When Garbage’s Shirley Manson reached out to fellow band mates about a possible return the result was the album, “Not Your Kind of People,” a record that catapulted the band back into the spotlight and peaked at #13 on Billboard’s Top 200. Much like Evanescence and Smashing Pumpkins, Manson and company initiated one of the greatest comebacks in music using social media and, according to bass player and founding member, Duke Erikson, “writing good songs.” Erikson recently phoned in to talk about the band’s comeback, being on an independent label and the pressures of releasing an album after seven years.
Q – Garbage took a seven year break before releasing the current album, “Not Your Kind of People.” Being away for that long, what was the approach for the new album? Was it for Garbage fans or was it like starting over to a new audience?
A - Lucky for us there still were Garbage fans after so long. We didn’t really make this record for anybody, to be honest, other than ourselves. We didn’t really dream it would do as well as it did.
Q – What type(s) of pressure was there releasing music in a time where the music industry is completely different from when Garbage last had an album back in 2005?
A - We could tell there was interest there just from Shirley’s Facebook work. She stayed in contact with the fans to a certain degree for a while so we kind of knew there were a few people interested in hearing something new.
I can’t really say that we felt a lot of pressure. One reason we quit and took all that time off in the first place was because we DID start feeling pressure. We started feeling a lot of stress just from the expectations on us from the labels we were associated with. That kind of thing; just trying to keep that machine turning, keep that machine oiled and the record sales up and money coming in. Compared to how it was then, doing this new record was a breeze.
Q – What I thought was awesome was the fact that all original members came back together after seven years. Was there ever a discussion amongst everyone that if you were to come back it had to be with the original members? Any disagreements on timing?
A - No, there really wasn’t. It’s kind of amazing we all happen to be in the right place at the same time. I don’t know. The stars were aligned or something. It was quite coincidental we were all on the same page and ready to give it another go.
Q – Who initiated the conversation to get back together?
A - I think it was Shirley. We had been offered to do a one off gig so that was what got us on the phone. It was kind of an interesting proposal we were considering and that got us talking a little bit. The next thing you know we were talking about doing a few more dates and maybe record a couple of new songs. And then the next thing you know we’re making a record. I think we were actually feeling each other out a little bit and the act of conversing with one another…having all four of us on the phone. When we all got together in LA the first day it was really easy.
(Photo credit by Autumn de Wilde.)
Q – “Not Your Kind of People” was released on the band’s own label. What challenges did you face going from a major label to an independent label?
A - None of the challenges we face now are nothing compared to the ones we faced then. Starting your own label, you’re responsible for all the decisions and that can be kind of a drag but it’s the four of us making the decisions. And we have new a manager who is absolutely fantastic. He’s been a friend of ours for years before becoming our manager so he totally understands and gets us and works with us on every level. So thank God we got him. There are a few challenges when you start a business; but it couldn’t have gone any better. We’re absolutely blown away at how well the record did and we’re looking forward to making another one.
Q – How do you think Garbage has evolved from when the band first came out in 1994-1995?
A - (Laughs) Oh Lord! I think we fell prey to the expectations of the business more than I would’ve liked. I can speak for all of us when I say we kind of lost our sense of humor along the way. It got to be too much of a grind. I think we evolved by having a lot healthier respect of the whole thing now and we have an appreciation for our past work, a respect for it, that we didn’t have there for a while. We kind of lost our sense of perspective. Playing these songs live is still a thrill but probably even more so now. We’re just having such a great time and are playing better than we ever have surprisingly.
Q – The band is touring now. In regard to set list, how many new songs make the cut versus the classics?
A - It’s mostly the past stuff. We’re not being so selfish where we go out and just do all new stuff. We made a great record but I don’t think that’s all the fans want to hear. We’re playing the hits and some of the more obscure stuff from the past and then maybe three or four new ones. It’s a pretty healthy mixture of everything.
Q – It seems like the band has essentially picked up where it left off in 2005. What’s the secret to staying relevant in an industry that’s constantly changing?
A - Oh God! I couldn’t even tell you; we just made the record we really wanted to make. We didn’t really think about being relevant. We just thought about making something that was interesting. Writing a good song is it, really. All the bells and whistles and production contribute definitely but there’s got to be a song in there somewhere.
Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Follow him on Twitter at @jasontanamor. Email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.