If you were around in the '90s, you're more than familiar with Garbage, the alternative supergroup of Butch Vig (who produced Nirvana's 'Nevermind'), Shirley Manson, Steve Marker and Duke Erikson.
They put together one of the best debut albums of the decade, with catchy hits like 'I'm Only Happy When It Rains' and 'Stupid Girl.' Rolling Stone named the band's third album, 'Beautiful Garbage,' one of the 10 best of 2001. Then, in the middle of their 2005 tour, they announced an "indefinite hiatus," leaving a void in the musical hearts of millions all over the world. The band remained underground, until this year.
Garbage is back, with a new album, 'Not Your Kind of People,' a world tour, and a new way of doing things on their own terms through their recently-founded record label. We caught up with Erikson, who told us tales of the band's resurfacing and explained how exactly they plan to survive in this modern day music industry.
It's been some time since the last Garbage album. How does it feel to be back in action?
Well, of course after being out of action for seven years, it was never a sure bet that it would feel right at all. We didn't know if the creative chemistry would be there between the four of us let alone the personal dynamic, which is almost more important than anything else.
But the minute we sat down in the lounge of the L.A. studio we had booked and shared a couple of bottles of wine, it was clear we were very happy to be back together again. And then we proceeded to come up with a couple of new songs that day, so we were certainly off to a good start. And now we've been touring quite extensively and our live show is better than it's ever been... so I guess it feels pretty good!
Shirley got a bit emotional on stage during your show in L.A. Does the industry and all the pressures to be a commercial success have a lot to do with the band's hiatus? How do you deal with all of that now?
I think there were indeed pressures -- outside pressures -- on us that got to be a bit much. And it certainly was one reason we disappeared for a while.
I think now we all get a bit emotional when we get the reaction from the fans after we've been gone for so long. It's very gratifying and often very moving to see and feel their overwhelming support.
Now that we've formed our own label, the only pressure we feel is from within our own little group and that is much easier to cope with than someone from the outside who doesn't understand you or takes you for granted, which is how we started to feel back then.
What's the most frustrating thing about today's music industry? Is there an upside?
I think the fact that anyone can get your music for free is crazy, but that's the way it is. I guess the upside is that all those folks can get music for free. It's a good deal for them!
You've been a band for a long time. What's the secret to keeping it all together?
I've been in bands with Butch for over 30 years and I've known Steve nearly as long. Lord knows why we still are together. When Shirley joined Garbage, one reason we chose her -- besides her wonderful voice -- is simply because we liked her. That, to me, is crucial. You have to like the people in your band. If you don't, it won't work very well and it certainly won't last!
What are you guys doing differently as a band this time around? Are things more on your own terms?
We made a record that we wanted to make -- financed it ourselves, formed our own label, hired a manger who is also a long time friend who we trust with our lives. He and we make all the decisions pertaining to our career. I would say everything is on our own terms now.
What's on the agenda for Garbage in 2013?
Maybe some recording early next year. An Australia and Asia tour. Then we shall see.
Are there new emerging bands that you guys listen to in your spare time?
The last CD I bought was Jack White's new one. I love it.