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Fire Town

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Madison, WI's Fire Town is mainly remembered because of the band's relation to Garbage. Comprised of Duke Erikson (vocals, guitar), Phil Davis (vocals, guitar), and Butch Vig (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Fire Town's light, jangly pop fed college radio with another dose of ringing guitars and folk-rock harmonies in the late '80s. Vig and Erikson were previously in the group Spooner. After Spooner broke up, Davis, Vig, and Steve Marker (guitars) formed the short-lived First Person in 1986. A year later, Davis, Vig, and Erikson collaborated again as Fire Town, releasing the LP In the Heart of the Heart Country. The album received praise from Rolling Stone magazine; however, it was too tame even for pre-grunge alternative radio. The video for "Carry the Torch" briefly snared MTV's attention, but Fire Town was lost in a downpour of similar-sounding artists. Fire Town recorded another album, 1989's Good Life, before calling it quits. In the early '90s, Vig's production work on albums from Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins, and L7 heightened his status within the alternative rock community. Vig reunited with Erikson and Marker in the punk band Rectal Drip, basically a fill-in group for canceled gigs. The trio became Garbage in 1993, adding vocalist Shirley Manson in 1994. ~ Michael Sutton