Garbage tackles Bond legacy

JANE STEVENSON

, Last Updated: 5:33 PM ET

Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson, whose voice resonates on the theme for the new James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough, could pass for a Bond girl.

 Check out her bright orange hair, smouldering green eyes, great style, thick Scottish burr, and take-no-prisoners attitude. All that's missing is the poison dart.

 But when that suggestion is made to Manson yesterday during a phone interview, she laughs.

 "I'm way more fascinated with Miss Moneypenny," she says down the line from a Garbage tour stop in Newark, Del. "I think she's my most favourite Bond girl. I love the fact that she's tortured. I love her."

 Not surprisingly, the Edinburgh-based Manson says it was an honour to record a Bond theme, given the series' longstanding Scottish connection via the original spy played by Sean Connery. The World Is Not Enough also stars Scots Robert Carlyle and Robbie Coltrane.

 "You have to understand that I come from a tiny country responsible for the man who first created Bond, and then of course, our only movie star was, I think, the epitome of Bond," she says. "And so Bond is a big deal in Scotland and something that's very close and inherent in our culture. It's not Bond if it's not Scottish!"

 With that huge responsibility, Manson was nervous about destroying the Bond theme legacy, which was most noticeably insulted two years ago with Sheryl Crow's cringe-inducing Tomorrow Never Dies. Earlier disasters include A-Ha's The Living Daylights.

 "I was ill," says Manson. "Vocally, it's a big change for me. It requires a very wide range, and you can't hide behind any effect. Basically, it's just my voice. I was terrified, and I kept weeping to my friends, 'I'm going to look a fool! There's no way I'm going to be able to carry this off!' They reassured me, saying, 'No matter what happens, at least you won't come last, because you couldn't be worse than A-Ha.' "

 Manson says her favourite Bond song is Carly Simon's Nobody Does It Better and her favourite movie is Goldfinger.

 "They were the first adult movies that I was ever privy to, so I think they probably helped sculpt my sexual personality, in a way," says Manson. "It was the first time I ever saw women in bikinis and stilettos and guns, all merged together -- a potent brew!"

 Garbage, a wonderfully inventive techno-pop band rounded out by U.S. musicians-producers Butch Vig, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker, spent some time in London working on the song, but the bulk of it was recorded over a week in August at the Armoury Studios in Vancouver.

 The band has been trotting the theme out on the final six weeks of their world tour, which is in support of their last album, Version 2.0. They'll take a four- month break before heading back to their Madison, Wis., studio to record their next album, although Manson reports Garbage will release a compilation of B-sides and remixes early next year.

 "It's been great for us because we have long wanted to do a Bond theme," says Manson. "The likelihood of our getting the chance was extremely minute."

 Manson's fortuitous meeting with The World Is Not Enough composer David Arnold in London sealed the deal.

 "About a week after that we got asked if we'd be interested in recording the theme," she explains. "So I don't know whether David had us in mind or whether when he met me in London thought, 'Hmmm, maybe they'd be good for the theme that I'm working on.' I don't know quite how these things work, but the stars were aligned."

 NOT SO FAST MR BOND: The World Is Not Enough doesn't open until Nov. 19, but the movie's soundtrack hits stores Tuesday following this week's release of The Best Of Bond ... James Bond, which has all of the Bond themes.


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