One day producers Butch Vig, Steve Marker and Duke Erikson were in a studio remixing a track for Nine Inch Nails when a visiting friend commented that what they were recording sounded like “garbage”. The trashy sound they were producing became the basis for their new project and was christened after their friend’s remark.
Scottish vocalist Shirley Manson was recruited, and she cut a powerful figure as the frontwoman with her shock of red hair and enormous attitude. Rewriting most of the lyrics for the songs on the album, Manson articulated her battle against depression and set the tone of the band’s self-titled 1995 debut album.
Alternating between scathing, vicious, vengeful, wicked, longing and vulnerable, she could sing and convey practically any mood with great aplomb. And she was supported by some tremendous songwriting and musicianship – lush, warm loops, tinkering, thick layers of samples and keyboards, all cut with razorsharp guitar.
Tracks such as Milk and A Stroke Of Luck were darker than the deepest pits of Hell, and Vow has to be one of the greatest ever debut singles.
“I am sweet, but fuck with me and I’ll mop the floor with you.”
Shirley Manson. 1996
Guitar, keyboards, bass
Bryan ‘Butch’ Vig