SHIRLEY Manson is back in the eastern suburbs of Edinburgh living out her desire for an “ordinary” life. It’s here at her home by the sea that she’ll put the bins out, take a saunter along the shore on dreich days or cook a meal for her father which he’ll grade out of ten.

When not living a quiet life in the city of her birth Manson is one of the most recognisable female rock stars on the planet with her American band Garbage.

Perhaps the comfortable balance she has now struck was inspired by an memory of her mother singing her version of Barbra Streisand's On A Clear Day You Can See Forever at home, wearing a white summer frock decorated with cornflowers. Suddenly this everyday housewife was transfigured in her daughter’s eyes as a “Goddess”.

Finding that equilibrium for Manson, who began her career with Scottish under-achievers Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, has been complicated. It’s 20 years since Garbage released their four-million selling album Version 2.0, a futuristic rock record with infectious pop hooks. It produced five hit singles, including When I Grow Up, followed by a two-year world tour that cemented their place in popular culture.

An essential part of that was the dark glamour and sexuality of Manson who graced a variety of magazine covers and featured heavily in the band’s cutting-edge promos. Added to her haunting vocals were memorable lyrics and provocative interviews that confronted mental health, doomed love and self-loathing.

“To be honest there was a whole messy bog of weird reactions and resentments”, she says now. “In a funny way, I didn't like how there was so much focus on my looks. They would talk about the talent of my band and then go on to comment about how I looked and I became really self-conscious which made me miserable.

"I was already coming from a place of low self-esteem and had body dysmorphia. I was a hot mess and that exacerbated a lot of the issues I had with myself. I’d become quite unhappy.”

Since her first brush with fame, Manson has come to realise the significance of her place in popular culture, not only as a 50-something survivor but as one of very few provocative women fronting an alternative rock band that have managed to retain a global following.

“The youth culture that I emerged from was wild, literally wild, and we prided ourselves on that because we wanted to be the opposite from our parents. My years with Goodbye Mr Mackenzie were really debauched and rock ’n’ roll. By the time I joined Garbage I knew we wouldn't be the cutting-edge rock ’n’ roll rebels, my days of that had passed, but I knew that I was going to be settling into a different approach in terms of being subversive. I will always love rebellion until I'm in my grave. How bland youth culture has gotten; is it going to be down to the 50-year-olds to do something naughty?”

Garbage's Version 2.0 leaned heavily on what was at the time new technology, which has allowed their masterwork to remain fresh. “Arguably it was the first fully digital album ever – it was certainly one of the first using technology that not many people knew much about. We didn't know what it could do or what the limitations were.”

Essentially the band were working directly with the software developers who were designing Pro Tools and worked with prototypes that were sent to the studio as they recorded. “It created this strange sonic imprint that incorporated all this new technology. We came from an analogue mindset so there was this bridge of old-school and new ideas. It’s really poppy which was the intent, everything about the album was perfectly executed. We wanted to make a sci-fi pop record. At the time we were obsessed with Blade Runner and knew the world was changing. It was a watershed moment and we were fixated on that with ideas of futurism and electronic music.”

Garbage would draw inspiration from the big beat electronic music of the 1990s and particularly its pioneers The Prodigy. “He (Liam Howlett) is an amazing producer, they made phenomenal videos and they really challenged the status-quo. We fell madly in love with them and still check out their records, they were the children of punk – there was a danger and darkness about them.”

After the success of their self-titled debut album Manson had the confidence to take on a bigger role within the band. She told them: “I am going to be directing this in terms of what we touch on lyrically.”

She admits: “It was an arrogant move on my part but it was also necessary. That was something Martin Metcalfe [the lead singer of Goodbye Mr Mackenzie] taught me: lead singers are the interface between the band and the public. In order to be paid attention your band need a gladiatorial kind of approach to being out there in the public eye. I felt like I knew what I had to do and it turned out I was right.”

The bright red mane, which had felt like a burden in her youth, granted Manson an abundance of rock star gravitas. “When I went through adolescence I was relentlessly teased and it was insufferable. I later realised it was rare and that’s good in the music world where you are jostling for position. It was something women were burned at the stake for, it suggested you had a temper, it felt like it a defence and a weapon. I started to value and enjoy the associations with red and orange hair because it was the colour of love and rebellion.

"We also have a different pain threshold, a different reaction to temperature. We are slightly different and I began to get really into that.” Manson would also draw upon modern Scottish literature. “The Trick Is To Keep Breathing was a huge book for me at the time.” The band used Janice Galloway’s 1989 novel as the title for the fourth of five hit singles from the album. “I always wanted to break certain taboos about subjects like sex, mental health and domestic violence which remains a big issue even now.”

Version 2.0 was nominated for best album at the 41st Grammy Awards in 1999 and Garbage found themselves up against an all-female line-up that included Shania Twain, Sheryl Crowe, Lauren Hill and Madonna, for Album of the Year.

“With Madonna it was like meeting Elvis – it was mind boggling. We didn't think we’d win, we thought we would sit down and lose which is what happened but it was an incredible experience not just to rub shoulders with those artists but be up against them.”

Completing a golden year for the band they then worked with producer David Arnold and lyricist Don Black to perform the James Bond theme The World Is Not Enough. Significantly all of Garbage apart from Manson were unhappy with the finished work. “They got more arsed up about it than me. The track was rearranged for the cinema and it bummed them out. All I cared about was that we got to do a Bond theme and we did a great job. To work with David Arnold on a Bond theme was life changing and to this day to have that track in our arsenal is extraordinary”.

Revisiting their most popular album has reinvigorated the creative process for the band who are recording a seventh long-player due for release in 2019. Last year’s single No Horses saw a return to the experimental futurism of Version 2.0 with heavier political leanings.

It was written in Scotland while ruminating on American President Donald Trump whom she previously described as “a madman full of despicable hate that makes me sick to my stomach”. It’s an unsettling apocalyptic track which summons David Bowie’s dark Orwellian masterpiece Diamond Dogs. “No Horses really was a surprise coming out of a band who've been together for almost 25 years. I felt we'd hit on something fresh, it felt glorious to make a political record. It was a testament to how we were in disagreement with a lot of world politics where everything is so reactionary and repressive.”

During the course of the interview she nurses a pain in the neck, could it be she longs for a more permanent return home? “I think about coming back all the time. I find the heat intolerable, so living in LA can be a challenge. My family roots, my dirt and my truth is here. I love America and I’m grateful to her for all she’s given me but it’s a hard place to live now with a president who values money and profit over people.”

Beyond struggling with her fame, the culture and behaviour of her contemporaries in the rock world has also been a challenge. “I can’t say I enjoyed the trappings that came with it. I watch a lot of my peers who are famous musicians, they love the power of being the most socially powerful person in the room and get off on it. They want people to be nervous around them and serving them – that is to me utterly repulsive and vile. I’m not going to give a famous rock star any more attention than a normal person; f*** that. I believe that down to the depths of my dark and twisted soul.”

Our conversation turns to an old battered vinyl copy of David Bowie’s Hunky Dory that sits in the corner of the room. On the subject of his death in 2016 she suggests, “no radio stations or TV covered him for the last 20 years. Why wait until a genius dies? They could have been playing Blackstar before he died. We’ve got these icons who are dying and have replaced them with ten-a-penny pop stars that go to stage school. They get million dollar record deals from old white men. It turns my stomach. I mean, Billie Eilish is 16 just now which means she got signed at 13 or 14. There’s a solicitous desire for younger flesh and it sickens me.”

At 51 Manson has managed to beat previous attempts to see her off after a major label “washed their hands” of the band. “I just changed the way I framed everything. I just have to keep going, it doesn't matter if I’m the charts, I don't give a f*** if I’m not a household name but I do care if I’m an artist.”

In her Edinburgh home hangs a childhood picture of Manson from the late 1970s dressed as a ballet dancer. When I mention it she informs me of a serious ambition to be a prima ballerina until injury scuppered her chances while giving me a look that suggests: ‘I coulda been a contender.’

Taking pirouettes and tutus to the stage was not to be but it still turned out not too bad for the Manson lassie.

Version 2.0 will be reissued on June 22. Garbage play Edinburgh Festival Theatre on September 4th and Glasgow Barrowlands the following night.