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Institute In Session

BushFormer 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," is No. 31 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock tally, ahead of this week's release of the new group's Interscope debut, "Distort Yourself."

Institute finds Rossdale flanked by guitarist Chris Traynor (Bush, Helmet), bassist Cache Tolman (Rival Schools) and drummer Charlie Walker (Split Lip, Chamberlain), although session drummer extraordinaire Josh Freese plays on "Distort Yourself."

Helmet leader Page Hamilton produced the album and had a major impact on its sound. Songs like "Information Age" and "Come on Over" are heavy on the massive, detuned riffs that were Helmet's calling card, while "Boombox" concludes with a dexterous, tempo-shifting jam that sounds unlike anything Rossdale ever recorded with Bush.

"I think people are going to be excited and surprised when they hear it," Hamilton says. "To take nothing away from Bush -- they did what they did -- but they weren't the tightest band in the world. It was pretty much about Gavin's voice, so that's what we focused on. I tried to strip the arrangements down, cut the fat and make things exciting. I really think we succeeded."

"It's kind of exciting, you know, but pretty scary on a personal level," Rossdale says of the new venture, which comes three years since Bush's last round of activity. "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."