Cancer death brought Garbage back

Garbage realised it was time to end their seven-year break after band friends lost a young son to cancer, says mainman Butch Vig.

The genre-crossing outfit fronted by Shirley Manson have released Not Your Kind of People on their own label. And Vig says the decision to get back to work was made in a “profound moment”.

He tells ExploreMusic: “A friend of ours, a couple, lost their son to cancer. It was a horrible tragedy. Shirley and I wrote a song for a tribute album to raise money for children’s cancer. Shirley sang at the funeral. I think we realised how important music is in our lives, and we had unfinished business.

“A day or two after that Shirley called Duke and Steve. A couple of weeks later we were in the studio recording.”

The band were determined not to be dragged under by the industry tensions that put them on hiatus in 2005 – and that’s why they didn’t tell anyone they were working together again.

Vig says: “Initially we just went in to record songs. No one knew we were doing it so there was no pressure. We didn’t talk about an album or tour or anything, we just said ‘Let’s see where it takes us.’ Just being so loose like that just opened up the well.”

Manson says the album is a kind of requiem for the difficult times in everyone’s life. “It’s a requiem,” she explains. “A lot of things happened to us over seven years, as they do to everybody. You have great highs and problems and you lose people you love. It’s a record about sadness. But when you are up against it in your life, you’re also connected with the greatest joy and hunger for living. I think that’s in the record too – it’s more uplifting than we’ve ever made.”

Meanwhile, the singer has discussed her own label frustration, which led her to abandon work on a solo record ahead of the Garbage reunion.

She tells “They wanted me to dumb myself down, clean myself up and play nice.

“The homogenisation of all women in music just drives me bananas. If you have any fangs or claws whatsoever, I feel like the whole world wants to de-fang and de-claw you. I just refuse to play that game.”

Manson believes she’d have “fallen into the abyss of despair” if she hadn’t been working on TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. “I just put my energies into something equally as fulfilling and enjoyable as what I had been doing, and I wasn’t being asked to compromise my intellect.”


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