Garbage is a Scottish-American alternative rock band formed in 1993 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. The group members are Shirley Manson (vocals, guitars), Steve Marker (guitars, keyboards), Duke Erikson (guitars, keyboards, bass), and Butch Vig (drums, percussion). Erikson, Marker and Vig are also producers and remixers (Vig is best known for producing Nirvana’s Nevermind).
Initially, Garbage was an informal jam session between the three producers held in Marker’s basement. Steve Marker saw the music video of “Suffocate Me” by Angelfish on MTV, recorded it and showcased it to his band mates. They invited the Scottish vocalist Shirley Manson to join Garbage, she accepted, and soon Angelfish disbanded. According to Vig, Garbage was named before Manson joined the band, after the percussionist Pauli Ryan walked in while Vig was working on a remix for Nine Inch Nails and said it sounded like “garbage”.
Garbage's intention is to make pop-like songs which mixed a variety of genres, with Steve Marker saying that the band wanted to "take pop music and make it as horrible sounding as we can."These genres include trip hop, grunge, 1980s rock music, techno, power pop and shoegazing.
Shirley Manson has stated that the band itself "used to describe their sound as sci-fi pop, because we felt it was taking a futuristic approach."
Vig has said the crossover-heavy sound was inspired by the band's background with remixes, where songs would be rearranged to every musical style to which they held interest, and also that he "grew up listening to everything from pop radio and opera to country music and polka, so I really thought that Garbage would be an interesting and eclectic thing to do."
Lindsay Zoladz of Pitchfork notes Garbage prevailed in the glory days of alternative-rock "probably because their sound was a hectic amalgamation of almost everything that mingled on the format's airwaves: electronica, punk, industrial rock, grunge, and the occasional trip-hop".
Likewise, Vice wrote that from their singular concoctions of styles like trip hop, grunge, rock, techno, and shoegaze, Garbage "has forged a kind of queasy originality" in the search of "a kind of perverse beauty".