BUSH's GAVIN ROSSDALE Was 'In Shock' After Supreme Court Overturned Roe V. Wade: 'I Felt Protective Of The Women'March 5, 2023
BUSH frontman Gavin Rossdale spoke to Q104.3's "Out Of The Box With Jonathan Clarke" about the lyrical inspiration for the band's "More Than Machines" single. The song, which alludes to the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, along with two other "really big topics", appears on BUSH's latest studio album, "The Art Of Survival", which arrived last October.
Rossdale said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, it was one of the last songs we wrote for the record. And weirdly, before that song was done, the whole Roe v. Wade issue had arisen. And I was just in shock. I really felt it — I felt the invasion, and I felt protective of the women who were now being told, dictated to about their bodies. I couldn't connect to it. Maybe I'm English, maybe I'm too libertarian… I just was, like, 'What is that?' It was like a thorn in my shoe."
He continued: "You hand a record in [to your label], and they always say, 'Give us a couple of more songs.' It's just this dance — a label dance. And it's a smart dance, but it's hard for the songwriter, 'cause you're basically saying to him, 'That was great. Thank you so much for this eight months of work. Could you work a little harder, a little longer and do something else, do something better?' But it gave me the opportunity to put that in there. And when that line came to me, 'Girls are in control, not the government,' I was so happy, because it gave meaning and value to being in a band.
"I'm not a soapbox person; I'm not a politically person overly like that. I'm very personally human-driven," Gavin added. "So to be able to suggest that and talk about that just felt like, 'Why isn't everyone else talking about this?' So that was a beautiful thing to be able to connect into the music."
Last September, Rossdale told Z93's "The Morning After" that it was "hard to fathom" that a fundamental right to an abortion" was still an issue. "I still find it very hard to relate to it," he said. "[It's] very invasive. I wanted to put it in a song, but it's also really tricky. I'm not here to tell people what to think. I'm not a preacher. I don't claim to know more than you. I'm just living my life, trying to get by, having a good time and being good to my kids. It's my life — it's my music and my kids. But I want my kids to know that we should respect women and we should respect their rights. It sounds ridiculous even saying it, doesn't it? So I'm very proud of having it in there. It's just sort of an elevating topic in a modern song. And then people take it where they wanna go. And now it's been politicized. It really is the divide of the whole country. It's being seen as, if anything, ironically… And not to be political, 'cause I have no interest in that, but it's almost… I hope that it's the biggest destabilizer. What was meant to be the most forthright draconian control of women has turned into a very destabilizing issue."
Rossdale previously talked about "More Than Machines" in an August 2022 interview with Pablo of the Minneapolis, Minnesota radio station 93X. He said: "It's very difficult to find that balance between what you read about and how to put it into words in a song, what's important. And I've always found personalizing things makes it the easiest way; you're not sort of standing up pointing the finger at someone, not standing up taking sides."
Referring directly to the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion, Rossdale said: "To me, it's an obvious thing. It seems [like] a medieval step in the wrong direction and it doesn't make sense — to me. And so I just put it in a song. And it just sparks conversation. And my job as a lyricist is to just kind of capture the time, to capture the zeitgeist or the feeling or the emotion. That's what [my] songs are, from the beginning to now. They're sort of commentaries on what's going on around me that other people relate to.
"Once I've written a song, I don't even like saying what the song is necessarily about," Gavin explained. "'Girls are in control, not the government' seems pretty straight-forward. But just 'girls are in control' is a powerful statement. I love that. And it would be a better world if women were in power.
"I think there's a lack of erosion of the evil that we're seeing. There's not many Russian women involved in the invasion of Ukraine, as far as I can tell. A lot of guys think it's a good idea. A lot of dudes. I haven't seen any women saying, 'This is great.'
"My point is that I'm not better than anybody; I don't know more than anybody," Rossdale added. "These things I read about every day and it sort of filters into my job. That's where I do my work, and I think it provides substance for people to sing about their broken hearts or broken lives and other things that are going on outside.
"We are destroying the planet, destroying it, and nobody seems to care. So all the time you've gotta keep doing these songs to just keep the conversation going."
BUSH wrote and recorded what would become "The Art Of Survival" during 2022, reteaming with Erik Ron (PANIC! AT THE DISCO, GODSMACK) who produced "Flowers On A Grave" and the title track for 2020's "The Kingdom", and collaborating once again on two tracks with film composer, musician, and producer Tyler Bates ("300", "Guardian Of The Galaxy"). The central theme speaks to both the human spirit's resiliency in the face of trials and tribulations as well as the band's own enduring place as rock outliers.
Photo credit: Thomas Rabsch
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