HBD Shirley Manson! Grunge Legend On Selfies & The Poop Revenge
“Founder of grunge” is a title that only a very select few women hold. And one such woman is Shirley Manson. The frontwoman of ’90s alternative rock band Garbage, Manson has been at once a musical icon and a pillar of hope and strength for over 20 years. Steeped in a feminist, invigorating defiance, her music belongs to a different era—one that was shaped and informed by the women of the ’90s alt scene, the Courtney Loves and Fiona Apples, whose music had a greater purpose beyond the self-righteous. And turning 50 years old today, the Scottish born Manson is as relevant and commanding as ever; two months ago, she released her sixth studio album with Garbage, Strange Little Birds—and if it’s even possible, the album is her most impressive to date. To celebrate the blessed day Manson was brought into this world, we went back into the archives and revisited the glorious day we spent with her a couple month’s back. Below, we’ve compiled the most epic highlights from her conversation with Jocelyn Silver that didn’t make it into the initial interview.
On shitting in her ex-boyfriend’s Corn Flakes (for the uninformed, read our first interview with her), and how it’s inspired others
I got an email a couple of weeks ago from a girlfriend of mine whose girlfriend had cheated on her, and she collected two day’s [worth] of dog shit, put it in a doggy bag, and dumped it outside her front door, rang the doorbell and naffed off. And then she emailed me and said, ‘I did this in your honor.’ And I was like, ‘That’s my girl! Did it make you feel better?’ And she went, ‘It made me feel so much better.’… I feel great that I’ve left that legacy behind. The ultimate revenge!”
On today’s most popular music
“I’m desperate to find someone else that thinks like me… I think people are beginning to yearn for a bit of authenticity. They want the authentic voice of that performer, and instead, right now, what you’re getting are incredibly talented artists—really talented artists—but they’re singing other people’s words and they’re acting. It’s almost like stage school. There is value to artists that come up through The Voice or through American Idol or through stage school. I’m not knocking that, I think it’s phenomenal. But there also has to be a balance, I think. [We also need to hear] from the disenchanted, the disaffected, the oddities, the frailties, you know? All the other parts of existence that make being human beings so interesting.”
On hating angled selfies
“Well it’s not so much that I hate when people do that, it’s just I’ve noticed that every single photograph is the same and we’re all being stripped of our identities and our lovely little snaggled teeth, and maybe our boobs are too big or our tits are too small, and everything’s being hidden. And as a result, we’re becoming more and more homogenized. And I ache for snaggleteeth. Or the gaps between people’s front teeth drives me mad!…
I love a good gap.”
On pop music, and whether there was ever a time that it went past scratching the surface
“In the ‘90s, the weird thing was there was this blip in music culture that allowed the alternative voice to be played in the mainstream and it was the only thing that garnered attention. Like, all the pop acts, if they weren’t making ‘90s alt, didn’t get played on the radio, didn’t get covered by TV, weren’t on the front cover of magazines. It was freaks like me and Courtney and Fiona Apple and Missy Elliot, and, like, all the girls that were a bit odd [that] were getting all the attention. And that had never happened before, and it hasn’t happened since, not really.”
On whether or not she’s a poptimist
“I’m not a poptimist, in particular. But I’m not a pessimist either. I mean, I do air towards the dark side, but I definitely use darkness to inform my light. I want light in my life. I don’t want to be destroyed by darkness, but I need to know what’s in the shadows so that I can prepare myself and protect myself.
I think that’s the only way you can appreciate the light. And you also, I think, feel less afraid. It’s like when you’re little and you imagine there [are] monsters under your bed, and then your parents encourage you to look, and eventually you muster the guts and there [are] no monster there—that’s what I feel propels us in Garbage to the dark because it actually makes us feel safe.
“Show me a woman who doesn’t have issues… I would love to meet her. I mean, I have some of my own friends who have incredible self-esteem and I really find it so incredibly attractive. Like, I want to be like that…
… But I feel like sometimes the things that you are tortured by are the best things for you in the end… I think that’s what teaches you, instructs you, to push for something better and try and figure things out. And it also teaches you, I think, to be kinder to other people. I really connect with people’s suffering, I don’t know why. I think that’s part of my job, I think that’s what I’m supposed to do. And it’s really, really powerful sometimes.”
Images via Tumblr, Another Magazine, Pinterest, Stephen Sweet/REX, and by Adrian Mesko.
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