Led by guitarist/vocalist Gavin Rossdale, Bush was the first post-Nirvana British band to hit it big in America. Of course, they became a hit by playing by the grunge rules -- they had loud guitars, guttural vocals, stop-start rhythms, and extreme dynamics. Formed in late 1992 by Rossdale, Bush landed an American record deal before they had a British label. Their debut album, Sixteen Stone, produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley (producers of early-'80s hits by Madness and Elvis Costello, among others), was released in late 1994 by Interscope Records. By the end of December, Bush's "Everything Zen" video had landed in MTV's Buzz Bin and the album began to take off; by spring of 1995, the record had achieved gold certification. By that time, the band was successful enough in the U.S. to land a British record deal, although they weren't able to match their American success in the U.K.
Over the course of 1995, Sixteen Stone became a major hit in the U.S., with "Little Things" reaching number four on the modern rock charts in the spring; later that year, "Comedown" and "Glycerine" both reached number one on the modern rock charts, as well as crossing over into the pop Top 40. Despite their success, Bush received scathing reviews from the press and many alternative rock insiders who believed the group was manufactured. To counter such charges, the band asked Steve Albini -- notorious for his abrasive productions for not only Pixies, Nirvana, and PJ Harvey, but also countless indie bands -- to helm its second album. The resulting Razorblade Suitcase was released in time for the Christmas season of 1996. The album was greeted with mixed reviews that were nevertheless more positive than those surrounding Sixteen Stone, and the album entered the U.S. charts at number one, and made some headway in the U.K. However, by the spring of 1997, the album had stalled somewhat, producing only one major hit in "Swallowed," and reaching only double-platinum status.
Deconstructed, a collection of electronic remixes, appeared in late 1997, and in the fall of 1999, Bush returned with The Science of Things. Science peaked at number 11, but nevertheless managed to go platinum on the backs of singles like "The Chemicals Between Us," which topped the Billboard Modern Rock chart. In late 2001, they went back to basics with the guitar-driven album Golden State. Although it didn't storm the charts like previous albums, fans still supported Bush, as was evidenced by their sold-out tour across North America. During this time, Helmet guitarist Chris Traynor was added as a touring member. Shifts within the band, however, took a sharp turn several months later when founding member Nigel Pulsford announced his departure in May. Pulsford, who had started a solo career as well as a new family, left without much drama and disapproval. Traynor stepped in to fill his shoes, but the tour would still be the last for the original Bush lineup. They ultimately disbanded in 2002, with Rossdale returning to music in 2004 with a new project, Institute, as well as a solo album, Wanderlust, in 2008. While a Best Of set (which included a recording of their Woodstock '99 performance) and Zen X Four (a double-disc live album/music video collection) were issued in 2005, Bush would not be heard from for a decade.
In 2011, after years of planning, Rossdale re-formed Bush with Traynor, bassist Corey Britz, and founding drummer Robin Goodridge; Pulsford and Parsons declined to rejoin the band. That year they released the Bob Rock-produced The Sea of Memories, their fifth studio album and first since 2001's Golden State. The album performed modestly well -- lead single "The Sound of Winter" topped Billboard's Alternative Songs and Rock Songs charts, with the record peaking at 18 on the Billboard 200 -- and the group toured behind the record into 2012.
Reinvigorated by being back in the game, and eager not to appear a nostalgia cash-in, Rossdale returned to the studio almost immediately upon coming off tour and began writing another record. That sixth Bush album, Man on the Run, was recorded in 2014 with Nick Raskulinecz and Jay Baumgardner and released in October of the same year. Bush returned in 2017 with their seventh album, Black and White Rainbows. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
- London, England