Gavin Rossdale Shows How Celebrity Weed Features Should Be Done

High Times took Bush Frontman Gavin Rossdale on a mini-tour of New York City’s licensed and unlicensed hot spots.
Rossdale
Photos by Jhalil D. Wright

Since breaking through with Sixteen Stone in 1994, Bush’s Gavin Rossdale has been a music industry mainstay. The debut album peaked at #4 on the Billboard charts, leading to successful albums and side projects over the next three decades.

The band’s debut release, known for hits like “Machinehead” and “Glycerine,” solidified Bush’s 90s legacy. They continued with chart-topping releases, including 1996’s follow-up Razorblade Suitcase, and maintained momentum through the 2000s. Their latest album, The Art of Survival, released in 2022. 

The combined endeavors created a lasting impact in the ears and minds of listeners, amassing 24 million records sold and over a billion streams across various platforms. With Gen-Z leading a 90s revival in recent years, the band has earned scores more fans while reminding older listeners that unlike some 90s acts, Bush isn’t a nostalgia act. 

That’s great and all, but why are we talking about this in a weed publication?

Great question! It all boils down to authenticity. Gavin Rossdale’s eager engagement with New York’s weed culture, exploring both licensed and unlicensed scenes, stands out in the saturated world of celebrity weed narratives that few others have been willing to embark on. In doing so, he created a lasting experience for himself and hopefully readers. 

The Licensed Dispensary Experience

We introduced Rossdale to New York’s licensed cannabis scene with a stop at The Travel Agency in Union Square, a sleek, all-white interior dispensary with discreet marketing, thanks to state laws. Despite its unassuming street presence, marked only by a small sign above eye level, a joint-styled art installation in the window lets passersby know what’s inside.

Rossdale mentioned previously visiting one of the city’s untold number of unlicensed shops in the city. He discussed how the shop gave off a lack of trust and fostered shopper uncertainty about product quality and trust. 

“You’re just basically buying it old school from some dude on the corner,” he remarked. Rossdale felt similarly uncertain about licensed shop products, likely due to his unfamiliarity with many of the brands sold in the store and an inability to smell flower. 

However, he took a keen interest in learning. Photographer Jhalil D. Wright and I peppered Rossdale with facts about the market, products, and particular brands. Typically, this type of info dump leads many to tune out or lose interest. To the singer’s credit, he soaked up the information, showing an eagerness to learn about topics like market trust, sprayed terps, and drying and curing methods.

While shopping, the Bush frontman discussed his preference for smoking flower and largely avoiding pre-rolls. After browsing for a few minutes, Rossdale bought an eighth of Mimosa from Etain despite the restrictions on examining product before buying. He also scooped up edibles from Eaton Botanticals, infused olive oil from Chef for Higher, and Flintts Mints.

The experience was fine enough, or at least as much as a shop can deliver under New York law. But, like many legacy consumers, Rossdale seemed to be seeking something more hands-on. To get that, we visited the underground hotspot Astor Club

On the ride over, Rossdale discussed his preferences for weed over alcohol, stating that drinking and hangovers do not benefit singers while on tour. No matter the substance, Rossdale likes to remember that it should amplify the moment or intention, not bring someone down. He’s shared this with his three sons under-18. 

He emphasized the importance of telling them the truth. “Use it to amplify the moment instead of pull you down,” he explained. “My main thing is just to be a guy, to be helpful, not a hypocrite,” he said, noting that pot makes him feel creative. To maintain the effects to his ideal level, Rossdale tends to consume every few days. 

The Legacy Experience

At Astor Club, Rossdale found the cannabis experience he was looking for. No shade to The Travel Agency or any other licensed spot. It’s not their fault. The current state and federal regulations don’t allow dispensaries to compete with the flower or features found at underground meccas. On the other hand, Astor Club has cultivated a reputation for sourcing the top bud from elite producers across the country—all while creating an environment synonymous with the culture. 

After rolling up a J of Cookie Dough from Khashtree Mason, Rossdale was convinced. “It’s like Cristal Champagne,” he said, offering ample praise for the bud and the lounge. The Bush founder was so fond of the strain that he almost stuck to it exclusively. Staff ended up reminding him of their extensive menu, all top tier options in their own right. Eventually, a few different strains were selected and smoked.  

After smoking another J, Rossdale discussed his career and personal life in-depth. Feeling that living with intention, learning, and striving to improve are all important, he said, “You have to put everything into it.” As evidenced by Bush’s new harder rock and detuned sound, Rossdale said he loves finding new sounds and ways to play music, as evidenced by the detuned sound on the band’s 2022 album The Art of Survival

A greatest hits album, Loaded, was released in October 2023. Originally hesitant to put out a hits compilation and be seen as a fading act, Rossdale is now eager to see the band’s top works compiled together. 

“It’s been really fun to look back and see what those songs have done for other people,” Rossdale said, sharing a similar feeling when playing live. “When I play those big crowds, it’s really fun, because there’s all these memories emanating like shooting stars out of all the audiences.” The band embarks on a summer tour starting June 1. 

Despite the ongoing passion for music and performing, Rossdale does see retirement happening at some point. A self-proclaimed fan of restaurants and food, he recently put his passion on screen hosting his own celebrity cooking show, Rockstar Kitchen Chronicles, featuring guests such as Tom Jones and Jack McBrayer. 

Despite a love for food, music, the plant, and more, Rossdale envisions dogs as his ideal next career. “I would like to run a huge ranch for rescue dogs and animals,” he said. 

Enamored with the menu of choices, Rossdale, Jhalil and I departed Astor Club with a few more selections, including more Cookie Dough and Moon Doh from Archive

An Authentic Celebrity Experience

Credit to Rossdale and his public relations team. All too often, PR will pitch Zoom interviews and carefully curated celebrity press ops that blanket numerous outlets and reporters, often regurgitating the same talking points no matter the outlet. 

After years of writing up celeb features that didn’t do much for the plant or reader, I have chosen to steer clear of most star-studded coverage, especially those making the media rounds hawking their new seeds, strain, brand, etc. Rossdale was no doubt in press mode, promoting his new tour and latest single. But unlike far too many celebrities, he didn’t have a stake in the weed game. He just wanted to pick up, smoke, and talk shop. 

This simple, authentic concept is one few outside of hip hop have even flirted with on the record. And that’s a damn shame. The standard media approach does little for readers and, as sales seem to indicate, it does little to help most brands boost sales or awareness. Rather than Zoom-ing or calling it to discuss a fondness for weed, Rossdale showed up, discussed his own experiences, and demonstrated an authentic desire to learn more. In doing so, he got to see both sides of New York City’s weed community, and got hella high in the process. And, unless I fucked up in my role as the storyteller here, the Rossdale approach makes for a better story every time. 

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