By Michael Cerio

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The dust will still be settling from the Democratic National Convention when Shirley Manson and Garbage pull into Philadelphia this Saturday night.

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After a week of politics and private shows, bought-out bars and Bernie debris in the city streets, the reliable strutting sound of the alt-rock powerhouse will be a welcome change of pace. It’s a show at The Fillmore Philly, which you can actually buy a ticket to and attended without credentials or Super PAC affiliation.

On the phone during a tour stop in Atlanta, Garbage’s Scottish lead singer explains that she’s been keeping on eye on our race for the White House as well.

“Being a Scot, America has affected our policy for years. The whole world is watching” says Manson.

“This is not a political observation, I think it’s a humanistic one. I’m aghast at Donald Trump” she continues. “I’m speechless to be honest. I watched his speech last night and I actually couldn’t believe my eyes or my ears.”

“It felt like I was watching a dictator from a developing country. I was really shocked at that level of oratory was part of American politics” Manson says of Trump’s Republican National Convention speech. “Regardless of his policies – this is a non-political observation, it’s just a humanistic one – and I find it really alarming.”

Shirley Manson and Garbage have been touring America during this inescapable election, supporting their latest album Strange Little Birds. Their sixth studio album – dark and vulnerable, sweet and seductive – has been the perfect start to the next chapter of a band that celebrated 20 years since their landmark self-titled debut in 2015.

“We feel proud of the record” says Manson. “You always feel proud of what you’ve done, but we had a lot of excitement about this record. We knew that somehow it was sort of perfect in its intent, and we had managed to carry out that intent to the best of our abilities – and when you know you’ve done that, it’s exciting.”

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A big part of Garbage’s two decades of success, has been the fierceness of their front-woman. Manson is a force, the image of a 90’s alt-idol crystallized. Everything about her reads “not to be messed with”, except the kindness in her voice that sneaks around hard Scottish consonants.

Even the most ferocious though have had to handle haters. When faced with sexism as a strong woman on stage for over 20 years, she has learned to brush past it without giving its purveyors the satisfaction.

“I don’t know if I necessarily relate to a lot of the young women who have voiced a lot of their upset about how they’ve been treated in social media” she says of the Twitter harassment many women in music have endured. “I just feel like in some ways that, if you stand up on a platform – which you do every day when you’re a musician – you have to accept that some people are not gonna like you. I personally just decide to flip that off my shoulder. I’m not gonna buy into or give any credence to people who just want to bitch at me because I’m standing on a platform.”

“That said, I do believe in our culture, in our society, women still have a lot to push up against. I think we as women just have to start pushing a little harder, and not give the negative too much power.”

Shirley has seen her share of vile comments and hate, much like what CHVRCHES singer Lauren Mayberry has spoken out about. However, over the years she’s found a path past it.

“Lauren’s much younger than I am, and she’s had a lot less experience, so she’s just finding her way. I’m sure by the time she hits my age, she’ll probably feel exactly the same” Manson explains. “When you first encounter hostility it’s very difficult to stomach. It’s hurtful, it’s frightening, and it’s upsetting. I totally understand it and I’m not negating her experience in any way, shape, or form, or how she has perceived it. I’m just saying that I’ve got to that point where I’m tough enough where I can just push through it.”

Garbage comes to Philadelphia on Saturday July 30th at The Fillmore Philly. To hear much more from Shirley Manson, check out the full interview below.


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