updated 11/07/2008 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 11/08/2008 AT 5:00 PM ET
Gavin Rossdale’s son Zuma is only 2 months old, but he’s already exhibiting a Zen-like personality that inspires his father.
“He’s super mellow, and at the moment very Buddha-like,” Rossdale told PEOPLE at BAFTA/LA’s Brittania Awards, where he performed Thursday night.
Still, Rossdale says Zuma has been a little bit fussier for mom Gwen Stefani than his older brother Kingston, 2, who was an even more blissed-out baby. “Apparently Zuma’s more trouble, but I thought that he was perfect all the way.”
Being a dad to the Buddha-esque babies has also had a spiritual effect on the former Bush frontman. “What I’ve found from having children is that they just want to make you be better,” said Rossdale. “Beforehand, without children, I think that I was probably more reckless and thinking a bit less about the consequences, and now I want to make sure I’m good for them when they check me out.”
Rossdale’s enjoying a career comeback with his first official solo album Wanderlust and the hit single “Love Remains the Same.”
Still, that success comes at a price. Being away from his kids leaves him “feeling a bit bad. Like, I left my son. He was on holiday and I left the older one to come here. So I feel bad leaving them.”
“I haven’t really written any songs about [my sons],” he says. But Rossdale is happy that fans are responding to his softer sound. “It’s just meant a lot, really, because of your faith. You keep making records and people hear them. I love singing and making music and so I’m into the success.”
Performing at the Brit-centric BAFTA/LA event returned the London-born singer to his roots, something he maintains at home. “At my house?” he says. “Yes, for sure. English roasts. Good tea. What else do I bring? Irony. A lot of irony. A very dry, caustic humor. You might not get it, but just as you think you haven’t got it, it turns around and whips you.”
The one purely American thing he can’t do without? Grinning, he says, “My wife.”