DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK Garbage's new disc, Not Your Kind of People, is a return to
electronic-rock form from the '90s hit-machine.
Lots of folks are calling this outing by Garbage a reunion, but according to frontwoman Shirley Manson, it's nothing of the sort; it was just the right moment for the alt-rockers to rev it up again after a seven-year chill period. "There were a lot of things that led up to the decision," Manson said from New York City on Monday, the day the second leg of the alt-rock band's Stateside tour kicks off. The band play a sold-out show at Paradise this Saturday. "Mostly, enough time had passed and we all realized that in order to make a new record we all had to be rejuvenated and excited about the prospect of working together again. It took a little longer than we expected, but we all seemed to come to the conclusion at the same time that we were ready."
For the reboot to work, it was imperative that the band not simply cash in on the '90s nostalgia trip. Sure, the Garbage name is a viable one. Check delectable songs like "Queer," "Vow," and "I Think I'm Paranoid," all of which are more than just a slice of that time period's landscape — they're ice-cool pop that transcends an era, not something you'd want to mess around with by phoning it in. With producer and band drummer Butch Vig at the helm, Garbage hunkered down and made it real for the recently released Not Your Kind of People (Stunvolume), a dizzying array of guitar, electronics, and pop that showcased what made the four-piece so alluring in the first place.
"We had something to say and we were excited about working together again," says Manson. She was initially spurred on by her agent, who categorically told her, "We need women out there who are coming from a sort of alternative angle. Get your finger out of your butt, stop watching basketball, and do something." Manson then rang up the boys from the group, who were all too ready to turn the key again. "Instinctively, we knew that if we didn't make a good record, we'd be so disappointed with ourselves," she says. "In terms of the four of us, and what the band means to us, I think everybody really understood that. Nobody held back, and we all sort of pushed one another. There was a sort of competitive attitude in the studio which I think makes it exciting. I think that was vital to the process."
Manson toyed with the idea of a solo career at one point, but that idea was quickly nixed when it turned out that the label envisioned her as a pop star, determined to tone down her edgy nature. Also, as she emphasizes, other projects made no sense, "because Garbage is my favorite band."
But again, don't say "comeback," because though there may have been a delay in the proceedings, Manson didn't even consider that Garbage had called it a day. "There were moments for me where I didn't know how we were going to get things back up and running again, because the laws of inertia decree that it's practically an impossibility. But I never thought for a moment that we wouldn't come back and have at it again, because that's who we are as people — dogged hustlers in a way. I knew we had something left in the tank."