Garbage’s Shirley Manson on 25 years in music — and ‘protecting’ Billie Eilish06/10/2021
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Shirley Manson was so preoccupied by the pandemic last year that she totally forgot about a major milestone: the silver anniversary of her band Garbage’s self-titled debut, which came out in August 1995.
“Has it been 25 years since that record? Oh my God!” Manson, 54, told The Post over the phone from her hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland. “I guess I didn’t do anything [to celebrate].”
But a quarter century and counting after releasing “that little beast of ours” — a double-platinum debut that turned Garbage into alt-rock royalty — the quartet is still making champagne-popping moments together, including a new album, “No Gods No Masters,” out Friday.
“It’s been one of the greatest privileges of my life to be here still making music,” said Manson. “I’m grateful I’m still here.”
And she’s thankful for the support that she has received from other female rockers in a male-dominated genre. That sisterhood will be in full femme force when Garbage plays Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater on August 29 with Alanis Morissette and Liz Phair.
“I’m very grateful to have the support of my peers, and I think they all know that they have mine,” said Manson, noting that Garbage previously toured with Morissette in the ’90s. “I do believe we’re all in this together, and I think to show a united front is a powerful message.”
Through hits from “Stupid Girl” to “Special” and even a Bond theme (1999’s “The World Is Not Enough”), Manson has also remained united with her three male bandmates, who all hail from this side of the pond. Although clearly the flame-haired face of Garbage, she never went solo and insists she’s “a lifer” with the group.
“I’m a band girl,” she said. “I feel like there’s something really magical about working with other people in an invested environment.”
And she feels “triumphant” about Garbage’s longevity. “It doesn’t really happen that often that bands stick around this long,” she said.
While Manson is no doubt the chick in charge of Garbage, the first single and opening track of “No Gods No Masters” — an anarchist phrase that originated in late 19th century England — is called “The Men Who Rule the World.”
But Manson wants to shake up the status quo in politics as much as in music. “Men have had the chance for centuries at this point to govern, and now I think … we need an influx of new ideas,” she said. “It would be great to hear from other people.”
When Manson got her voice heard as the lead singer of a rock band, it inspired a generation of young women. But, she said, “To be honest, I don’t really think of it in grand terms.”
Still, she can’t help but feel proud — and protective — of young female artists such as Billie Eilish.
“I just think she’s a phenomenal talent,” said Manson. “I feel like a lot happened to her awfully young, though, and I worry for her ’cause this industry is so nasty. So I hope we all protect her.”
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