The Scottish band Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie is best known for the fact that Garbage's Shirley Manson was once a member, but there is more to the group's history than the redhead. Chart successes and record company conflicts made up just some of this history. GMM formed in 1981 out of the ashes of the Clan. Singer & guitarist Martin Metcalfe, drummer Derek Kelly, bassist Jamie Waterson, and keyboardist Ewan Drysdale comprised the band's first lineup; Chuck Parker replaced Drysdale within a matter of months.
The band released their first single, Death of a Salesman, in 1984, and added two background vocalists, Shirley Manson and Hilary McLean, in the next year. The Mackenzies' 1986 single The Rattler reached number 13 in the U.K. indie charts, and the group made several TV and radio appearances in the wake of the song's success. On the strength of their 1987 Face to Face single, which was another indie Top 20 hit, Capitol signed Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie in 1988.
The Rattler Promo Video
The group released a string of singles over the next year (including a re-recorded version of The Rattler), all of which hovered in the mid-regions of the Top 100. Their 1989 album Good Deeds & Dirty Rags fared slightly better, charting at number 27; however, Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie and Capitol parted ways; the Mackenzies signed to Parlophone and Capitol released a B-sides and live collection, Fish Heads & Tails, at the end of the year.
Goodbye Mr. MacKenzie video
Blacker Than Black Promo
In 1990, the group toured with Debbie Harry and released two singles, Love Child and Blacker than Black, that met with indifference: Blacker Than Black topped out at number 62, while Love Child failed to chart at all. With two albums worth of material recorded and waiting to be released, the Mackenzies left Parlophone and signed to MCA. Now We Are Married, was released in February of 1991, while Hammer & Tongs, which was recorded in 1989, came out the following month. Poor chart showings for the records and conflicts between the label, management, and the group resulted in MCA dropping Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie in 1992.
Open Your Arms Live @ Glasgow Green
Now We Are Married Promo
The following year, the band changed gears, creating the side project Angelfish, which put Manson's smoldering sensuality and vocals at the forefront. 1993 also saw the debut of the band's own label Blokshok, on which they released the live Mackenzie album Live: On the Day of Storms. After Manson left to join Garbage, the rest of the Mackenzies carried on for two more albums, Five and The Glory Hole, as well as a collection of covers, Jezebel. The group played their final gig at the end of 1995.
Dust - Live @ Town & Country Club, London 1989
In November 2005 the River Sessions was released, a double CD of rare live tracks recorded in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Angelfish - Suffocate Me (with introduction by Shirley)
Isa & the Filthy Tongues - Big Star
Shirley Mason went on to front Garbage and have a career as an actress (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles)