Garbage: Label 'Washed Their Hands of Us'
If the members of Garbage have their way, there won't be another seven-year gap between its albums.
"Not Your Kind of People," which comes out May 14, is the quartet's first set of new material since "Bleed Like Me" in 2005 (with the compilation "Absolute Garbage" out during the interim, in 2007). But the group had such a good time making its latest effort that singer Shirley Manson tells Billboard.com that she "would hate for there to be another hiatus for that long.
"I don't think it would be good for any of us," Manson explains. "I think right now everyone feels in a very good place, creatively. How long everyone will have the stomach for the road I'm not sure, but I do know everybody is excited about making music, so we'll see. On one hand we have no expectations, and yet I'd be a liar to say we don't have hopes."
Bandmate Butch Vig joins Manson in predicting that "we won't be going on hiatus, at least not any time in the near future. We were all pretty excited about this recording process, and I think there are a lot of ideas that are still percolating in our brain space as a band." In fact, Vig says Garbage worked on "25 or 26 songs" for "Not Your Kind of People," with some of those tracks still in "bits and pieces" but representing what could be a head start towards more new Garbage music.
"We do want to finish a lot of these other songs," he says. "There's a week coming off coming up in May, so we might try to mix three or four more of the ones that didn't get mixed yet. Since we're our own label now we may just put out an EP later in the year or add some bonus tracks to the next single. I think we want everything to come out because I think there are some great songs that didn't make the record. I think you're going to see a lot more material coming out the next year or so, so fans should just keep their eyes on Facebook and our web site and there may be some surprises."
Both Manson and Vig says that leaving the major label world and going independent with its own STUNVOLUME imprint was crucial to Garbage's survival as a band. By the end of the "Bleed Like Me" cycle, relations had frayed with Interscope's Geffen Records, which picked Garbage up after the closing of Almo Sounds, which released the band's first two albums. "We were just at odds with the whole (major label) system morally and intellectually," Manson explains. "We were stuck with a record label who didn't give two flying s***** about us because they couldn't get us on the radio. They were totally disinterested and washed their hands of us... We were constantly surrounded by such negativity that it just ends up eating away at the individuals in the band and we began to take it out on one another. It was not a good situation."
After Geffen turned down a proposed Manson solo album -- "They thought it was too obtuse and too dark and they couldn't get it played on pop radio and they wanted me to be the kind of artist to make big pop hits," she says -- Garbage reconvened. There was some trepidation left over from the "black cloud" of "Bleed Like Me," according to Vig, but that quickly passed as the group got to work.
"We were all pleased to notice on the first day there just didn't seem to be any personal tensions," he recalls. "Enough time had passed that any sort of weirdness or tension that had risen between us all had dissipated. So it was easy. There was no one telling us what to do. We weren't signed to a label. We were between managers. So we made this on our own terms, and we decided early on we didn't want to reinvent ourselves, we just wanted to embrace exactly who we are and do the things as a band that we love. I think that's one reason why there is a vibe or a spirit that some people have said is reminiscent of the first Garbage record."
With the album's first single, "Blood For Poppies," out, Garbage has already hit the road for dates in North America and Europe. The group is currently booked into July, and Manson -- who also joined the cast of the Fox sci-fi drama "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" -- says Garbage is "sort of taking it one step at a time. We don't know what interest, if any, there will be in Garbage in the long run. We booked some very small shows which have sold out really fast. Clearly our fans have all rallied to our side and are excited to see us...and then if there's more interest we'll tour some more in the fall."
Vig adds that, "In the past we've gone out for 18 months on tours. I don't know how long it will be this time, but...as long as we're having fun and everybody's staying healthy, who knows. It may be a pretty long tour."