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May 1996 Diary

Planes, Food Poisoning and Smelly Buses

Hi! Garbage is back in the States, having survived the rest of our European jaunt with several of our brain cells still intact. Since we last spoke, we've been through Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, France, and Spain. Gent, we are happy to report, is in Belgium, and is a super-cool place to play due to great people and our new favorite beer, the name of which none of us can remember. We knew we were getting somewhere in our careers when we stopped in at a bar there and wrote stuff on the walls, and they didn't even throw us out! In fact, they gave us more beer for free! Sure is great being a musician! Garbage made the mistake of taking a precious day off in Berlin on some sort of German holiday, which meant that it was impossible to get even a stale bag of "crisps" (potato chips 3/4 of us call them) for dinner. Another fun show, though, then it was off to Paris where we played "Queer" on a big TV show and played at a club that asked us to keep the volume down so as to not annoy the neighbors. Good thing we couldn't understand what they were saying! Oops! Afterwards, we set an all-time Garbage record of 17 bottles of wine at dinner. And that was just Duke!

What if Garbage was asked to sum up touring Europe? They would say that it's great, except that you never get to see anything because you are always playing or driving, and the band buses over there make Greyhounds in the states seem like luxury-liners. Unless of course you like the all-permeating stench of chemical toilets, in which case they would be right up your alley.

Steve, Shirley, Duke, and Butch

Oooh, Watch Out For Those Frankfurters

In Frankfurt Steve got radically ill from some bad frankfurters, and played the entire show trying not to vomit and playing approximately 3% of his guitar parts correctly. He was a bit chagrined to find that his fellow bandmates felt that this was the best Garbage had ever played up until that point. Luxembourg was our first contact with non-Arctic weather the entire tour, which we enjoyed although we never really figured out whether Luxembourg is a city or a country. We eventually decided it was both. A bartender there threw a shot glass at us in some bizarre native ritual, which shattered and flew into Butch's eye, which then entitled us to free drinks for the rest of the night. We simply can't believe the good luck we are experiencing on this tour! We flew to Madrid to spend a day talking into little tape recorders and enjoy more fabulous food, then it was back to Frankfurt, where we played a festival with Smashing Pumpkins, Cypress Hill, Sonic Youth, Afghan Whigs, and many others. This thing went so late, we were actually able to hit the town after our set and still get back to the hotel in time to see the end of it on live TV. One more show in Leeds, broadcast live on BBC 1, and it was off to the states and beautiful LA, where we played "Only Happy" on a new TV show called "Saturday Night Special". We were supposed to be introduced by Pamela Anderson, but she wasn't there so somebody else we didn't know did it. Coolio was very nice, though, and we got to see Roseanne throw one of her famous temper tantrums! Wow! Then we played a set on "Modern Rock Live" from the famous Capitol Hollywood studios where Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin used to hang out and wear hats. In a shining example of modern tour-routing, we then played Montreal the next night, which was lovely since we've gone gold in Canada. This stop also featured our first-ever in-store signing extravaganza, which surprised us as it was attended by twice as many kids as anybody thought would show up. Daniel our bassman got so worked up that he fell down the stairs and nearly broke his arm in two right before the encores, wreaked havoc with the low end on Vic Chestnutt's "Kick My Ass" and our own "Girl Don't Come."

Anyway, this brings you nearly up-to-date with what's been happening to Garbage -- next up: Lost Luggage, Hanging With Tricky, and More Gizmotrons!

Steve, Shirley, Duke, and Butch

Helpful Hint: Wear A Black T-shirt Every Night

Here's more Garbage news! We went to Boston after Montreal, where we actually played live "unplugged" on the radio (if Kiss and Rod Stewart can do it, so can we, dammit), and that night we played with Black Grape and Letters To Cleo, who helped us out with the hometown crowd by sending Kay out to wave a video camera at us as we were trying to play. NYC was next, which was scary for us since the last time we played there it was only our seventh show -- hopefully we're a lot better now. About three thousand kids at Roseland seemed to think so, thankfully, and we were much relieved as we made our Lifebeat (AIDS research benefit) after-show party, which was too crowded for us to get into, so we went to another bar and met Tricky, one of our current musical favorites, and proceeded to shout nonsense at one another until about five in the morning. And there was a guy from Metallica there too -- talk about your star-studded events! He didn't know who we were, though. From there we went to Richmond for a multi-band radio festival thing, which was fun except by this point Shirley's health had disintegrated to the point that she had to go to the emergency room right afterwards. This touring stuff really takes its toll, although she was cheered up by the state troopers trying to put the moves on her as she was being examined -- thanks, Virginia! Making this stop just a little bit more fun for Shirl was the failure of her bag to arrive with the rest of ours. Thanks Continental Airlines! Nothing like playing a series of shows in the same set of garments to make a girl feel pretty!

Garbage Road Wisdom: If you only ever wear black tee shirts on stage, nobody will know how many nights you've been wearing the same shirt. Also, a cocktail made from vodka and Yoo-hoo isn't actually as good as it sounds.

Steve, Shirley, Duke, and Butch

Helloooooo Lithuania!

DC and Philly rocked as always, and we got to stand in front of a camera for three hours and say things like "hello, Lithuania, you're watching Music Television Rumpleminz 44.7, and this is our new video, 'Stupid Girl.' Ciao!" Once again we were reminded how glad we are to be musicians. Our friend Mike from Smart Studios has been constantly updating our patented Gizmotron system, which is really starting to spruce up the live show. We're not sure what the gizmotrons do, but they have flashing lights and are a real pain in the ass for the crew guys, so we feel they're worth it. The latest versions made their debut in Toronto, where we got our Gold Canadian discs and Steve got food poisoning again (a pattern of sickness is beginning to emerge on this tour, with one member falling prey to some bizarre ailment, with the rest following in one-week intervals). Oh yeah, we also found out that we had "gone gold" (sold lots of records) in the US, which is about as big a thrill as anyone could get -- now maybe we can ask for doors on the dressing room toilets. Rochester was one of those towns where we had no idea what to expect -- lucky for us it turned our to be one of the most mosh-happy and sweatiest crowds we've played to yet. Then came Milwaukee, which has historically been a tough place musically for the boys -- we've played there for years with varying degrees of success, mostly varying towards the less successful end of the spectrum. But this night was different! Hallelujah, the curse was lifted! The kids went nuts, and one super fired-up guy leapt up on stage, danced with Shirley and Duke, and executed a perfect swan dive back out to the tenth row. We were impressed. Metro in Chicago has always been cool (it's where the boys first saw Shirley sing live), and it went well again this time. All ages shows rule. Then we went to CRC, a studio in Chicago, to work on a remix of "Milk" with Tricky... it sounds pretty groovy, and his vocal is the first ever male vocal on a Garbage song. Duke's fortune cookie at dinner said "you have a curious smile and a mysterious nature", which has caused him to walk around grimacing strangely, and seems to fit the rather odd nature of the Garbage/Tricky remix. Stay tuned-- we're off to Denver and points west tomorrow, with many escapades to report we expect. Oh yeah -- did we mention that we're out this summer (late June through July) with Smashing Pumpkins? Coming soon to your local Enormodome...

Sincerely, your very tired Garbage pals.

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