Shirley Manson covers Nylon June/July 2012 for the magazine’s special Music Issue. The singer was first on Nylon’s cover in 2002 and now she’s back after 10 years. And Garbage as well. In the accompanying interview, Shirley talks about a wide range of topics including the band’s new album and feeling as an outsider.
“I used to torture myself because I thought I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t young enough, I wasn’t this or that enough. Now I’m like, F**k it.” Now, she’s 45 and she doesn’t look like she’s trying to be young and confesses she has no plastic surgeries. “I don’t want to pay that price and pretend I’m something I’m not,” she says. “I love youth culture. But I also want some wisdom and I want some experience and I want some knowledge. I think we put far too much responsibility on young people’s shoulders.”
Shirley made her debut for Garbage in 1994. In 2005, the band decided it was time to take a break. “When we first came off the road, I felt that we had worn out our welcome as a band,” she told Nylon. “We had enjoyed such a zeitgeist moment with our first two records – people were excited by us – and then the music scene shifted so completely. Garage bands like The Strokes and White Stripes came in and put us out of business, for lack of a better term. And I knew it: Oof, we are f****d. And I don’t think we were quick enough to adapt. I just didn’t know how to fix it. Nobody in the band did. We’d been on the road for so long in our little microcosm, and we had no idea what was happening in the rest of the world, and I think that affects your ability to be an effective artist.”
Shirley admits that she told her husband she wanted a nine-to-five job as she no longer could face all the pressure of being a musician. “And he kept laughing at me, which was really infuriating! But I was like, ‘I just want a f*****g job where I don’t need to risk myself every day,'” she says. “HA! Luckily that didn’t happen.”
Still, the singer quit music. “I didn’t write. I stopped listening to the radio, stopped going to shows. I rejected everything,” she told Nylon. Asked whether it was painful or not, Manson admits that, “Yeah. Really painful. Really painful. And, of course, practically everyone I know is involved in making music; a lot of people were making records, and it was devastating. But it was good for me, ultimately, because I realized I can actually have a creative life without music and still have a lot of fun.”
On celebrity and learning how to be a normal person, Manson says that, “For a decade I’d walk into a room and I’d feel the temperature change – and you sort of get used to that, which I don’t think is good for you as a human being at all. But it’s like being a junkie: You have to be weaned off it. I went totally cold turkey. And there were a lot of tears and a lot of feeling lost and not being sure what to do about it.”
In the spring of 2009, Manson decided it was time yo get the band together. “I was like, I’ve got to get my boys back; I need my family. I guess I just wanted to reclaim something that felt loving and familiar and safe.” The band rented a studio in Los Angeles in the summer of 2010. Next, they ended up writing 25 songs most of them having as theme the idea of being an outsider. Then, the album ‘Not Your Kind of People’ was born. “It felt almost like a war cry in a sense, because I think we have always felt like oddball outsiders. But we inverted that idea this time around: Yes, we are outsiders, we are oddballs. Come join us if you feel the same way. We just sort of turned our gaze outward, and that was empowering to us,” Manson confesses.
Read Shirley Manson’s full interview NYLON’s June/July 2012 Music Issue.
Photos courtesy of NYLON