Bush - Sixteen Stone
On December 6, 1994, "Bush" released their debut album "Sixteen Stone", an album that was a huge success for the small band from the UK just as Grunge peaked and began the downward trend.
It all started at a Brian Adams show at Wembley in 1991...
Just after he left his first band "Midnight", Gavin Rossdale came to see Brian Adams' show at Wembley and watched "Baby Animals" which were the opening act for Brian Adams. The one who was guitarist in that band was Nigel Pulsford, Gavin was very impressed with him and the two discovered that they have a common love for many bands. They decided to take this shared love and form the band "Future Primitive", they enlisted Dave Parsons on bass and Robin Goodrich on drums.
The new band recorded a number of songs and decided to release the song "Bomb" as their first single, as they were not signed to any label they released the single under Gavin's independent label, Mad Dog Winston Records. The single did not really get any airplay or attention but one person named Rob Kahane recognized the potential and decided to sign the band. Since the band's new manager had a distribution contract with Hollywood Records then owned by Disney, the band immediately went to work and in January 1994 entered Westway Records studios in London to begin recording.
Although Gavin wanted producer Steve Albini to produce the band's album, two others were chosen and according to Gavin, just because they were British. The two were Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley (Kings of British pop/rock of the early '80s) and in hindsight it was smart and you will soon understand why.
But wait, what about the band's name? So true, right at the end of the recordings and during the work on album cover design, David Carson, who was entrusted with the design, decided to convince the band that they need a short name because it would look better on the CD packaging. The band members were convinced and chose the name "Bush".
So... there are songs, a new name, a cover, and the album is ready to release!!
But, Oh No, not yet !!!
Upon completion of the recordings, one of Disney's executives, Frank G. Wells, passed away. He was Rob's contact with the company and an ardent supporter. His absence was very sensible and immediately after his departure the label's managers buried the album and did not agree to release it on the grounds that the album did not contain any "single" song and claimed that the album would fail in sales. The band members who saw their careers go down the drain even before they started, were getting back to routine and working in casual jobs.
But Rob did not say desperate and began looking for a new home for his young band, until the record company Interscope Records finally took the band under its wing and released their debut album "Sixteen Stone" under its label Trauma Records.
Rob also had friends in the most famous radio station in the US (and also in the world) KROQ and in order to promote the album he sent them the single "Everything Zen". The single got a high rotation in the radio station and along with the rest of the singles "Little Things", "Comedown", "Glycerine" and "Machinehead", the album went straight to number 4 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and gained much exposure and success.
Why was it wise that the producers were English?
After the release of the album and the big success, it brought to the band, many of the critics and listeners alike began to blame the band for riding the grunge wave and trying to copy the music coming from Seattle. "Bush" was constantly compared to "Soundgarden", "Nirvana" and "Pearl Jam" were even accused Gavin of trying to emulate Eddie Vedder and even claimed that the song "Bomb" was attributed to Kurt Cobain's writing. The label and the band of course denied any connection and as proof was the duo of producers who had nothing to do with music in the US and Seattle in particular.
Despite the above we think this album has its own uniqueness, true it really sounds like what came out of Seattle but still... the rough guitars here combine a slightly different dynamic with the all-so-typical grunge roughness and Gavin's voice is mesmerizing and different. He tries to scream his soul or sound rough, he sounds rough even when he is clean, he conveys power and emotion in a wonderful and moving way. After this album, the band became one of our favorite bands and continued to evolve with each new album that came out.