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For Garbage, the world of Bond is not enough


December 15, 1999
Web posted at: 12:50 p.m. EST (1750 GMT)

By Donna Freydkin
Reporting for CNN Interactive

(CNN) -- What Shirley Manson wants, Shirley Manson gets. So when Manson and her band Garbage wanted to perform the theme song to the latest James Bond film, "The World Is Not Enough," she and they set out to prove that nobody does it better.

In doing so, they joined the ranks of such Bond musical luminaries as Carly Simon ("Nobody Does It Better"), Shirley Bassey ("Goldfinger," "Moonraker," "Diamonds Are Forever") and Tom Jones ("Thunderball"), all of whom have lent their vocal talents to memorable James Bond tunes.

Was performing the theme song for the 19th entry in the longest-running film franchise in history an honor? Well, does James Bond like his martinis shaken -- not stirred?

"We're a bunch of geeks," says Garbage co-founder and drummer Butch Vig. "We're not cool at all. We're the geekiest band out there, let me tell you, so it's an honor to do the theme song for such a cool international spy."

"We're a bunch of geeks. We're not cool at all. We're the geekiest band out there, let me tell you, so it's an honor to do the theme song for such a cool international spy."

 -- Butch Vig, Garbage

And to coincide with the November release of "The World Is Not Enough," EMI also issued "The Best of Bond .. .James Bond." It's a musical compilation that will leave 007 aficionados craving their next Bond fix of fast cars and foxy women. The album features the theme songs from every Bond film -- including Sheena Easton's hit "For Your Eyes Only" and A-ha's miss "The Living Daylights" -- but excluding the most recent one.

"For each movie, the musical artist picked is always someone who's well known, an act with a name," says Paul Atkinson, who produced the compilation. "It's a good marketing decision to associate yourself with an artist who is hip and very commercial. And Garbage is going to get a lot of exposure, lots of MTV play."

Not that extra exposure had an impact on Garbage's zeal to be affiliated with Bond.

"I've seen all of the movies," says Vig. "I'm an old-school Bond fan. Sean Connery is our band's favorite Bond. Shirley feels a kinship with him because they're both from Scotland."


Listen to a clip of "The World Is Not Enough"
[160k MPEG-3] or [215k WAV]

(Courtesy MGM/UA)


Bonding over Bond

Before landing the Bond gig, Garbage had been telling the press for quite some time that the band wanted to belt out a Bond theme. Numerous producers had asked the group to perform theme songs for other films. Garbage declined, waiting for just the right opportunity.

It came in the form of a London meeting between Garbage's Manson and composer-lyricist David Arnold. He had scored the last Bond film, "Tomorrow Never Dies" (with the title song performed by Sheryl Crow), and had penned "The World Is Not Enough." Arnold also turns out to be a Garbage fan.

So the composer, in turn, approached the Bond people to sell them the idea of Garbage doing the song. He came up with a rough demo of the melody and string arrangements.

But transforming wish into reality proved to be a Bond-worthy feat that required more than a bit of karma.

Garbage was on a world tour. Arnold would call the band in hotel rooms and Garbage would play bits of the song on the phone. Finally, in late July of this year, the Bond people flew Garbage from Portugal to London on a private jet. The band recorded "The World Is Not Enough" in two days in a London studio with a full orchestra, and immediately hit the road again.

"We were trying to make sure the arrangement was good, because the song has a very dynamic and sweeping melody line," says Vig. "This was the first time we ever recorded with a 60-piece orchestra and that was a most excellent experience.

"We're pretty pleased with how it turned out. To Garbage fans, it sounds like a Garbage song. And to Bond fans, it's a Bond song."

For their eyes only

In September, Garbage spent three days in London shooting the video. It's an experience Vig describes as "much more of a pain in the ass than recording the song. It was like making a mini Bond film."

But proving that there really is no rest for the weary, Garbage didn't even get to attend the London premiere of the film.

"We were on tour so we couldn't make it," says Vig. "But we saw the movie in Tucson with a regular audience during its opening weekend. By the time we left the theater, there were like 500 kids standing outside and asking for autographs, so we had our own little mini-premiere."

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Garbage site
Official James Bond site
The making of "The World Is Not Enough" opening sequence and song
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