Goodbye Mr. MacKenzie
Garbage built on the sonic landscapes of My Bloody Valentine, Curve, and Sonic Youth, adding a distinct sense of accessible pop songcraft. Garbage was the brainchild of producers Butch Vig, Duke Erikson, and Steve Marker. Initially, Garbage was an informal jam session between the three producers held in Marker's basement, but they eventually recruited vocalist Shirley Manson, who had previously sang with Angelfish and Goodbye Mr. MacKenzie.
Vig is a native of Viroqua, WI, who learned to play piano as a child and drums as a teenager. He attended the University of Wisconsin briefly before pursuing a career in music instead. The first band he joined after leaving college was Spooner, who he played drums with. Also in Spooner was Erikson, who sang and played guitar with the band. Marker was a native of New York who moved to Wisconsin to attend college. He became a fan of Spooner and began recording their songs. Vig left Spooner shortly afterwards, but he kept in touch with the band. After a few years, Spooner became Firetown and Vig played drums in the new outfit.
Firetown broke up in the late '80s, without achieving much success. Prior to the formation of Firetown, Vig and Marker bought an eight-track cassette recorder together and set up a makeshift studio in a local warehouse. This studio was dubbed Smart Studios and Vig recorded numerous local punk and alternative bands at the warehouse. By the late '80s, Smart had become one of the hippest recording studios in America. Many records released on Touch & Go, Sub Pop, and Twin/Tone, among other indie labels, were made at Smart. Vig and Smart broke into the big time in 1991, after he produced Nirvana's Nevermind. Nevermind elevated Butch Vig to the status of a superstar producer and for the next two years, he produced numerous American alternative superstars, including Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, and L7.
Garbage recorded their debut album in late 1994 and early 1995. Their eponymous first album appeared in the fall of 1995 on Almo Sounds. After receiving support from radio and MTV, the album began to climb the charts toward the end of 1995, when the second single, "Queer," received heavy airplay. By the summer of 1996, Garbage had gone gold in the United States, and shortly afterward it achieved platinum status, as "Only Happy When It Rains" and "Stupid Girl" became radio hits.
After a brief break, Garbage began work on their second album in the summer of 1997. The record, entitled Version 2.0, was released in May the following year, preceded by the single "Push It." Four years later, they issued a sophisticated third album, Beautiful Garbage, and the first single "Androgyny" became a moderate radio hit. Bleed Like Me followed in 2005.
For The Record:
Members include Duke Erikson (born Douglas Erikson, 1950), guitar, keyboards; Shirley Manson (born August 26, 1966, in Edinburgh, Scotland; married), vocals, guitar; Steve Marker (born 1960, in Nebraska; attended University of Wisconsin at Madison), guitar, bass; Butch Vig (born Bryan Vig in 1957, in Viroqua, WI; attended University of Wisconsin at Madison), drums. Education: attended University of Wisconsin at Madison
Band formed in Madison, WI, 1994; released debut album, Garbage, Almo Sounds, 1995; released Version 2.0, Almo Sounds, 1998; released Beautiful Garbage, 2001; toured with No Doubt, 2002; released Bleed Like Me, 2005.
Addresses: Record company—Almo Sounds, 360 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048-1928. Website—Garbage Official Website.
Garbage's music also earned accolades despite their lack of pop pretensions. Rolling Stone's Sheffield declared that the band transforms "subcultural energy into pop flash with a fabulously twitchy singer." Cohen declared that Garbage's team of four "have masterminded a confident collection of emotionally sharp-shooting songs." Originally, the Scot and the three producers had no plans to take their project live, but found themselves surprised by the album's overwhelming critical and commercial success. When they made the video for "Vow," "we played live, and after the first take, the crew was clapping," Vig told Dunn.
Garbage, Almo Sounds, 1995.
Version 2.0, Almo Sounds, 1998.
Beautiful Garbage, Interscope, 2001.
Bleed Like Me, Geffen, 2005.
Source: Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide; eNotes
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