Garbage Prep For U.S. Tour
by Gil Kaufman

Like many of their fans, the members of Garbage have been enjoying their summer engaged in pretty typical sunshine pursuits: staying up until dawn dancing and drinking with friends, traveling, spending too much time in the sun ...

Of course, this being Garbage, they've also been writing new music, as well as staying up late dancing and drinking with the likes of Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan and Foo Fighters singer Dave Grohl, as they traipsed around Europe playing festival shows.

Although the notoriously studio-bound band did some recording on the road during its summer tour of Europe, guitarist/keyboardist Steve Marker said Garbage plan to track more new material during their upcoming U.S. tour, the group's first full-scale stint in the States. The tour, which supports their latest album, Version 2.0, opens Sept. 17 in Denver, Colo.

"We're more set up to record on the road this time," Marker said, "because the album was done digitally on a computer and we are bringing half of that on the road with us this time."

Marker said once the group kicks off its U.S. tour in the coming weeks, it will be recording its soundchecks and trying out new material. "It would be cool if we could make it work and get some B-side and new stuff done on the road," Marker said.

He also said that some of the European shows, including the Roskilde performance in Denmark, were recorded and it's possible that the material might end up as B-sides.

"I don't want to sound like I'm whining about it, but the travel schedule has been insane at points," Butch Vig, drummer for the Madison, Wis.-based electronic rockers said of the recently completed European festival stint. "During our last round of European shows, we played Italy, Spain, Ireland and Scotland back-to-back, when it seemed like 22 of the 24 hours we were on a bus or van."

Vig said the group -- which includes vocalist Shirley Manson and guitarist/keyboardist Duke Erikson in addition to himself and Marker -- was constantly dodging soccer's World Cup competition, which often threatened to overshadow their shows, depending on who was playing and when the game started.

"There were a couple shows where we thought there would only be a couple hundred people because of a game," Vig said.

There were, of course, also many upsides to the European tour. One was a June gig at the Roskilde festival, at which the band performed after folk legend Bob Dylan. "The Roskilde date was bizarre," Vig explained, "because it was Bob Dylan before us. We were like, 'F---, that's Bob Dylan and we're going on right after him!' "

Vig said another memorable late night was spent after the band's gig at the Wolverhampton festival in the U.K., when one of their security detail, who owns a pub half an hour's drive from the concert venue, invited the band down for a private party.

"We went there with a bunch of journalists and friends and Steve [Marker] bartended," Vig said. "We were there until 6 a.m., by which point everyone was stripped down to their underwear, dancing around."

In addition to the hobnobbing and late-night partying, Vig said one of the events that stood out most for him and Marker from their European festival swing was the night in Lisbon, Portugal, when both got in cab accidents.

"The cab drivers in Lisbon are insane," Vig said, "and Steve and I were in separate cabs and we went out after playing this show at the World Expo '98 in front of 40,000 people and we both got in cab accidents on the way to the hotel." Vig said Marker's driver hit another car, after which the driver sprinted from the car and began relieving himself in some roadside bushes. "He started chugging Coca-Cola, because I think it was clear he was heavily intoxicated," Vig explained.

The night ended on a high note, though, as the members of Garbage hooked up with the Foo Fighters and went club-hopping early into the next morning. Topping off the summer fun was a show at the Zenith in Paris, attended by Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan, who came backstage after the show and took the group's members out to "some mafiaesque disco." By 6 a.m. the next morning, only Vig and Erikson were left standing.

And so, with the summer fading, Garbage will be attending MTV's Video Music Awards on Sept. 10, where their trippy clip for "Push It" (RealAudio excerpt) is up for eight awards.

And though they are not performing at the awards, Garbage were happy to just be in the audience, Marker said. "We're just going to go and try to get free drinks," he said.