When Shirley Manson decided to document her years in Butch Vig’s alt-rock supergroup Garbage, she hired a designer, asked her bandmates for relevant memorabilia and even found postcards she had sent from her native Scotland 23 years ago, explaining how she put her old outfit Angelfish on pause to record what initially was a one-off Garbage EP. “Angelfish will be back together soon,” she wrote. She had no idea how quickly the Goth-edged group would catch on with fans — or that the band would be spending much of 2018 touring for the 20th anniversary of its sophomore disc “Version 2.0” and promoting “This Is the Noise That Keeps Me Awake,” its 2017 coffee-table autobiography. She says, “It was only in retrospect, looking back over all these old clippings and reviews, that I realized how much we were treasured and adored. And I didn’t feel that at the time.”
You just wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about your old habit of self-abuse as a cutter. What brought that on?
Well, they wanted a “first-time” piece, and I felt like that was the subject matter I wanted to discuss. But to be fair, I’ve talked about being a cutter since I first cut, so I don’t think it’s because I’m a certain age that I’m suddenly ready to talk about it. It was like, “Well, I’ve got something to say about this particular topic, so I’ll write about it and we’ll see where we’re at.” But I was thrilled to be published in the New York Times. It was like, “Wow. Are you kidding?” And cutting has certainly allowed me to be more sympathetic toward everybody else’s little weird-isms and strange expressions. That is my deep-rooted psychology, so I have to be very careful in how I move through the world.
Is the #Metoo movement empowering women to discuss topics they hadn’t been comfortable with before?
Women have always been more than vocal about their situation; it’s just that the world doesn’t care to listen to them. And this is the issue, and what drives me absolutely insane about this current climate. It’s not that women are suddenly talking about sexual assault and domestic violence. Women have been speaking up about these subjects since the dawning of time. And nobody gives a s—. Nobody chooses to listen. So here we are at an impasse.
You and fellow Scot Lauren Mayberry from Chvrches are the keynote speakers for the South by Southwest conference next year. Any ideas?
I was invited to speak, and I love Lauren, and the fact that she’s so outspoken, too. So it was a great opportunity for us to meet. I met her at a party once, but I haven’t spent a lot valuable time in her company. So I’m really looking forward to this — I’m sure I’ll relish it.
IF YOU GO
Where: Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 3
Contact: www.ticketflygarbagePop MusicShirley MansonThis Is the Noise That Keeps Me AwakeVersion 2.0