Shirley Manson recalls wild years with cult Edinburgh band Goodbye Mr Mackenzie
In a new interview, the Stockbridge-raised singer discussed her amazing career trajectory, going from backing singer with the Mackenzies to global superstar with alt-rockers Garbage to singing a James Bond theme.
“I was in Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie for 10 years,” said Manson, who attended Broughton High School in the Capital. “And I received the most spectacular education that I could possibly have ever hoped for in the world of rock and roll.
“I mean, it was a very rebellious, decadent unit. We really lived the life. And I wouldn’t swap it out for anything, I loved it.
“I was a very dedicated member to the band. It was my first forays out into the world, out of Edinburgh.
“For the first time I got to go to Paris, and I got to go to Copenhagen and Amsterdam and Hamburg and Munich and just all these incredible cities for the first time.
“We typically misbehaved and just lived the cliched rock and roll life. It was the greatest education I could have ever hoped for.”
As a female singer in the male-dominated rock industry, Manson faced scrutiny from the public and press which contemporaries such as Kurt Cobain and Billy Corgan did not.
But she thinks things have improved and that young women in music are more switched on.
“When I came out in the 90s I was one of a few women in music that was very outspoken. Now it seems to me, which I very welcome, that almost every single pop star and rock star is awake.
“They are speaking out and they are unafraid to use their voice and their platform, so I think that in itself is a change. It’s exciting and it can only continue.
“I don’t think young generations of musicians will put up the same kind of s*** that we all did,” she adds.
“The way I was spoken about it in the press was astounding. When I look back on it now, I’m like: ‘Oh wow, no wonder I had problems’.
“I managed to weather it all. But at the time it was really unpleasant.”
In a previous interview, the 55-year-old admitted she never expected to still relevant today.
She said: “It was just a lot of madness and so it’s only now that I can look back and enjoy the success.
“We had so much success with the first record and we never in our wildest dreams imagined that we could repeat that success, and yet we did.
“I certainly had no clue that I would go on and have a long career. I just assumed that this would be my ride.
With [second Garbage album] Version 2.0 we really stamped our presence.
“My life changed in that moment. Up until that point I just thought ‘well, I’m going to be back in Edinburgh before I know it I’m going to be working back in Miss Selfridge and selling clothes to teenagers’ but mercifully, thank God, I didn’t have to go back.”