He momentarily sounds a little confused, like a dude who forgot what parking garage floor he left his ride on.
Steve Marker is recalling why his band, electronically enhanced alt-rockers Garbage, went on hiatus in 2005, briefly getting back together to record material for a best-of album in 2007, but mostly remaining idle for years.
The guitarist admits that even the bandmembers themselves began to lose sight of why Garbage was still on hold when they and their families would periodically visit one another in L.A., where singer Shirley Manson and drummer Butch Vig live.
"After a while it was like, 'That was really fun, when we were in that band that was pretty successful and playing shows all over the world,' " Marker remembers. "It was like, 'Why did we stop that? That was really awesome.' "
None of this is to suggest that Marker has no explanation for Garbage's inactivity, which ended when the band hit the studio at the beginning of 2010.
"It's fun to play music with people who you really like, and I think we kind of lost that along the way," he says. "The business stuff ends up taking over some of that fun. We got really bogged down in people's expectations of what we were supposed to be doing, being on bigger record labels and stuff.
"With all that behind us," he continues, "it was suddenly exciting again and it felt a lot like it did when we first formed, which was really just sort of a fun idea that we had, 'We're here in the studio anyway, let's see if we can find a cool singer and maybe call it a band and see what happens.' It turned out that it worked."
Beginning with Garbage's self-titled 1995 debut, the band sold more than 10 million records worldwide and earned multiple Grammy nominations with their equally sultry and hard driving blend of radio-friendly alt-rock with electronic flourishes.
The group stood out in the alternative boom of that era for a number of reasons.
Drummer Vig was well known as a producer of such smash albums as Nirvana's "Nevermind" and Smashing Pumpkins' "Siamese Dream," and indeed, Garbage started during some downtime at Vig and Marker's Smart Studios in Madison, Wis., as Marker alluded to earlier.
Plus, they were older than many of their peers at the time, established music industry vets who knew their way around the business (Marker recently turned 53).
And then there was Manson, a fiery Scot with a razor-wire sharp tongue and the commanding demeanor of a high-heeled drill sergeant.
"I came to cut you up / I came to knock you down / I came around to tear your little world apart," she warned on "Vow," Garbage's debut single, a song on which she compared herself to both Joan of Arc and Jesus Christ.
This was the height of the riot grrl era, with bands such as Bikini Kill, Seven Year Bitch, Bratmobile and dozens more challenging traditional notions of feminine beauty and sexuality.
Amidst this fray, Manson was a distinct figure: a woman who both embraced, and even flaunted, her sensuality, while still maintaining an in-your-face, occasionally confrontational presence.
She was the grrl who had grown into a lady -- a lady in charge.
As such, Garbage, rounded out by bassist Duke Erikson, always came across as one of the more sophisticated, adult faces of the alt-rock ranks -- and considerably less hip, because of it.
But what they lacked in perceived coolness, they made up for in craftsmanship, with tightly honed songs that pointedly eschewed the frayed-around-the-edges feel of the grunge rock that dominated the airwaves at the time of the band's emergence.
These days, Garbage is readying the release of their fifth album, "Not Your Kind of People," which comes out on May 14 on the band's own label, Stunvolume Records.
First single, "Blood for Poppies," has a vintage feel to it, a languidly paced slow burn with Marker's distinct, dissonant guitar, an insistent digital pulse and an afterburner chorus.
"Duty calls," Manson sings as if she's attempting to make up for lost time, though the song sounds as if time has stood still for this bunch.
"I think it picks up from how we were at the very beginning more than the later stuff," Marker says of his band's forthcoming album. "When we made the first record, we had nothing to lose. We said, 'Hey, let's put a record out, that would be fun.' We didn't even think we'd ever play live. It was really just for our own enjoyment.
"Now, here we are however many years later, and we didn't have a record company, we had no plans on touring," he adds. "In some ways, we were in the same position, which I think was great, because there was nobody breathing down our necks. We had no pressure and no expectations on this. I think it really served us well just to do it for fun again."
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.