April 30, 2012


Gavin Rossdale On the Beatles & Tom Waits References In Bush's Lyrics

Bush singer/rhythm guitarist Gavin Rossdale stopped by Fuse to go "Inside the Lyric" of a few of the British band's hits. Addressing the inspirations behind "Glycerine," "Everything Zen," "Machinehead" and more, Rossdale offered up some thoughtful insight into Bush's lyrics.

Rossdale says the lines "Rain dogs howl for the century / A million dollars a stake / As you search for your demigod"—from Bush's debut single "Everything Zen"—were inspired by his love for rock iconoclast Tom Waits and beat poet Allen Ginsberg.

"Rain Dogs was just knowing the Tom Waits album. It's such a strong word for me and I love Tom Waits, so that was in my head," Rossdale explains. "And the 'Howl' is Allen Ginsberg, who is another serious inspiration for me. One of his most famous poems is 'Howl,' so 'Rain dogs howl for the century' got my two biggest muses in there."

"[As for] 'a million dollars a stake,' I was dirt poor at the time so the world of money and entitlement seemed so far away from me. ['As you search for your demigod'] had to do with people who espouse spiritual values then behave like douchebags in other areas of their lives."

If the Ginsberg reference comes as a bit of a surprise, the Beatles lyric in Bush's "Glycerine" ("But when we rise / It's like strawberry fields") is a bit more obvious. Still, the reasoning behind it is rather unique. "It's a cynical world," Rossdale says, "And 'Strawberry Fields' is obviously a Beatles reference. When people think of that song it makes them happy: It elevates you and lifts you up. For me, it conjures up a soft pillow or something."

Rossdale says a theme of facing adversity head on pervades Bush's lyrics. "Most of the songs that I've written are about rising up against [life's] struggles and what you do within problems, like the human condition," Rossdale says. "They're about how we can screw up and how we can make up for it, and what we can escape from and what we can win."

To hear Rossdale talk about the meaning behind more of Bush's lyrics, check out the video above.