Garbage is a Scottish/American rock group formed in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1994. The band consists of Scottish vocalist Shirley Manson and American musicians Duke Erikson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig, and has counted worldwide album sales of over 14 million units.

Garbage released a string of increasingly successful singles in 1995–1996, including "Stupid Girl". Their debut album, Garbage, was an unexpected smash, selling over 4 million copies and certified double platinum in the UK, USA and Australia. Garbage won the Breakthrough Artist award at the 1996 MTV Europe Music Awards.

Garbage spent two years working on follow-up album, Version 2.0, which topped the charts in the UK upon its 1998 release and the following year was nominated for two Grammy Awards, Album of the Year and Best Rock Album. Version 2.0 went on to match the sales of its predecessor. Garbage followed this up by performing and co-producing the theme song to the nineteenth James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough.

Despite being named one of Rolling Stone's Top 10 Albums of The Year, Garbage's 2001 third album Beautiful Garbage failed to match the commercial success achieved by its predecessors. Garbage quietly disbanded in late 2003, but regrouped to complete fourth album Bleed Like Me in 2005, peaking at a career-high #4 in the U.S. The band cut short their concert tour in support of Bleed Like Me announcing an "indefinite hiatus", emphasizing that they had not broken up, but wished to pursue personal interests. In 2006, Vig returned to producing while Manson recorded a solo album. Garbage ended their hiatus in 2007, and released greatest hits retrospective Absolute Garbage, with a view to record their fifth studio album in 2010.

Shirley Mason is an unlockable Character in Guitar Hero 5 and is unlocked after performing "Only Happy When It Rains".

History[edit | edit source]

Formation (1993–1994)[edit | edit source]

Erikson and Vig had been in numerous bands, including Spooner and Fire Town (with Marker as a sound engineer). In 1983, Vig and Marker founded Smart Studios in Madison and Vig's production work brought him to the attention of Sub Pop. A short-term reformation and album from Spooner inspired Erikson, Marker and Vig to form a band: tired of using their own work for remixes, they decided to keep the material for their own project. An early comment that their work sounded "like garbage" inspired the band's name.

Manson had been performing with the Edinburgh rock band Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie since 1984. In 1993, several band members, including Manson, changed their name to Angelfish. Their only release, the self-titled Angelfish, did not do any better than the preceding albums by Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie, selling only 10,000 copies.

Initial sessions with Vig on vocals, along with the members' past work with all-male groups, led to the band's desire for a woman on lead. Marker was watching 120 Minutes when he saw the music video for Angelfish's "Suffocate Me". He showed the video to Erikson and Vig while their manager Shannon O'Shea tracked Manson down. When Manson was contacted, she didn't know who Vig was and was urged to check the credits on Nevermind, the popular Nirvana album which Vig produced.

On April 8, Manson met Erikson, Marker, and Vig for the first time in London. Later that evening Vig was informed of Kurt Cobain's suicide. Garbage was put on hold until Angelfish was touring North America in support of Live. Erikson, Marker, and Vig attended the Metro Chicago date, and Manson was invited to Madison to audition for the band. The audition did not go well, but Manson socialized with the men while there and they found they had a similar taste in music. Angelfish disbanded at the end of the Live tour. Manson called O'Shea and asked to audition again feeling that "it would work out".

Manson began to work on the then-skeletal "Stupid Girl", "Queer" and "Vow" (ad-libbing the line "I can't use what I can't abuse"). Manson had never written a song prior to this session; nevertheless, this time she was invited to join the band. Lyrics were penned at a cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin while the songs were recorded at Smart Studios. Conscious of the grunge genre that had made their names, particularly Vig's, the band made every effort to avoid sounding similar, deliberately striving to make a pop record.

Garbage sent out demo tapes with no bio, to avoid a bidding war over Vig's production history. Garbage signed with Mushroom U.K. worldwide (excluding North America) and secured the band a Volume magazine compilation inclusion. The only potential candidate for release was "Vow," as it was the only song for which the band had completed production. When released in December, "Vow" began to receive radio airplay on XFM and from Radio 1 DJs Steve Lamacq, John Peel, and Johnnie Walker. Word-of-mouth on "Vow" took the track back to the U.S. On December 21, Garbage signed to Jerry Moss's label Almo Sounds for North America. Manson was licensed to both Mushroom and Almo by Radioactive Records for a single album, with no compensation from any of Garbage's labels.

Garbage hadn't even considered "Vow" for inclusion on the album or even as a single. Because the exclusive licensing of Volume prevented a full commercial single release, on March 20, 1995, Mushroom issued "Vow" in a limited 7" vinyl format through Discordant, a label set up just to launch Garbage. By May, commercial alternative radio in the U.S. had picked up on the track, and it began to receive heavy rotation nationwide. "Vow" debuted on Hot Modern Rock Tracks at #39. It climbed gradually over the following weeks, peaking at #26 twice. "Vow" bubbled under for two weeks before it spent two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 staying at #97 both weeks.

Garbage and international breakthrough (1995–1997)[edit | edit source]

In August 1995, Garbage debuted on the Billboard 200 at #193. In the United Kingdom, its release was preceded by non-album track "Subhuman" and "Only Happy When It Rains" as singles to promote the album instead of "Queer". It debuted on the U.K. album chart at #12. In Australia, the album debuted at #5. "Queer" was quickly released in the U.K. and Europe, while Garbage began their first tour. Garbage was nominated for Brit Awards for Best New Band and Best International Newcomer.

Garbage toured for the self-titled Garbage throughout 1996. "Only Happy When It Rains" was released as a single in North America; "Stupid Girl" was released to promote European dates. MTV announced that "Only Happy When It Rains" was certified a "Buzz clip", guaranteeing heavy rotation on its network from February 13. "Only Happy" peaked at #55 on the Hot 100. "Stupid Girl" received frequent video and radio airplay in the U.K. and peaked at #4, becoming the band's first UK top 10 hit and elevating the album to #6.

In May, Garbage reworked "Milk" with Tricky in a Chicago recording studio before supporting Smashing Pumpkins on their arena tour until the overdose of Pumpkins keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin. "Stupid Girl" peaked at #24 on the Hot 100. Its Top 40 radio remix by Todd Terry received massive airplay.

Worldwide, the final single release from the album was the reworked version of "Milk", which became the band's second UK top 10 hit. The band performed the song live at the MTV Europe Music Awards in London on November 14; Garbage won the Breakthrough award at the event. In North America, Almo Sounds released album track "Supervixen" to Modern Rock radio, while Capitol Records released a remix of "#1 Crush" from the soundtrack to Romeo + Juliet, which topped the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart for four weeks from the end of the year; the remix was also featured as the theme for the TV show Hex. "#1 Crush" was later nominated for Best Song From a Movie at the 1997 MTV Movie Awards.

Garbage Video, a compilation of the album's promotional videos, was released in November 1997. Garbage was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, while "Stupid Girl" received two nominations for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group.

Version 2.0 and world tour (1997–2000)[edit | edit source]

Garbage relocated to Friday Harbor, Washington on March 1, 1997 to write songs for their second album. Returning to Smart Studios a short while later, the band found themselves under intense pressure to repeat the success of Garbage. The band decided not to change their formula, but progress musically by pushing their sound as far as it could go—hence the album's eventual title Version 2.0, which was completed by February 15, 1998. In March, the first single "Push It" became the #1 most added record at the U.K. Alternative Radio. It became their third consecutive U.K. top ten hit at #9. In May 1998, Version 2.0 debuted at #1 in the UK and at #13 in the Billboard 200. Garbage began touring Version 2.0 on May 15, a tour which lasted until the end of 1999.

"I Think I'm Paranoid" was released worldwide in July, while the music video for "Push It" received eight nominations at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards. By October 12, "Special" was released and Garbage was nominated for three MTV Europe Music Awards: "Best Group," "Best Rock Act" and "Best Video" for "Push It". "I Think I'm Paranoid" also made it onto popular games Gran Turismo 2 (even before "As Heaven Is Wide" was onto the first edition of Gran Turismo), and Rock Band and was likewise featured in the Broadway production of "The Blue Room" starring Nicole Kidman. the play was directed by Sam Mendes.

In early 1999, Version 2.0 received two Grammy Award nominations for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album. "Special" was #1 most added single at the Top 40 radio. In Europe, Garbage began their biggest headline tour, releasing singles for "When I Grow Up" and "The Trick Is to Keep Breathing". In April, "When I Grow Up" was released to Modern Rock radio. "When I Grow Up" was then featured on the movie Big Daddy.Version 2.0 was awarded the European Platinum Award by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry for 1 million sales across Europe and U.S. "You Look So Fine" was released as the final single from Version 2.0 worldwide, as Garbage toured Europe, including headlining in Edinburgh to mark the opening of the Scottish Parliament.

On August 4, Garbage was contracted to perform the theme for the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough and worked with composer David Arnold in London and Vancouver. Garbage co-headlined an Australian tour with Alanis Morissette, while "When I Grow Up" spent three months in the Australian chart, becoming the band's most successful single there. "The World Is Not Enough" reached the top 10s in Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Finland, as well as the top 40 in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the U.K. "Special" received Grammy nominations for Best Rock Song and for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group, while "When I Grow Up" was re-issued in Europe.

Beautiful Garbage (2001–2002)[edit | edit source]

Garbage regrouped on April 10, 2001. The group began work on their third record, and put aside plans for a B-sides album due to the sale of Almo Sounds to the UMG. Manson ran an online blog throughout the recording of the album named Beautiful Garbage. During the recording of the album, Garbage invoked a provision of its contract to leave Almo, and sued UMG when it refused to terminate the contract. UMG threatened to use Manson's 1993 solo contract to tie Garbage to the label. The suit was settled on July 29, 2001, and Garbage moved to Interscope. Lead single "Androgyny" was released to radio by the end of August, and its video was released on September 10. The following day, due to the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington D.C., the promotional schedule for the album was put on hold.

In October, Beautiful Garbage achieved a #13 debut on the Billboard 200, as well as reaching #6 on the Top Internet Albums chart and topping the Electronic Albums chart for seven weeks. In its first three months on sale, Beautiful Garbage sold 1.2 million copies.

Garbage supported U2 on the third leg of their Elevation Tour. After the last show, Vig contracted Hepatitis A and was replaced by Matt Chamberlain for European dates. In December "Breaking Up the Girl" was released as a single and the theme song to the Daria telemovie Is It College Yet? On December 27, Rolling Stone's US and Australian editions named Beautiful Garbage as one of their critics "Top 10 Albums of the Year".

"Cherry Lips" was released at the beginning of 2002, becoming a massive hit in Australia, peaking at number seven on the ARIA Charts, and number eleven in the highly influential Triple J Hottest 100 for that year. Sony Music Japan released an exclusive E.P. of rare tracks titled Special Collection.

Bleed Like Me and hiatus (2003–2005)[edit | edit source]

Garbage started proper work on their fourth record in March 2003, writing "Right Between the Eyes" in 30 minutes. It was a false start. Recording for the album was halted during the summer when singer Shirley Manson underwent surgery on her right vocal cord and was not given the okay to sing again until August. Recording for the album was halted during the summer when singer Shirley Manson underwent surgery on her right vocal cord and was not given the okay to sing again until August. Vig relocated to Los Angeles while Manson returned to Scotland. During the Christmas period, Vig encountered excited Garbage fans eager to hear how the album was going. Not having the heart to tell them Garbage had effectively split, he name-dropped titles to them. After this encounter he realized there was still something left in the band.

In January 2004 Garbage reconvened in Los Angeles with Dust Brother John King, drummer Matt Chamberlain, bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen, and on February 6, Dave Grohl performed drums on "Bad Boyfriend". His performance was regarded by the band as "raising the bar" for the record. Following the John King sessions, the band formally relocated to Los Angeles and wrote two new songs, "Metal Heart" and "Boys Wanna Fight", which were more energetic songs than the band had been writing as well as lyrically more "overtly political", both songs referencing the U.S. and U.K. led 2003 Invasion of Iraq.

In 2005, lead single "Why Do You Love Me" debuted on the Modern Rock Tracks chart at #39. as well as #97 and #81 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Pop 100 charts respectively, becoming the band's most successful single for six years. Bleed Like Me entered Top 10 in U.S.

On August 25, 2005 Garbage cancelled their scheduled October tour dates in France, Belgium and United Kingdom and release a statement that the band had "somewhat overextended themselves" and had decided to conclude their tour in Australia on October 1. Upfront of the band's Australian tour, "Sex Is Not The Enemy" was released to Australian radio. The end of the Australian tour marked the end of active promotion for Bleed Like Me. The band confirmed that they were going "on indefinite hiatus" to dispel reports of a band split.

Absolute Garbage and future (2006 - 2010)[edit | edit source]

Manson confirmed in March 2006 that she had begun work on a solo album, adding that she had "no timetable" for completing the project. Garbage drummer Vig is co-writing and producing for her album. Much of the work on the album has taken place in Manson's Los Angeles base. As yet, there is no release date scheduled for the release of the album. Manson recorded a duet with Eric Avery for his album Help Wanted, and with Debbie Harry, which was not finished. Manson made low key appearances in She Wants Revenge's "These Things" music video, and self-abuse documentary CUT: Teens and Self Injury. Vig produced albums for Jimmy Eat World, Against Me! and The Subways, and scored music for two films including The Other Side. Erikson is working with the BBC an American folk music anthology, whilst Marker has been involved with a film score. Garbage ended their eighteen-month hiatus on January 31, 2007, at a benefit show in Glendale, California, organised by Vig to help pay musician Wally Ingram's medical care following treatment for throat cancer. Prior to this, Garbage had been sharing song ideas via the internet and were keen on getting into the recording studio to complete them. Garbage began work on the new songs in earnest during February and March at Vig's home studio, completing four tracks including "Tell Me Where It Hurts", which was released as the album's lead single.

Absolute Garbage was released in July, remastered and including a special edition bonus remix package. A DVD format rounded out the package; among the fifteen Garbage music videos included was a documentary film titled "Thanks For Your, Uhhh Support" featuring backstage and behind-the-scenes footage, live performances and interviews. Vig stated that Garbage was considering mid-2008 to begin making a fifth album, saying, "We're thinking about it...I think we're more interested in making something that's much more primal and stripped down. Absolute Garbage is the postscript to chapter one. Whatever we do next will definitely be chapter two." In May 2008, it was announced that Manson would be joining the cast of US TV show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles in a regular role. A Garbage track called “Witness to Your Love” was released on a charity, “limited availability,” compilation in the USA. The release was available from Urban Outfitters from Wednesday, October 15, 2008, to Thursday, January 31, 2009, and went on radio in the US on October 17.

Possible fifth studio album (2010–present)[edit | edit source]

It was confirmed through lead singer's Shirley Manson's official Facebook profile that she spent a week in the studio with her bandmates. The news came shortly after Butch Vig received a Grammy for producing American rock band Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown, which won "Best Rock Album." It was also confirmed that Smart Studios in Madison would be closing in 2010. Although it has not been confirmed, the band are hinting that in 2010 they will begin recording new material.

Discography[edit | edit source]

Studio albums
  • 1995: Garbage
  • 1998: Version 2.0
  • 2001: Beautiful Garbage
  • 2005: Bleed Like Me
Other albums
  • 2002: Special Collection – EP
  • 2007: Absolute Garbage – Best Of Compilation
  • 1996: Garbage Video – VHS
  • 2007: Absolute Garbage – DVD

Awards and nominations[edit | edit source]

Grammy nominations[edit | edit source]

  • Grammy Award — Best New Artist (Nominated)
  • Grammy Award — Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for "Stupid Girl" (Nominated)
  • Grammy Award — Best Rock Song for "Stupid Girl" (Nominated)
  • Grammy Award — Album of the Year for "Version 2.0" (Nominated)
  • Grammy Award — Best Rock Album for "Version 2.0" (Nominated)
  • Grammy Award — Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for "Special" (Nominated)
  • Grammy Award — Best Rock Song for "Special" (Nominated)

MTV Music Awards[edit | edit source]

  • MTV Video Awards - "Best Special Effects" (Special) (Won)
  • MTV Europe - "Breakthrough Artist" (Won)

MTV Music Video Awards[edit | edit source]

  • MTV Music Video Awards - "Best Lyrics in a Song" for Stupid Girl (Nominated)
  • MTV Music Video Awards - "Best Breakthrough Video" for Queer
  • MTV Music Video Awards - "Best Group Video" for Push It (Nominated)
  • MTV Music Video Awards - "Best Cinematography" for Push It (Nominated)
  • MTV Music Video Awards - "Best Special Effects" for Push It (Nominated)
  • MTV Music Video Awards - "Best Alternative Video" for Push It (Nominated)
  • MTV Music Video Awards - "Best Direction" for Push It (Nominated)
  • MTV Music Video Awards - "Best Art Direction" for Push It (Nominated)
  • MTV Music Video Awards - "Best Editing" for Push It (Nominated)
  • MTV Music Video Awards - "Best Breakthrough Video" for Push It (Nominated)

MTV Europe Awards[edit | edit source]

  • MTV Europe Awards - "Best Group" (Nominated)
  • MTV Europe Awards - "Best Group" (Nominated)
  • MTV Europe Awards - "Best Rock Band" (Nominated)
  • MTV Europe Awards - "Best Music Video" for Push It (Nominated)
   Grammy nominations

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