Ask Billboard: Robin Sparkles, Garbage, Alkaline Trio, Bayside

Keith and his readers discuss Robin Sparkles, Garbage, Alkaline Trio, Bayside and more!

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Keith,

I'm a huge fan of the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," which airs on CBS in the U.S. Over the last two seasons, two songs have been uncovered which were recorded by one of the characters' alter egos, Robin Sparkles.

I know that both "Let's Go to the Mall" and "Sandcastles in the Sand" have been released online, and I would love to know approximately how many copies each of these songs has sold. I'm sure they have been quite popular with fans of the show!

John Rowley

Hi John,

Robin Sparkles was the stage name used by the "How I Met Your Mother" character Robin Scherbatsky when she had a brief pop music career. According to "Mother" lore, Sparkles had two hit singles: "Let's Go to the Mall" and its follow-up "Sandcastles in the Sand."

In the real world, "Mall" has sold 4,000 digital downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan, while "Sand" has shifted 1,000.

"How I Met Your Mother" returns with new episodes in the U.S. on Monday, Sept. 22 at 8:30 PM. The show recently garnered two Emmy award nominations, with co-star Neil Patrick Harris earning a nod for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. The 60th annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on Sept. 21.



Just writing you to see if you have any information on one of my favorite bands Garbage and its front woman Shirley Manson.

I am aware that she has been added to the cast of Fox's drama series "Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles," which is awesome. But I was wondering if her much talked about debut solo album has been shelved or if it will ever see a release date. Or will she be reuniting with her band for a new project?

Also, could you give a quick rundown of the sales figures of Garbage's four studio albums and their best-of compilation? Thanks for the info!

Jeffrey Goodall
Mayfield, Penn.

Hello Jeffrey,

In April, Shirley Manson spoke to the Edinburgh newspaper "The Scotsman" about her recording career and the status of her in-the-works solo album.

She said, "I had a lot of material, but unfortunately I played it for my record label (Almo Sounds/Geffen) and they thought it was very 'noir,' which I took as a huge compliment until I got home and realized they didn't mean it as a compliment at all. As a result we're sort of at an impasse. I don't know what will happen. I think, maybe, they have a different idea of the kind of career I should have to the one that I want."

So, it would seem that her solo album is on the back burner for the moment.

"The Scotsman" interview also indicated that Manson and Garbage are on hiatus.

As for Garbage's sale history, here you go:

"Garbage" (1995; 2.4 million)
"Version 2.0" (1998; 1.7 million)
"Beautiful Garbage" (2001; 405,000)
"Bleed Like Me" (2005; 280,000)
"Absolute Garbage" (2007; 66,000)



I am a massive fan of Alkaline Trio and also Bayside and have been to see them every time they have come to the U.K.

I was wondering how many albums both bands have sold to date, including Alkaline's new release "Agony and Irony."


Ben Boss
Guernsey, Channel Islands
United Kingdom

Hello Ben,

Here is a quick recap of the U.S. sales figures, per Nielsen SoundScan, for each of Alkaline Trio and Bayside's full-length albums.

Alkaline Trio
"Goddamnit" (1998; 94,000)
"Maybe I'll Catch Fire" (2000; 85,000)
"Alkaline Trio" (2000; 85,000)
"From Here to Infirmary" (2001; 175,000) "Good Mourning" (2003; 258,000) "Crimson" (2005; 204,000) "Remains" (2007; 60,000) "Agony and Irony" (2008; 57,000)

"Sirens and Condolences" (2004; 59,000)
"Bayside" (2005; 79,000)
"Acoustic" (2006; 37,000)
"The Walking Wounded" (2007; 69,000)