Institute was formed in 2004 in the wake of a hiatus of lead singer Gavin Rossdale’s other band, Bush. Rossdale formed Institute with Chris Traynor, who played guitar on Bush’s last tour and is of Helmet, after Bush agreed upon taking a break after their last album, Golden State. The two later enlisted the help of bassist Cache Tolman (of Rival Schools fame) and drummer Josh Freese. Freese was only enlisted temporarily, as the band needed a drummer for the recording of their first album, Distort Yourself. Rossdale later recruited Charlie Walker (known for his work with Split Lip and Chamberlain, in addition to a temporary stint in Helmet) to take Freese’s spot and round out the band.
After reuniting with Interscope Records (Interscope released Bush’s first three albums), Rossdale started work on Distort Yourself with Interscope Producer and Helmet frontman, Page Hamilton. Rossdale chose Hamilton to produce the band’s debut album after being told Hamilton could provide the guitar sound that he was looking for. Though not known for producing rock ballads, Hamilton also proved keen towards Rossdale’s lighter songs, such as “Ambulances”, which features Gavin’s wife Gwen Stefani, singer of No Doubt and successful solo artist.
Distort Yourself was released September 13, 2005 via Interscope Records and debuted at #81 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts with first week sales slightly over 12,000. The album’s first single, “Bullet Proof Skin”, was featured on the movie Stealth’s soundtrack and has reached a peak of 28th on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart and 29th on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart. It was also featured on EA’s NHL 2006.
Institute have played numerous Bush songs live, including (but not limited to) “Machinehead”, “The People That We Love”, “Swallowed”, an acoustic version of “Comedown”, and “Glycerine”.
In late 2005, Institute opened for U2 for several of their Vertigo Tour dates. It is unlikely that Institute will reunite any time soon based on the fact that Gavin stated he “enjoyed being in that band” and that he was moving on with production of a solo album.
* Distort Yourself (2005)