G is for Garbage

For a band named after a stinking pile of compost Garbage seem to have done rather well for themselves. A bit grungy with a pop edge and a Scots-American composition, Garbage were one of the bands that gave the Nineties its distinctive sound.

They have had something of a revival in recent years and appear to be a hot-ish commodity again.

Garbage were formed in Madison, Wisconsin in 1994. American musicians Duke Erikson (bass, guitar, keyboards, percussion), Steve Marker (guitar, keyboards) and Butch Vig (drums, percussion) auditioned for a woman to front the band and settled on Shirley Manson, a fiery Scottish redhead who says fuck a lot.

I first heard Garbage through Stupid Girl, during the nineties but people were too fixated on Blur and Oasis back then to give Garbage much attention.

Looking back there were rather a lot of good tracks such as Milk, Special and You Look so Fine. You can still sometimes hear Garbage today in places like malls in America so they clearly have some staying power.

In a March 2012 interview with Vanity Fair Manson suggests bands and artists are so abysmally pants these days - my words not hers - because everyone is scared post 9/11. I don't know if this is the reason or if I'm just dismissive about new stuff because I'm old, but it sounds like an interesting theory.

"It’s a post-September 11 thing, where we have been living essentially in wartime. People are fearful and are unable to articulate their fear, so it’s buried under the carpet. I think that’s one of the reasons why we’ve had a proliferation of happy pop music, to buoy one’s spirits and make everyone feel safe," she said.

Or maybe it's because someone let Simon Cowell rule the world.

In another exert from the Vanity Fair interview Manson says: "Now everything has fallen back down a little, and it’s almost like the Mad Men era, where women are supposed to be perfect. They can do their job, but they have to have children and they have to be good moms and they have to look pretty at all times and they have to be always smiling and it must be fucking exhausting."

Manson, who has also been cast in some acting roles seems to have a rather pragmatic view of the world. Still you are unlikely to get carried away with yourself if you spend half of the time half freezing to death in Scotland and the other half of the time in chilly Madison, Wisconsin.

Curious fact about Garbage - Manson described her first session with the other band members as a "disaster" and said both herself and the other band members were "totally uncomfortable" with the situation.


  1. I have heard of the band but had no idea of their sound. No idea it had a female lead. I like the tracks you posted.

    But I much prefer male lead bands

  2. thanks - yep I guess male leads are more common.

  3. My only experience w/ Shirley Manson was when she was in "Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles" several years ago, as a more 'feeling' Terminator....she was brutal when she needed to be but didn't terminate everyone in her path either.

  4. Great band. I crossed paths with Vig in Madison one night. He was recording with the smashing pumpkins, and he and the band came in to eat at this place called Cafe Palms. One of my favorite memories from the Madison days.

  5. I loved learning more about this band! I was a fan in middle school, back when they were in their prime. Their sound and several of their songs really do define the 1990s.

    I remember 15 years ago or so, Shirley got into a huge backstage brawl with Jennifer Lopez, who was a brand new diva at the time. It was all over the news. When Garbage disappeared soon after, I often wondered if Shirley had left the music scene because it had been invaded by pretty plastic faces like JLO and Britney...

  6. I'm not familiar with many bands. Didn't hear of this one until I stopped in here.

  7. Love your blog David. You've covered so many of my favorite musicians already in the challenge and we've only gotten to G! I've joined up here because I'm looking forward to seeing more videos that I haven't seen in years. Of course, I want to see what else you're doing here too. Glad you left a comment this evening on my blog so that I was able to find you. I try to visit different blogs every day in the list, but there are so many. I'll definitely be back here too!

  8. Garbage! They are still in my iPod rotation which sounds so awful, yet necessary.

  9. Never heard of Garbage, but I like their bold name choice.

    Be well, David.

  10. Hello, David! My sister was a huge fan of Garbage in the 1990s. I'm sure she still has their CDs. Next time I see her we'll have to get them out and relive that decade, haha.

    Hope you had a great weekend and happy A to Z!!

  11. that's cool Jo Jo - is there such a thing as a feeling terminator? Awesome memory, Tim.

  12. Glad you are familiar with them Jen - hmm. It did go in that direction, I guess. Thanks for stopping by JL

  13. Thanks Tracy - so glad you found it. I'm afraid I'm always tardy with my replies. We all need ipod rotation Deborah

  14. thx so much Robyn, thanks Laura - good luck with the A-Z too


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