Very few bands can say that they headlined Woodstock 99, sold millions of physical records worldwide, and 24 years later can still sell out massive venues and top the charts with new music across rock and alternative radio. But for British post-grunge and hard-rock legends Bush, that's just business as usual. Led by frontman Gavin Rossdale, Bush are in the midst of a massive career resurgence with their ninth studio album The Art of Survival and its lead single “More Than Machines,” which has scored coveted NFL placements and the No. 1 spot on the Active Rock Radio Chart.

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It is no surprise that Bush’s “More Than Machines” has resonated with multiple generations of rock fans, as it is largely a battle cry against a tech-dominated society, capitalistic greed, and the destruction of the environment and human connection as a whole. Rossdale and Bush recognize that the past few years have been a struggle for many, so their fearless rock 'n' roll spirit has never felt more impactful. 

With a beloved discography including hits like 1994’s “Glycerine” and “Come Down,” Bush could have rested on the laurels of a 30+ year career — but instead of surrendering to the allure of simply being a legacy act, they have proven time and again that they are just as hungry and youthful as ever. We sat down with Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale to discuss the success of the band’s latest hit single “More Than Machines,” their venture into heavier territory, the state of rock today, and their upcoming headlining tour with Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains), Candlebox, and Silversun Pickups. 

With the success of your chart-topping single “More Than Machines,” as well as your 2022 album The Art of Survival, what is it that keeps the band still so hungry to progress time and time again? 

I guess we’re just still in love with music enough to be inspired. I’m really lucky to have such an amazing band of fantastic musicians that can execute well and are super consistent. It’s really unusual to have a band, management, and people that are still so hungry for the same thing to happen. There is also a reality there where we have a sort of humility where, yeah, things are great, but I always consider it a beautiful fistfight. I made [the 2017 album] Black and White Rainbows at a really difficult time in my life, and after I picked up the pieces and made less-bruised music, I thought, “Fuck it, let’s just take it to people.” 

It feels like Bush is writing, on one hand, their heaviest riff-laden material to date, and on the other, some of the most anthemic choruses we have seen thus far from the band. What inspired this heavier, colossal tone for the music? 

For me personally, it came from the ashes of the time around Black and White Rainbows and my divorce. When you rise up after that terrible time, you gather yourself up and [push on]. When I would get up [in the morning], I would put my guitar in a drop tuning and just experiment. I noticed that I much more favor the detuned songs from all of the records to create set lists, especially for festivals. I wanted to do a whole record like that with super-heavy songs with nice melodies on top. I like progressive-sounding music with cool riffs like Mastadon — I love that sound. It feels good and feels vital to be doing that because if you’re gonna work out, why not be an MMA fighter? It’s the music of MMA fighting. [Laughs.

The lyrics for “More Than Machines” and several parts of The Art of Survival  almost feel like a battle cry against a tech-dominated, capitalist society that is diminishing humanity and destroying the environment. What propels your lyrical process today? 

I try to remove as much artifice as possible. When I was younger, I had a bit more of it because I was insecure on that side — trying to work hard to be inspired by Ginsberg or something like that. I’ve come down to trying to find the poetry of everyday life. The Art of Survival is not only my story of survival, but it’s also yours and the people who have struggled over the course of a really challenging few years, but [are] still maintaining. No one’s protected apart from the billionaires, but none of us know any of them. I’m not benefiting from any billionaires, I need a fucking invite. [Laughs.]

What do you make of the state of rock 'n' roll today, as someone who has experienced decades of ebbs and flows in the genre’s popularity? 

It’s a fertile time when your record's right. It does a disservice if we as artists don’t get the songs right. There’s too much music in the world, so shut the fuck up unless you think it’s worth listening to. I played all the festivals and I would see 60,000 people going nuts to Mastodon, Fever 333, and Deftones. It’s weird because [rock] feels dead in many ways, but then we played to half a million people [across] the tour we did with Alice In Chains and Breaking Benjamin, and they’re not dead. 

Someone asked me what I missed about the ‘90s recently, and I do think I miss when music was center stage, and the press mattered even if they beat you up. MTV mattered and there was this whole world to facilitate music, but now it doesn't feel like that — it’s more counter-culture. At the end of the day, that’s also totally cool as long as we can earn a living, which we can. Van Gogh died penniless and he was a greater artist than any of us put together, so it’s just got to be about making what you do as great as it can be. 

Bush’s upcoming U.S. headlining tour with Jerry Cantrell, Candlebox, and Silversun Pickups kicks off on January 28th. What went into curating this eclectic lineup? 

We just went on tour this past summer with Jerry [Cantrell, the guitarist of Alice In Chains] and we’re best buddies. Tyler Bates, his guitarist, is also one of my closest friends and I love that I just get to go on tour with my best friends, who are in my [own] band, as well. At this point in life, you don’t have that many besties, so it’s nice to be on tour with all of them. I’ve always loved Silversun Pickups, I’ve always bought their records when you could still buy records, but have never [actually] seen them [live]. Maybe they’ll become great friends, too!