
2001 "Golden State"
2004 "The Best of: 1994-1999"
2005 "Zen X Four"
1994 "Everything Zen"
1995 "Little Things"
1997 "Greedy Fly"
1997 "Mouth (The Stingray Mix)"
1997 "Cold Contagious"
1999 "The Chemicals Between Us"
2000 "Warm Machine"
2000 "Letting the Cables Sleep"
2001 "Headful of Ghosts"
2001 "Land of the Living"
2002 "The People That We Love"
"The Chemicals Between Us"
"Letting The Cables Sleep"
"The People That We Love"
Related GMC Lessons
Originally by Fran