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Aimsel Ponti

Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at MaineToday.com and a music writer for MaineToday.com and the Portland Press Herald. She has been obsessed with - and inspired by - music since she listened to Monkees records borrowed from the town library when she was six years old. She bought her first Rolling Stones record at a flea market when she was in 7th grade and discovered David Bowie a year later. She's a HUGE fan of the local music scene and covers it along with national musical happenings in her "Face the Music" column and with artist interviews that appear in print in the Portland Press Herald and online at Mainetoday.com. You'll also find her out and about absorbing live music like a sponge and roaming around local record shops and flea markets. Aimsel is also the host of Music from 207 on 98.9 WCLZ and appears monthly on the News Center Maine TV show “207” to talk about...music of course.

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Posted: February 18, 2015

Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale talks about the new music the band will bring, along with old favorites, to Lewiston Saturday

Written by: Aimsel Ponti
Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

British rock band Bush, best known for their ’90s albums “Sixteen Stone,” “Razorblade Suitcase” and “The Science of Things,” is headlining a show in Lewiston on Saturday in support of their latest record, “Man on the Run.”

This means you can expect to hear familiar tunes like “Comedown,” “Glycerine,” “Machinehead,” “Mouth” and “The Chemicals Between Us.” But you’ll also hear some newer tunes like “The Only Way Out” and “Bodies in Motion.”

The Bush lineup has changed over the years, but frontman and songwriter Gavin Rossdale is still at the helm. Rossdale, 49, is married to singer Gwen Stefani. The couple and their three kids are based in Los Angeles. In a phone conversation from his California home, Rossdale spoke about the new record, songwriting, favorite albums and more.

Congrats on “Man on the Run.” How’s it feeling having it out in the world?

It’s been really great. It was such an intense process making it. We came off the road and dove right into writing and working on it. And here we are. It’s a funny feeling just before it comes out – in the honeymoon period, I call it. It’s a really nice thing where no one knows about it but you feel you have this sort of rocket in your pocket. And then it comes out. It’s been really great; I mean the response to it. Obviously it’s a different world, now it’s a bit fragmented, but certainly in our world it’s been really well received.

Can you talk about the song “Bodies in Motion?”

When I sing it, it just feels like I’m trying to explain myself. I love that song in terms of what it’s about, it’s just about the journey that I’m on and about progress versus sedentary life. Basically always trying to go for things and always trying to reach and move forward. The payoff in life for me is to put your head on the chopping block and to go for it and to reach out,. That’s what that song feels like to me.

How about “Surrender?”

I’m always concerned about people and relationships and the human condition. All that stuff of what we are like in life and there’s something about giving yourself over to someone – for most people that’s a scary thing. Most of us wander around and we kind of run from intimacy, myself included.

So it’s an interesting kind of concept to actually give of yourself and to sort of let go, because most of the time we’re kind of holding onto the rails. It really is cascading into another world with someone else.

Has that gotten easier as you’ve gotten older?

It’s something to think about in the context of age. I mean the only thing that I’m finding as I’m getting older, as we all are, is it’s the perspective to put things in place and more (about) the idea of understanding other people.

Most of our lives are trapped in the prism of our own perspective and everything is seen through our own eyes and that sort of solipsism and so it’s kind of healthy and helpful actually to just open it out and realize, OK keep listening.

I don’t have teenage angst, but I do read the news and I do think that the world is really contentious. I don’t write political songs but I think that a lot of the work that I love to do is informed by political situations that people are forced into on a personal level. It’s never political in the sense of political parties. It’s just more political in the sense how communities and people are made to feel, what they’re meant to go through.

Sometimes I felt weird doing kind of a plaintive record because my own life has great things about it. But there’s such an incredible world out there and with all my friends, people going through different things. I get so many perspectives that it comes very naturally to write on all the different subject matters I write about.

Has your inspiration for songwriting changed since you wrote the “Sixteen Stone” record?

I happen to kind of jones for it and I really am inspired by it. I’m so grateful. I have such an ancient job in such a modern world. It’s amazing to me.

I think it’s hilarious even though I use technology to the max with what I do in terms of recording, it still is a very ancient job.

Even with all the technology in the world, a person still has to write a good lyric.

Of course, you can have all the tools in the world but you’ve got to have something to say. I’m just really thrilled to be going on tour with a new record. I consider myself really lucky.

Your voice hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years. Is it a British thing?

(Laughs.) A British thing. I like that.

Is there anything you do to take care of it or is it just good genes? What’s the deal?

I’m really mindful. I’m really respectful of my voice. I don’t abuse it. I feel really happy about that. Right now it’s rich and full. I study it and I think about it and I try to improve it. I never rest on any kind of laurels. So whether or not it appears like that, I’m always trying to move forward. It may look static to some, but for me it’s a journey that I’m on.

What are your favorite albums that you can always go back to?

There’s Tom Waits’ “Rain Dogs,” Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” or “Heroes” and then David + David’s “Boomtown.” They were the first band that I ever heard that incorporated reggae bass lines into rock music and even though when I listen to it now it’s a touch country here and there, that record (released in 1986) was a huge record for me in terms of lyrics. It was the early ’90s when I heard it in London. Others are Bob Dylan’s “Desire” or “Oh Mercy” and PJ Harvey’s “Rid of Me.”

Your acting resume continues to grow. Is there anything on the horizon for you in 2015?

I tried to retire from acting last year but my acting manager wrote and asked if I was coming out of retirement yet because he had something for me. I was kind of half-joking. It upset Gwen more than anyone really. She was like “Why did you write that?” because I wrote it on Twitter. I said, “It’s funny.” She said it’s not funny. We had this discussion as to whether it’s funny or not that I said I’d quit. I love acting, I really enjoy it. I love reinterpreting someone else’s creativity with the writing and acting. Whereas with music, my job, I start with a blank screen, and in this (acting) start with hopefully someone else’s brilliant ideas and then I just kind of try to claim them as mine.

1. Rossdale has had acting roles on episodes of “Criminal Minds,” “Burn Notice” and “Hawaii Five-O.” He has also acted in the films “Constantine,” “Zoolander” and “The Bling Ring,” among others.

2. The 1994 Bush album “Sixteen Stone” sold over 10 million copies in the U.S. The singles “Comedown” and “Glycerine” made it to the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart.

3. The song “Mouth” from the 1996 album “Razorblade Suitcase” was never released as a single, but a remixed version made a splash when it was featured in the film “An American Werewolf in Paris.”

4. Rossdale served as a guest mentor to “Team Gwen” on a recent season of the NBC series “The Voice.”

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