Bush were a British alternative rock band, formed in London in 1992 by singer/guitarist Gavin Rossdale and guitarist Nigel Pulsford. Their debut album was Sixteen Stone (1994). They have sold well over 10 million records in the United States. The band, while hugely successful in the United States, was less well known in their native UK and enjoyed only marginal success there.
The group chose the name "Bush" because they used to live in Shepherd's Bush, London. In Canada, they were once known as Bushx, because the 1970s band Bush, led by Domenic Troiano, owned the Canadian rights to the name. In April 1997, it was announced that Troiano had agreed to let them use the name Bush in Canada without the exponent x, in exchange for donating $20,000 each to the Starlight Children's Foundation and the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund.
Formation and Sixteen Stone: 1992-1994
After leaving his band Midnight, Gavin Rossdale met former King Blank guitarist Nigel Pulsford in 1992. The two bonded over an appreciation of the American alternative rock group the Pixies. The two formed a new band which they called Future Primitive. Describing the early sound of the group, one British record label executive said years later, "They weren't what they are today -- they were a little like the more commercial side of INXS". The pair recruited bassist Dave Parsons (formerly of The Partisans and Transvision Vamp) and drummer Robin Goodridge to complete the lineup.
In 1993, the band was signed by Rob Kahane, who had a distribution deal with Disney's Hollywood Records. The band completed recording its debut album Sixteen Stone in early 1994. However, the death of Disney executive Frank G. Wells eliminated a supporter for Kahane, and executives at Hollywood deemed Bush's album unacceptable for release. As a result, the members of Bush had to take job performing menial labour. Interscope Records ultimately decided to release the album, and at the end of 1994, Kahane sent an advance copy of the album to a friend at influential Los Angeles radio station KROQ-FM, which added the song "Everything Zen" to its rotation.
Razorblade Suitcase: 1996-1998
In late 1996 Bush released the first single "Swallowed" from their second album titled Razorblade Suitcase, The song spent seven weeks on top of the Modern Rock Tracks chart. The album hit number 1 in America and placed high in many European countries. Although a success, at two hit singles compared to four the album did not sell as well as Sixteen Stone. Razorblade Suitcase featured Steve Albini as the audio engineer, a move which was heavily criticized by critics. Albini had worked with Nirvana on their final studio album, In Utero, only 3 years before. Many claimed they were trying too hard to sound like the grunge pack. Following the success of "Swallowed," the album had one more hit, "Greedy Fly," but then failed to produce any more sizeable hits.
Possibly to boost the sales of Razorblade Suitcase or move into new ground, Bush released the remix album Deconstructed. The album saw Bush re-arranging their songs into dance and techno stylings. The album was a moderate success going platinum less than a year after release.
The Science of Things: 1999-2000
Following the completion of touring, Rossdale went into seclusion in Ireland, where he worked on material for the group's next album. Rossdale periodically sent demo tapes of his works in progress to his bandmates. The group finally convened to record in London in August of 1998, where the band reteamed with Sixteen Stone producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley.
The release of The Science of Things was held up by a court battle between the band and Trauma Records. The case was settled in early 1999 and the album was finally released that October. The Science of Things was a major departure in several forms from Bush's first two albums. Unlike the multi-platinum successes of Bush's first two albums, barely limped to platinum. Also, while the band's previous albums were strongly influenced by grunge, The Science of Things featured heavy electronic music influences that distinguished the work from Bush's earlier sound. For example, although lead single "The Chemicals Between Us" had a prominent guitar riff, it also had many electronic elements usually found in dance music. Although the album had a few hit songs, it failed to chart within the top 10. The band's performance at Woodstock '99, however, helped The Science of Things achieve platinum status despite its slow start.
Three singles were released from The Science of Things, most notably "The Chemicals Between Us", which spent five weeks at #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks and peaked at #67 on the U.S. Hot 100. "Letting the Cables Sleep," the third single, reached #4 on the Modern Rock Tracks and also received considerable airplay.
Golden State and breakup: 2001-2002
Bush released its final album, Golden State, in 2001. While the album attempted to return to the simple, catchy sound of the band's debut, it failed to achieve commercial success due to a lack of support from the band's new record label, Atlantic Records. Several singles were released, most notably the minor hit "The People That We Love", but none were mainstream successes. The album was the band's least successful, selling only 380,000 copies in the US.
Pulsford left the band after the release of Golden State to spend more time with his family. Chris Traynor took over on lead guitar for the subsequent tour, which would turn out to be Bush's last.
Due to declining record sales and a lack of support from Atlantic Records, Bush disbanded in 2002. In 2005, the band released a greatest hits album called The Best of: 1994-1999, and, a few months later, a live album called Zen X Four.
Gavin Rossdale formed a new band, Institute, in 2004, serving as their lead vocalist and guitarist, just as in Bush. Chris Traynor also joined the band, as lead guitarist. (In addition to playing in Institute, Traynor also joined the reunited metal band Helmet in 2004 on bass; he quit the band in 2006.) Institute released one album, Distort Yourself, but failed to achieve much commercial success in spite of opening for U2's Vertigo Tour at some shows. Institute broke up in 2006 and Rossdale then embarked on a solo career. In 2007, he covered the John Lennon song "Mind Games" for the Lennon tribute album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. His first solo album, Wanderlust, supported by leading single "Love Remains the Same," was released in June 2008. "Wanderlust" was originally intended to be the next Bush album but after originally agreeing to take part in the Bush reunion, guitarist Nigel Pulsford opted out as he doesn't care to tour anymore.
Rossdale has also ventured into the world of acting, appearing in the films Zoolander, Little Black Book, The Game of Their Lives, Constantine, How to Rob a Bank and others.
Robin Goodridge recorded with the British rock band Elyss in 2004, although they have not released any new material since. In 2006, Goodridge began drumming for indie rock band Spear of Destiny, and appeared on their 2007 album, Imperial Prototype. During the summer of 2008, he toured the UK with British rock band Stone Gods after their current drummer Ed Graham reportedly fell ill. On 29th July it was announced that Graham had left the band and on , the band's website announced that Goodridge had joined the band full time.
Nigel Pulsford has spent most of his time since leaving Bush raising his children with his wife. He is currently producing Emma Holland's long-awaited sophomore effort. In 2004, he and bassist Dave Parsons reunited to appear in a car commercial together.
In an interview with Blender, Gavin Rossdale admitted that the likelihood of a Bush reunion was "very high". He then added "quite high," In a November 2008 interview, Rossdale revealed that he had tried to contact the other members of Bush, "I reached out to them," however he is currently planning a full-scale solo tour, which will hit the road in Spring 2009.