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Shirley Manson

Shirley Manson


8/26/1966, Edinburgh, Scotland

Birth Name

Shirley Anne Manson


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Shirley is a Scottish musician, the lead vocalist of the band Garbage. Manson is the second of three daughters; her father is a geneticist and her mother is a former singer. She started learning the piano at age seven, later attending the City of Edinburgh Music School where…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Shirley is #18 in AIM's "50 Hottest Redheads."

    • Her favourite album is The White Album by The Beatles.

    • Despite her singing voice featuring an American vernacular and accent, she has a Scottish accent when simply speaking.

    • She actively participates in various AIDS charities. One notable occurrence was her appearance alongside Elton John and Mary J. Blige in the MAC Cosmetics' Viva Glam campaign. She is also a patron of the Edinburgh-based charity, Waverley Care, and co-hosted a fundraiser for it in January 2004.

    • She appeared in She Wants Revenge's music video, "These Things".

    • She was interviewed for the documentary CUT: Teens and Self Injury, by Wendy Schneider.

    • She appeared in the show Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode "66 Curses" where Space Ghost eats each guest and then his cast but passes on eating Shirley.

    • She worked in Miss Selfridge in central Edinburgh in the 1980s.

    • She delivered the introduction speech for the 2006 induction of Blondie into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    • In November 2006 she was named Scotland's most eligible woman in the annual list compiled by the Scotland on Sunday newspaper.

    • She revealed to the Sunday Times in 2 July 2006, that she had contacted Paul Buchanan of Scottish group Blue Nile to write with her for her solo album.

    • She spends much of her time at the band's base in Wisconsin, although she does own a house in her native Edinburgh.

    • She supports Hibernian F.C.

    • She appeared in She Wants Revenge's music video, 'These Things'.

    • She delivered the introduction speech for the 2006 induction of Blondie into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    • She attended Gwen Stefani's baby shower.

    • Her father was a member of the research team which cloned Dolly the sheep.

    • She is a die-hard fan of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks.

    • In 2003, she underwent potentially risky surgery to remove a cyst from her vocal cords, which she came through without complications.

    • She has no relation to Charles Manson or Marilyn Manson.

    • For most of Garbage's career, Shirley Manson was not actually signed to Mushroom/A&E Records - she was still signed to Radioactive Records, home of Angelfish and Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie.

    • She is mentioned in the 2004 D12 song "Get The Dick" ('Your style is more garbage than Shirley Manson').

    • She was briefly a model for Calvin Klein's 1999 celebrity musician campaign, which also featured Melissa Auf der Maur and Kim Gordon. It was the first time she appeared in public without makeup.

    • On 7 September 1996 Manson married the sculptor Eddie Farrell. They separated in 2001, which led Shirley to cut her hair short and dye it blonde. They are now divorced.

    • Her musical idols include Siouxsie & the Banshees and Frank Sinatra, as well as Debbie Harry, with whom she performed in September 2004 at a breast cancer benefit in Los Angeles. They performed two duets - Wayne Wonder's 'Bounce Along', and Blondie's 'Call Me'.

    • Since Garbage is currently on an indefinite hiatus, fans have speculated whether or not Manson will record a solo cd. This issue was finally confirmed on 1 March 2006, when record producer David Arnold's official website announced that "David has just completed writing and producing with Shirley Manson, lead singer of Garbage, for her new upcoming project". Later, the fan site Garbage Disco Box reported that this project was the writing and recording of a song. Billboard.com reported that she intends to record a solo album but she insists that Garbage has not broken up.

    • Her first experience with music was with the bands Autumn 1904 and Wild Indians.

    • At school, she was regularly bullied which led her into a deep depression, and she inflicted self harm. Children teased her over her looks, such as her red hair. Sometimes, she returned home after school bloody and bruised from the bullying.

    • She gave so many troubles to her family when she was young that her mother lost her voice.

    • She got her drivers license at age 39, and directly afterwards, she bought a car.

    • She was in the theater group when she was in high school.

    • Bono, Courtney Love, Gwen Stefani and Marilyn Manson are among her closest friends.

    • She has an orange Fender Strocaster which she named "Rita."

    • In 2005, she revealed that she has the condition body dysmorphia, which may be the root of the depression which she has mentioned previously.

    • Her divorce from sculptor husband Eddie Farrell became final in 2005. They had been separated since 2003.

    • She quit smoking after her husband's nephew died of cancer at age seven.

    • She had a radical look change in late 2001, cutting her long red hair and dying it blonde months later. Went back to her long and red hair in 2005.

    • She is the author of the handwriting in Garbage's debut album.

    • She was the lead singer of Angelfish by the time she was discovered by Butch Vig and Steve Marker.

    • She dropped out of high school at 16. Since then, she has been in bands such as Autumn 1904, Wild Indians, Goodbye Mr Mckenzie and Angelfish.

    • Her father was a biology teacher, her mother a singer.

    • She is the lead singer, lyricist, guitarist, and co-producer on Garbage's four albums - the 1995 debut release Garbage, 1998's follow up Version 2.0, 2001's beautifulgarbage and 2005's Bleed Like Me. These albums have sold over 10 million copies to date.

  • Quotes

    • Shirley: I am sweet, but f*ck with me and I'll mop the floor with you.

    • Shirley: Sometimes I wonder myself. I used to be a shop assistant and nobody ever called me a sex symbol. I was the skinny redhead. People didn't tell me I'm sexy. They told me I'm too skinny and too pale. All of a sudden people consider me a sex symbol just because I sing in a band and I'm on stage. Sometimes I think I could wear a bin-liner over my head and there would be a couple of weirdos out there who'd consider it sexy. I feel the same way I did when I was in school. I'm having the same insecurities. They don't go away just because they call you a sex symbol.

    • Shirley: I look at today's charts, at the women who are selling the most records, getting the most column inches, and I'm terrified by how they are all controlled by a male corporate idea of what women and rebels should be. When Christina Aguilera is taken seriously as a rebellious figure, we have a huge problem.

    • Shirley: Until, I think, everyone in that school thought I was less than human. I felt ugly, weak, overwhelmed - I couldn't imagine being capable of doing anything. I certainly never thought I could be in a band. This was a dream it didn't even occur to me to dream about.

    • Shirley: Here am I. I'm 38. My career's probably never been better. And I've made a decision which may or may not impact on it - I refuse to hide my experience and my age, as if it's something I should be ashamed of. I'm alive. I know lots of people who've never been lucky enough to get to this stage in their life. And I'm not gonna hide it for anybody.

    • Shirley: Speech is my absolute lifeline and I felt like I'd lost my personality, been stripped completely of me; I felt invisible.

    • Shirley: Young girls now correlate the word 'sexy' with nakedness. It's practically, 'Show us your labia'. If you play that game of allowing yourself to be judged by your physicality, it will not sustain you through a long career. There's always going to be someone younger, more beautiful, more desirable. It's a temple of dust.

    • Shirley: The truth is, I've always been wracked with self-loathing and terrible, paralysing depression. Talking about her childhood years and the terrible self-image she had as a child.

    • Shirley: I love looking at naked bodies, male or female, whenever possible. I think nudity is always tasteful.

    • Shirley: I'm afraid of happy people. They're chemically unbalanced.

    • Shirley: We always felt like we've never specifically fitted in with anyone; there's never been a movement surrounding what we're doing.

    • Shirley: We discussed it in an adult fashion over dinner one day and since then a burden has been lifted from everybody and our live shows have been incredible.

    • Shirley: We always swore if it wasn't 100 percent fun we'd stop it. So that's what we've decided to do. It was important for us to say 'we're tired, this is becoming hard, we should stop right now.'

    • Shirley: We're taking a hiatus, I don't know if we're calling it a day.

    • Shirley: We have discussed this and I don't think anybody is interested in breaking up.

    • Shirley: I felt like a prisoner sometimes, being in essentially what is a small town in the middle of farmland.

    • Shirley: I don't think I have seen a single green vegetable in three months, so I just need to get my life into some sort of sense of control.

    • Shirley: I was always embarrassed because my dad wore a suit and my mother wore flat pumps and a cozy jumper while my friends' parents were punks or hippies.

    • Shirley: I want to hang out in Edinburgh with my friends and eat fish and chips wrapped in newspaper.

    • Shirley: We wanted to make a record that sounded like we do live. We sort of stripped away a lot of the production of this record and tried to make it bare bones.

    • Shirley: I don't find any kind of tension very productive, I find it destructive, actually. I think this record was made despite the mood in our camp, and that something very productive came out of it, which came as a surprise.

    • Shirley: I've been on the go since January, and I think we all just feel a little burnt out. We came to the conclusion that we shouldn't carry on without having a break. Any stuff that you read about our future is bogus, because it's completely undetermined as yet.

    • Shirley: We were very aware we'd made a record that was quite unusual.

    • Shirley: Being the chaotic bunch we are, we should have put a press release together but we didn't. We were quite taken aback by how big a deal was made of it. But we love each other and we still want to work together. We're just taking a break. We've had a crazy decade.

    • Shirley: I've got no timetable. I'm sort of sick of timetables, to be honest. I just want to live my life a little freely and not adhere to any schedule - just make music and have fun.

    • Shirley: We have discussed this and I don't think anybody is interested in breaking up. We feel that this has been a really great tour, and we feel that we have really muscled through and produced a great record, and we just want to take some time off while things are really good between us.

    • Shirley: I don't think we feel Garbage will ever be completely over. It's part of our lives, we still all get on well and love each other. We're taking a hiatus, I don't know if we're calling it a day. I don't think I'll ever make music with another band.

    • Shirley: The communication had gotten so bad that I don't think any of us know, even to this day, what was going on in each individual's mind. And we've never really spoken about it. But I do know that Butch felt that he quit.

    • Shirley: I don't really see where I fit into that group, but I'm very flattered. I think, though, all of us women, regardless of how different we are as artists, come from a similar place in terms of how we view our role as a female musician. All of us are pretty feisty. And I think that that's what people identify with. Because there seem to be so few women right now who are interested in having an opinion. Having something to say. Trying to do things a little differently. Refusing to take our clothes off to further our careers.

    • Shirley: I state for the record that I am PRO CHOICE. No government, no man, no neighbour of mine is going to tell ME what I choose to do with MY BODY or MY LIFE. How dare ANYONE, even for a MILLISECOND, consider it reasonable to legislate over the insides of another human being. Where will that kind of legislation end? Will it eventually lead to goverment legislation over our organs? NOBODY has the right to legislate over another persons body. We may not always approve of what another person chooses to do with their own body, but quite frankly IT'S NONE OF OUR DAMNED BUSINESS. For instance, if I had my way I would OUTLAW plastic surgery. It's facism. It's INSANE. It's DANGEROUS. But you know what, millions of people, indeed I would imagine the majority of people, would disagree with me. So I have to simply choose not to have surgery MYSELF. And that is the end of it.

    • Shirley: Sex is not the enemy, I won't feel guilty no matter what they're telling me.

    • Shirley: I get female groupies, but I don't get male groupies. I have women who offer to sleep with me all the time. But not men. They're all talk and nay action, as we'd say in Scotland. If I go anywhere near most of our male following, they are freaked. Absolutely freaked. I think my height has got a lot to do with it. I'm really tall. I'm five-eight, and with heels, I'm six foot, so people are like. 'Whoa, Amazon!' People are a wee taken aback by that 'cause I think people expect me to be small.

    • Shirley: I think they're a little shocked at first. Then they start laughing or grinning or shaking my hand.

    • Shirley: I feel the same way I did when I was in school. I'm having the same insecurities. They don't go away just because they call you a sex symbol.

    • Shirley: She seems very benign and wholesome, but underneath lurks an incredible toughness and powerful directness.

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