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e-Briefing | Celebrity Setup

Having the Tools to Change Tunes

Bush lead singer Gavin Rossdale might not know his gadgets, but he knows to get help and how to turn up the volume.

November 22, 2001

Gavin Rossdale is the lead singer and heartthrob of Bush, a British band that returned to its hard rock roots for its just-released CD, "Golden State." The band, which is far better known in the States than in its native country, had its first U.S. hit in 1994 with "Sixteen Stone," which sold more than 6 million copies.

The band has experimented with a more electronic sound and even string backups, but on the new CD, Bush reaches back to the sound that drew comparisons to Pearl Jam and other grunge rockers.

Rossdale wrote all the songs on "Golden State," several of which have a political edge. As photogenic as he is hard rocking, he made Teen People's Sexy List. He lives in London and is linked romantically with singer Gwen Stefani of the band No Doubt. Tattooed on Rossdale's arm is "Winston," the name of his dog.

COMPUTER: I use a G4 Titanium laptop that I really like a lot. I'm totally underqualified for it. I'm a very lucky boy. In the right hands you can make it dance across the room. I have people to help me with it.

I have a Pro Tools system, so I can actually record on it. I have the money to house it on my laptop (Pro Tools sound production systems generally cost $10,000 or more). I have a guy to help me with that too.

It's like the perfect guitar sound--I'm still looking for my perfect computer guy. One guy to do everything.

Question: Did you use the laptop for recording any of the songs on the new CD?

Answer: No. Probably on the next one, I hope. The idea is that we will be able to record on the road, anywhere. It's a personal goal of mine.

The danger is that you can try to do too much with the software. You start holding on to things that you would normally throw out. Or you start making things that start sounding like they were made with Pro Tools. It should only be used as a means to an end.

Q: Do you use e-mail much?

A: I have three separate accounts. One is just for when I meet someone in passing and they want to contact me. I hate that thing of having them call management. If I meet an old friend or I'm intrigued with someone, that's what it's for.

E-mail is essential to artwork. I've done a lot of artwork for our albums in conjunction with artists.

HAND-HELD: No. I can only diversify myself so much. I do have a pager with messaging, and I never could set that up, so I don't use it.

If I start playing with too many gadgets, I'll never have time to listen to the radio or read books.

Q: What are you reading now?

A: Three different things, which is dangerous. The [soon-to-be-released] new novel "Atonement," by Ian McEwan, one of my favorite authors; an amazing novel by Michel Houellebecq called "Atomized" [U.S. title is "The Elementary Particles"]; and an interview with Allen Ginsberg, who was a big influence on me.

[A buzzer sounds and he excuses himself to speak into an intercom.]

Hello. [Pause]

Who are you? [Pause]

Do I know you? [Pause]

I'm sorry, I can't really help you right now.

Q: Who was that?

A: I have no idea. Some girl. This is so weird. In this country you can get just about anyone's address at this Web site, http://www.192.com. It's crazy. Then again, it's disappointing it doesn't happen more often.

BOOKMARKS: I use the Web a lot. It's so amazing. When I am traveling, I read all the Sunday papers in England, the kind of things I miss when I'm away. Well, the proper journals, anyway, not the tabloids.

I look at other band sites to see what they are doing. Radiohead has a good site. I like the Greenpeace site and one about the Sept. 11 attack at http://attacked911.tripod.com. It's very powerful, moving.

I go to museum sites to see what is going on. Today I did an interview at the Tate Modern in the Rothco room.

Q: Do you check out what's at a museum before you travel to a city?

A: That would be way too studious.

Q: Do you listen to Net radio stations?

A: No. I think because of the whole Napster thing I have stayed away from listening to music on the Internet. I do believe there is some kind of middle ground where people get paid for their work. But the situation is so difficult; I have not tried those radio stations. Besides, my computer has the puniest speakers in the world.

HOME STEREO: I read the interview here with Moby where he said musicians don't have big sound systems for themselves. Forget it! I have a really big system. They can't get it loud enough for me.

Q: What kind of components do you have?

A: I don't know. After you spend enough money it doesn't much matter. The speakers are Aerial and the CD player is a Copland, which is really nice, but after that I'm not sure. Sometimes in the summer I have a lot of music on. Anyone coming around here to have fun is not disappointed.

*

As told to David Colker

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