Garbage to spotlight new LP on club tour

By John Sakamoto

Garbage will spotlight their striking sophomore album, "Version 2.0", on a six-city North American club tour next month, including a date in Canada.

Shirley Manson, Butch Vig, Steve Marker, Duke Erikson, and road bassist Daniel Shulman will perform at the 1,000-capacity Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, May 24, the band confirmed in a phone interview Monday from Smart Studios in Madison, Wisc.

The other cities fortunate enough to be included on the abbreviated itinerary are San Francisco and L.A. (both before the Toronto date), plus Boston, Washington, D.C., and New York.

Considering that three or four of the dozen songs on "Version 2.0" consist of more than 100 audio tracks each, it'll be interesting to see how the band tackles the question of performing the new album live.

"Yeah, I know," Vig says over a speaker phone, around which he, Erikson, and Marker are gathered. "Do you have any suggestions?"

"This is our first day working on it," chimes in Erikson, "and right after this interview, we've gotta go figure it out. Very quickly."

"We'll be using a lot of technology, trying to get close to the record," says Vig. "Drum triggers, loops. We've got guitars doing all this MIDI synth stuff, and samples, too. And there's some areas that we won't get exactly like the record but will sort of get filled in with the live excitement and the roar of the guitars, and some songs get rearranged a bit live.

"We never quite are finished translating it to the stage," observes Vig. "But we're kind of freaked out because we have to try to figure it out."

That could take some doing. More than any other album to emerge in the post-Nirvana era, "Version 2.0" is absolutely bursting with sonic invention.

For example, the first single, "Push It", contains 127 tracks, according to Vig. It's also the first (and, most probably, last) song to quote from both the Beach Boys ("Don't Worry Baby") and Salt-N-Pepa ("Push It").

"The Beach Boys thing was a conscious thing," explains Vig. "Shirley just came up with the lyric 'don't worry baby', and we wanted to try having a vocal chorus answering her. I think it was Steve who sampled the Beach Boys right off the record. So we had Shirley Manson singing and the Beach Boys answering her. It was amazing.

"But we realized that it would be a legal nightmare, so we kept the melody and the words and had Shirley sing it and double-tracked her vocals, and that sounded really good, too. That's what you hear on the record.

"We still had to get clearance, since we realized we were still using a Brian Wilson creation, so we approached him through our publisher -- we share the same publisher -- sent him a copy of the tape, and he actually liked the song and generously said 'Yes, go ahead and use it'." (Wilson liked the song enough to hang onto the tape).

Actually, Vig's detailed description of Push It's recording history serves as an eye-opening an account of the band's unusual approach to the studio in general.

"The way we work, all four of us are in a room, and we start with an acoustic guitar chord pattern or a drum pattern, with Shirley maybe ad libbing a vocal. The four of us come up with a rough sketch of the song, but then we'll go and individually record tons of ideas.

"Shirley keeps working on lyrics, coming in and singing it, then we'll rearrange it and record some more. Over a period of time, we keep building rough mixes, and every rough mix usually sounds radically different from the previous one. Then we start mixing, and we have to sort through this huge puzzle. And usually, we're STILL recording. A lot of times, we'll spend three or four days on a mix and it's almost done and we'll just go, 'The middle doesn't sound right'. Then we'll just stop everything and start recording until we come up with something we like.

"Compared to most bands -- who go in and have a demo and have rehearsed and know what it's gonna sound like a lot of times -- we'll constantly make everything up on the spot in the studio. And that's what made this album exciting."

That same approach also applies to the "Push It" video, which should start popping up on MuchMusic this week.

"Well, if you read the idea, you'd probably laugh," says Erikson. "When we first got the storyboard, it was extremely bizarre. We look at a lot of different video directors, and we're very particular who we work with because we want to feel they have a sensibility for what we're trying to do musically. And we ended up liking this video that Andrea Giacobbe did for Death In Vegas ("Dirt"). It's very futuristic and kind of timeless-looking, and he uses a lot of layers in how he shoots and arranges each scene, much like the song, actually.

"It's a real interesting cast of characters," says Erikson, "and there are a lot of ideas using different film stocks and different looks, everything from a handmade movie look to a '70s TV series look, a lot of different nods to film. There's a kind of Magritte looking character. It's very surreal.

"Yeah," interjects Vig. "F---ed up dreams."


"We're very happy with it."