Beyond the Pail
From Details magazine, November 1995

You are what you trash: a quick pick through Garbage's garbage.


Butch Vig
(drums, sound processing)


A.k.a 'Mr. Grunge.' Dropped out of the University of Wisconsin at Madison and became the drummer of a band called Spooner, which later became Firetown. Ended up producing Nirvana's Nevermind; Smashing Pumpkins' Gish, Lull, and Siamese Dream; Sonic Youth's Dirty and Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star; plus L7, Urge Overkill, Soul Asylum, and countless others. Describes Garbage's eponymous debut album as 'a record for pop geeks who dance with the lights out.'

1. Plaid shirt: 'Because grunge is dead.'
2. And the Beat Goes On (the autobiography of Sonny Bono): 'Don Fleming from Gumball gave it to me as a present, and it became the bible of the studio. But we got sick of looking at Sonny's face, so in the trash it goes.'
3. Golf ball and commemorative snapshot from the 1995 Almo Sounds Hack 'n' Slash Golf Tournament: 'Here you see us at the nineteenth hole. Notice I am sporting a Green Bay Packers cap because (a) they are the greatest team in all professional sports and (b) the G can also stand for Garbage.' Sheet music for the clarinet part on 'Queer,' from Garbage's album: 'We were going to sample the clarinet off a Frank Sinatra record, but it turned out to be really expensive. So we thought, Okay we'll transcribe it and get someone to play it instead. But you still have to pay, so we said forget it. What a waste of time.'

Shirley Manson
(vocals, guitar)


A mouthy Scot from Edinburgh. Played keyboards and sang backing vocals in Goodbye Mr. MacKenzie with John Duncan, who later became Nirvana's guitar technician. recruited by garbage when the boys saw her next band, Angelfish, on 120 Minutes: 'I didn't know who they were. I told my record company, 'This guy Butch Vig called,' and they nearly dropped the phone.' Once signed up, she immediately set about rewriting lots of the band's lyrics, because the were 'crap.' Worries about the size of her chest.

1. Bra: 'The rest of the band have got bigger tits than me. I am on a permanent quest to find a bra that fits, and this one is enormous, so it goes right in the bin.'
2. Black Belt magazine: 'I've no idea why I bought this magazine--I think the bloke on the cover made me laugh.'
3. Lots of nonprescription medicine containers: 'I am an absolute neurotic.'
4. Dreadful pipe-organ record: 'My boyfriend has an unbelievable, unbearably bad record collection, so I try to find the most offensive ones and throw them out while he's not looking.'
5. Wash-off tattoos: 'I'm sick of tattoos, sick of piercing, sick of temporary tattoos. They are the white stilettos of the '90s.'
6. Little Mermaid barrettes: 'A friend fot them for me and said, 'It's because they remind me of you.' I nearly puked.'
7. Weird pink plastic exercise device: 'You're supposed to pump it and chant 'I must, I must, I must increase my bust.' But I can't be bothered.'

Steve Marker
(guitars, bass, samples)


Brought up 'all over'; went to high school in Mamroneck, outside New York City. Met Duke and Butch when a film student at the University of Wisconsin started recording their band Spooner on his four-track tape recorder. In 1984, went into partnership with Butch, running Smart Studios in Madison. For $100 he and Butch would produce a single for your punk band and also feed you peanut butter sandwiches. Nirvana demo'ed Nevermind there.

1. Wig: 'This is part of the unifrom from the New Upsetters, a band we were in with some people from Madison. We only knew one song--Pink Floyd's 'Interstellar Overdrive.' But it's all over now because the world only needs one grunge supergroup, and that's us.'
2. Badly damaged effects pedals: 'These are all my old guitar pedals for '80s new-wave sounds, which we in Garbage are opposed to. We're for manly guitar sounds.'
3. White-label seven-inch single: 'This is one of the hundreds of singles we've produced over the years. We've got no idea who it is.'
4. Empty can of Pabst Blue Ribbon: 'We go through a fair amount of beer, and it has to be the best. As Frank says in Blue Velvet: 'Heineken? Fuck Heineken! Pabst Blue Ribbon, maaan!'
5. 'Single of the Week' press clipping from Melody Maker: 'People keep telling us we're getting good press, but it's hard to tell--by the time the clippings come through the fax machine they're illegible.'

Duke Erikson (guitars, bass, keyboards)

Nebraskan; guitarist and singer in Spooner and its later incarnation, Firetown. Drawn to Madison because it had a cool art scene; drove trucks and worked as a carpenter while playing in bands in the evenings.

1. T-shirt from Hooters: 'I wasn't there. A friend got it for me. I wore it to a party once and it was a real conversation piece, although no one was talking to me.'
2. Virtually full bag of nuts: 'We like our beer, but you know how you always think, Let's get some nuts too? And you get halfway through them and you think, These are just disgusting. Well, we do that all the time.'
3. Condom: 'They're always either too big or too small. You know how it is.'
4. Romance novel: 'Things can get dull in the studio when there's no one but boys here--you need a little romance to get you through the day.'
5. Nail varnish: 'Shirley started us using this--she wanted us to show some solidarity with the female in the band. And that bitter taste helps you stop biting your nails.'