One of the most welcome musical comebacks of 2012 was Garbage, who released Not Your Kind of People after an eight-year hiatus from the studio. When they reentered the music industry, it was one that had changed drastically since their run of 1990s hits; the new model had shifted into dispatching music as it became ready, as opposed to waiting for 12 songs to comprise a full release.
“The good thing now is we don’t even need to think in terms of an album, so we’re just thinking in terms of new music, which actually really works in our favor,” singer Shirley Manson tells Rolling Stone. “Historically, we’ve worked slow because we’ve toured so much – we go and spend a year making a record, then we go back out on the road. Now we realize we can do two or three tracks, release these tracks and then go on the road.”
The momentum has already begun. “We’re gonna do some recording in January, early February,” drummer Butch Vig explains. After the sessions, Garbage will indeed hit the road again for a full touring schedule that starts in Australia at the end of February and will eventually bring them back Stateside, Manson promises, for more of the newly enthusiastic reception the band has enjoyed over the last year.
“Even when we were Number One all over the world, when we played shows, we were struggling to get a response from an audience, for whatever reasons. We were all over the press for so long, all over TV for so long – and yet our live shows, we would struggle,” she says. “On this tour, we’ve been astounded that we just walk onstage and we get a response that is more intense than anything we have ever experienced in our lives. We’ve sold out shows all across the world, as far as Siberia. It’s like a joke; we can’t really understand it. So it’s been really overwhelming and very moving for us.”
The diversity of Garbage’s current audiences has impressed guitarist Steve Marker. “There are our fans that have been with us for four records and now we look down and there are all these kids that are like 15, 16, 17 years old, who were probably not even born when our first record came out,” he notes. “They are singing all the lyrics to every song we play, the new album and the older material.”
The energy is infectious. Adds multi-instrumentalist Duke Erickson, “We think because we don’t take it for granted anymore, we’re playing possibly as good as we’ve ever played.”
There’s also the fact the band, who released Not Your Kind of People independently, has learned not to care too much about outside factors anymore. “There has been a certain cutting of the strings. That’s a really powerful experience when you’re creative people, to actually have the guts to not care anymore,” Manson says. “It sounds really callous and to me, it’s the complete opposite. It’s being honest and authentic. That speaks to people and I think that’s why we still enjoy a career where others have failed, ’cause we finally figured it out. I think we were a wee bit slow.”
Concludes Vig, a bit more succinctly, “It’s taken us 18 years to finally get our shit together.”