Baroness Blue Record Relapse Records 12 October 2009
by Luke Morton
Baroness have never registered too strongly on many people’s rock radars, they’ve always been a band you’re aware of but not that interested in, but this is all about to change. With the release of their second full length, Baroness tread even deeper into the dark waters of prog metal and unleash their own unique style on your stereo.
Former Bush lead singer, Gavin Rossdale is back with a debut solo album. Ruby Q had a chat with the Shepherds Bush, London native on life after Bush and being married to a lady who is currently selling millions.
Gavin Rossdale has been getting a lot of stick of late. The ex-Bush frontman returned to the stage and recording industry last month with the first project since his not-so-successful post-grunge group Institute flopped into a pool of failure like some fat man doing a belly flop.
Now, almost three years on, he’s shaken off that slating like unwanted dandruff and gone lonesome LP style for the first time. But, as sod’s law would have it, all anyone seems interested in chatting to him about are nappies and his Japan loving pop minstrelette of a wife Gwen Stefani rather than the music maaaan.
Life’s a bitch when you’re less famous than your spouse, eh?
But let’s not write the new stuff off yet, as Gav ain’t no fool. After releasing just one record, Distort Yourself, from Institute he said sayonara (as Gwen would) to the doomed outfit and went back to the notebook.
Watch the video to ‘Swallowed’ by Bush
He’s a realist though and readily admits, “Institute didn’t really connect. We did one album and went on tour with U2 and slogged it around the clubs for a while and it didn’t really happen. I loved that record but that’s how it goes in show business so I picked myself up and started writing some songs.”
Those tunes made it onto his debut solo album Wanderlust and, despite some reports to the contrary, it’s not total guitar vomit.
Although the first single ‘Love Remains The Same’ and ‘Can’t Stop The World’ are mum rock to the Nth degree, and would nestle nicely on the playlist of Radio 2, there are squeakings of Bush type rawk-rooted gurglings in ‘If You’re Not With Us’. Albeit quiet ones.
Still, while all and sundry are slapping him with post-it notes marked ‘house-husband’ and ‘Mr Stefani’, let’s remember Bush were once a mega-selling act. Heck – they shifted nigh on 10 million copies of their debut record Sixteen Stone in the United States alone while ‘Swallowed’ became the anthem for generation doom-noughties pretty much worldwide.
Watch the video to ‘Glycerine’ by Bush
They were the (sole) British gods of grunge – with some media scribes even going as far as to ink them with the label of England’s Nirvana.
But, because of this achievement, it wasn’t easy trudging out into unknown solo-land for Gav. So scary in fact that the songs on his Bob Rock produced debut were initially meant for a Bush reunion release.
“I would have loved it to have been a Bush record and I offered it to them [the rest of the band] to do it. For two months it was on and I felt really excited about that,” grins Gavin. “I felt like I was back with my first love you know and then it didn’t work out.”
The reason why? One of the band-of-dads didn’t want to travel and leave his family home bound – something that papa Rossdale sympathises with, but not enough to transfuse the touring blood pumping through his veins.
“I look at my son every day and a little bit of me feels very bad that I have to leave,” he sighs. “But it’s a freedom record and I want to go play rock shows.”
Watch the video to ‘Machinehead’ by Bush
And that he has. Boasting a recent sold out Camden Underworld show that saw an impressive, almost goosebump-bursting set speckled with Bush classics, such as ‘Glycerine’ and ‘Machinehead’, and tracks from his solo release the sardine tin-packed crowd howled back sweat drenched lyrics both old and new.
Obviously someone out there’s buying the new offering. But that’s the thing, as mean as anyone (including Thrash Hits .com) wants to be about last month’s release there’s no denying Rossdale’s enigmatic live performances and songwriting capabilities (and the fact he’s really a rather lovely chap) – even if they’ve matured to the status of a little bit dull and middle-aged from soul scooping teenage angst stoner rock.
It’s just Wanderlust isn’t really for Bush fans – well not this one anyway but I never was the most hardcore of the bunch. It’s for a new crowd who like their music celebrity endorsed and easy to listen to. And hey – that’s ninety per cent of the record buying public now anyway right? Quids in…
Wanderlust by Gavin Rossdale is out now on Universal Records