Led by guitarist/vocalist Gavin Rossdale, Bush became the first post-Nirvana British band to hit it big in America. Of course, they became a hit by playing by the grunge rules — they had loud guitars, guttural vocals, stop-start rhythms, and extreme dynamics. Formed in late 1992 by Rossdale, Bush landed an American record deal before they had a British label. Sixteen Stone, their debut album produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley (producers of early-'80s hits by Madness and Elvis Costello, among others), was released in late 1994 by Interscope Records. By the end of December, Bush's "Everything Zen" video had landed in MTV's Buzz Bin and the album began to take off; by spring of 1995, the record had gone gold, despite a stack of bad reviews. By that time, the band was successful enough in the U.S. to land a British record deal, although they weren't able to match their American success in the U.K.
Over the course of 1995, Sixteen Stone became a major hit in the U.S., with "Little Things" reaching number four on the modern rock charts in the spring; later that year "Comedown" and "Glycerine" both reached number one on the modern rock charts, as well as crossing over into the pop Top 40. Despite their success, Bush received scathing reviews from the press and many alternative rock insiders who believed the group was manufactured. To counter such charges, the band asked Steve Albini — notorious for his abrasive productions for not only Pixies, Nirvana, and PJ Harvey, but also countless indie bands — to helm its second album. The resulting album, Razorblade Suitcase, was released in time for the Christmas season of 1996. Razorblade Suitcase was greeted with mixed reviews that were nevertheless more positive than those surrounding Sixteen Stone, and the album entered the U.S. charts at number one, as well as made some headway in the U.K. However, by the spring of 1997, the album had stalled somewhat, producing only one major hit in "Swallowed," and reaching only double platinum status. Deconstructed, a collection of electronic remixes, appeared in late 1997, and in the fall of 1999 Bush returned with The Science of Things. In late 2001, they went back to basics with the guitar-driven album Golden State. Although it didn't storm the charts like previous albums, fans still supported Bush. A sold-out tour across North America followed. During this time, Helmet guitarist Chris Traynor was added as a touring member. Shifts within the band, however, took a sharp turn several months later when founding member Nigel Pulsford announced his departure in May. Pulsford, who had started a solo career as well as a new family, left without much drama and disapproval. Traynor stepped in to fill his shoes.