Garbage Prepare To Record Second Album

By Gil Kaufman

The plan is to lock themselves in a cabin in Seattle and write the next album.

It's been a wild ride for the members of Garbage. When we first spoke with them in September of 1995, the day before their debut album, Garbage, landed in stores, in what was only their second U.S. interview ever; all four members were remarkably serene about the prospects of their success or failure. In fact, drummer Butch Vig said at the time, "I guess after tomorrow we'll know if we even need to do any more interviews."

And, as to whether he thought the album would become the multi-platinum smash that it has, Vig said jokingly, "Listen, this is a pop record. And while the three of us are too old to be pop stars, we're no Boyz II Men, certainly not teen idols, I think we have made a really good record. If nothing else, the name is fitting. Garbage. Here today, gone tomorrow. But, really, I hope it's more than that. I hope it's not that disposable. Of course, we have certainly left ourselves open for the ultimate one word record review, 'Garbage...Indeed.' "

Well, now they've traversed the world and returned to Madison, Wisconsin as bonafide rock stars. And the reviews were a bit better than Vig expected. So the other day we checked in with Garbage guitarist/keyboardist Steve Marker and asked him what was next for the disposable heroes of hip-poprosy. "Well, Shirley [Manson] went home for the holidays in December and we all sort of dispersed after the Pumpkins tour and have been working on ideas at home.

"Butch did a remix for U2 with Danny Saber (for the song "Staring at the Sun")," continued Marker. "Now, after some time off, we're going to hook up this weekend in New York and go to the ridiculous Grammy's thing." (Garbage were nominated in three categories, including Best New Artist.)

Then, straight from the Grammy limelight, Marker said the group will head to an undisclosed cabin in Seattle and lock themselves in for a few weeks and try to write the songs for the follow-up. Since the first album was basically created by the four members endlessly fooling around in the studio, Marker suspects a similar scenario will unfold this time around, which means that no new songs were really birthed on the road. "Once we're done in Seattle, we'll come back to Smart (Studios in Madison) and start all over," said Marker. "We don't have a lot of stuff ready because we didn't want to get ahead of ourselves. We did the first one in a burst, as we went along, and we're hoping the same thing will happen this time."

So, instead of the songs they've written over the past two years, the members of Garbage will start fresh and "see what's changed," according to the Quiet One (although, with the exception of Manson, all three probably qualify for that designation.) "I think this time we'll approach it even more as a group, since we're still pretty good friends, and definitely much tighter this time around. I mean, you really learn a lot about each other after spending 14 months on a bus. Who knows? It might make it easier, or harder, but it would be great if we could do it in three weeks," said Marker. "But probably not, since we're pretty neurotic about making music. Let's hope for a fall release."

As for what the sound of the new Garbage might be, all Marker could say was that they wouldn't be content to have their sophomore effort be a carbon copy of the first. "This is an opportunity to try out all kinds of new stuff and do whatever we want," he said. "We've all been storing up ideas about new sounds and ideas." The group will, once again, produce the album themselves since "nobody else could stand to work with us."

Even though the techno/rock fusion they already explored on their debut has in the meantime become all the rage, and even though Marker said the band all listen to lots of dance music, he was non-committal about Garbage jumping on the jungle trip. "It's weird how mainstream that music is becoming," he said. "Now you hear fake Goldie tracks on tampon commercials."

"We were all pretty fried when we got off the bus," said Marker. "it's pretty weird, it went a lot better than we thought it would. But I don't really trust it, I keep thinking people have us confused with somebody else. And it's not like any of us are going around saying 'I'm a really cool guy now.' It's really very funny actually. I just think we're old enough to know better."

Which pretty much jives with what Vig told us in that first interview, when asked by they lived in Madison rather than, say, Hollywood. "I stayed here because I didn't want to get a real job," Vig said. "Ultimately, it's a small town and we're living in a fishbowl, which helps keep me grounded. I don't really see how you could be pretentious and get away with it here. If we started going around acting like pop stars, people would call us on it in a minute."

And, finally, this bit from Manson, who during that same 1995 interview waxed poetic on what she hoped the record would do for Garbage: "I don't really care if we become rock stars, I just want to sell enough records so that we can tour the world. I've never been to Thailand, I'd like to go. Just so long as we sell that many, that would be okay with me."