Gavin Rossdale raises a racket for Andy Roddick

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Rock-n-Racquets

  • What: Tennis matches between Andy Roddick and John Isner and Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki
  • Where: Thompson-Boling Arena
  • When: 2 p.m. Sunday
  • Tickets: $12-$50, available at all Tickets Unlimited outlets, 865-656-4444, www.knoxvilletickets.com

Gavin Rossdale admits that his gig in Knoxville will be a little unorthodox. Rossdale is performing as part of the BB&T Rock-n-Racquets event, a charity event featuring tennis stars Andy Roddick and Serena Williams.

"It is a kind of twisted situation to be singing at a tennis event, but I like strange!" says Rossdale from his Los Angeles office.

The event will benefit the Andy Roddick Foundation, which raises funds for institutions that care for neglected and abused children and children with catastrophic illnesses.

"It's going to be a fun gig," says Rossdale.

A native of London, Rossdale first found success with the band Bush. The group's 1994 album, "Sixteen Stone," sold more than six million copies and established the band as a major concern. The band went on hiatus in 2002 and Rossdale formed the band Institute in 2005 and, earlier this year, released his first solo album, "Wanderlust." Rossdale's song "Love Remains the Same" went to No. 2 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and remains on the chart's Top 10.

Rossdale says he likes both Roddick and his charity, so he decided to extend the time he was on the road.

"I was going to finish on a Friday in Washington and thought, 'What the hell? Let's play for some people.' Having the luck of a hit record is fantastic, but nothing takes the place of singing for people."

The event will include exhibition tennis matches before Rossdale performs an acoustic set. Playing acoustic, he says, is very different from performing a full-out rock show.

"It really (expletive) with my moonwalking!" he says with a laugh. "It's a different challenge. No lighting, no staging, no grandeur of a rock show, which (is what) I'm used to. It just comes down to the question: Can you sing? I love it. I enjoy to sing and play, so I'm a sucker for it."

In 2002, Rossdale is married fellow rock performer Gwen Stefani and the two now have two sons, Kingston, 2, and, Zuma, who was born in August. As a celebrity couple living in Los Angeles, Rossdale and Stefani have become fodder for the tabloids.

"It's a nightmare," says Rossdale. "It just detracts so much from the music. Mystery is everything in music. My favorite music, my favorite artists, my favorite records, I don't want the details. Leave me alone with it. You made it. I bought it. Bye-bye. Let me live with it. But now it's like, 'Look, it's John Bonham coming out of the dry cleaners!' You think John Bonham never had to get coffee? Now you've got to photograph it? It's just annoying. Music and writing stuff, actors, it's all about the mystique of stuff. I understand it, but it (expletive) me off that you just can't let people do what they do. But with the paparazzi following us around, I just let it ride. I don't get annoyed with it because then I'd be doubly annoyed. But walk through any airport and every dimwit in the world is reading those magazines. They couldn't be more popular."

But even with photographers stalking the couple in Los Angeles and camping out when they go to London, Rossdale says, he shouldn't complain.

"There are so many other things to complain about. There's nothing worse than hearing somebody complaining who has a seemingly charmed life. It's my fault for living in L.A."

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