Shirley Manson talks Garbage ahead of Edinburgh gig

As American-Scottish alternative rockers Garbage celebrate their 20th anniversary, Edinburgh-born lead singer Shirley Manson has been speaking about her time in the band.

Manson, who grew up in the Stockbridge area of the city and joined local band Goodbye Mr Mackenzie as a back-up vocalist and keyboardist soon after dropping out of school at age 16, tells that one of her highlights is the first time she ever heard Garbage on the airwaves.

“We were driving back from an REM concert in Chicago,” recalls the flame-haired 48-year-old. “I was in the car with Butch [Vig] and Steve [Marker], I think, and we heard Vow on the radio.

“That was just… I don’t even know how to describe it. It was incredible!”

Another high point for Manson was Garbage being invited to play in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens to mark the opening of the Scottish Parliament on July 1, 1999.

On the day, Manson told the crowd, “I never thought I’d see the day. A parliament after 300 years. You should be proud of yourselves.”

And she is proud of the triumphant homecoming gig herself, as she tells  “The opening of Scottish Parliament would certainly be up there for me [as a highlight of the last 20 years in Garbage].

“To get asked to represent your entire country was a thrill, and made my family crazy. It was a riot.”

Garbage are set to play a special show at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on 14 November to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their groundbreaking, self-titled debut album, which sold four million copies on its release in 1995, and spawned a succession of hits singles including Stupid Girl, Only Happy When It Rains, Vow and Queer.

“To even get to the point where we’re still making music after 20 years is just beyond my wildest dreams – truly ,” says Manson. “I realise how rare that is, and I feel very privileged.”

Garbage – 20 Years Queer, Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 14 November 2015, doors 7pm, £27.50-£35.75, 0131-228 1155