The Recording Academy Memphis Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At The Beale Street Music Festival, held May 4–6 as part of the Memphis in May International Festival. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including GRAMMY-nominated Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale and GRAMMY-nominated blues singer/songwriter Alvin Youngblood Hart.
Rossdale discussed recent changes in the music industry, musical inspirations, songwriting, and recording Bush's most recent release, 2011's The Sea Of Memories.
"Going into a studio every day to work is what really does it for me," said Rossdale. "Putting yourself in a chair to do something is sometimes the hardest part about [songwriting]."
Formed in 1992 by Rossdale and guitarist/violinist Nigel Pulsford, Bush was one of the first post-Nirvana British bands to garner a successful following in the United States. Their debut album, 1994's Sixteen Stone, peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and spawned the Top 40 hits "Comedown" and "Glycerine" as well as "Machinehead" — the latter climbing to No. 43 in May 1996 after appearing on the soundtrack to the film Fear. For 1996's Razorblade Suitcase, the band recruited producer Steve Albini (PJ Harvey, Nirvana, Pixies) and the album shot to the top of the Billboard 200, with "Greedy Fly" and "Swallowed" cracking the Top 10 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart; the latter also garnered the band their first GRAMMY nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance. Two studio albums followed, The Science Of Things (1999) and Golden State (2001), but the band officially disbanded in 2002. Rossdale reemerged in 2005 with his new project, Institute, and three years later released his debut solo album, Wanderlust, which peaked at No. 33 on the Billboard 200. Bush reunited in September 2010 with a new lineup featuring Corey Britz (bass), Chris Traynor (guitar) and original drummer Robin Goodridge. In September 2011 Bush released The Sea Of Memories, which peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard 200.
Hart discussed the differences between the business and creative sides of the music industry, music education and artists he'd like to perform with, among other topics.
"The hardware influences me creatively," said Hart. "Just getting my hands on the instruments … I never would have guessed when I was 14 [or] 15 years old that I was going to get so deep into the inner workings of the instruments."
Hailing from Oakland, Calif., Hart's passion for acoustic blues was first sparked while visiting his musician grandparents in northern Mississippi. Hart began playing guitar in his early teens, inspired by artists such as Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, the Rolling Stones, and Jimmy Reed, among others. While stationed in Natchez, Miss., after joining the U.S. Coast Guard in 1986, Hart began playing at local bars. His first career break came in 1995 when he opened for Taj Mahal at a jazz club in Oakland. In 1996 Hart released his debut album, Big Mama's Door, followed by 1998's Territory, the latter of which peaked at No. 13 on Billboard's Blues Albums chart. Start With The Soul was released in 2000, followed by 2002's Down In The Alley. The latter album garnered Hart his first GRAMMY nomination for Best Traditional Blues Album. Hart's most recent album, Motivational Speaker, was released in 2005.
Come back to GRAMMY.com tomorrow for more exclusive backstage interviews from GRAMMYs On The Road At The Beale Street Music Festival.