Mother’s death made Manson consider quitting music

Shirley Manson says she realised her mother would have been devastated to think that she had given up on making music. Picture: Getty
Shirley Manson says she realised her mother would have been devastated to think that she had given up on making music. Picture: Getty
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SCOTTISH rock singer Shirley Manson has revealed she ­almost gave up music after her mother died.

The star – whose band Garbage have sold more than 17 million records since 1995 – said her mother Muriel’s death in 2008 almost made her end her career.

“I lost my mother, which was a huge deal for me. She was so sick for two years, I didn’t even want to make music, and then after she died I didn’t feel there was any point and I didn’t have any music in me,” she told the Australian edition of Harper’s Bazaar magazine.

Muriel – a big-band singer in her younger years – had been suffering from Pick’s disease, a form of dementia, and died suddenly from complications. At the time, Manson released a statement saying: “Any­one who has ever been touched by me and my band and our ­music has in part been touched by my mum.”

Manson, who is currently on a global tour with Garbage, said it was eventually the thought of her mother that started her singing again.

She said: “Like all things, time heals you and you sort of start to think, ‘My mum, of everybody I’ve ever known in my whole life, would be so 
devastated to think that I was no longer making music.’ I think that was partly a spur. Then I started to want to be creative. I had ideas and I didn’t have anywhere to put that creative energy.”

Manson grew up in the Comely Bank and Stockbridge areas of Edinburgh before joining the group Goodbye Mr Mackenzie.

She was offered the chance to front American band Garbage in 1995 and went on to release five albums with them, the latest of which appeared last year after a seven-year hiatus.

Manson, 46, said she was one of just “a handful of women” who had put a record out in their 40s.

“There are very few women, with my kind of experience, who are interested in making a more defiant stance, because I am defiant – I do know that about myself – and I am truculent. I’m non-compromising in a funny way and I think that’s kind of an outmoded idea for women right now,” she said.

In 2006, Manson fronted a documentary entitled Cut: Teens And Self-Injury, and spoke of her teenage problems with self-harming when she would cut her legs with a razor whenever she experienced anxiety and depression. She also admitted it was an early involvement in theatre that helped halt her self-harming tendencies.

In March this year Manson caused controversy when she revealed that she had lost her virginity to her music teacher at the age of 15 – under the age of consent. Edinburgh City Council said it would investigate the allegation but she later clarified that she had never said the man had been an employee of the council.

“I want to make it perfectly clear once and for all that I have never been the victim of a paedophile nor have I ever claimed to be,” she said at the time.

“I was a few weeks shy of my 16th birthday – 16 being the legal age of consent in Scotland – when I engaged in a fully consensual relationship with a teacher whose identity I have always been careful to protect.

“At no point have I ever said this teacher was an employee of Edinburgh Council. There are so many people who have been the true victims of sexual abuse throughout the world and they deserve justice and our compassion.”