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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Bush proves that there is an ‘Art of Survival’ in latest album, tour

The title of the latest Bush album, “The Art of Survival,” is apt.

It’s not easy for a band to stay relevant after its platinum-plus salad days are long behind. It’s been nearly 30 years since Bush broke with an album that was a massive commercial success. More than 6 million copies of 1994’s “Sixteen Stone,” which is a solid guitar-driven album, were sold.

Bush changed directions, adding dance and techno stylings with 1996’s “Razorblade Suitcase.” The band, which broke up in 2002, was never quite the same.

Gavin Rossdale went solo with “Wanderlust” in 2008 but wasn’t happy.

“I really missed Bush,” Rossdale said. “The label I was on then (Interscope Records) would have preferred that I stayed solo. Part of my ego was fine with it, but overall, I had to go back to a band situation even though I enjoyed working with (4 Non Blondes singer-songwriter) Linda Perry, (Eurythmic guitar-songwriter) Dave Stewart and (Garbage singer-songwriter) Shirley Manson on that solo album.”

Rossdale chose to resurrect Bush in 2010.

“I’m a band person,” Rossdale said while calling from Buffalo, New York. “When I started Bush, I wrote all of the songs, so the cards were in my favor when I wanted to continue. The guys in Bush 1.0 benefit deeply from the band continuing with other members.”

Bush 2.0, as Rossdale calls the group, has released more albums than the prior version of the British band. “The Art of Survival” is right up there with “Sixteen Stone,” since it rocks just as hard and the songs are even more realized than what Rossdale penned during the early 1990s. Many of the band’s early hits feature lyrics that are inscrutable.

“Bush 1.0 was very instinctive,” Rossdale said. “It just flowed. I think the songs are good from those days.

“But I think the songs could have benefited from more scrutiny. There could have been some edits, but part of all of that is youth. We didn’t take time with the songs. It wasn’t like we ever turned a project into something like ‘Chinese Democracy.’ ”

That’s a reference to Axl Rose’s flying Dutchman of a Guns N’ Roses project, which took nearly a decade, 1997-2008, to write and record. Bush has paid attention to detail since reforming, but has never labored over an album.

“We’re trying to make vital but inappropriate records,” Rossdale said. “We’re trying to make this sonic candy that has an irresistible quality to it and that might be filed under inappropriate these days.”

That mission was initially accomplished with the melodic gem “The Only Way Out,” the first single from 2014’s underrated album “Man on the Run.”

Rossdale has effectively combined that melodic side of “Man on the Run” with the brawn of “Sixteen Stone” with “The Art of Survival.”

“That might come from being a fan of My Bloody Valentine,” Rossdale said. “As British bands go, I prefer My Bloody Valentine over the Kinks. I like the feedback element from bands like Sonic Youth. I like the hard rock and melody of the Deftones.

“All of those bands have had an impact on me as a songwriter. I like the muscular rock sound and it’s there with ‘The Art of Survival.’ “

Bush, which also includes guitarist Chris Traynor, bassist Corey Britz and drummer Nik Hughes, has enough songs for a new album, which might drop in 2024. Bush will not preview songs when the band performs Wednesday at the Fox.

“We have enough material to draw from,” Rossdale said. “We’ll get to those songs when we’re finished with them. I just want to make the best records possible. I still mess up. I’m all about getting better.

“I don’t want to fade off into the sunset. I just want to work as hard as possible and combust and perhaps never be heard from again.”