Garbage’s Shirley Manson goes nuts on Twitter – at me!

GarbagebannerFirst off, if I find that the official Garbage twitter account was hacked tonight, I will retract this. But, as it stands here’s what happened.

I have loved Garbage for a hell of a long time. I have every album of theirs and being honest, I’ve always said if I had a band, I’d want them to sound like Garbage. I love their music and they would usually be a first port of call on my iPod.

What happened tonight was definitely one of the weirdest things ever to happen to me on Twitter. I saw Conor Furlong, a fellow Garbage fan reply to the official Garbage account on twitter. He had replied to this tweet.

Now, to me as to Conor, this tweet was extremely strange and disrespectful to fans who had paid their money. Going to gigs and buying merchandise is an expensive business. This was a sold out show and it seems the crowd weren’t entirely into the set for whatever reasons. Shirley signs off the tweet with an ‘x’ and saying that the band still love their fans but I find really hard to understand why anyone would alienate or criticize their fans, especially when saying something about a gig they’ve just played. Conor replied:

I replied to both with the word ‘sad’. Sad for a couple of reasons. Sad that despite a sell out gig and having the opportunity to play in front of people for a living, adoration seems to be something that Shirley (as it was her tweeting), still wants. Reason number two, just because Twitter is online, in a virtual world, doesn’t mean that your words have no consequences. They do, unless you have a protected account, every word is there for the whole world to see.

Of course, I replied with ‘Darling, you’re not my type’ and presumed that it would end like that. Naturally as soon as that tirade of abuse starting coming in my direction, I thought, sure, this has to go on the blog or maybe chat about it on the radio. So called ‘celebs’ having off days on Twitter seems to be the norm at the moment as Jenny Johnson felt the wrath of Chris Brown this weekend. He subsequently deleted his Twitter account.

Then Conor received this:

At this point, I genuinely started wondering if the person behind these words was OK, friends on twitter, yes, including people I do actually know in real life, who happen to know myself and Conor could see what was happening and they too were told where to go.. Yes, I’m putting it mildly. Here’s one example.

Conor asked for an apology and he more abuse.

When you get verified on Twitter, you get a little tick beside your name, so that account does belong to Garbage and the ‘S x’ indicates that this was Shirley Manson. I’ve been following their tour on Twitter and Facebook and have been disappointed that I didn’t get to see the band this year. They haven’t played in Ireland and just being finished college and looking for a job, means I haven’t had the money to go see them in Europe. This outburst has genuinely made me question/think about a couple of things. Why do record or PR companies not give musicians online media training, or do they? If not they definitely should.

The second is the reason why we all fell in love with music in the first place and retain some sort of an emotional connection with a particular artist, band or even song. We spend our money going to see them live or buying their records. It was this emotional connection with Garbage that spearheaded the annoyance I felt when I read Shirley’s first tweet. While trying to say you still loved your fans, in less than 140 characters, you alienated and possibly lost fans. With this my estimation of my favourite band, didn’t drop, it just died.



  • I love her i just found her a couple of days ago looking up Scottish bands singers like JD from korn and after listening to just one song i became a super huge fan of hers shes awesome!!!

  • claude

    i think she’s just bitter because their latest album flopped big time! garbage are over, she should be glad somebody is still going at her gigs..

  • Being an entitled douchebag makes Shirley pissy? Shock, horror. I find it slightly more disturbing when the deli guy forgets to put sugar in my coffee.

  • Sam

    I caught this little squabble the other night and didn’t think much of it, so I was surprised to see that it was even worth a mention by a couple of sites. Slow news day much? It’s really such a non issue, so I’m not sure why I’m taking the time to respond to it with an overly long comment, but why not? I guess I have nothing better to do, much like NME or whatever other news sources reported on it.

    I’ll be upfront; I’m at least partly on Shirley’s side here. Sure, her response would make a PR person breakdown in tears of horror, but that’s part of what I love about her. She’s opinionated, unapologetic, and straight-forward. We all have our off days, but Shirley and the rest of the band have proven time and time again how much their fans mean to them. I’ve heard countless personal stories about their kindness and generosity towards fans, so being snappish at a few people, one of whom was definitely rude to start with, isn’t going to change my feelings towards her or the band. I sincerely hope that one bad interaction in the face of Shirley’s usual uber coolness with fans hasn’t permanently changed your opinion of them either.

    To me, Shirley’s original tweet came across as well-intentioned and honest and was obviously not intended as some kind of “calling out” of fans. You mentioned in your comment that crowds feed on the energy coming from the stage, but bands also feed on the energy coming from a crowd. Whether they are enjoying it inwardly, if the crowd isn’t outwardly showing that they are feeling a show, it can be a real bummer for a band. I don’t see how it’s insulting to fans for Shirley to express that sentiment. I hear so much talk about what bands owe their fans, but I wonder what fans owe the bands whose music has helped change, shape, or even saved their lives. I think probably the best way a band can feel the love and the impact that they made on people’s lives is not through album sales or sold out shows or appreciative letters and tweets, but by the pure and wonderful enthusiasm of fans at a show.

    But Conor Furlong, who as far as I know was not at the show being referred to, chose to take Shirley’s words in a negative way and responded with an accusatory and sarcastic tweet. Suggesting that she expected the crowd to worship them? That was plainly rude. Was Shirley’s response the best way to go about things? Not at all. Would it have been better if she had just ignored it? Certainly. But as a self-proclaimed “loudmouthed fucker,” Shirley isn’t exactly known for her sweet and even temperament, even though she’s capable of being a sweetheart. She might have mellowed over the years, but she’s still got a temper on her, and her pottymouth continues to put sailors to shame. I’m not surprised that she responded to rudeness with rudeness, whether it was an emotionally taxing time for her or not. And, of course, he felt the need to respond back with more sarcastic rudeness instead of letting it go just like she would have been better suited doing.

    You jumping in with your “my estimation of you has hit the floor” and then making threats about your radio show when she was clearly already in a pissy mood certainly didn’t help matters. To me, this little mess was agitated by both sides. I don’t find any of it to be a big deal, so I don’t really think Shirley owes anyone an apology anymore than either of you owe her an apology.

    It sucks that you ended up on the bad side of the Manson temper as you weren’t the one who was rude, but I don’t think you getting involved helped matters. Not that you weren’t perfectly entitled to express your opinion to her at that time or that you aren’t perfectly entitled to feel how you do about the whole thing now. You certainly were and you certainly are. I’m sorry if this has somehow lowered your estimation of the band; I guess it boils down to the fact that we all have our bad days and sometimes our ability to respond to rudeness with grace leaves us. But if you really love them, what’s a little spat on one of those bad days?

    • nessymon

      HI Sam, Thanks for dropping by and for your comment. Firstly, I stand by the opinion that if you pay to see a band, the band are there to entertain you. If that band, any band, don’t get the crowd ‘into’ the show, well then there is something wrong, perhaps with that particular performance on the night.

      I know Conor in real life and I know that he is a Garbage fan, as he knows I have been one for years. The fact that Ms Manson would have reacted in that way to anyone passing an opinion on what she tweeted, shocked me and especially as I know Conor is a genuine fan.

      I do host a radio show, yes, I cover lots of events and music and yes, this incident could be included in my radio show. There was no threat though. If I did cover it, as other news organisations have done, all the tweets were in the public domain.

      We were never rude to Ms Manson, we never used abusive or foul language towards her, we only questioned why she chose to speak about the audience at the show in that way. Calling them ‘cold’ despite the fact the show was sold out, gives the impression that there was something not quite right.

      My estimation did hit the floor, both as Ms Manson is a public figure and reacted this way very publicly and as someone who has written as a fan about the band on the pages of this blog ( and considered Garbage my favourite band, to think that if I was treated this way, others could be too. It’s inexcusable.

      Thanks for taking the time to visit.

      • Sam

        We’ll definitely have to agree to disagree, as I believe the energy level at a show does not rely 100% on the band. I’ve been to shows that have melted my face with their awesomeness while most of the crowd didn’t react much and sort of stood around, even if they were enjoying it on the inside. In my experience some crowds are just not that great, paying customers or not. And seeing as how fans or ex-fans have no compunctions about expressing their disappointments towards a band to the band, why is it some sin for a band to express a small disappointment about a seemingly cold reception? It’s a give and take relationship. As far as I can tell from comments from people who were at the show (who also back up that the crowd was rather subdued), Garbage delivered their end of the bargain with a banging show. They also didn’t seem offended by her comment.

        We’ll also have to agree to disagree on this matter: I believe Colon took a tone that was rude, sarcastic, and accusatory. There is no other way to describe his “worshipping” comment to what was basically a friendly tweet from Shirley. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he got a rude, sarcastic, and dismissive response back, though it certainly would have been better left ignored. Rudeness isn’t reliant on foul language, nor is foul language inherently rude. But it’s all mountains out of molehills to me.

        You are, of course, entitled to your opinion as I am to mine (hee, I first wrote that you were “entitled to my opinion” but I fortunately caught it. Freudian slip, maybe?). All right, I guess I’ve already said way too much about this matter that I keep thinking I don’t care much about. I’ll shut up now. Good luck to you with your show and general life things and your future endeavors.

  • Pingback: Garbage’s Shirley Manson Rants On Twitter About Poor Crowd Energy At Germany Performance | News()

  • Btw though I’m a big fan I’m certainly not a full time Shirley defender! I just thought some context might be helpful.

    • nessymon

      Thanks for dropping by Lou, i do hope that Shirley is OK. Crowds at gigs normally feed off the energy from the stage, which kinda indicates something wasn’t quite right. There’s no excuse for that language, I genuinely was gutted..

      Here’s an open invitation to Shirley, chat to me for my radio show, tell me what was what… and that’ll be that..

  • Hi guys, just weighing in. I’m an Irish Garbage fan currently doing a bit of the European tour. First off im not trying to say the above behaviour was right but here’s a little explanation perhaps.

    Last night (& the proceeding night a very little bit) it was obvious that Shirley was completely out of sorts. Yesterday was the anniversary of her mother’s death, which was only a few years ago. She was close to tears at many points, particularly at the start when she dedicated a song to her mum. As the night went on, the whiskey went in & she appeared to be in better, though erratic, form.

    I know it’s no excuse to be berating your fans (in tge @ replies to conor & nessy, personallly o yjink she was right on the money about the subdued atmosphere) but it seems to me there’s an unhappy woman up there.