NUREMBERG, Germany Bush guitarist Nigel Pulsford's break from touring now looks to be a permanent vacation from the band he co-founded a decade ago with frontman Gavin Rossdale.
The British rockers will continue with ex-Helmet guitarist Chris Traynor instead of counting on Pulsford's return, Rossdale said Sunday, shortly before Bush performed at Rock Im Park music festival (see "Ozzy's Ratings Low In Germany As P.O.D., Lenny Kravitz Thrill Festival"). Traynor had been subbing for Pulsford on Bush's tour while he spent time at home with his newly expanded family.
"He didn't get kicked out. He didn't want to be on tour, and you can't kick someone out that isn't there," Rossdale said as he sat in a tent backstage, while fiancée Gwen Stefani, on a break from her tour with No Doubt, talked with friends nearby. "There was not a bad word, not any arguments. I respect him fully and think he's a really talented, brilliant musician. It's weird it's not like we've had a fight. It's not musical differences; there are no differences.
"It just became really apparent that Chris was the way to continue. It started off really organically, in that he wasn't going to replace Nigel."
Pulsford could not be reached for comment on Monday (May 20).
In a January journal posting on Bush's official Web site, Pulsford asserted that his break from the group was only temporary, writing, "Why would I quit something I started ... I haven't quit." The guitarist, who has been working on his second solo album, said he was taking a hiatus from the road so he could be home for the birth of his son, who arrived in early March.
Rossdale said he hasn't spoken with his old friend since December but said their relationship "will always be transcendental and very, very strong and full of love. We've done so much together that we don't need to speak, and we're connected. I think it's just awkward when it first happens, but I think in my heart, everyone got what they want.
"The last few months when he was in [the band], he was very unhappy. He never approached the subject with me, but I think he was quite unhappy touring and stuff. Everyone else knew, so it was quite a fractured environment to be in, whereas now it's the happy-happy bus, so it's fun.
"We're having the best time we've ever had, playing and being with Chris," he continued. "It's like having a new member of your family, like adopting someone."
While the band plans to record its next album with Traynor, Rossdale said that things with Pulsford might still change. "We haven't said anything publicly because we didn't know; it wasn't that we were holding anything back. And even to this point, there's an element that we don't know is Nigel going to ring up and say, 'F--- it, I really want to do it. Are you going to let me do it?' But I don't think [he will]."
The singer said that while he spent some time reevaluating and questioning Bush's future as a result of the uncertainty surrounding Pulsford's commitment, he found resolve in touring with Traynor. Rossdale said he's looking forward to seeing what Bush will kick up in the studio with their new member, adding that he and Traynor recently worked on a few tracks in his home studio.
"We don't know what's going to happen with the next record," Rossdale said. "Whatever direction it's going to be, it won't be anything like we've done from a lead guitar point of view well, it will be a bit, 'cause I'm still here."