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Garbage is a rock/alternative USA/UK band that many described as "3 producers and a girl". But time has proved they are much more than that, after filling the charts with many of their hits, obtaining different awards and selling over 12 million copies, Garbage revealed as a solid band, much more than was expected at first.

These three guys are Butch Vig, Steve Marker and Duke Erikson, and the voice comes from Shirley Manson, a Scottish singer that previously was part of the group Angelfish.

Their albums are full of effects, mixing and post-production. No wonder 3 different producers are the core of the band that delivers a "wall of sound" for Shirley to fill with her smooth voice melodies and suggestive lyrics.

Their Sound and style

One of the most remarkable aspects about garbage is their unmistakable style and sound. They broke the rules of the music in the 90s with a unique mixture of drum beats, rhythm samples, keyboard melodies broken by screaming guitars and the soothing voice of Shirley.

With their blend of loops & effects the band creates fine, colourful ambients for their ballads and softer songs, or evilish screaming riffs along electronic rock/pop mixes to shake the stage as desired.

Last but not least, their lyrics are seductive, dark,unforgiving, beautiful and almost saddistic or even aggresive at times. Shirley revealed as a charismatic and powerful frontwoman & lyrics writer.

Taking all this into account Garbage can be regarded as the perfect blend of three mixing geniouses, combined with the punch of a Scottish singer that was born to take part in the project. How all this actually happened is yet to be told. Keep reading!


Back in 1993 Butch Vig (producer of albums such as Nirvana's "Nevermind" and Smashing Pumpkins "Siamese Dream") decided to form a new band along with a couple friends: Marker and Erikson, both producers too. They created their own studio, called "Smart Studios" After some tries with Vig as a singer, and having tried some other male singers in the past, they decided they needed a woman to be their voice.

Then one day they came across a video of Shirley Manson on MTv (she was lead singer of the group Angelfish then), and they contacted her. She didn't know who they were at first but after checking Vig's resume, she joined. "Garbage" was born.

The name "Garbage" actually comes from the feedback these three guys received from their earlier mixes in their studio, when they were told that their songs "sounded like garbage".

Shirley Manson had been part of a couple bands in the past: "Goodbye Mr Mackenzie" and later "Angelfish."

They soon started working and the first songs they made were to be part of the yet to arrive album named like the band. They were Stupid Girl, Queer, and Vow. Shirley started soon to add her bits to the songs, such as the unforgettable "I can't use what I can abuse", which are the first words you hear when you listen to "Vow".

As soon as they had a few tracks they released and sent a demo tape to many labels, without mentioning the real names of the people involved to avoid being pre-judged, and they signed with Mushroom U.K. and later with Almo for the U.S.A. Their first track to hit radio stations was "Vow", and it worked pretty well. It's funny that at this point they didn't even consider including this song in their soon to arrive new album, but in the end they did.

Their first album, called after the band, was just about to hit the streets. And the golden years of "Garbage" were about to begin.


The albums

Garbage (1995)

After being originally conceived as a studio project, "Garbage" album was released on 1995, making it to the top 20 in the USA and top 10 in U.K. It sold over 4 million copies.

Before the album was released there were already some singles playing in the radio, such as "Queer", "Only happy when it rains" and "Subhuman", this last one didn't actually appear on the album. One of the biggest hits in this record along with "Vow" was "Stupid girl", and later "Milk".

This album set a milestone with it's rock songs mixed with techno elements. There was really no such thing as Garbage by the time: a wall of effects and samples, guitar riffs and most of all: the mesmerizing verses from Shirley. The union of these three producers playing guitars, bass and drums along with such frontwoman made the combination shine.

The band made a 18 month world tour in 1996, and in the meantime they were already working on the songs of their next album, that took two years to arrive. Fans around the world were actually surprised when they saw them live, as Garbage was indeed a solid rock band. Garbage members have often stated that their live is much rockier than what the albums resemble. In that same year Garbage won the Breakthrough Artist award at the MTV Europe Music Awards.

Just before the new album appeared the band also released a compilation of videos called "Garbage Video" in 1997.


Only Happy When It Rains
As Heaven is Wide
Not My Idea
A Stroke of Luck
Stupid Girl
Dog New Tricks
My Lover's Box
Fix Me Now

Shirley Manson: Vocals, Guitar
Steve Marker: Guitars, Bass, Samples and loops
Duke Erikson: Guitars, Keyboards, Six-string and Fuzz Bass
Butch Vig: Drums, Loops, Noise and EFX

Version 2.0 (1998)

Version 2.0 was the natural continuation of their first album, and as such they decided to call it so, mantaining their core sound, their first single "Push it" soon made it to the top ten in the U.K.

An outstanding album indeed, Version 2.0 truly delivers some of their greatest hits so far. Once again Garbage succeeded creating a carefully constructed album that still managed to sound pure, fresh, real. Shirley keeps playing her role of bad girl gone wild, and the sounds and lyrics fit flawlessly.

Version 2.0 was nÂș1 on UK on release day, and went to 13th in the Billboard.

And once again Garbage packed their stuff and toured the world for a year and a half. Not bad for a band that some people considered "just some guys mixing stuff at their studio" when they started.

In 1999 they also took part in James Bond soundtrack for the film "The world is not enough", with the song with that same title, once again reaching the top 10s in many different countries.

Unforgettable ballads such as "You look so fine" and "Special", rock tunes like "Push it", "Hammering in my head" and pop hits such as "When I grow up" or "I think I'm Paranoid" make this a great album not to be missed.


Temptation Waits
I Think I'm Paranoid
When I Grow Up
Hammering In My Head
Push It
The Trick is to Keep Breathing
Sleep Together
Wicked Ways
You Look So Fine

Shirley Manson: vocals, electric guitar
Steve Marker: electric & acoustic guitars, synthesizers, laptop, programming, noises, bass
Duke Erikson: electric & acoustic guitars, synthesizers, programming, atmospherics, mellotron
Butch Vig: electric guitars, drums, efx & programming

Beautiful Garbage (2001)

Arguably their weakest album, it didn't achieve the success of their two previous albums. Nevertheless the album sold over a million copies in its first three months alone. The name comes from a blog that Shirley wrote by the times, which was called "Beautiful Garbage".

"Androgyny" was the first single, but soon after it was released the 9/11 tragedy ocurred and the promotion of the album stopped. The band made another tour through Europe and USA, and also took part in U2's Elevation tour.

Some of the best tracks from this third album are "Androgyny" and "Cherry lips" (Go baby Go GO!). Though many of the songs included are unremarkable, and many believed by the time that this could be the final nail in the coffin for the band, that wasn't true, and against all odds, they were soon to release a new, generally considered better, album.


Shut Your Mouth
Can't Cry These Tears
Till The Day I Die
Cup Of Coffee
Silence Is Golden
Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)
Breaking Up The Girl
Drive You Home
Nobody Loves You
So Like A Rose

Shirley Manson: vocals, electric guitar
Steve Marker: electric & acoustic guitars, synthesizers, laptop, programming, noises, bass
Duke Erikson: electric & acoustic guitars, synthesizers, programming, atmospherics, mellotron
Butch Vig: electric guitars, drums, efx & programming
Daniel Shulman: bass

Bleed like me (2005)

This is once again a solid album that truly delivers the sound and tracks spected from Garbage from beginning to end. Awesome sounding guitars in "Bad Boyfriend", "Why do you love me", rocking in "Silence is Golden" and "Boys wanna Fight", and once again dark and disturbing in themes such as "Bleed like me", the album shines and puts Garbage high in the lists, as they deserve.

As stated by Garbage members, the existence of this 4th album is somewhat of a miracle, given the amount of circumstances that were against the band during the recordings.

Just after they started recording the first track Shirley had to undergo surgery on her right vocal chord, and couldn't join again until the middle of 2003. If that wasn't enough there were internal problems among the members and they splitted. But come 2004 they regrouped to record a new song, "Bad Boyfriend", and the result was promising.

With renewed hope they continued working and recovered the spirit of the earlier songs of the band, recording "Metal Heart" and "Boys wanna fight".

The first single was "Why do you love me", and it was a good one. Garbage was back.

They started a new world tour, but sadly they decided to cancel part of it and stated they were making an indefinite "pause" in their career. Too bad for their fans.


Bad Boyfriend
Run Baby Run
Right Between the Eyes
Why Do You Love Me
Bleed Like Me
Metal Heart
Sex is not the Enemy
It's all over but the Crying
Boys Wanna Fight
Why Don't you come Over
Happy Home

Shirley Manson: vocals, electric guitar
Steve Marker: electric & acoustic guitars, synthesizers, laptop, programming, noises, bass overdubs on Bad Boyfriend & Metal Heart
Duke Erikson: electric & acoustic guitars, synthesizers, programming, atmospherics, mellotron & piano on It's All About The Crying & Happy Home
Butch Vig: electric guitars, drums, efx & programming, bass on Bleed Like Me
Justin Medal-Johnson: Bass

Absolute Garbage (2007)

Last of their albums is just a Greatest Hits album which contains two previously unreleased tracks called "Tell Me Where It Hurts" & a remix of "It's all over but the Crying". There's an iTunes version also which features the track "All the good in this life."


Vow [Remastered 2007]
Queer [Remastered 2007]
Only Happy When It Rains [Remastered 2007]
Stupid Girl [Remastered 2007]
Milk [Remastered 2007]
1 Crush - (Nellee Hooper Remix) [Remastered 2007]
Push It [Remastered 2007]
I Think I?m Paranoid [Remastered 2007]
Special [Remastered 2007]
When I Grow Up [Remastered 2007]
You Look So Fine [Remastered 2007]
The World is Not Enough [Remastered 2007]
Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!) [Remastered 2007]
Shut Your Mouth [Remastered 2007]
Why Do You Love Me [Remastered 2007]
Bleed Like Me [Remastered 2007]
Tell Me Where It Hurts [Remastered 2007]
It's All Over But The Crying - (Garbage Remix)

Shirley Manson: Vocals
Steve Marker: Guitar
Duke Erikson: Guitar
Butch Vig: Drums

The Singles

Since 1995 Garbage issued 25 singles:

Garbage singles

1995 "Vow"
1995 "Subhuman"
1995 "Only Happy When It Rains"
1995 "Queer"
1996 "Stupid Girl"
1996 "Milk"

Version 2.0 singles

1998 "Push It"
1998 "I Think I'm Paranoid"
1998 "Special"
1999 "When I Grow Up"
1999 "The Trick is To Keep Breathing"
1999 "You Look So Fine"

Beautiful Garbage singles

2001 "Androgyny"
2002 "Cherry Lips"
2002 "Breaking Up the Girl"
2002 "Shut Your Mouth"

Bleed Like Me singles

2005 "Why Do You Love Me"
2005 "Bleed Like Me (single)"
2005 "Sex Is Not The Enemy"
2005 "Run Baby Run"

Absolute Garbage singles

2007 "Tell Me Where It Hurts"
2007 "It's All Over But The Crying"

SoundTracks singles

1997 "1 Crush" Romeo + Juliet" Soundtrack)
1998 "As heaven is wide" (PS1 Gran Turismo game Soundtrack)
1999 "The World is Not Enough" ("007:The world is not enough" Soundtrack)

Future Projects

Shirley has worked along many other artists (Gavin Rossdale, Bech, Paul Buchanan, Erik Avery among others) and plans to release a solo album in 2008.

Vig keeps working as a producer and has released albums for The Subways, Jimmy Eat World and Against Me! in the last couple years.

Rumor has it that after releasing their last album the band had plans to regroup and record a new album in 2008, but there's no news about it at their official site yet. In words of Vig: "We're thinking about it...I think we're more interested in making something that's much more primal and stripped down. Absolute Garbage is the postscript to chapter one. Whatever we do next will definitely be chapter two."


Shirley Manson (UK): Vocals
Steve Marker (USA): Guitar, synthesizers, laptop, programming, noises, bass overdubs
Duke Erikson (USA): Guitar, synthesizers, programming, atmospherics
Butch Vig (USA): Drums, electric guitars, efx & programming, bass


Garbage Homepage
Lyrics page




Originally by Fran