Interview: Gavin Rossdale
It would be an understatement to say that former Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale was looking forward to embarking on his current solo tour.
"I've got my running shoes on and I'm in the starting block," Rossdale said last week during an interview with SoundSpike prior to the tour Tuesday night (4/14). "We've been waiting patiently to go back out on tour. I've been dying to get back out there and live the life on the road and do what I love to do."
Rossdale released his solo debut, "Wanderlust," in June of last year. Since then, it has been a slow climb for him, which is something he said he prefers. The first single, "Love Remains the Same," entered The Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 76, rising to No. 27 in October 2008, giving Rossdale his first Top 40 hit since the days when he led Bush.
Calling from the Los Angeles home he shares with wife Gwen Stefani and sons Zuma and Kingston, Rossdale spoke to SoundSpike about the tour, the success of "Love Remains the Same" and his penchant for tennis and reading.
SoundSpike: Is this tour your first full one in support of "Wanderlust'?
Gavin Rossdale: Yeah, I've done lots of shows. They've been one-off, two or three shows here and there. But nothing as constant as I'm born to do. I think this is the first leg and just kind of testing the water, getting out there and getting back in front of people. That's it.
After being in Bush and Institute, why was now the time for a solo album?
I wanted it to be a Bush record. Then it wasn't gonna be a Bush record. I wanted to keep working. I didn't think that Institute was the right move. It seemed too difficult to set up a whole new band. If I'm going to start [a new thing], at least my name has some recognition. So, I did that. But, really, it was just out of just survivalism.
Were you surprised at the success of "Love Remains the Same"?
Yeah. Blown away, really. It's been a huge song for me. What is really amazing is the next one ["Forever May You Run"] is setting up in the same way. It's a slow road but it's pretty incredible. I think it's the way that it can go now. You go at a certain speed. If you don't have the big record or the first-week stuff, you go this other route, which is this thing of people discovering the music and having an organic feel to it--in a way that allows people to own it themselves and not have it forced on them by the huge marketing and all that kind of stuff. The music is being played and being picked up on and every day people are coming up to me and kind of telling me how they're being affected by the record and what it's doing to them. It's on a really interesting modern journey.
It's a beautiful song and the video is great for it. It seems like it would have been a lot of fun to do.
Yeah, it was great. I did it with Sophie Mueller and she is actually staying at our house right now. I've known her for such a long time, never worked with her and I always wanted to, so we were lucky to get the chance. I asked her to do it and she goes, "Yeah. Let's shoot it at your house." We shot a lot of it at my house and a couple of other little locations. But just a day's shoot, you know. Yeah, it was good fun.
How did you choose the name "Wanderlust" for your album?
[I chose it] because I really missed touring. That's what it's really about. I felt that the "wanderlust" for me was just about this desire to get back out and play and be in front of audiences. I love the studio a lot, but I also liked being on the road and taking that on. It's like a different beast. I'm looking forward to it. I get to play a selection of stuff from Bush, from Institute, my solo stuff, some covers. Whenever I want to change it, I can change it up pretty regularly. So there's, like, three or four sets we play. Keep it interesting for the fans. Different times and different periods in my musical madness journey.
It sounds like it's going to be a great show.
Thank you. I hope so. I want to keep it super dynamic. It's such a hard time [economically right now] that it's forcing everyone on every level to re-evaluate what they do and take nothing for granted. So when people pay their good money to see me, I better give them a great show, a good dynamic.
Are you looking forward to playing clubs again?
Well, yeah, of course. There's theaters, there's some clubs, some big gigs, sort of festival-style things. It's interesting to get the range of it. I did a lot of clubs with Institute. Being a rock musician, it's obviously where we come from. There's some excitement to it. There's excitement that you get in a club. It's crammed, it's steaming, people going crazy. It's pretty infectious. I'm looking forward to those shows when people get lost in them.
Are you going to be on tour the same time as your wife?
I think so, yeah.
That must be kind of tough.
Well, I think so. Tough or really convenient. I think it could work out really well. But she's doing what she's got to do, and me as well.
What was it like to work on "Wanderlust" with producer Bob Rock?
It was amazing. I love the guy. He was totally supportive and really inspiring. I got to work with him where he lived in Hawaii. It was just brilliant. I mean, everything you'd want out of making a record is what I got with him. He was just really good fun. A great engineer out there. I ate at the same restaurant every night for, like, a month. It was cool. I really liked it. I really had a good time. I've already [told] him I want to do another record with him. I 100% want to work with him again.
Have you started writing new material yet?
Yeah. I have a few new songs that I'm digging. I'm thinking about them in respect to what I've done with the last record. It's kind of cool. It all kind of goes together. I've got a pretty good idea of what I want to do. I'm kind of in the middle of that. When I'm on the road and living that crazy existence, I can kind of work on it myself--and try to use the time really productively.
What aspects of Bush and Institute do you feel you were able to carry over into your solo career?
I'm always hoping that you keep the excitement and the emotional aspects. There's so much power in ... vulnerability and putting it all out there--leaving it on the line and sort of just taking high dives into whatever you do and having the passion to really create something extraordinary. Be the best you can be. I'm trying to do that.
I read you're a very avid tennis player.
I play tennis in the mornings. I think it's really good to go and do something, have a passion, to keep you grounded and not sort of self-obsessed about what you're doing. I get lost in reading. I read a lot of books. I get out there and I do physical exercise and mental exercise.
What was the last good book you read?
I just finished a book called "Crank," which is about growing up on methamphetamines, which is a phenomenal memoir. Malcolm Gladwell, "Outliers [The Story of Success]"--that was a phenomenal read. There's a great book I just read, Gillian Flynn's "Sharp Objects." Have you heard of it? It's fantastic. That was last week and that was a great, crazy thriller. Something I never read. I didn't want to put it down. Stuff like that. I get into all different things. Some non-fiction, fiction, just move it all around. I fall in love with books. I read them all the time.