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"We really made a conscious effort to make a cohesive record," says drummer Butch Vig of Garbage's stunning new album Not Your Kind Of People. "We're kind of old school in that regard. But it's funny – when we started writing, we didn't know if we were going to make an album; we were just writing. When we got to 21 or 22 songs, though, we started to realize that a lot of them would work well together. And that's good, because I still like putting on an album and listening to it from beginning to end."
When the members of Garbage – which also includes guitarists/bassists Steve Marker and Duke Erikson, along with singer Shirley Manson – got together in Los Angeles in mid-2010, they were coming off an extended hiatus. According to Marker, it didn't take long for the band to hit their stride. "The creative sparks started flying right away," he says. "I don't know if I knew how much I missed the band when we weren't working, but once we got together, it was like, 'Holy shit! Why did we wait so long?'"
Erikson echoes Marker's sentiments: "Just seeing that we could still do it was one of the best things to come out of this," he says. "In the first few days, we ran a lot of things up the flagpole, and all four of us saluted. That was very heartening. The minute we sensed that it was going to be all right was pretty cool."
Erikson and Marker continued their habit of trading bass and guitar duties, and a spirit of experimentation attended their tracking sessions, sometimes with comical results. “There was one time when I was playing a guitar part, and I wanted the sound to be more distortion than guitar," says Erikson. "We tried one pedal that started breaking up in this real irregular way. It was very chaotic and random, and it was exactly what I was looking for. I asked our engineer, Billy Bush, about the pedal, why it sounded so cool, and he said, ‘It’s because the battery’s almost dead.’”
The band recorded upwards of 26 songs, whittling them down to the 11 that comprise Not Your Kind Of People. Vig says that he expects to release many of the remaining cuts, possibly by the end of this year. As for another studio album – count on it. “We’re definitely going to make another record," he says, "and we won’t wait six years again. If we do that, we’ll all be in wheelchairs!"
On the following pages, Vig, Erikson and Marker walk us through the remarkable Not Your Kind Of People track-by-track.