Gavin Rossdale is consistently one of the funniest and most open guys in rock. And here's the proof: I recently sat down with the Bush frontman, 45, to talk about reuniting with the '90s band after 10 years (their latest disc, Sea Of Memories, is out now), plus his uber-cool wife Gwen Stefani, 41, and their equally with-it tots Kingston, 5, and Zuma, 3.
US: What's it like being back with Bush?
GR: It's just fantastic. I'm finally back in the ring with both hands untied, and I'm back with the frosting on my cake. The cool of my beer is back.
US: What led to the decision to reunite?
GR: I've been waiting so patiently for this perfect reunion and I tried to do a solo record and it didn't work… I felt like I'd waited long enough, sort of the grace period for the reunion had expired. I just decided to just go for it and I thought that if I really wanted to have as much fun as possible making music I should do it under Bush rather than anything else.
US: How did you guys decide what direction to go in with the sound?
GR: I had to make it so that you could play that record to somebody who'd never heard Bush before, and they could legitimately fall in love with a band. That was the intent. It is also mindful of how we got there and how it was and what people expect from Bush… You should do one foot in the history of Bush and one foot forward, and that way we remain current and vital to ourselves.
US: Was it hard for the band to pick back up and make music?
GR: No, the reason for the hiatus was just the fact that one guy didn't wanna tour, and that puts a kink in your armor. How can you be a rock band and not tour?
US: How have you been able to balance show business with your family life?
GR: I just accept that those are the sacrifices you make and it's inevitable that anyone who has kids makes sacrifices… And my kids get the benefit of me working at home at the studio… Nothing's perfect and everything has its price. But I think that I will want to instill the value in them of applying yourself and the value of sacrifice, and what it takes.
US: How do you juggle brutal tour schedules with Gwen?
GR: We muddle our way through it. It's just about the communication and also just the space. The one thing that's always been so good for us is to understand each other's timetables and commitments and responsibilities. She's in a huge, high-powered, creative set-up with her band and she's making a great record, and I can confirm it's great. But that takes time and effort, and no one wants to leave their kids for work.. Too much in this world is, people assume that things come naturally, when I think it's an essential life lesson to learn that it takes trying, try again, try again, it takes reworking it, it takes a lot of effort, it's not just a life of dilettante.
US: How do you guys also make time for each other?
GR: I'm so lucky. You just try and give people enough space… It's a mystery to me and all the friends I grew up with — they look at me and laugh. They say, "You're the last person we thought was gonna be in this situation!' But what can I tell you is I married up.
US: How are your kids?
GR: Kingston's been on tour with me, so he's been out this whole month with me, so that's been amazing and very grounding. I never ever thought about being a musician and having my kids on the stage and I never anticipated what a thrill that is
US: Will Kingston and Zuma follow in your footsteps?
GR: I think that they both have a lot of passion for music and playing and drums and loud noises. Kingston gets bored at shows. He's seen enough, but he likes the big ones. I mean any parent would dig the idea of their kids seeing them when they go to work.
US: Do they take after you or Gwen?
GR: You want them to take after you when they do things well. When they do anything bad you wanna blame the other genes, but really they're so phenomenally their own people. That's almost the most incredible part of it, that you can see elements of both of us in both of them… I'm happy to say they're got really good, funny characters and they're polite.
US: How duo you feel about being a sex symbol? What does Gwen think about this?
GR: Obviously it's completely flattering. It's just a statement that you have made, but for me to have any comment over that is just really precarious. It's a compliment, thank you. I don't know what to say, it's very hard to comment and not sound like an idiot.