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Influence diagram: Garbage, Shirley Manson and Butch Vig Legacy

Here we chart some influences and inspirations from Garbage, the band consisting in Shirley Manson (voice), Butch Vig (drums), Steve Marker (guitar, synths) and Duke Erikson (guitar):influencias grabage shirley manson

Garbage is an alternative rock band that made their debut in 1995 with their self-titled album. They achieved recognition with tracks like Only Happy When It Rains, Stupid Girl, Special and I Think I’m Paranoid. They recently announced the release of their seventh studio album for 2021, No Gods No Masters.

Which are Garbage´s influences?

Garbage’s musical background is quite complex: influences from “classic” rock, electronica, shoegaze and alternative rock. Here we will condense into five:

P. J. Harvey: We have already referred to this matter in P. J. Harvey’s influence chart on her influence on Garbage. Polly Jean was one of the reasons why Shirley Manson decided to front a band: her attitude on her stage, her “unapologetic” style of hers.

Siouxsie & The Banshees: According to Shirley Manson, she fell in love with post-punk with Siouxsie Sioux: Her “stage persona” and powerful vocal style are a clear starting point for the Garbage singer. Specifically she and Butch Vig mentioned Souxie & The Banshees, David Bowie and Cocteau Twins as mainstays for Not Your Kind of People, their 2012 album.

Cocteau Twins: The Dream Pop that the Garbage singer likes. Beyond the emotion that Shirley Manson felt when meeting Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau’s singer), the stylistic link in the melodic way of singing is evident: a melodic and cared voice, but at the same time deep and powerful.

My Bloody Valentine: Mostly Garbage’s guitar sound. As they have explained, My Bloody Valentine is an influence for Steve Marker and Duke Erikson. Both in their ability to produce riffs and in their more ethereal climates and more punctilious arrangements, Garbage’s guitars are referenced to the band of Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher. Other bands mentioned by Marker and Erikson are Television, The Pretenders, and Roxy Music.

Depeche Mode: The dark, gothic and electronic influence, notorious specifically on Garbage’s self-titled debut album, but also on later releases like Version 2.0 (1998) and Strange Little Birds (2016). Depeche Mode knew, especially since the late eighties, how to mix a guitar sound with electronics, to reach its peak of popularity and set an immediate precedent for Garbage. It should be remembered that the trio of Butch Vig, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker made remixes of Depeche Mode, U2 and Nine Inch Nails. In other words, his work on electronic music began there.

They were left out of the diagram but it is worth mentioning: The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Ramones, Patti Smith and Debbie Harry from Blondie.

Which artists were influenced by Garbage?

Garbage has been a reference for several artists who followed him, of which we will describe four:

Lady Gaga: The new queen of pop has a very coarse nineties alternative rock background. Among her references, she cited two mainstay frontwomen: Gwen Stefani from No Doubt and Shirley Manson from Garbage. According to Lady Gaga, she has been a huge fan of both bands since her high school years. As an additional link, Shirley Manson and Lady Gaga are two spokespersons for the LGBT movement.

Evanescence: Singer Amy Lee has mentioned that her fellow from Garbage is one of her idols. Specifically, she admires Shirley Manson’s onstage attitude. She has highlighted in interviews that Evanescence aims to pay tribute to alternative rock bands of the nineties, such as Garbage and Nirvana.

Halestorm: The alternative hard rock band presents a guitar sound, sometimes dark or epic, but also with “friendly” backing vocals. That balance between rock and pop is one of the characteristics of Garbage remarked by singer and guitarist Lzzy Hale. In addition to this sound balance, it is also worth noting that Garbage can be taken as a lyrical antecedent for Halestorm, in its themes of conflicts and personal instrospections.

Dum Dum Girls: Her singer, Dee Dee (AKA Kristin Kontrol), has mentioned that seeing Garbage live in the mid-1990s shocked her a lot. The influence on the music of Dum Dum Girls is especially evident in the album Too True (2014) which has a retro sound linked to the alternative shoegaze.

It is also worth mentioning artists such as Karen O, from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Taylor Momsen (The Pretty Reckless), Hayley Williams (Paramore) and Florence Welch, from Florence + The Machine.

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