NEW YORK –
Putting together a collection of Bush’s greatest hits was relatively easy. Convincing frontman Gavin Rossdale to do it was a little more difficult.
“I never really wanted to do one because I always thought it was like a goodbye, like a sayonara, a swan song,” the singer and songwriter said. “And I couldn’t swim against the tide more. I enjoy the music and the band so much that it feels like we never stopped.”
Rossdale relented and that’s why we have “Loaded: The Greatest Hits 1994-2023,” a 21-song set that includes Bush classics like “Glycerine,” “Machinehead,” “Comedown” and “Everything Zen.”
“Every book, when you read it a second or third time, you start to see more details and hear it or read it in different ways. And so I hope it’s a little bit like that,” Rossdale explains.
The collection includes hits from each of the band’s nine studio albums, as well as a cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together” which the band often plays live and had a very limited release in 2012. “They have a very big future ahead of them if they stick with it,” Rossdale jokes of the Fab Four.
It’s an album that shows an evolution in the sound of a band born in the heat of grunge but who have found their own musical path, from radio pop to heavy guitars to out-of-tune and weirder stuff.
“It’s a very easily accessible thing for people going into Bush. There’s kind of a plan, so to speak,” says Rossdale, who will hit the road with Bush headlining in November.
“It made me nostalgic looking at those setlists and thinking about all those trips. The songs are like snapshots of the time of our lives, of my life. And so just seeing it all come together m ‘made me think of the whole story.’
Rossdale founded the Grammy-nominated band outside London in 1992 with guitarist Nigel Pulsford, later joined by bassist Dave Parsons and drummer Robin Goodridge. The current lineup consists of Rossdale, Chris Traynor on guitar, Corey Britz on bass and Nik Hughes on drums.
Boasting a heartthrob with high cheekbones as lead singer, Bush’s debut album, “Sixteen Stone,” was released eight months after Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain committed suicide in late 1994. The group went on to earn 23 singles to Top 40 success on the Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts, six of them reaching number one.
“Loaded” – featuring underrated gems like “This Is War,” “Bullet Holes” and “The Chemicals Between Us” – reminds listeners that the band can go from a U2-like vibe to the metal-punk of Bring Me the Horizon.
“I always think there are too many songs in the world, but there are never enough good songs. That’s always kind of my goal. I can’t always achieve that, and obviously people have “Different opinions on whether I’ve achieved it yet, but that’s the goal,” Rossdale says.
Rossdale’s manager requested a new song for the album to try to sum up the collection, and the band responded with “Nowhere To Go But Everywhere”, a thoughtful throwback with the line “I wish I knew myself better “.
“It was a strange mission because it was like trying to round up a bunch of feisty, rambunctious dogs or something. How do you sum it up? Those songs really changed my life forever and gave me a life,” Rossdale said. “It was fun to write a song that could straddle all the records and not be some sort of exception.”
Choosing the hits was easy, but the new one makes Rossdale a little nervous: “We don’t know if, ironically, it’ll be a hit. It might be the only non-hit on the greatest hits. You know, life can be cruel.”
Rossdale says he relinquishes ownership of Bush’s songs as soon as they enter the world, letting them change and drift as life moves on.
“You have to understand that if I write a song, as soon as I write it and you hear it, it’s as much your song as it is mine,” he says. “If I want to sing ‘This Is War,’ I can reference Charlottesville and what happened there, but I can reference all the particular struggles that people are going through.”
Rossdale has recently become more vocal on social issues, joining Artist for Action to Prevent Gun Violence alongside stars such as Billie Eilish, Peter Gabriel and Sheryl Crow.
“For me, one of the best things about getting older is that you shed certain levels of selfishness,” Rossdale says. “It feels good to be doing something worthwhile and being part of a great group of musicians.”
The repeal of Roe v. Wade also inspired Rossdale to write “More Than Machines”, with the lyrics: “Girls, you’re in control/Not the government/Not the government.”
“At a certain point, enough is enough. If you don’t own up to certain things, to a certain extent you can be complicit in certain things. To be silent is to be complicit.”