Last we heard from Garbage, in the fall of 2005, the group was going on an indefinite hiatus.
Fortunately for fans, that break (see "Shirley Manson On Garbage Hiatus: 'I'm Burnt, I'm Done, I'm Toast' ") is not turning out like, say, Blink-182's "hiatus."
"We're recording a couple new songs at the end of February," drummer Butch Vig revealed recently. "I think everyone's excited about getting back in a room and playing some music together."
The new tunes will be included on a Garbage greatest-hits album the band is putting together for release later in the year. "We've been working on it for a while," Vig said. "There was originally talk about doing a B-side and remix CD as well. I'm not sure what we'll do, but we have a lot of B-sides and remixes over the years, so it would be cool to see that come out in a proper package for our hard-core fans."
Garbage have also scheduled their first live performance in more than a year, at a benefit Vig is coordinating for fellow Madison, Wisconsin, drummer Wally "Llama" Ingram (Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt), who was recently diagnosed with throat cancer.
"He's going through hard-core treatment and the doctors have given him a pretty good prognosis but, like a lot of musicians and [a] lot of people in this country, he doesn't have adequate health care," Vig explained. "So I took it upon myself to rally all his friends."
The show, which will take place on January 31 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California, will also feature the Martinis with Joey Santiago and David Lovering of Pixies, Bonnie Raitt, Keb' Mo', Victoria Williams and other surprise guests.
"I'm encouraging all artists to play two or three songs that are in a direction that is different from what they would normally play," Vig said. "And I'm encouraging people to collaborate and do duets and come out and jam." Garbage will be performing with the Section Quartet, a string quartet known for taking on alternative-rock music. "Shirley [Manson] was pretty excited about singing with a string section, and doing something very organic," Vig said.
Ingram will be in the house and is hoping to participate in the show-closing jam. "Wally is a super upbeat guy and one of the sweetest guys in the world," Vig said. "So when I sent out a blanket e-mail, I got literally hundreds of responses. So we may do one in San Francisco and Madison as well."
Along with organizing the benefit and reuniting Garbage, Vig, who produced Nirvana's Nevermind and Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream, is helming new albums for Jimmy Eat World and Florida punks Against Me!
Jimmy Eat World, who have been recording their first album in three years in Phoenix, have only three songs left to finish; they're eyeing a summer release date (see "Jimmy Eat World Teaming Up With Nirvana Producer For Next LP"). Vig said the group's new tracks, which include saxophone work from guitarist Tom Linton and a string section, are "terrific." "It's quite eclectic. There's three or four songs that sound very much like Jimmy Eat World — jagged guitars, great lyrics and [singer Jim Adkins'] emotional voice. And then there's some things that are very dreamy and spacey," Vig said. "And then there's a couple songs where we went for, like, a Fleetwood Mac-style production, late-'70s studio sound, chimey guitars and a fat drum sound."