Although scrappy Scottish chanteuse Shirley Manson has nothing against method actors, in her first role in the Fox TV show “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” she had no trouble becoming Catherine Weaver, a high-powered executive who also happened to be a shape-shifting cyborg.
No longer was she the photogenic frontvixen for alt-scene supergroup Garbage. “All of a sudden, I was portraying something else,” she says. “I was a female morphing out of a urinal and killing a guy who had underestimated me. That was one of my first scenes! It was really subversive, really dangerous, and I loved it.”
Garbage, playing Live 105’s BFD this weekend, has reunited after seven years with a great, Goth-shadowy comeback, “Not Your Kind of People,” on its own Stun Volume imprint.
But for a couple of years, the “Terminator” gig was all Manson had.
“Without that TV show, I don’t know what I would’ve done. I’m sure I would’ve fallen into the abyss of despair,” says the singer, who had been struggling to complete an even darker solo album. “But instead, I just put my energies into something equally as fulfilling and enjoyable as what I had been doing, and I wasn’t being asked to compromise my intellect.”
Soon, Manson was a subculture celebrity, attending sci-fi conventions, signing autographs. “Going to Comic-Con was like going to a rock concert,” she says. “It was just a cool, fun atmosphere, and it had nothing to do with money. Everybody was there because they love cartoons and they love science fiction, and it reminded me of hanging out at record stores when I was a kid. I definitely got a lucky break, for sure.”
While Garbage co-founder Butch Vig busied himself with production assignments, the Los Angeles-based Manson married longtime group engineer Billy Bush and began sculpting her debut disc with collaborators.
Unfortunately, the sound eluded hit-hungry label Geffen. “They wanted me to dumb myself down, clean myself up and play nice,” she says. In response, she quit the company, shelved her project and proposed a Garbage reunion to Vig, who agreed.
The result: Songs on “Not Your Kind of People” — “Battle in Me,” “Automatic Systematic Habit” and the single “Blood for Poppies” (an opium-trade metaphor for music-industry insanity) — whir with “Terminator” ferocity.
“The homogenization of all women in music just drives me bananas,” says Manson, who may issue her album on Stun Volume. “If you have any fangs or claws whatsoever, I feel like the whole world wants to de-fang and de-claw you. I just refuse to play that game.”
IF YOU GO
Live 105 BFD 2012
Where: Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Tickets: $35 to $75
Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.livenation.com
Main Stage: Garbage, Naked and Famous, Cake, Silversun Pickups, Jane’s Addiction
Festival Stage: Grouplove, FUN., Pennywise, Angels and Airwaves, Neon Trees, Of Monsters and Men, Falling In Reverse, Geographer, Walk the Moon, Imagine Dragons
Local Band Stage: Stone Foxes, The Holdup, AB & The Sea, New Diplomat, Dirty Ghosts, Seeking Empire, Trophy Fire, Midi Matilda, Young Science