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Shirley Manson Part Two: “We’ve just been this little engine that could.”

In the second part of our chat with the brilliant Shirley Manson, she looks back at the turbulent recording of their 2005 album Bleed Like Me as it receives its first every vinyl release. But she starts by teasing some information on Garbage’s forthcoming eighth album, to be released next year. Garbage play TRNSMT Glasgow Friday 12th July and the Usher Hall Sunday 14th July…

“It’s weird with this band because everything changes and is in flux until the very last couple of weeks when things get mixed and songs get dropped and other songs become more focussed so it’s really difficult to talk about it. I think we felt a little trepidation coming in to start work on it because our last record No Gods No Masters arguably got some of the best reviews of our career. Where do we go from here then? No doubt we’re gonna get the boot in our face next time round.

“To me this album sounds a bit like we are emerging from the underground with a searchlight. It’s just got a slightly different perspective than the last record which was really indignant and weirdly this one is trying to find what is more hopeful in the world. The times feel dark to me so I couldn’t really afford to get into my indignance too much.

Duke Erikson, Steve Marker, Butch Vig are posing for a picture

Photograph by Frank Ockenfels III

“I’m not nostalgic and I don’t think anybody in the band is but we’re proud of the fact that this is the 20th anniversary of our fourth record. That feels substantial and important for us personally. When BMG wanted to release the record on vinyl we weren’t that bothered one way or another. We had such negative memories of that whole album campaign. It was a f***ing fiasco quite honestly and so we weren’t that keen but we are all huge vinyl aficionados and the idea of getting this very difficult record on to vinyl for the first time felt exciting.

“This record in particular was a bit of a disaster for us. We got dropped shortly after we released this so it’s married to some very difficult emotions and memories for us. It was the only period in the band where we’ve actually had a lot of friction. We’ve been very lucky, we co-exist pretty well but we all started to turn in on each other because our career was floundering.

“But the record has garnered more fan enthusiasm and love over the course of twenty years. There’s a lot of songs on this record that the fans clamour for live so it feels like a bit of a love letter to those who stuck by us through thick and thin. We were hard to love back then but the record itself is great.

“I think that’s why we kept going in the end because we thought ‘f*** everybody, we may not be the greatest band that’s ever lived but we know that we are good at what we do’. We’ve always felt you can like us or loathe us but we enjoy doing what we do and we’re pretty good at it so we’re just going to keep doing it. There was a real defiance in the end which is funny when you know my bandmates because they are all so sweet but they are strangely and quietly hardcore. We shook a little but we didn’t break and I’m so grateful because we went on to have a very healthy career which nobody foresaw. We’ve just been this little engine that could.”