Deep into lockdown, Bush frontman (and former coach on The Voice) Gavin Rossdale picks up the phone to talk to NME about the ever-changing landscape into which the grunge veterans are about to release their eighth album, ‘The Kingdom’. Not only is the very fabric of society being questioned (a prescient topic of the record), but Rossdale feels like the band are enjoying somewhat of a renaissance – able to reach thousands of new fans via Spotify, free of context or what critics think.
Bush got a lot of shit thrown at them in the ’90s (“Yes, mainly from the NME!” laughs Rossdale) when they sold over 20million records in the post-Nirvana era. They were massive in the States, but often viewed with suspicion by the media for cashing in on the grunge wave. “We really broke a lot of rules and pissed a lot of people off,” says Rossdale. “Steve Albini [legendary producer of ‘In Utero’] wrote an incredible piece about us for the reissue of ‘Razorblade Suitcase’ [Bush’s second album from 1996]. He said that one of the most annoying things about us to most people was the lack of anointing. I was looking for a champion. Every time I met a journalist I’d be like, ‘Are you the one?’ They’d always be like, ‘Nah mate – we’re gonna have a really great time, then I’m gonna drop a bomb on your house’.”
He continues: “Reviews only started to get really good once we stopped selling records. As soon as we weren’t selling millions, the reviews got better because they didn’t see it as so annoying that we were devilishly successful. It brought an equality to things. Such is life.
These things don’t seem to bother him so much now, and he’s just enjoying the ride. We gave Rossdale a call to talk about changing trends, looking for hope, hating the term “’90s band” and how he feels now about the “experiment” of appearing on The Voice.
How does it feel to be releasing a new album at a time like this?
“It’s weird because the record is called ‘The Kingdom’. I was so sick and tired of self righteous, judging people. They’re just annoying. I imagined this utopia of like-minded people where they can just be free to express themselves, be cool, be funny, be interesting. It’s a refuge. We’re moving from limbo into this next shape. We’re truly seeing the most heroic people we know. It’s not the douchebags on billionaire boats – it’s cashiers and people going to work. Everything is upside down. It’s bizarre that the world has fallen into this paradigm. We’re living in something more surreal than any movie you’ve ever seen.”
What’s the message of the record?
“Of all the records we’ve made, they all have elements of struggle, challenges and surmounting things. You go through different sounds and inspiration, but it’s said that songwriters write the same song over and over again – they’re different variations on one theme. I wonder if that’s my thing; believing in a better place to be. It’s weird how much it aligns with the zeitgeist.”
How do you balance the zeitgeist with being a ‘legacy’ rock act?
“It’s a strange one. On the one hand, rock music is dead. On the other hand, rock bands still play to a lot of people. Sonically, I wanted to do something really wide and deep. If you play guitar music, it’s so liberating to just play out riffs on big wide stages with very personal themes attached to them. Tuneless music is hard for me, so the alchemy of a melody with words that matter and the strength of each song what makes up the sound of the record.”
It does have a touch of the more widescreen elements of your 1999 album, ‘The Science Of Things’
“That record sounds like it was written on a detuned, monotone guitar – so it’s like ‘The Science Of Things’ after it worked out. Like a really strong version of that record that you shouldn’t fuck with.”
Are you not a fan of that album these days?
“It’s not like a sense of living with regret, it’s about being aware and self-critical. Every record is a snapshot of time. If I worked harder or was smarter, I’d have just repeated the first album [the multi-million-selling ‘Sixteen Stone’] in a different order for about four or five records and I’d be playing stadiums! ‘The Science Of Things’ was a record about being in London, being surrounded by Massive Attack, Blur and Primal Scream, and wanting to get a bit of London back in our sound. We’d made such straight-ahead rock records with ‘Sixteen Stone’ and ‘Razorblade Suitcase’.”
Do you regret not following that trajectory?
“I think it’s better to be under the radar in a way. It’s fun for people to discover the band. My dream would be for people to discover us through this record – then go through the looking glass at what we’ve done before. You’ve got to make records that just stand on their own, especially with bands who have been around forever. There’s nothing worse than getting the record of an established band and it seeming nothing in comparison to the reason you first fell in love with them. I’ve always seen the reality of us – not the context or the hyperbole. ”
So you enjoy being a band in the streaming era?
“I came in the other day and my kids were listening to ‘Back In Black’. I don’t even know how they found it. Then they played Meshugga, Juice WRLD and Billie Eilish – who is just unbelievably good. Music should be timeless. We’re often referred to as a ‘90s band, which is really annoying because everyone’s got to start somewhere. No one ever refers to Iggy Pop as a ‘70s artist. He’s just Iggy. At this present moment, days, weeks, months and time don’t seem to mean anything. Time just doesn’t matter. Watches are pointless. That’s incredible.”
What about appearing on The Voice – was that an attempt to reach a new audience?
“I loved it because I got really friendly with Tom Jones. That’s the greatest gift you can ever receive! I mean, I got to go to the Savoy Grill with Tom Jones. That completed my life. I loved spending 16 hours a day with Tom and Will.i.am. I came up with Will.i.am on Interscope Records with Jimmy Iovine. Jennifer Hudson was incredible too. The whole Voice thing was an interesting experience. I really wanted to take it seriously and focus on the singers. I’d never had a job like that before and I enjoyed the process. I didn’t do the second series because it was too much travel and I couldn’t make it work. I have to write songs for a living.”
Would you call it a happy experiment?
“I don’t think it worked as an ‘experiment’ for my career because it just confused people. All my rock fans were just like, ‘What the fuck is he doing?’ while everyone watching on TV was like, ‘Who is this guy?’ so I fell through the cracks. It didn’t do my career any good, but you take these opportunities to see what will happen.”
Did the exposure impact on your music?
“When I did ‘Black And White Rainbows’ [previous album, 2017] I was being seen so didn’t want to do something that was quite so heavy. I thought it would all go hand in hand but the dots didn’t connect. That’s life. Out of that I got to go on tour, then out of that I got a new manager, then out of that I made a new record. It’s like Liza Minnelli said: a career is just a series of comebacks. Some work and some don’t, but the important thing is to keep doing things.”
Bush release ‘The Kingdom’ on July 17.
The post Gavin Rossdale on Bush’s new album ‘The Kingdom’, catching flak in the ’90s, and the “experiment” of being on ‘The Voice’ appeared first on NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM.
System Of A Down’s Shavo Odadjian shares debut track from new band North Kingsley
Alongside the bassist, songwriter and director, the group features producer Saro Paparian and lyricist and vocalist Ray Hawthorne.
North Kingsley released their first song, ‘Like That?’, earlier today (August 7). “Are you gonna die like that?” they ask on the chorus. “Fade away until you snap/Are you gonna die like that?” Watch a lyric video for the track below now.
The track will feature on the band’s first three-track collection, which is titled ‘Vol. 1’ and will be released next week (August 14) on Odadjian’s own 22 Red Media.
In a press release, Odadjian said: “We’re giving you songs you can marinade on, instead of 12 songs all at once. There’s going to be a clip for every song, something visually for you to vibe on. I directed videos for System, I do stage production visuals for the band so that’s important to me.
“Saro has an incredible eye for creating new things visually and I act almost how a producer would on that and we are going to drop merch with every release, so it’s more than just music.”
He continued to say that North Kingsley’s sound is “right in the middle” of metal and hip-hop. “The kick and the hi-hats and the snare sounds punk,” he added. “To me punk rock isn’t a style of music, it’s something you live. It’s a lifestyle and it means going against the grain and I heard that there, and we are putting it all together to create something exciting and new for today.”
Meanwhile, System Of A Down’s drummer John Dolmayan said in June that the band were “very unlikely to make new music”.
“There’s egos involved and, quite frankly, wisdom isn’t always something you achieve in older age – sometimes you achieve stubbornness, and we just can’t get out of our own way on that one,” he said. “But I would like to say that it is a band issue. I know that certain members of my band have been blamed in the past, but at the end of the day it takes four people to make the music we make and it takes four people not to make it.”
However, the band are planning to play live next year. This week, they were announced as one of the headliners for Download 2021 alongside Kiss and Biffy Clyro.
Watch Bob Vylan’s strobe-heavy new video for ‘England’s Ending’
Bob Vylan have shared a new video for their track ‘England’s Ending’ – scroll down the page to watch it now.
- Read more: Bob Vylan – ‘We Live Here’ review: anarchic London punks that the music industry deemed “too extreme”
The song appears on the duo’s EP ‘We Live Here’, which was released on June 5, 2020 and follows 2019’s ‘Dread’.
In a video on Instagram, frontman Bobby Vylan explained the song was about “the privatisation of the NHS and the inaccessibility of affordable housing”, among other topics.
“It talks about the hustling mentality of people in this country, having to work multiple jobs just to survive, having to have side-hustles,” he explained. “Being trapped on this hamster wheel with this promise that ‘Everything’s sorted, don’t worry, everything’s going to be fine, you just stay on this hamster wheel and eventually you’ll get somewhere’ and then growing frustrated with that and being on that wheel and realising, ‘Fuck, I’m not getting anywhere’. I think so many people feel like that.”
He added: “It just seems like the country is ending. You wake up and you read the news and it just seems like, ‘Rah, England is ending’.”
“The country is in dire need of a fucking spanking, mate,” Bobby Vylan says at the start of the track. “A good overhaul – get the fucking dinosaurs out.” Watch the strobe-heavy video for ‘England’s Ending’ above now.
Earlier this year, Bob Vylan said they had been told by multiple music industry figures that ‘We Live Here’ was “too extreme”. Speaking to NME, frontman Vylan explained the opposition they had faced.
“If I was to meet this much resistance doing anything else and something that wasn’t so based around social commentary, then I don’t know if I would continue,” he said. “Because I’d start to think maybe that what I’m doing is wrong.”
He continued: “We were told by one PR agency that they wouldn’t work with the song because of the track ‘Pulled Pork’. In their opinion, it encouraged violence against the police, and whether it does or does not is up to the listener.
“But they were adamant that there were only a ‘few bad apples in the force’ – but that negates the fact that the whole system is built on racism and oppression. If there are only a few bad apples, where are the good apples? If they’re stood by watching, then they’re not good apples.”
Live Nation CEO says 2021 will see a “robust outdoor summer season” for live music
The CEO of Live Nation has said he expects a “robust outdoor summer season” for live music next year.
- Read more: The beat goes on: how the UK dance scene’s DJs, clubs and festivals are fighting for survival
The coronavirus pandemic has forced festivals around the world to cancel their 2020 editions, with fears over their futures if they can’t safely return in 2021.
Writing in a memo shared with the promotion company’s investors, Michael Rapino said there were positive signs for next year’s summer events already. “Importantly, we remain confident that fans will return to live events when it is safe to do so,” he wrote. “Our strongest indicator of demand is that fans are holding on to their tickets, even when given the option of a refund.”
The message stated that “86 percent” of fans were holding on to their tickets for shows that had been rescheduled, “demonstrating their continued desire to attend concerts in the future despite the current uncertainty”.
Rapino also pointed to the ticket sales for two UK festivals next year as further indicators of a strong 2021 festival run. “Our expectations for a robust outdoor summer season in 2021 are also reinforced by the two-thirds of fans keeping their tickets for canceled festivals so they can go to next year’s show, along with strong early ticket sales for festivals in the UK next summer,” he said. “For example, Download and Isle of Wight are pacing well ahead of last year.”
The Live Nation boss’ comments come after other industry figures have been more cautious about live music’s return. Last month (July 17), Lollapalooza co-founder Marc Geiger said he didn’t think gigs and festivals would return until 2022.
“It’s going to take that long before, what I call, the germaphobic economy is slowly killed off and replaced by the claustrophobia economy – that’s when people want to get out and go out to dinner and have their lives, go to festivals and shows,” he said.
Meanwhile, UK festivals welcomed the news last month (July 29) that the government would give the emergency funding to help weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic.
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