Maybe you remember the old joke for the Rolling Stone magazine reading set back in the 1990’s: What do you get when you cross three music producers with a smoking hot red-headed singer? Answer: A load of Garbage is what. Yeah maybe we were too easily amused back then, but regardless there was a time when that was a relevant joke. And in our opinion at Dandy Classic the band Garbage has always remained a relevant group.
Featuring super-producer Butch Vig on the drums, Duke Erickson on guitar, and Steve Tasker on turntables, keys and guitars and the supervixen herself Shirley Manson, the band formed in 1994 around the desire of all parties to be in a strong unit that would consolidate all the individuals strengths into a cohesive, rocking, whole. All had been in multiple bands prior to Garbage (several with each other even) and knew what they were looking for as seasoned musicians. The final ingredient was Manson whom Tasker happened to view sereptitously on MTV’s late-night program ‘120 Minutes’ when the one-and-only time they played her band Angelfish’s video. Taken by her charisma and singing style the other band members immediately reached out to her to arrange a meeting and unfortunately it wasn’t love at first sight all around as the initial meet-up was a mini-disaster. Despite the bad first impression all parties moved forward and were glad they did.
Within the span of less than a year they wrote and recorded their debut self-titled record and promptly hit the road for much of the next 2 years to promote it. Featuring the singles ‘Vow’, ‘Queer’, ‘I’m Only Happy When it Rains’, ‘Milk’ and the big hit ‘Stupid Girl’, the debut sold 2 million in the US and 5 million worldwide. They also had another hit off the “Romeo and Juliet” soundtrack, the fantastic ‘#1 Crush’ before reconvening in 1997 to record the follow-up.
With the idea being to expand on the palette of the track on their debut LP ‘As Heaven Is Wide’, the foursome took that template to the hilt. Part multi-layered futuristic rock, part electronica, part spy movie soundscape the band took their formula to the hilt on the aptly titled “Version 2.0” and came out with a perfected version of what they were and created a cohesive album Randy would become addicted to for much of 1998 and 1999 upon it’s May 1998 release.
As nervous as the band was to follow up the success of its debut, it channeled much of that angst into creating a captivating and consistent disc that would reveal different sonic details every time you listened to it. Opening with the careening brilliance of ‘Temptation Waits’ the manifesto is established immediately. After that the radio-ready ‘I Think I’m Paranoid’ and bratty, and equally ear-pleasing ‘When I Grow Up’ let you know Garbage is staying relevant on their own terms. Also featuring the catchy ‘Special’ and sexual overture set to electronic breakbeat bliss ‘Hammering in My Head’, the genre-bending ‘Push It’ and ending on the icy, perfect ‘You Look So Fine’, the record had nary a misstep while elevating the craft of Garbage to a new height.