"It's been a really bonding experience," says the rocker of taking his 3-year-old son on tour

By Marisa Laudadio
Updated May 26, 2009 03:25 PM
Mia Silbaugh

From art museums to dingy dressing rooms, movie marathons on the bus to summer music festivals in front of thousands, Gavin and Kingston Rossdale have seen it all – together.

“It’s been a really bonding experience,” Rossdale tells PEOPLE of taking his son, 3, on the first leg of his U.S. tour. “He likes hanging out. He’s so natural, so easy.”

Rossdale, who is on the road until June 7 in support of his album Wanderlust, has found a happy balance between his home and work lives. “I love playing shows. It makes for a dynamic life,” says the British rocker, 43. “If Bob Marley could have a wicked home life and 14 children and then go out and play, why can’t I?”

As for how to handle parenting on the road, Rossdale adds: “For anyone who has kids, you bring them along in your life and they adapt to where you’re at. You keep them fed and rested and pay lots of attention to them and they’re fine.”

Life on Tour

In between interviews and radio station visits during the day, Rossdale and Kingston hit kid-friendly spots along their tour route, like the Seattle Aquarium or the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor, Maine. “Sometimes we’ll go to museums of modern art so he can see a big splash of color on the walls,” says Rossdale.

They also make up games together. “I found a way to kill some time in New York by asking him to look out the window and tell me every time he saw a yellow taxi,” says Dad with a chuckle. “He was so into it. We had a really good time.”

The guys also bond – and clash – over movie time on the bus. “He likes to watch the same thing over and over. For King, basically it’s The Cat in the Hat, Over the Hedge and Cars,” says Rossdale. “We went through The Polar Express. I could have been in that film, I know it by heart!”

Adds the doting dad: “I’ve got loads of surf videos. Now he uses the phrase ‘that’s boring.’ He’ll turn it off – he knows how to operate the DVD player.”

A Family Affair

Kingston hit the road with his dad in April and early May before joining mom Gwen Stefani, 39, and baby brother Zuma, 9 months, on No Doubt’s summer tour a few weeks ago.

Despite their seemingly unconventional lifestyle, touring suits Rossdale’s family. “We keep [Kingston] on West Coast time when we’re on the East Coast. He normally goes to bed at 8. It’s all about his comfort and everything else is second,” says Rossdale, adding that his son, who wears protective headphones, likes to rock out on the drums during sound checks and often imitates Dad on air guitar as he watches a performance from the back of a venue.

As for trading touring tips and tricks with his wife? “We’re both too exhausted to discuss it,” says Rossdale with a laugh. “We’re both commandos. You just find a way like every other parent. There’s nothing unique about that.”

Rossdale says his eldest son is lucky because he can accompany his parents on the job. “He sees that it’s a lot of effort and a lot of work too. My own father was working all the time, from 8 in the morning until 8 in the night, five, six days a week,” he says. “Kingston sees that if you want to get something done, you have to work.”

Whether Kingston will follow in his parents’ famous footsteps remains to be seen. “We’d support anything he wants to do. It’s just such a wide world. Maybe he’ll want to be an architect and build buildings. That,” says Rossdale, “would be cool.”

Catch Rossdale on his remaining U.S. tour dates:

May 28, Voodoo Lounge, N. Kansas City, Mo.
May 29, Whiskey Roadhouse at Horseshoe Casino, Council Bluffs, Iowa
May 31, Gothic Theatre, Denver
June 2, The Filmore, San Francisco
June 4, House of Blues, San Diego
June 5, Hard Rock, Las Vegas
June 6, El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles
June 7, House of Blues, Anaheim, Calif.

Happy birthday, Kingston! Check out the Celebrity Baby Blog’s Kingston Rossdale: Rockin’ at 3! gallery.