Bush’s Gavin Rossdale survives to create ‘Rainbows’

Without sounding maudlin, Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale — who sank into depression two years ago when, after his alleged infidelity, he divorced America’s sweetheart Gwen Stefani — says art saved his life.

It’s how he rebounded with the band’s exuberant new album “Black and White Rainbows,” with is mea culpas “Peace,” “Mad Love,” “Lost in You,” and the operatic finale “People at War.”

Rejuvenated, he’s also become a judge on Britain’s The Voice UK” and the host of a home-taped cooking show, “Iamfeeder.”

“But it was really dark,” says the singer, who brings Bush to The City this week, of his nadir. “I was seeing two shrinks at the time, and they both said, ‘You’ve got to get back to work.’ But I couldn’t think about work; I couldn’t think about anything.”

He worried over what the split would mean for the couple’s three sons, Kingston, Zuma and Apollo. “I was just so consumed by their happiness and their well-being that I thought, ‘I wonder if I’ll ever work again?’” he says, somberly. “But I had this creative rebirth, where suddenly my ability to write was more vital, and I really needed it like it was a lifeline.”

Rossdale, 51, was used to challenges. Launching Bush from his native England with 1994’s “Sixteen Stone,” the rasp-throated rocker unapologetically waived the Britpop movement for a grunge-centered sound that proved a hit in America, with 20 million albums sold and 18 Top 40 singles to date.

For “Rainbows,” he threw out his own rulebook, working alone in a quiet studio he found.

“I’d drop my kids off at school and go in there and make music,” he says. “They weren’t songs I was going to bring out, or songs that I thought were going to be on the radio. They were just oxygen tanks for me.”

Some of Rossdale’s early cathartic attempts proved far too raw for release; only he and his engineer have ever heard them.

But he felt compelled to address the uncomfortably large elephant in the room. “It would have been disingenuous to not have some degree of reference to the messy situation and its details, so I did that and I moved on,” he says. “And the idea that there should be an autopsy about a failed relationship?” He sighs. “That’s just not in my wheelhouse.”

Instead, So “Rainbow” has lyrical allusions to color and the verdant natural world. He says, “Because the thing they teach you, if you do enough therapy, is, don’t navel-gaze. Look up. Look at the sky, the trees, things outside of yourself. Because there’s way more to life than your own restrictive view of it.”


Where: Warfield, 982 Market St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. June 1
Tickets: $39.50 to $50
Contact: (415) 345-0900, www.axs.com

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