Gavin Rossdale Reveals What Is ‘Out There’ About Tool: ‘You Know That Game? I Don’t Do That’

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Greg Prato recently interviewed Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale for Songfacts. Read an excerpt below.

Songfacts: Something I’ve found interesting with a lot of the rock bands that came up in the 1990s is your style of lyric writing. You hear it with you and with people like Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, and Scott Weiland: If you separated the lyrics apart from the song, they may not make sense, but when they were sung in the song, all sorts of images came to mind.

Gavin: There’s always got to be something within there – threads of things. But I like that sort of Ginsberg-y, stream-of-consciousness approach to words, rather than, say, country songwriting where there are narratives and stories and places and names and descriptions. That’s a specific approach, and I’ve never related to that because for me, it tied things down too much. I like broader stories. It doesn’t always have to be time and place and descriptions.

It’s just a tool. It’s a decision and approach you can take. I like things that sort of float more, and have more schizoid elements to them. At the same time, I feel like I have over the years changed and done different things. More cohesive things, because I was always aware of that. But I just like things that are a little more jagged and fit in together.

I don’t, for instance, do that thing that some people have done where you have a very obscure title that doesn’t appear in the song at all. You know that game? I don’t do that. That’s really kind of out there. Like Tool.

If you took something like At The Drive-In, and Cedric’s [lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala] approach to lyrics, that is like, holy mackerel! What is going on? And that’s in every song. But somehow, when he sings it, it has a cohesion. But that is on another level of like, “What the hell is that about?” Whereas I was a soft-core version of that, where there are threads. But I also like the idea that for all of us, our thoughts are scattered and our attention is short and things bounce around – so that’s part of it. That’s what I feel is an integral part of it.