Yes readers, the blog that spawned a million (alright, about 8) imitators has, not surprisingly out-lasted them all.
To celebrate my personal patch of cyber space’s fourth year I thought I’d post up my favourite interview of 2012 which Ms Shirley Manson from Garbage (which originally ran in Hot Press). She was awful nice.
Ahead of the release of their comeback album Not Your Kind Of People, Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson talks to Edwin McFee about break-downs, major label bust-ups and why she’s over the moon to be bucking the trends.
When most people get the so-called “seven year itch,” it’s safe to say that it results in break-ups, multiple mid-life crises, Eastenders-esque melt-downs and more for all involved. For the eternal round pegs in the square hole that is multi-million selling alt rock icons Garbage though, it has inspired the four-piece to reconnect with each other after their self-imposed hiatus and their soon to be released fifth album Not Your Kind Of People showcases a band that hasn’t missed a beat despite their near decade long absence.
“I can assure you, we’re missed many beats,” insists the band’s frontwoman Shirley Manson, before treating us to her infamous, and decidedly dirty laugh. “We’ve always known we’d regroup. I’m a dramatic person-but I’m also pragmatic at this point. We’re never gonna go ‘We’re done.’ It’s so stupid to make these massive proclamations about your band and your relationships and things that you love. We never said we’re done-we said we’re taking a break, you know?”
Recorded and self-produced in LA, their new album is the sound of a band who are eager to get back to their best after enduring a difficult few years and the singer tells us that going their separate ways on the short-lived world tour for their album Bleed Like Me in 2005 helped give them all a feeling of freedom to do what they wanted too.
“What was great about taking seven years off (and being more or less forgotten about) was we felt we could come to the table and do what we were good at and not have to be a young buck on the street trying to make that all important first impression. We’re not professing to be sonic pioneers in 2012. Fuck that, we don’t have to do that anymore. We don’t have to justify our existence.”
Released on their own label STUNVOLUME and indeed, on their own terms, Not Your Kind Of People sees the band break away from the clutches of major labels and for Shirley, the escape from that world was something that both her and fellow members Butch Vig, Steve Marker and Duke Erikson really needed.
“The great thing about a major label system is that when it’s working there’s no better way to get your music out to a massive audience-it’s inarguable,” begins the font-lady. “However, when it’s not working it can be really oppressive and create obstacles and rob you of your joy and that’s what happened to us. It’s very liberating now and it’s great to be free of the massive stupidity that you find sometimes in a major label system. Great things will never come from those joyless environments.
“The thing was, we never wanted to be involved with major labels,” she continues. “When we first started out in ’94 we were on an indie label and they got bought over by the majors and we were sold like a piece of sausage meat which psychologically, for people like us, was so damaging. It was devastating. I guess it ultimately wore us all down and you know what- I’ve just hit on it in this very last minute-I think as a band we got collectively depressed and that’s why we had to come off the road seven years ago.”
Determined to have one more bite of the cherry, Garbage dipped into a joint bank account that they set up when the likes of singles ‘Stupid Girl,’ ‘Only Happy When It Rains’ and more made them both household names and icons for the alternative generation and they used that cash to fund an album that they felt like they had to make.
“Maybe nobody gives a fuck anymore, but we needed to make this record,” considers the singer. “When we came off the road we had lost something. We lost our passion and excitement. We had really gotten beaten down and I felt determined to reignite thatjoy. So, basically, I stopped listening to new, contemporary music and went back to all my old vinyl and all those old records that had fired my imagination. I listened to Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie, Kaleidoscope by the Banshees, my first Clash record and more amazing albums and I got excited again. I just wanted to throw off any of those limitations that we maybe felt and have fun. We didn’t worry about whether this has been done before or whether it sounds a bit like Siouxsie. Instead I was just like-‘Fuck it, it this comesout and it sounds a bit like Siouxsie, I’m gonna fucking use it coz she’s cool as shit!”
With early reviews for their fifth album drawing favourable comparisons to their much-loved ’95 self-titled debut and festival slots, TV appearances and more coming in on a daily basis, it appears that the Garbage come-back is now officially on and while Shirley happily admits that’s she’s a little bemused by it all-she’s also over the moon about the reaction too.
“Absolutely no way did we ever think we’d endure like this,” concludes the Scot. “I mean…how the fuck have us oddball freako nerds got to this point where we now have a back catalogue? It’s crazy. To get to almost our 20th anniversary is rare for any band-let alone a female-fronted rock band. You can count how many women who’ve done what I’ve done on physical digits. It’s really rare in this world and to be honest-I can’t believe I have ended up being one of those females who have broken that rule. It makes me feel very proud and lucky.”
Not Your Kind Of People by Garbage is out on May 11 on STUNVOLUME Records.