It s all Garbage
Garbage. Picture: Supplied.

It was a long road that drew the members of Garbage back together, after the supergroup went on "indefinite hiatus" in 2005. But Scottish singer Shirley Manson knew they were really on to something when the band was writing Battle In Me, from their new album Not Your Kind of People.

"We got together in a studio for the first time in six years and chatted, laughed, drank and started to play music," Manson says down the line during a tour stop in Aston, Colorado.

"We got drunk and jammed and came up with Battle In Me. Even as I was mouthing the words, even as the melody was coming to me, I could hear the beginnings of something really exciting. I knew then 'If we can bring this energy that we're bringing right now to the whole album, we'll make a great record. 'Cause I feel excited and if I feel excited it means everybody else will feel that excitement'.

"That's what we were looking for; energy and passion and excitement. I think we somehow managed to get that on the record and that's why we've had such a great reaction to it so far."

Energy, passion and excitement were not in abundance in the Garbage camp when they played their final show in Perth at the Burswood Theatre on October 1, 2005. The performance itself was excellent but the band was stretched to its limits, mostly from its crumbling relationship with their US record label, Geffen.

"I really just remember that I wanted to go home," Manson recalls of the 2005 Bleed Like Me world tour. "I think we all wanted to protect our band. We felt that our band was in danger of being hurt if we had continued on past our gigs in Australia.

"We finished in Australia because we were still having fun, the gigs were incredible and the audiences were amazing. Our record company in Australia had always taken amazing care of us. We've had nothing but good experiences in Australia, so there was a reason why we continued on to Australia to finish our tour there. But we needed to regenerate ourselves and get acquainted with what our role was as a band again. I think we'd lost sight of that a little."

It seems to say something of the duty of care between the band members to agree that in order to protect Garbage they had to stop it completely.

"I think you're right in a way," Manson considers. "It is difficult for bands to take a risk like that. We knew we were taking a real risk by stepping out but I think we felt that our integrity was at stake and we didn't want to risk that. So we decided to gamble on ourselves and gamble on the fact that we knew, if we wanted to, we could come back and make another record. So we took the gamble and we'll live with the consequences of that, no matter what they happen to be."

Manson uses the Scottish euphemism "scunnered" to describe the way the band felt with their previous record company and its obsession with chart positions and pop success. Garbage have established their own label, STUNVOLUME, on which Not Your Kind of People and its lead-out single, Blood for Poppies, are the first missives.

The album comes after years of Butch Vig, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker producing other artists and Manson concentrating on family and some acting roles. She also had a solo album rejected by Geffen, who had wanted her to be "an Annie Lennox for the next generation". It's no wonder Garbage, who in their absence have emerged as an influence for many rock/electronic acts, came back to do what they do.

"I think we got to the point where we had to stop thinking about our reputation and what other people thought about us," Manson states. "In the past I think we've been guilty of worrying about that too much.

"The most important thing to us was making a record, not making a statement or trying to be the coolest band in the universe. I feel that we've made a contemporary sounding record that also sounds like classic Garbage. That's a pretty ideal place to be right now."

Manson feels for the likes of recent pop arrival Lana del Ray, whom she says suffers from the same misogyny the singer encountered when Garbage first emerged in 1995. "I see her enduring the same thing and I have a lot of sympathy, having been there myself."

And while there were many such frustrations in Garbage's past, Manson feels open and ready for the band's new future.

"Life throws curveballs at you on a daily basis, for the most part, and you just have to learn to flex and roll with it," she says.

"There's no outcomes you can control, there are no expectations that you can realistically meet. You just have to be brave and take risks and see where your life goes. That's what we're going to do with Garbage."

"We knew we were taking a real risk by stepping out but we felt our integrity was at stake and we didn't want to risk that. You just have to be brave and take risks. That's what we're going to do with Garbage." Shirley Manson <div class="endnote">

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The West Australian

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