Gavin Rossdale is stuck like the rest of us. He’s seen Tiger King. He’s getting into Ozark. He takes his dog to the park once a day, practices his guitar and streams the occasional solo set for fans.
But you know where he’d really like to be?
“Australia,” said the singer for ’90s rockers Bush, calling from quarantine in his Los Angeles home. “We’d have been out there just screaming at Aussies going nuts, traveling across Australia for three and a half weeks. So that’s a super-drag.”
Things aren’t all bad in the Bush camp. The grunge veterans will drop a new album, The Kingdom, this summer. (Its original May release date was delayed due to the coronavirus.) And before that, they’re releasing a new concert film and live album called Live in Tampa.
That’s right: Tampa.
The British group filmed its concert last August at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, playing hits like Everything Zen, Comedown and Glycerine for 10,000 sweaty Floridian fans. As backdrops go, it’s not exactly Carnegie Hall or the Ryman. But at a time when the music industry is at a standstill, it’s nice to see live Tampa concert footage of any kind.
Live in Tampa comes out April 24. Beforehand, we talked to Rossdale about why they filmed in Tampa, what he’s been doing in quarantine and where live music goes from here. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
I’ve been thinking about how much we’ve been able to see into celebrities’ homes during all this. You’re a guy whose life has been picked apart in the press over the years. Now that you’re broadcasting from your home, are you comfortable with the boundaries you’re able to put up?
I did one yesterday with a radio station in Chicago, and I did see, behind me, my house looked really nice. There’s nothing worse than that f--king dozy Imagine video — it was so clunky. I am mindful of, you don’t want to seem too opulent in the face of people facing economic hardships. You don’t want to be putting yourself in front of your Modigliani piece. “Here’s my Renoir!” That feels clumsy. I don’t have a Lambo, but would I do a video in front of my Lambo? No.
The obvious question about Live in Tampa: Why Tampa?
There was a discussion about it being in Los Angeles, and then it was like, Maybe we didn’t want to do the hometown show. Then it was (about) looking for a suitable venue, and a really great crowd. Over the years, we’ve had such great shows in Orlando and in Tampa, all over Florida. We did, in Ybor — Ybor Street?
Yeah. We started a tour there. We rehearsed there. There was always this big history there, and it just kind of fell into place. These things always come about from a number of things that all work together. I think it came out pretty good.
When you think about Tampa — if you ever think about Tampa — what comes to mind?
Saddlebrook. I’m a big tennis player, so I’ve played there. (Doubles champions) the Bryan brothers got me set up there. I trained there a little bit. It was incredible seeing the kids in the academy, incredible tennis players — there’s hundreds of them. Another friend of mine, James Blake, lives there. So that’s very, very major. Just having a couple of buddies there, and having a great place to go train, that’s high love from me.
Does your performance on stage change when you know you’re recording a show for posterity? When you know there are 15 cameras all around you?
Only just before you go on — you’re like, Oh, s--t. Don’t f--k up. But no, once I get going, I forget about it. I get so lost being on stage. It’s the best feeling ever.
The film includes a moment where you jump offstage during Little Things and run all the way up to the lawn. Has that ever led to any mishaps with audience members?
There’s been times when there’s a lot of people on the lawn, and a couple of times when, if anyone trips, the crowd does get a bit scary. It’s sort of fun, but it does have an edge to it. Obviously now, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do it again. ... You talk about running through the crowd, and social distancing, stuff like that — how on earth is that going to happen? I’m going to have to go through in a mask. I’m really confused and a bit forlorn how it’s going to work, playing live again.
How is it going to look once we come out the other side of this pandemic?
I’m thinking, and I’m hoping, that there’s just a real appreciation for everything — for beauty, for the flowers and the sky and each other. It’s such a wonderful idea, to make the best out of a terrible situation. People come back as the best part of themselves. You can look at your life and wonder if you’ve been a jerk at times, and maybe have some perspective on that. People take so much for granted. Maybe if we get a chance, when we come back, we’ll appreciate this life so much more.