Garbage on 30 Years of Garbage, Touring with Tears For Fears and Alanis Morissette

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The post Garbage on 30 Years of Garbage, Touring with Tears For Fears and Alanis Morissette appeared first on Consequence.

Garbage are nearing the end of their extensive 2022 tour, which saw them supporting Tears For Fears on their The Tipping Point trek, as well as another leg of dates supporting Alanis Morissette on her Jagged Little Pill 20th anniversary shows. But the ’90s rockers have definitely not run out of steam; if anything, they’re completely in their element.

Their show this month at Festival d’été de Québec was a perfect example of what they do best — not only were the tracks from their most recent 2021 album No Gods No Masters represented with passion and poise, their laundry list of hits sprinkled in throughout the set was a great demonstration of their enduring legacy. As lead vocalist Shirley Manson mentions in her recent episode of Consequence‘s The Story Behind The Song podcast, the darkness of their early material is fitting for these dark times we find ourselves in now.

But both Manson and drummer/producer Butch Vig are simply grateful to share the stage with artists they feel kinship with. “This is our fourth or fifth time out with [Alanis Morissette],” says Manson, with Vig adding that they’ve “seen a great response, there are a lot of Garbage fans too. Not just fans my age — there are a lot of young Garbage and Alanis fans. It’s especially heartening to see young women out there who are rocking out to the music.”

Indeed, Garbage are meeting the moment in more ways than one, and they continue to be inspired by other artists that are carrying the torch. Shirley Manson mentions IDLES and Jehnny Beth of Savages as some of the artists that she’s consistently raving about — both in interviews and on her podcast, The Jump, which finds Manson taking a deep dive with artists into a song that changed their careers. Meanwhile, Butch Vig is looking to his 16 year-old daughter for music recommendations, naming SZA and Wet Leg in particular as artists that he has his eye on.

Above all, Garbage’s show at Festival d’été de Québec was timeless, and a great reminder of just how influential they are as a band. Before their set, Consequence caught up with Manson and Vig to chat about their recent outings with Tears For Fears and Alanis Morissette, their favorite new artists, festival memories, and more. Read the Q&A below for the full conversation with Garbage, and grab tix to their remaining tour dates here.

It’s been a year since you released your last album, No Gods No Masters. A year removed from it all, especially given what’s happening in the world, how do you feel about the themes of that album? Do you get sentimental about these kinds of milestones?

Butch Vig: I don’t think we’re sentimental, but I think we’re… what’s the right term… prescient?

Shirley Manson: We’re incredibly prescient.

Vig: When Shirley started writing all those lyrics, they all came to be true, a lot of the songs on the record. No Gods No Masters is definitely the most socio-political record that we made, but that was just what we felt like we had to make, especially at the end. The last day we were in the studio, LA went into lockdown. We weren’t done with the record, Shirley had to finish the lyrics and finish singing and there were bits and bobs we had to do. It was weirdly stressful, finishing the record, so I think it got even more slanted, and the direction ended up being so intense over the last three or four months while we were finishing it, because being isolated made us feel paranoid.

Garbage 02505 Garbage on 30 Years of Garbage, Touring with Tears For Fears and Alanis Morissette
Garbage 02505 Garbage on 30 Years of Garbage, Touring with Tears For Fears and Alanis Morissette

Garbage, photo by Amy Harris

What has it been like being on the road so consistently, especially after the lockdown was lifted and things have come back “to normal?”

Manson: We’ve been very lucky that we’ve been able to tour for two years. That’s really challenging for musicians all over the globe. So we’ve been in this really remarkably privileged position, going out with Alanis last year and then again this year and with Tears For Fears. We’ve had a no-pressure gig, basically. Opening up for people, all the stress is removed, you have none really. You just have to show up, put on a good show, and then you get to go back to the bus and move on to the next city. So we’ve been incredibly blessed.

With all these support gigs, do you often watch the headliners perform? 

Vig: Well, we’re lucky that with Alanis, we’ve known for a long time. We toured with her twenty-something years ago…

Manson: This is our fourth or fifth time out with her.

Vig: And her band and her crew, everyone is lovely. The only difficult thing, going back to last summer, is the different COVID protocols. There are certain areas where everyone has to be [separated] or wear masks, or you can’t go in certain areas and stuff. It’s not as freewheeling as it used to be. But it’s cool, we’ve seen her show a bunch of times. When we saw it, I loved it. There’s a film that she plays in the beginning, it’s a retrospective of her career, especially when it just took off and exploded. And the band just sounds crazy good. We’ve seen a great response, there are a lot of Garbage fans too. Not just fans my age — there are a lot of young Garbage and Alanis fans. It’s especially heartening to see young women out there who are rocking out to the music.

What younger artists do you see carrying the torch these days?

Manson: There are so many. It’s kind of ridiculous, there’s an embarrassment of talent, to be honest. It’s all really down to your personal preference. For me, I’m insane for IDLES and Jehnny Beth from Savages, who is now straight on her own, Billy Nomates, and Rhapsody. There are so many artists of all different genres that we all dig and are excited to hear new music from. When I think about Alanis, I think about Billie Eilish, they’re very similar. Very young when they first became famous, and I see that Billie is struggling with many of the things that Alanis struggled with.

Butch, what about you? Who do you have your eye on?

Vig: Well, Shirley’s right, whenever someone asks me this, I need to get out my Apple playlist… my daughter’s 16, so she’s turned me onto a lot of music. I like SZA, who I didn’t know a whole lot, I knew her name, but my daughter has listened to her tracks like five thousand times. I know her last album pretty well and it’s phenomenal, I really dig the production on it. I love the band Wet Leg that just came out, the two young women, it’s quirky and fun and kind of punky, “Chaise Longue” is just so fun.

Garbage 02117 Garbage on 30 Years of Garbage, Touring with Tears For Fears and Alanis Morissette
Garbage 02117 Garbage on 30 Years of Garbage, Touring with Tears For Fears and Alanis Morissette

Garbage, photo by Amy Harris

You folks are about to wrap up this tour, and it’s been pretty extensive. When you finish tours like these, what do you do to decompress or take care of yourselves?

Vig: I don’t know!

Manson: We don’t do “self-care” [laughs].

Vig: I have a pretty busy schedule with my family. I told my wife, I just want to come home and veg out, she goes “sorry, we’re going to New York,” my daughter is in a musical, we’re going to be there for ten days. I love New York City but I literally just want to wake up in my house and have a cup of coffee for a while. We’re going to do some writing sessions in October at some point, get back in the studio, and start working on our eighth album. We did have a writing session back in March, just jammed out really rough ideas to see the spark, so we’ll probably go and do a similar thing and then hopefully get record eight in the can sometime in the next year, fingers crossed.

When you folks do get into the studio to jam — strictly to play, no songs written — what is the energy like, and how much has that changed since the early days in the ’90s?

Manson: I think it’s changed a lot. First of all, we do it a lot easier than we used to, it used to be a source of great stress for all of us. Now we find it a little bit more enjoyable, we crack some bottles of wine, and we don’t give ourselves pressure to come up with anything in a given afternoon, so that’s changed a lot. It’s much easier in that sense.

The challenge of being in a band for this long is to keep a sense of excitement about what you’re doing because it’s so hard when you’re coming up with ideas and you’re like, “I fucking came up with this before,” or, “That sounds like this,” but again, it’s a great challenge, because that’s when you start doing the great work. I think No Gods No Masters came out so great-sounding because we were all pushing ourselves not to sound like any other record we had done before.

Garbage 01997 Garbage on 30 Years of Garbage, Touring with Tears For Fears and Alanis Morissette
Garbage 01997 Garbage on 30 Years of Garbage, Touring with Tears For Fears and Alanis Morissette

Garbage, photo by Amy Harris

Lastly, you guys have played so many music festivals over the years, and are about to take the stage at one today. Any great festival memories from the last 30 years?

Vig: I remember Glastonbury when Shirley ran off stage and grabbed a blowup doll and brought it up on stage and tossed it around the stage, do you remember that?

Manson: I remember that. The one that sticks in my mind the roast was the KROQ Weenie Roast because KISS had their reunion, it was a big deal and I had a stomach parasite. Steve had to make way for me in the crowd to get me to a chemical toilet, because I was like “this is a bad scene, I’m about to shit myself.”

Did you do the show?

Manson: We did the show, it was all fine, but it was humiliating to have Steve charge in front of me and push people out of the way to get me to a toilet in the nick of time.

Vig: What we remember are the anomalies, the weird stuff. If we have a really good show, it’s like, “great,” but it kind of fades. We also played a show in Serbia in a castle and we got there and I think Ian from the Stone Roses was on before us as we were there, it was in this castle with 30,000 people crammed into this giant courtyard, and a massive storm came in. And right before we came out, lightning and hurricane winds, they had to bring down the PA and the lights and we thought the show’s over, and then they came in and said, “No, you’re going to play the show.” They even had some weapons and they said, “No, you’re going to play the show.”

Manson: And they barred us from leaving!

Vig: So we sat in the lightning storm from midnight to 2:00 a.m., for two hours, the rain pounding down. There weren’t even dressing rooms or a tent like this, and I remember we were drinking a lot backstage with Ian from Stone Roses and they throw up a smaller version of PA and lights, and we went on at 3:30 AM and it was broadcasted live on Serbian television. Our friend Stick was there, and he would announce “Ladies and Gentlemen, Garbage!” There were still 30,000 fans going “wooo!” For three hours they just sat, got pelted by rain, and waited for us.

Manson: Those fans were hardcore! They were not messing around.

Garbage 1633 Garbage on 30 Years of Garbage, Touring with Tears For Fears and Alanis Morissette
Garbage 1633 Garbage on 30 Years of Garbage, Touring with Tears For Fears and Alanis Morissette

Garbage, photo by Amy Harris

Garbage on 30 Years of Garbage, Touring with Tears For Fears and Alanis Morissette
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