Sick Riffs: Gavin Rossdale and Chris Traynor teach you two massive Bush hooks

Gavin Rossdale and Chris Traynor of Bush
(Image credit: Bush)

Sick Riffs #22 and #23: Today's Sick Riff is a big one. Not only because it's from alt-rock icons Bush, but because we've got two lessons for you - one from frontman Gavin Rossdale and the other from lead guitarist Chris Traynor.

Rossdale shows you how to play one of the band's early hits Everything Zen, while lead guitarist Chris Traynor teaches the band's latest single, Flowers on a Grave, taken from forthcoming album The Kingdom, which is due for release this summer via BMG.

Everything Zen

Rossdale demonstrates the modified powerchord hook of Everything Zen using a Bigsby-modded Fender '67 Jazzmaster electric guitar, formerly owned by none other than Eagles legend Joe Walsh - and which happens to be the same guitar he used to record the album Sixteen Stone - running through a Vox practice amp.

"The Coronavirus is terrifying," he says. "You can only hope that since we see that we are so interdependent, we all need each other more now than we ever knew. And we are fragile. Let’s hope that when life is back to normal freedoms, we come as the best part of ourselves."

Flowers on a Grave

For the octave riffs that make up Flowers on a Grave, Traynor uses a 1971 Gibson Les Paul Custom running through a UAD Diesel amp plugin. The audio is captured using a Slate Digital Audio M1 microphone.

"Bush had just released a new song when the pandemic really started to shut everything down," he says. "It’s strange to have music that you’ve put your heart and soul into drop at a time when the world has turned upside down, but maybe in a way this is the best time to share what we love and what we create. 

"I, like many musicians and people in the music industry, have lost work due to the inability to tour or even get together with other musicians to create new music in the studio. I’ve been using my shelter at home time to complete my small project studio, learn some new things on the guitar, and to teach lessons over FaceTime and Skype. 

"I was lucky that my family is all in one place, and we are using our together time to appreciate the slowness of our daily life, playing board games, drawing pictures for each other and cooking family meals together. 

"My daughter asked me to teach her a Beatles song on the guitar the other day and it’s been a joy to hear her playing guitar in the house. I’m hoping everyone reading this stays safe at home, healthy in body and mind and is making a dent in all those small projects we swore we would do if we just had more time."

Support Bush

Sick Riffs is a Guitar World video series designed to help guitarists affected by the coronavirus. Self-isolating players around the world have each filmed a lesson where they teach you one of their own guitar riffs, up close and personal. If you dig the lesson, we encourage you to buy music and merch from the artist or stream their music.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.