NEW YORK (AP) — Putting together a collection of Bush’s greatest hits was relatively easy. Convincing frontman Gavin Rossdale to do it was a bit harder.
“I never really wanted to do one because I always thought it was like a bit of a farewell, like a sayonara, a swan song,” the lead singer and songwriter says. “And I couldn’t be more swimming against that tide. I’m enjoying 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 such Bush classics as “Glycerine,” “Machinehead,” “Comedown” and “Everything Zen.”
“Every book, when you read it for a second time or a third time, you start seeing more details and start hearing it or reading in different ways. And so I hope it’s a bit like that,” says Rossdale.
The collection includes hits from each of the band’s nine studio albums, as well as a cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together” that the band often plays live and had a very limited release in 2012. “They have a real big future ahead if they stick at it,” Rossdale jokes about the Fab Four.
It’s an album that shows an evolution of sound from a band that was born during the heat of grunge but found its own musical way, from radio-friendly pop to heavy guitars to detuned, weirder stuff.
“It’s a really easily accessible thing for people who are getting into Bush. There’s kind of the blueprint, so to speak,” says Rossdale, who will hit the road with Bush on headlining dates this November.
“It just made me feel nostalgic to look at those song lists and think of all those journeys. Songs are just like snapshots of time in our life, in my life. And so just seeing all that come together, it made me think of my whole history.”
Rossdale started the Grammy Award-nominated band outside London in 1992 with guitarist Nigel Pulsford, joined later by bassist Dave Parsons and drummer Robin Goodridge. The current lineup is Rossdale, Chris Traynor on guitar, Corey Britz on bass and Nik Hughes on drums.
Blessed with a heartthrob with high cheekbones as its lead singer, Bush’s debut “Sixteen Stone” dropped eight months after Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain’s suicide in late 1994. The band went on to earn 23 Top 40 hit singles on the Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts, six of them making it to No. 1.
“Loaded” — with underrated gems like “This Is War,” “Bullet Holes” and “The Chemicals Between Us” — reminds listeners that the band can veer from an U2-adjacent vibe to the metal-punk of Bring Me the Horizon.
“I always think there are too many songs in the world, but there’s never enough great songs. That’s always kind of the goal. I can’t always achieve that, and obviously people have varying opinions whether I’ve ever achieved it, but that’s the goal,” Rossdale says.
Rossdale’s manager requested one new song for the album to try to sum up the collection, and the band responded with “Nowhere To Go But Everywhere,” a thoughtful lookback with the line, “I wish I knew myself better.”
“It was a weird assignment because it was like trying to herd a rabble of spirited, rowdy dogs or something like that. How do you sum it up? These songs have really changed my life forever and given me a life,” Rossdale says. ”It was fun to write a song that could straddle all the records and not be sort of an outlier.”
Choosing the hits was easy, but the new one makes Rossdale a little nervous: “We don’t know if, ironically, that will be a hit. Could 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 realize that if I write a song, as soon as I’ve written it and you hear it, it’s as much your song as mine,” he says. “If I want to sing ‘This Is War,’ I can be referencing Charlottesville and what went on there, but I can be referencing any particular struggles that have been going on that people are going through.”
Rossdale has lately been more vocal about social issues, joining Artist for Action to Prevent Gun Violence alongside such stars as Billie Eilish, Peter Gabriel and Sheryl Crow.
“One of the best things about getting older for me is you shed degrees of selfishness,” says Rossdale. “It just feels good to be to do something worthwhile and to be part of with a great bunch of musicians.”
The repeal of Roe v. Wade also sparked 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 take responsibility for some things, to a certain extent, you can be complicit in things. Silence is being complicit.”
This story corrects the name of Artist for Action to Prevent Gun Violence.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits