Garbage are an American rock band formed in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1993. The band consists of Scottish musician and lead singer Shirley Manson and American musicians Duke Erikson, Steve Marker, and Butch Vig. All four members are involved in songwriting and production. Garbage has sold over 17 million albums worldwide.
The band's eponymous debut album was critically acclaimed upon its release, selling over four million copies and achieving double platinum certification in the UK, US and Australia. It was accompanied by a string of increasingly successful singles from 1995 to 1996, including "Stupid Girl" and "Only Happy When It Rains". Follow-up Version 2.0, released in 1998 after a year in production, was equally successful, topping the UK Albums Chart and receiving two Grammy Award nominations. Garbage followed this by performing and co-producing the theme song to the nineteenth James Bond film The World Is Not Enough .
Despite critical acclaim, Garbage's third album Beautiful Garbage failed to match the commercial success achieved by its predecessors. Garbage quietly disbanded amidst the troubled production of their fourth album Bleed Like Me, but regrouped to complete the album, which was released in 2005 and peaked at a career-high number four in the US. The band cut short their concert tour of Bleed Like Me, announcing an "indefinite hiatus", emphasizing that they had not broken up, but wished to pursue personal interests. The hiatus was briefly interrupted in 2007, when Garbage recorded new tracks for their greatest hits retrospective Absolute Garbage. Garbage ultimately reunited in 2011, and self-released 2012's Not Your Kind of People to positive reviews via their label Stunvolume. Their sixth album Strange Little Birds was released in 2016.
Duke Erikson and Butch Vig had been in several bands, including Spooner and Fire Town . In 1983, Vig and Marker founded Smart Studios in Madison and Vig's production work brought him to the attention of Sub Pop. Spooner reunited in 1990 and released another record, but disbanded in 1993 as Vig and Marker's career as producers gained strength. In 1994, as Vig become "kind of burned out on doing really long records," he got together with Erikson and Marker, and they started doing remixes for acts such as U2, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, and House of Pain. The remixes featured different instrumentation, and often highlighting new guitar hooks and bass grooves. This experience inspired the three men to form a band, where they "wanted to take that remix sensibility and somehow translate it into all of the possibilities of a band setup."
According to Vig, the team drew inspiration for its name from a hostile early comment, when a friend of the band heard recording material, probably for "Vow" and groaned, "This shit sounds like garbage!" However, according to This Is The Noise That Keeps Me Awake, an autobiography of the band, Vig wrote in his 1993 studio journal about the creative process; of working for long periods of time, "without coming up with anything cool... and when you least expect it, it all falls into place." The name derives from the last line of this entry: "I hope that all this garbage will become something beautiful!".
Initial sessions with Vig on vocals, along with the members' past work with all-male groups, led to the band's desire for a woman on lead. Vig declared that they wanted to find a female vocalist like "Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde and Siouxsie Sioux – all really strong, unique personalities". Marker and Vig desired someone "who didn't have a high, chirpy, girly quality to her voice" and who could sing in an understated way, in contrast to "these alterna-rock singers have a tendency to scream". Marker was watching 120 Minutes when he saw the music video for Angelfish's "Suffocate Me". He showed the video to Erikson and Vig while their manager Shannon O'Shea tracked down the band's singer, Shirley Manson. When Manson was contacted, she did not know who Vig was and was urged to check the credits on Nevermind, the popular Nirvana album which Vig produced.
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