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Bush-whacked

Even when Bush lead singer Gavin Rossdale, adorned the cover of Rolling Stone _ the equivalent of a rock-star "king for a day" coronation _ the honor was accompanied by the headline: Nirvanawannabes.

This is Bush, the band that a year ago was desperately looking for respect, and now desperately is trying not be cut down by their own meteoric success. The band sold more than 4-million copies of its debut album, Sixteen Stone. And its latest, Razorblade Suitcase, is perched to outdo its predecessor.

Likewise, the British quartet, which played more than 200 dates in a 10-month span just a year ago, now is filling huge arenas around the world.

"We're trying not to fall into a trap where this gets stale," guitarist Nigel Pulsford said in a recent publicity interview.

"You want to do everything you can to protect your music. A lot of that you learn on the way."

Bush is one of flock of early '90s alternative bands that has very much become the mainstream in post-grunge America. With five consecutive hits from Sixteen Stone, including Little Things, Glycerine and Everything Zen, the band seems to have found a comfortable niche that has carried on through its sophomore effort. The album's single Greedy Fly has been rocking the airwaves for months now.

But still they have a hard time trying to shake the image of a Nirvana mirror. In light of Rossdale's charismatic stage presence, the comparisons to Kurt Cobain doesn't seem that far off. Even former Nirvana bassist Dave Grohl recognized the similarities in their voices in a recent interview.

It probably doesn't help Rossdale's credibility that he has been linked in gossip columns to alternative-rock star Courtney Love, widow of Cobain.

Still, as Pulsford pointed out, the business of the band is making music. "We've been through a lot," he said. "Sometimes we do get a little tired of all the s - - t that goes with being a rock 'n' roll band. But there are worse thing we could be doing, aren't there?"

AT A GLANCE

Bush performs tonight at 7:30 with guests Veruca Salt at the Ice Palace. Tickets are $23.75.

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