After nearly a year of touring, the members of Garbage feel like they've rescued their band from the trash heap.
Back in 2005, the quartet was frustrated, frayed and feuding and ready to part ways for awhile -- and possibly forever. Record company support for its fourth album, 2005's "Bleed Like Me," had been feeble. The musicians, who began Garbage's career with a pair of double-platinum triumphs (1995's "Garbage" and 1998's "Version 2.0"), weren't happy with the situation and, as singer Shirley Manson recalls, " began to take it out on one another."
"When you're constantly surrounded by negativity, which we were, that just ends up eating away at the individuals in the band," notes the Scottish-born Manson, 46, who was recruited by Grammy Award-winning producer Butch Vig, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker in 1994 to form Garbage, leading to early hits such as "Only Happy When It Rains," "Stupid Girl", "I Think I'm Paranoid" and "Push It."
"When that happens," Manson adds, "who are you going to snap at? You're gonna snap at your family, right? Not the outside world. It's who you trust and who you feel safe with that you tend to like to reveal yourself to."
Garbage's present is much brighter these days. The group ended an "indefinite hiatus" with its fifth album, "Not Your Kind of People," which came out last May. Its first single, "Blood For Poppies," was a Top 20 Modern Rock hit, and it's been playing shows since before the album's release. And while it hasn't necessarily returned the band to its mid- and late-90s heyday, bygones are now bygones and Garbage is feeling fresh again.
"We're still out playing, having fun, doing gigs," says Vig, 57, the producer of key albums for Nirvana ("Nevermind"), Smashing Pumpkins ("Gish," "Siamese Dream"), AFI ("Sing the Sorrow") and Green Day ("21st Century Breakdown") and was also a key collaborator in Dave Grohl's "Sound City: Real to Reel" documentary.
"When we were making the record, I think we started to gain some confidence in how we felt about the music but I think there was some apprehension about would anybody care about it and want to see us? These days people seem to move on to other things so quickly. We didn't now how the album would be received or anything."
Garbage was buoyed, however, when Manson started a Facebook page for the group that snared 250,000 people in its first 48 hours (it's now above 500,000). "We have a small but mighty, passionate fan base out there, and that's cool," Vig says. "I think at this point in our career, to be able to do these shows, it's fun. We don't take it for granted, but we don't take ourselves too seriously, either. We don't feel like we have anything to prove anymore. We just want to enjoy ourselves and play music we like and share it with our fans."
The band members, Vig adds, are also in a better place these days. "Everyone's getting along. We go out to dinner, hang out, tell jokes. We look out for each other, too; if someone's down and not feeling very good, we try to pick them up. It's very much like a little, dysfunctional family." And, he says, the Garbage family plans to stay together and make another album sooner rather than later -- perhaps even starting this summer for a 2014 release.
"We're all excited about that," Vig says. "We don't really have any songs started yet, but we all have ideas for songs, little riffs and things floating around in my head.
"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."
Manson -- who played Catherine Weaver on the second and final season of TV's "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" and appeared on Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale's 2008 solo album "WANDERlust" during Garbage's hiatus -- feels the same way, adding that, "I think right now everyone feels in a very good place, creatively. 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."
Garbage and IO Echo perform Saturday, March 30, at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are sold out. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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