Institute

Bush Frontman Commits To New Band

Former Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale certainly isn't new to Billboard's charts, but his most recent band, Institute, is. Its first single, "Bullet-Proof Skin," last week entered Billboard's online exclusive Mainstream Rock airplay chart at No. 38, and is steadily climbing upward.

Although Bush never officially broke up, the band has not recorded or performed together since 2002. Since then, Rossdale has collaborated with Blue Man Group and wrote the song "Adrenaline" for the "XXX" soundtrack. Now his focus is Institute, whose debut album, "Distort Yourself," will be released Sept. 13 via Interscope.

Produced by Helmet's Page Hamilton, the band is comprised of bassist Cache Tolman, drummer Charlie Walker and Helmet guitarist Chris Traynor, who has performed with Bush. With the involvement of Hamilton and Traynor, it's not surprising that Institute's sound is heavier than what Bush fans may be expecting from Rossdale.

"It's kind of exciting, you know, but pretty scary on a personal level," Rossdale says. "Obviously, I hope it appeals to everyone. But, I mean, obviously it won't, so I gotta live with that," he adds with a laugh. "And I've got to just enjoy it for what it is."

In this day and age -- where record labels are constantly searching for the next big thing, and keeping a close eye on the bottom line -- the pressure to deliver a successful album can be overwhelming for many artists. But Rossdale doesn't seem to be breaking a sweat.

"Feeling immense pressure about things that are out of your hands can drive you to a lunatic asylum," he says. "Obviously I'd love it to be successful, and I'd love it to have a wide audience, but who's to know?"

Since the quiet disbanding of Bush, Rossdale has been a TV and tabloid fixture as Gwen Stefani's other half, but aside from that exposure, many people have wondered what he's been up to musically.

"It would be foolish of me to say anything other than the [current] moment and the last couple of years have been all about Gwen," he says. "Even though people were always kind of wondering what I was doing, it's almost like I never left. In that sense, I never got a chance to completely go away, which is probably not ideal."

To help get a sense of how fans will react to the new sound, Institute just wrapped up a 10-city club tour, and expects to tour more extensively this fall. Rossdale notes that the band will perform some Bush hits to bring in fans.

"I don't think it'll be clubs again, I think we'll move up to the next level and take it on," he says. "To be honest, though, it's much better to underplay than to be storming out to a big shed when no one's there."

If Institute isn't the success that Rossdale is hoping for, he may certainly still have his old band to fall back on. "I know that they're watching what I'm doing, so I would imagine that there's a conversation brewing," he says, adding, "Right now I'm enjoying myself, and I'd like to make another record with Institute. But who's to say? I could walk out of here and get knocked off by a bus, so anything could happen."

Links:
Artist sites: www.institutemusic.com, www.gavin-rossdale.net
Label site: www.interscope.com