Gavin Rossdale looks back on bullying before Bush success: Listen now

'It created a persona in me that lends itself to a whole creative life'
Gavin Rossdale of Bush
Gavin Rossdale of Bush Photo credit Rich Fury/Getty Images

In the latest episode of The Great Creators with Guy Raz, Bush founder and frontman Gavin Rossdale discussed how his biggest adversities have become musical inspirations.

Listen Now: Gavin Rossdale (Bush): The Failures That Led to 90s Rock Immortality - The Great Creators with Guy Raz

Photo credit The Great Creators with Guy Raz

Describing his childhood as “alienating and distressing,” Gavin Rossdale now seems to be rather appreciative of his difficult upbringing. In speaking with Guy Raz for The Great Creators podcast, the Bush singer and songwriter recalled how his parents divorced when he was young, and at the same time, he was being bullied and physically attacked in school. “So it's just what happens in life,” he told the host rather nonchalantly. “Life is an incredibly rich and wild experience for me. My takeaway from it, actually, was to just see the sort of the fragility of adults and people wanting certain things they couldn't get. And I, I didn't have that cliched view about feeling responsible for [the divorce]. I think I knew exactly what was going on.”

Despite his awareness of the situation, Rossdale recalled that he was left to be, “either really upset at home or really aggressive at school,” and eventually found an outlet through music. “I grew up brilliantly, right at 13, right in the middle of punk. So punk was a huge revolution in my life. The power of music was clear at 14, I had a bass that I played a bit… I was at school and I had a band… And then a few covers we did, it was just sort of brewing. It was just, it was just brewing in me.” Playing eventually led Rossdale to begin songwriting and utilizing music as a way forward. Thus, he now believes that his childhood is actually his biggest inspiration. “It created a persona in me that I think just lends itself to a whole creative life,” he told podcast host Raz.

With his passion for music ignited, Rossdale eventually dropped out of school at 17, signed on to a record label, and went through multiple bands trying to find the right fit. He even moved to the US to jump-start his career. However, Rossdale instead found himself at yet another low point, but now thousands of miles away from home. “What had happened is, I'd been in those two bands we mentioned,” he began. “Everyone had left, I was left standing holding an Ovation guitar given to me by my first love. And I realized, I looked at my life, I took stock and it was the first time I ever got scared because the rest of it had been like this youthful kind of ignorance of ‘It’s all going to be ok.”

Rossdale realized that his career, as he described, had “gotten nowhere” and he moved home to the UK. Ever the musician, he again harnessed his frustration into music and again found himself inspired. He recalled, “I go back home to London, not with my tail between my legs, but with a sort of an angry focus on music. Ironically, when I began Bush, I just thought it was my swan song record to make, all I wanted to do right was make a record. I had no idea of its potential.”

To hear more about the launch of Bush, and what Rossdale calls his “punk ethos” perspective, check out the full podcast episode above and on the free Audacy App.

Listen to Bush More Than Machines Radio and more on the free Audacy app

Featured Image Photo Credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images