Shirley Manson
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When The World Gets Scared, The First People They Punish Are The Women” – Shirley Manson

On International Women’s Day, the Garbage vocalist’s words resonate more than ever…

In the current issue of Kerrang! (hey, have we mentioned that?) we have a huge interview with Garbage vocalist Shirley Manson, in which we chatted to her about everything from trying out for the band for the first time to penning theme songs for James Bond and playing a Terminator in The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Yeah, we went everywhere. It’s a good one, promise.

And because we like you, and because why not, we figured we’d give you a little sneak preview taster of what you can expect when you pick up a copy of the issue. Here then, are some edited highlights for your enjoyment…


When I was growing up, I was fortunate that I picked the people I was obsessed with wisely. It was Patti Smith, Siouxsie Sioux from Siouxsie And The Banshees, Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders, Marianne Faithful, Debbie Harry – women who continued to build on their reputations and amaze in their own ways.


It’s surreal, somewhat ridiculous, and also welcome. I’ve worked hard and had a long career, and I’m keen to acknowledge this kind of recognition, particularly in the female narrative of music, as we’ve historically been a bit eradicated in some ways, and it has been very much a boys’ club.


I didn’t develop confidence until I was about 40. Up until that point there was a battle raging, as it does in most artists, of, ‘I’m shit’ but also, ‘I’m good at this.’ At that time I was intimidated by Butch’s [Vig, producer and Garbage drummer] reputation, and knew little about how studios work and being creative. I was shy, awkward and unable to perform at my best. My first audition was an embarrassment!


We’d had basically done our first two records by ourselves, but on Beautiful Garbage we had all of the managers and record label heads from all over the world came over to Madison. We presented it to them and they broke into applause. The feedback was good and we were all really excited. We booked tickets to go to the UK and we wake up in the morning and see planes flying into the World Trade Center. We didn’t know it then, but in that moment our career got hit by a juggernaut, like the whole world was, but we never really recovered as a result. We didn’t go to the UK and didn’t do the press, and by the time we did go there the radio had stopped playing women. When the world gets scared, the first people they punish are the women. It happened everywhere, but particularly in America. You couldn’t get a woman on the radio in alternative rock. Our managers said, ‘Sorry, but they’re not playing women anymore.

That’s yer lot for now. But you can check out the whole thing (and loads more) by picking up a copy of the new issue of Kerrang! in shops today, or by ordering online now here.

Posted on March 8th 2018, 5:29pm
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