supplément de New York Magazine
pays magazine: USA, New York
paru 29 mai 2017
couverture et article sur Shirley Manson:
The Cut - "The Return of a Grunge Goddess Garbage’s
Shirley Manson is worried women rockers are going extinct."
The Return of a Grunge Goddess
Shirley Manson, lead singer of ‘90s band Garbage, heads back on the road with Blondie.
By Dayna Evans
Photographs by Maxine Helfman
June, 6, 2017
( source article thecut.com )
As she rifles through neat piles of iron-on patches, tarot-card decks, and baby-pink notebooks, Shirley Manson’s slowly graying undershave is visible beneath a fiery red bun. “My [7 year old] niece would love it here!” she declares, “here” being Junior High, a new feminist art-gallery-meets-community-space in East Hollywood. “Had I walked past on my own, I probably would have been too intimidated to come in.”
It’s hard to imagine the 50-year-old Scottish frontwoman of ‘90s post-grunge band Garbage being intimidated by anything, though the gallery’s augmented reality exhibit and Justin Bieber stickers skew more millennial than Gen X. Walking through the open storefront, she picks up a patch that reads WEIRDOS and says, “This is literally my idea of heaven.” Manson remains nimble, both embracing and appraising current trends, as she reflects on all that has changed over her 30-plus-year career in the music business.
This summer, 22 years after releasing their debut record, Garbage will embark on a co-headlining U.S. tour with Blondie, led by 71-year-old Debbie Harry. For Manson, the tour, which will promote Blondie’s 11th record, Pollinator, and Garbage’s 6th, Strange Little Birds, presents an opportunity to exalt the archetype of the female rockstar amid her fears that she is becoming extinct.
“[Debbie Harry and I] are some of the few women left who do what we do in the way that we do it. We’re getting rarer and rarer. I think people understand that this breed is dying.” She pauses, and adds, “Literally dying.” Harry and Manson belong to a generation of women musicians who, as she puts it, “write their own music and aren’t chasing pop success,” but Manson worries that the bloodline is thinning. Patti Smith is 70. Chrissie Hynde, 65. Courtney Love, 52. “I was having a funny conversation with Karen O about this at a party the other night,” she says of the 38-year-old lead vocalist of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, as a Jenny Lewis (41) song plays over Junior High’s speaker system. “We were like, ‘We’re the last of the rockers!’”
For Manson, many of the music industry’s current megastars fail to pass her rock litmus test. “Rihanna is the closest thing we have in the pop world to a rockstar,” she muses, adding that she’s a huge fan of pop music. “If Rihanna wanted to make rock music, I’m sure she could. But unless you’re playing rock music, you’re not a rockstar.”
In preparation for the upcoming tour, Manson has been thinking a lot about the past and her band’s place in it. This July, Garbage will release a coffee-table book full of artifacts, photos, and anecdotes that capture their long history: pages of lyrics with penciled-in edits, cocktail recipes — like one for “Vodka With Anything” — and snapshots from a forgotten era where Manson wore her hair boy-short and platinum blonde. “We’re all fucking getting up there,” she says, eyes rolling. “We wanted to leave something behind for the wee ones.”
The book, titled This Is the Noise That Keeps Me Awake after a lyric in Garbage’s 1998 single, “Push It,” shows how the band rose out of grunge’s ashes after groups like Nirvana and Soundgarden began to fade away. By comparison, Garbage had a much more commercial sound, a deliberate decision on the part of the band’s drummer and producer Butch Vig. Vig, who was already well-known for producing Nirvana’s Nevermind, mixed elements of trip hop, electronic, and pop on top of grunge on Garbage’s successful self-titled first album. The result were radio-friendly — albeit still angsty — hits, “Only Happy When It Rains” and “Stupid Girl.” An update on their predecessors, though, was standing front and center: Garbage’s lead singer was a woman.
“When success occurred to us, it didn’t feel personal,” Manson says of the early days of Garbage as we sit drinking martinis at Musso & Frank’s, a 100-year-old Hollywood steakhouse where Manson is a frequent visitor. Looking back, she sees Garbage’s success as a part of something larger than just hard work or talent. “I understood logically that this was a zeitgeist moment,” she says.
Following the overabundance of testosterone in the early grunge era, the mid-’90s saw the rise of the alternative girl — Alanis Morissette’s’ Jagged Little Pill, No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom, and Björk’s Post all released the same year as the first Garbage record — and Manson became one of several potent figures for the female fans grunge had left behind.
“We were in the right place at the right time and we were making the right kind of music,” she says. “I’m the right kind of voice. I had the right look.” Manson had been in bands for ten years before she became successful as the ginger Scot in black eyeliner and combat boots. “It wasn’t that we were brilliant. I have friends who could have peed all over our talent.”
The group’s second album, released in 1998, earned them a Grammy nomination for album of the year, and “#1 Crush,” a song the group wrote for Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, gave them even more cultural cache with an angsty younger following. The 2000s were a difficult time for the band — with record-contract disputes and an eventual hiatus — as the winnowing popularity of alternative rock gave way to a gentler indie-rock sound. But Garbage found its foothold again recently, thanks to a wave of ‘90s nostalgia that brought grunge and shoegaze back into popular culture.
Reflecting on the band’s resurgence, Manson told Rolling Stone in 2015, “I’m not surprised in retrospect that people love that record. I’m surprised that we managed to get to the point in our career where enough time had passed that people could look back and appreciate it again. I didn’t ever expect it to last the course of time.”
"I’ve never been a Taylor Swift, I’ve never been that famous.
I can’t begin to imagine what that must be like."
“Now, our culture doesn’t value anything that’s not massive,” she says of music tastes today. “It seems like people are in awe of mass consumption. The bigger the artist, somehow the more special. That’s just not what I was brought up to believe in at all. I’ve never been a Taylor Swift, I’ve never been that famous. I can’t begin to imagine what that must be like. But you don’t get to that level accidentally — you court that level of success.”
“The generation that I was brought up in, we were embarrassed if you were successful, (which was also fucked up, by the way),” she adds. “We found that vulgar. Nobody wanted to sell out — but now everybody is happy to.”
But Manson also acknowledges the fact that, hey, she’s been wrong about things before. “When I was 30, I thought I had everything sussed out,” she says as she adjusts a bandanna tied around her neck. “I thought I knew everything. Then I hit 40, and I looked back at 30 and thought, ‘What a clown. I knew nothing.’ I thought I was ancient at 40, but now I’m 50 and I realize I was really just a young woman. You can change your fucking mind. I want to be able to be agile enough and brave enough to say I was wrong.”
But is she really one of the last female rockstars? Maybe of her generation. But dozens of women musicians in DIY rock and punk scenes see the path Manson took as a viable model for their own. “Garbage wouldn’t have had the lasting impact they have had on me if it weren’t a woman singing,” says Ally Einbinder, the bass player in an all-female punk band Potty Mouth, adding that their upcoming record is explicitly influenced by Garbage. Screaming Females’ guitarist Marissa Paternoster, whose band went on tour with Garbage in 2013, agreed. “Shirley was the most honest in her darkness. Gwen Stefani was a great inspiration for me but she didn’t have that sharp edge that I was looking for. That’s what attracted me to Garbage: Shirley’s transparency and vulnerability.”
"I thought I was ancient at 40, but now I’m 50
and I realize I was really just a young woman."
It helps that many feel Manson’s message hasn’t changed much. “Shirley is one of the few women musicians I looked up to in high school who didn’t go on to disappoint me,” said Cynthia Schemmer, a guitar player and songwriter for punk bands Radiator Hospital and Swanning. “A lot of women I looked up to kind of ‘got over’ feminism, or switched personas, and I feel like she really just stood her ground.”
As she gets older, Manson says, she’s becoming even “more outraged” as a woman and as a feminist. “To me, [feminism] is about equality. It’s nothing to do with whether we like makeup or don’t like makeup.” (Manson does.) “Feminism has nothing to do with whether you have children or not.” (She doesn’t.) “It’s really just: How about you pay me the same fucking amount that you just paid him? I just did the same fucking job. If your husband gets this, so do you. If your boyfriend is doing this, and you want to do that, then you get to do it, too. It’s that simple.”
Her Christian upbringing is partially responsible for inspiring a lifetime of questioning and rebellion. “I remember many older women making jokes like, ‘Just lie back and think of England.’ Basically they were saying sex was your duty. Your sexuality had nothing to do whatsoever with the sexual act. We became receptacles.” When she saw hypocrisies in organized religion as an adolescent, she stopped attending church altogether. She hasn’t been back since.
“Clearly some of that outrage does go into music for me,” she says, “but in general it goes into me being me in the world. I don’t get too despondent.”
As we finish up our martinis, Manson spots Donita Sparks, guitarist and front woman for grunge band L7, walking towards us at the bar. Sparks made rock history in 1992 when she threw her used tampon into an aggrieved crowd and shouted, “Eat my used tampon, fuckers!”
Manson and Sparks do some lively catching up. “Did you go to the PJ Harvey show last weekend?” Manson asks Sparks, who says she did not. “Cor,” Manson exclaims, throwing her head back dramatically, “it was devastating. It was so spectacular.”
“I feel bad because I haven’t checked out her early stuff like you told me to,” Sparks admits.
“Come on, Donita, you’ll love it. I’m telling you.” To this, Sparks nods, surrendering. “I know, I know. I’ve always loved her vibe.”
Manson and I pick up where we left off — on religion, on death, on sex, on a chastity-belt-style outfit that a Russian designer had custom-made for her (“I looked like Joan of Arc”) — moving on from her run-in with Sparks as if it were completely ordinary. But after our conversation, it took on considerable more significance: two members of Manson’s so-called “dying breed” in the flesh, exchanging recommendations for another vaulted member of their clan.
Outside of the steakhouse in the harsh L.A. sunlight, I mention to Manson that I’m turning 30 next week. She belts out a laugh — her head tilted back and mouth wide open — as she grabs me by the shoulder like a coach giving a pep talk to a rookie.
“Come on, girl,” she says. “You’re young yet.”
Styling by Rebecca Ramsey and Candice Lambert; makeup by Amy Chance using Surratt Beauty at Celestine Agency; hair by Clyde Haygood at Forward Artists using T3 Tools; styling assistance by Sarah Kinsumba.
*This article appears in the May 29, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.
Rock & Folk
pays magazine: France
paru le 20 mai 2017
article de 5 pages sur le groupe Blondie ("les héritières de Debbie Harry" sur 2 pages: Madonna, Alison Goldfrapp, Beth Ditto, Karen O et Shirley Manson).
pays magazine: International
paru le 18 mai 2017
prix: gratuit - magazine à télécharger en ligne sur NetAPorter
contenu: Shirley Manson interviewe l'actrice Robin Wright (article de 18 pages)
> version en français
> english version
Garbage n'a pas dit son dernier mot
L'album est un peu passé à la trappe à sa sortie en juin dernier. Pourtant, toujours mené par la délicieuse Shirley Manson, Garbage a encore des choses à dire. Sur "Strange Little Bords", Shirley raconte la femme qu'elle est, une chanteuse de 50 ans qui a longtemps lutté côté amour et qui aujourd'hui n'est pas spécialement proche des membres du groupe. "Ce ne sont pas des garçons à qui je confie mes tourments, lâche-t-elle, sincère. Mais il n'y qu'ensemble que l'on arrive à créer."
Sur scène, en revanche, la magie est intacte, le charisme de la flamboyante Ecossaise prenant le pas sur ses complices musicaux. Ils viennent une nouvelle fois le prouver à Paris.
"Strange Little Birds" (Cooperative Music). En concert le 5 novembre à Paris (Salle Pleyel).
Photographie de Helene Pambrun pour Paris Match.
5 couvertures différentes
pays magazine: USA
édition hiver 2016
article sur Shirley Manson
( source article ladygunn.com )
Friday, November, 25, 2016
In an era where ‘90s nostalgia has reached new heights, the true culture of the decade often gets lost in a sea of flannels, chokers and “What Kids These Days Don’t Get” listicles. Of course, a resurgence is natural as fashion trends cycle around and the aging youth begins to long for their past, but the Internet has transformed a decade full of culture-shifting discoveries into something you can purchase online. Enter Shirley Manson: the iconic singer of infamous ‘90s grunge rock group, Garbage. Now 50 years old, the pink-haired frontwoman has reemerged with a new album in tow, one which reintroduces the true spirit of the time.
“I do think there is a lot of love for the generation—my generation—who emerged in the ‘90s at a time when the alternative culture was really dominating the extreme culture,” she tells me over the phone, a hint of amusement in her voice.
As Garbage sets out on tour with their record, Strange Little Birds, they’ve realized that their fan-base, present company included, has not only remained loyal, but has grown. “We enjoyed a No. 1 rock record with this album, and that literally feels like a miracle. Particularly for a woman of my age—and I could count on my digits how many women have been able to do that—it’s really unusual,” Manson shares. “It’s very difficult to hold onto an audience these days because there’s always something new to listen to, there’s always someone new to fall in love with.”
As she looked out into the faces of the crowds who attended her west coast tour this past year, the singer saw something she didn’t expect: young people.
“I think that’s one of the things that has struck us the most on this tour is, all of a sudden, there’s a whole new generation of very young women competing at the front of the gates. You don’t want to be stuck in your own world. You always want to be stretching a hand out across a dark sea and hope that you can connect with a new ear, a fresh ear, of people who put perspective to the field across generations and, again, that’s really powerful and inspiring,” she shares.
As you can tell from her particular penchant toward the women in her audience, Manson is famously feminist in an unapologetic, no-holds-barred way. Recently, she made a shocking revelation to Billboard about her experience with sexual assault at age 14, something which has certainly framed the way she looks at our patriarchal society.
Her new fan-base has given her a renewed responsibility towards speaking her mind about it: “As I have gotten older and older, I’ve become more and more passionate about women and their role in our culture. I realize how we have allowed ourselves to be disempowered and disengaged. And I have also noticed, as I’ve gotten older myself, so many of my peers give up because they’re no longer seen as a sex symbol or a sex object.”
Since the beginning of her career, Manson has fought against the idea that sexuality is a commodity, especially when it overshadows talent. It’s a theme that has come through her music and her performances since 1995. She explains, “I think a lot of people just want to be famous, or they want to entertain, but I think there is a real opportunity for musicians who are interested in being [a part of the] counterculture. My focus is usually on young women artists because that’s who I’m invested in, but I think it goes for male artists too.”
She advises women in entertainment to be themselves and not succumb to the pressures of the pop world. “If you continue to play the traditional game, you’ll drown,” Manson muses. “Every woman seems to be interested in only being perceived as pretty, or only being perceived as popular, and until women reject that notion, they’ll continue to be part of a lineage of women who only get five minutes of fame.”
As a 20-something woman that only knows the ‘90s through watching my older sister over-tweeze her eyebrows, the underexposed time before the Internet and selfies is lost on me. I can’t help but think that not caring about “being pretty” is a great concept, but unbelievably difficult in practice. I also can’t imagine what someone in the spotlight must feel, particularly as they grow older.
“I didn’t say it was easy,” she tells me. “It’s painful and it’s depressing and you feel rejected, and dejected. Interestingly enough, a lot of people on our social media platform who criticize my appearance are mostly women. 99.9 percent of any negative criticism I endure comes from other women.”
Whether it’s feminism, music or culture, Manson’s perspective is one of an outsider. While our conversation occurs prior to Kim Kardashian’s now-infamous Paris robbery, Manson brings up something surprisingly relevant about pop culture, glamorization and the responsibility that many people struggle with, just as our collective news-feeds flood with information on the unfortunate incident.
“I really am at odd with popular culture for the most part,” the artist claims. “When I see people on social media boasting about their fur coat, or their fast cars, or all the money they have in the bank, I genuinely feel repulsed. I have traveled to India and I see children living on top of garbage, with no parents around and they’re working at the age of four years old. I understand that there are women in the Middle East that are forced to stay inside during the daylight hours so that they are not considered indecent, and I know that there are young women in Africa that are forced to endure genital mutilation. I know there are so many people who are so unlucky in this life.”
Thus, Manson’s return couldn’t have come at a better moment. We are living in a time that is so inundated with escapism that it seems like we’ve lost touch with reality. Even celebrities who are “totally themselves” often have an air of being contrived. Garbage’s frontwoman, however, has remained steadfast in her convictions.
“I was viewed as a sex symbol and I fought against it, I didn’t take my clothes off,” she recalls of her early days in the business. “I was asked to pose for Playboy and Penthouse and I rejected it, and I rejected the money involved that I had been offered. I just refused to allow myself, through my own vanity, to be lured into a cage. Because a woman’s sexuality is the most important power in the entire universe.” Arguably, posing for a sexy magazine shoot or taking your clothes off can be seen as powerful for many women, but Manson’s point is valid and personal. In fact, speaking up against the pressures of society without being prompted by a slew of online comments is almost revolutionary.
For fans of Garbage, old and new, both Manson and her band’s most recent record are refreshing additions to the current state of music.
“When I was younger, I just really wanted to make a noise show,” the singer tells me. “But as I have gotten older and I realized I have the ability to make people feel better, once I sort of figured that out, it’s become a great pleasure and joy to get up onstage and really work at putting joy onto other people’s faces, and when I see that happen, that fills me up in ways that I have been unable to fill myself up with any other sort of walk of life.”
As a whole, Manson’s return to the stage is a power move for women, for rock n’ roll, and for an ageist society. She wants to make people uncomfortable and give them an alternative way of thinking, the same way she did in the decade that gave her a voice. With this attitude, she has found her true strength.
“I think my power comes from striving to be a good artist, a truthful artist,” she says. “I’ve never been one who wants to be told I look pretty. I want to look powerful.”
pays magazine: Allemagne
paru le 12 octobre 2016
Shirley Manson en couverture
> site officiel du magazine Fraulein
Photographies de Renata Raksha
Styling de Marjan Malakpour
Maquillage de Elie Maalouf
Shooting à FD Photo Studio à Los Angeles
Shirley Manson Is Turning 50 and DGAF About What You Think
( source article elle.com )
By Lyndsey Parker - JUL 12, 2016
With a gritty, aggressive new album and a transatlantic tour, Garbage's frontwoman takes her alt-rock revolution into its next phase.
This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of ELLE.
"I don't know what propelled me," says founding Garbage front woman Shirley Manson of her new, chic, candy-pink dye job. "I woke up one day and thought, I cannot stay red-haired for one second longer! My hairdresser didn't want to do it. But I needed a break from myself. When she pulled the towel from my head and I saw my pink hair, I burst into this huge grin and gasped: 'I look amazing!' And I've never said that about myself in my entire life."
This is a woman who, since Garbage's first electro-tinged, trip-hop-traced, self-titled album in 1995, has challenged what it means to rock hard and—with her punky mix of combat boots, acid-bright clothes, and iconic black eyeliner—looked great doing it. She's the hard-core fighter pilot Queen Astarte in Garbage's sci-fi hit video "Special." She has seven Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist in 1997 and Album of the Year in 1999. She's sold more than 17 million records. She's kicked open doors for every modern-day pop-rock heroine, from Charli XCX to Karen O. She's even recorded a Bond theme (1999's "The World Is Not Enough")!
But what would Garbage be if Manson—who somehow turns 50 this month—weren't still tapping into the insecurities that have fueled the group's most iconically angst-ridden hits? "Sometimes I look in the mirror, feel my shoulders slump, and am disappointed with what I see," Manson says. "And I have imaginary voices about what people might say about me having pink hair at 50. But I'm at that point where I don't give a fuck if you think it's appropriate or not. Go fuck yourself and be boring! I want to be free to explore the person I want to be."
You'll find that person on Garbage's sixth studio album, Strange Little Birds, which, after an early-summer release and a European tour, the band is taking on the road in the U.S. Recorded with bandmates Butch Vig, Duke Erikson, and Steve Marker, mostly in Vig's basement studio, it's the second release on Garbage's own indie imprint, STUNVOLUME, formed in 2012 when the band ended a rocky seven-year stretch of breakups and makeups that was initiated by the troubled production of 2005's Bleed Like Me.
Their newest effort is Garbage's darkest, most raw, and most immediate album since that 1995 debut, with Birds' 11 tracks thriving on Manson's seductive but sorrowful voice—high, dry, and confrontational—amid crashing-and-slashing guitars, slinky bass lines, and rumbling buzz-saw beats. It's a bold production choice that enhances Manson's unflinching ruminations on self-loathing and aging ("Youth and beauty don't remain," she sings on "Teaching Little Fingers to Play"), which stand to strike a nerve among the grown-up Gen-X girls she once inspired to stockpile up-to-there shiftdresses and Manic Panic Wildfire hair color.
But while Strange Little Birds is reminiscent of Garbage (which the band played in its entirety on last year's twentieth anniversary tour, 20 Years Queer; reports say a similar celebration of 1998's Version 2.0 is in the works), Manson isn't living her life in the rearview. "I don't believe in nostalgia," she says. "Nostalgia connotes a desire to return to a moment in time. And I don't want to go back. I want to see what's next! That, to me, is much more interesting."
"I hate being constricted by clothing. Fuck that. Life's too short."
Her fashion choices, too, point forward. Gone is the woman who went braless under a halterdress emblazoned with Version 2.0 album art to the 1999 Grammys, and, a year later at the same awards, rocked a Britney-baiting schoolgirl skirt. These days, she takes the stage in, say, an MSGM satin smock with side pockets and an abstract print (still pink, though). According to Manson, it's all about a wardrobe that's "simple and I can move in. I've always wanted to be more dominant than what I was wearing. I hate being constricted by clothing. Fuck that. Life's too short. My comfort's more important."
Manson, though, is no less a rebel. In fact, as an icon fearlessly following legends who have come before her in earning the rock-won right to flip the finger to ageism—Annie Lennox, Patti Smith, Mick Jagger—she may be more of a rebel than she's ever been. "People write to me on social media and say, 'Shut the fuck up! Give it up! You're too old!' But it doesn't mess with my head too much. That's other people's problem, how they view my age. Sure, I'll be compared to Taylor Swift or Sky Ferreira. I get that. But age is information. Age is empowerment. I'm tired of being told I must infantilize myself and pretend I'm younger than I am. I'm 50, and I have lived an incredible life."
2 couvertures au choix (Léa Seydoux / Soko)
pays magazine: Angleterre
parution: août 2016
édition automne 2016
£4.50 / 5,31 €
article sur Shirley Manson: "The alt-rock iconoclast inspires a new generation of females to explore their deepest fantasies".
> site web dazeddigital
Shirley Manson: sex, straight-talking & strange little birds
( source article dazeddigital.com )
On a high following Garbage’s triumphant new album, the unapologetic frontwoman talks pricking pomposity, Rihanna and the insanity of sexual double standards.
Text Isabella Burley
Styling Emma Wyman
Photography Michael Hauptman
Fashion Editor/Stylist Emma Wyman
Hair Stylist Nikki Providence
Makeup Artist Elie Maalouf
If you believe what you read in the 90s, Shirley Manson enjoys golden showers, is ‘sex on a stick’ and looks like Tina Turner on rhino tranquilisers when she lip-syncs. She’s also not the kind of girl you’d want to take home to your mother, more the kind of woman who’d serve cold rat to her crippled and imprisoned sister for a laugh.
“It wasn’t even slightly undermining terminology,” laughs Shirley Manson, recalling the obscenity of what the press (read: middle-aged music schlubs) have written about her. “Looking back, I didn’t say or do anything particularly wild or crazy. I’m actually pretty fucking together. It was just a way for people to undermine me, but that’s life.”
People tend to be intimidated by icons. The crazier the rumour, the greater the icon – and the bigger the threat. There’s no doubt that Manson is both. For three decades, the (formerly) flame-haired Garbage frontwoman has refused to compromise, subverting stereotypes and writing her own narrative in an industry still dominated by men. Manson, who began as an alternative voice for a generation of disaffected kids, has emerged as a true role model, speaking out against sexism and ageism while articulating the change she wants to see.
“I’ve always felt that the truth is powerful, even though it’s sometimes difficult to stomach,” says Manson. Today, the Edinburgh-born musician is back in her adopted hometown of LA (“I just love the dark, seedy underbelly of Tinseltown”) for a few days before heading out on tour with Garbage to promote their new album, Strange Little Birds. Here, she talks orgasms, Marilyn Manson, and giving as good as she gets.
You’ve always spoken so openly about sex. I remember reading that you bought a bright orange Fender guitar because you wanted it to match your pubic hair, which is amazing.
Shirley Manson: That’s true, I liked the colour of it. (laughs) I think I’m a truth-seeker, I’ve spent my entire life that way and I’m not entirely sure why. I think that when you’re seeking the truth, you want to explode all the bubbles. You see them and you just want to take a pin and burst them. I think I was probably bright and realised that sex was being used in an exploitative fashion – it was being appropriated and used in power-play. I didn’t like the power it had over me, so I decided to destroy it.
Did growing up in a ‘nice girls don’t talk about sex’ type of environment impact that ?
Shirley Manson: Yes, I think it’s only recently that I’ve become more and more outraged about the inequality regarding female sexuality. I guess it was spurred by the onslaught of celebrities who were posting photographs of their bums on social media. I wanted to examine what that meant. As ape-like as it was, it did make me very aware of how we weren’t encouraged to think of ourselves as sexual in any way, shape or form in my generation. In the 70s and 80s, it was seen as shameful that women had any kind of sex drive. If we did, we were called ‘sluts’ and ‘whores’, and really, really frightening terminology was used to describe any woman who had any sexual desire whatsoever. I’m grateful that I was rebellious as a young person and fought back against that.
“I realised that sex was being used in
an exploitative fashion.
I didn’t like the power that it had over me,
so I decided to destroy it”
— Shirley Manson
Shirley Manson: Now I’m really angry about it. Why is it that the entire sexual experience is couched in completely patriarchal terms? Why are we not expecting to have orgasms every time that we step up to the plate? Why is it a joke among women that we are somehow expected to fake an orgasm? I think women really need to start redrawing the playground in that regard. It’s important that we are sexually fulfilled – why should we be ashamed of our sex drives? Why shouldn’t the sexual act be pleasurable? It’s taken me a long time to get to this point where I’m truly outraged by it. I think of my teenage self and how we were almost conditioned by the idea that if we got into bed with somebody, as long as the male orgasm was achieved, there was success! It’s insanity. I’m grateful, particularly to Rihanna, who I think has changed the game in terms of how we view sexual women. To me, she feels completely equal with a male counterpart on a sexual level. She’s not being coy, she’s not playing power games, she’s not titillating and she’s not using her feminine wiles in a dangerous, dishonest way. I wish I’d had somebody like that when I was growing up.
What was your introduction to feminism?
Shirley Manson: Well, I read the Shere Hite Report (on female sexuality) when I was 14. My best friend Jane gave it to me and that’s where I discovered the female orgasm. I’d never, ever heard of it before and my mind and body were literally blown by this discovery. (laughs)
What happened next?
Shirley Manson: I became very loud. We had a teacher who was very much like Miss Jean Brodie, who had a clique of girls. It really was like that movie, where she sort of developed our confidence and our curiosity and introduced us to sex in literature. It was crazy. I got involved in a drama group and a band and became a professional show-off. I was quite insufferable, truth be told. I wanted to embarrass people with my body. I would be in rooms constantly showing my tits off… I’m so grateful that social media didn’t exist back then.
There’s one thing that I have to ask because I’ve heard rumours and wasn’t sure if it was true – about your boyfriend’s cornflakes? (Manson reportedly shit on an ex-boyfriend’s cereal. If someone treats you like shit…)
Shirley Manson: That is true.
“I’m grateful, particularly to Rihanna,
who I think has changed the game in terms of
how we view sexual women”
— Shirley Manson
Amazing! What’s the craziest rumour you’ve ever heard about yourself?
Shirley Manson: My favourite one is that I’m related to Marilyn Manson. It’s amazing because I’d love for him to be my brother! There’s always a myriad of things written about anybody in the press. Things get exaggerated, completely taken out of context or people get it wrong and write it down and then it’s fact. Welcome to the new world of Wikipedia.
Recently, you’ve said that you felt sexism was your generation’s problem. Why?
Shirley Manson: I don’t think that sexism is my generation’s problem, it’s a humanistic issue that has gone on since time began. But I do believe that the lack of desire to really stand up as a feminist has fallen out of vote and that is my generation’s fault. When my generation first emerged and broke out into the alternative music scene, we really pushed. We were vocal. We were passionate and we really fought to be heard. And we succeeded, but we just took our eye off the ball and a whole generation of young women came up behind us, thinking they didn’t have to be alert. I’m always saying to young women, ‘It would be wonderful if we lived in the Garden of Eden, but we don’t – so stay alert and fucking wake up.’ You cannot walk down the street naked and there not be consequences. I’m sorry, I’d love to tell you that you can, but you can’t. Be aware of what’s out there, be smart, learn what’s in the shadows and try to protect yourself at all costs against people who don’t want you to have equal rights. There are people who will look at you salaciously; people will objectify you. The thing is, I don’t entirely know what the answer to it is, either.
I think it’s about including both sexes.
Shirley Manson: Yes… I really do believe more and more that feminism is not a female subject. It’s a human issue that we all need to work towards, together: the faster we get that message across, the better. There are so many men who feel threatened by so-called ‘feminism’, and feminism isn’t about threatening anyone. It certainly isn’t about stealing anyone else’s power, it’s about sharing. The entire word has been obfuscated, deliberately so. I’m convinced that it’s deliberate.
When I read the way male music journalists described you in the 90s, you came under so much criticism, it’s crazy! You must have always felt so misrepresented?
Shirley Manson: Yes, life isn’t easy so you have to hone your skills and figure out how you’re going to survive, and I did. They didn’t hold me back in the end, but there are so many women who are not as articulate as I am, or not as well-versed in how to push it, and that’s what concerns me. Again, just the influence on women’s currency is so skewed towards beauty and youth. People might say, ‘Of course she says that, she’s not young any more.’ And that’s right, but what’s happening to me is going to happen to all of you – every single one of you, male or female! I don’t think what I’m talking about is any less relevant as a consequence of me being older. I want to make it better for all of y’all because it’s too late for me! (laughs)
“I want all women to bloom,
to be unapologetic and have confidence in their skills,
intelligence and integrity”
— Shirley Manson
You’re just trying to help prepare the next generation.
Shirley Manson: Doing the press for this record, I’ve spoken about the importance of women understanding that they have more value than just the way they look. I really believe in it passionately and a lot of people say, ‘Oh, she’s just moaning,’ but I’m not just moaning – I’m protesting. It’s for you. It’s not for me because I’ve had a great career and actually, I’ve got a number-one fucking rock record in America right now (Strange Little Birds topped the Billboard rock album chart on release in June). I’m speaking out for you because I want all women to bloom, to be unapologetic and have confidence in their skills, intelligence and integrity – all the things that they can’t see inside, which are important. They’re tools at their disposal. Your appearance? You have no control over it, you can’t even take credit for it because it had nothing to do with you! (laughs)
Let’s talk about the new album. You’ve said that vulnerability has played a big role in shaping it?
Shirley Manson: I think anyone with half a brain is aware that we’re living in treacherous times. I mean, I really, genuinely feel that. It’s the most tumultuous time that I can remember. I’ve grown up through the 70s, which were not easy in the UK, but I feel somewhat scared – particularly by the level of denial which seems to be in operation right now about what’s actually happening. When we went to make this record, there were a lot of things at play. Obviously, I’m not the only person in the band so there were a lot of other agendas too, but my agenda was certainly that I wanted to be truthful about the world I found myself in and what that meant. It was an exploration of that, rather than a focus on just making people feel good. There are enough artists doing that. Now we need to really step up and start speaking out. If we don’t do it, who will? Unfortunately, the business side of music has distracted musicians from their task, and has only allowed those who play the game, conform and play happy-go-lucky pop music, to survive. I think you see fewer and fewer musicians willing to speak up. We just live in a cowed society right now, across the board – you probably see it in your world.
It will be interesting to see what happens to people like Rihanna and Beyoncé over the course of time.
Shirley Manson: For me, Rihanna has the voice of a generation. She’s like a Billie Holiday to me. She can sing until she’s an old woman like Aretha Franklin, she’s got something magical inside her. Beyoncé’s been very smart, and that incredible record that she’s just released has elevated her game. It’s taken her out of being just a pop entertainer and into the role of an artist. She’s like, ‘I can’t just keep being cute and pretty and dance for everyone,’ she’s been able to have a second act and that’s why I find those two women so exciting. Beyoncé’s Lemonade, to my mind, is unquestionably a masterpiece. Everyone says it’s this and that – it’s ‘calculated’. So fucking what if it is? She’s done a great job. Is she just supposed to be accidentally great? Like, she just stumbled into it? She fucking worked her ass off to get there, to get this smart, to know where to go. Meanwhile, someone like Jack White is called a genius. Well, they’re playing the same game but somehow, for a man, it’s cool to be a genius but for Beyoncé, she’s just got to be the cute little honey over there with a nice outfit, dancing all day for everybody. God forbid she think of herself in a more elevated way than just an entertainer. Fuck off! Everyone can fuck themselves.
Strange Little Birds is out now
Hair Nikki Providence at Forward Artists using Bumble and bumble., make-up Elie Maalouf at Jed Root using M.A.C, photographic assistants Adam Torgerson, Jake Schmidt, fashion assistants Ioana Ivan, Megan King
Sur le compte Instagram de Garbage,
Shirley a publié le 06 août 2016:
Thankyou Dazed Magazine
for featuring me in your pages this month
and for sending me this angel to love.