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"I'm Happy To Be A Fool" - Q Magazine, October 2001

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Title: "I'm Happy To Be A Fool"
Publication: Q Magazine
Date: October 2001
Writer: Matt Allen
Photos: Rankin


Nicky Wire of Manic Street Preachers on feeling old, being nice to his parents and "useless beyond belief with women".

Hello. Where are you?
"In a hotel room in London."

It's out round, what are you having?
"I don't drink, so I'd have to say Ribena. But not Ribena light."

What were you up to 15 years ago?
"Doing my O-levels, being obsessed with The Smiths and reading Oscar Wilde."

What was the worst thing about being 15?
"We were useless beyond belief with women. It stood us in a good stead in the long run."

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
"Not to be embarrassed by your parents. They did everything for me, but it's an age when you don't want to be around them."

What sort of music were you listening to then?
"The Smiths and Echo & The Bunnymen."

What are you listening to now?
"I'm buying a lot of old vinyl which I had to sell years ago to finance the band, so The Wedding Present. I like The Stroke, but they make me feel old."

What's the best record of the last 15 years?
"Appetite For Destruction, definitely."

What's been the highlight of the last 15 years?
"We had no money and that feeling of us against the world was magic."

What's been your worst fashion crime of the last 15 years?
"I'm happy with all my fashion disasters. I'm happy to be a fool."

What's the strangest story you've heard about yourself?
"All of them. The cult of Richey stuff became so weird."

What question do you hate being asked?
"What ever happened to that mad singer of yours? They don't even get it right."

Have you ever smashed up a guitar?
"Loads. Philip Hall, our manager, would always come up to me before a gig and say, Don't worry about it boys, we can always borrow some money to buy you another one."

What's your motto?
"Richey's was always be pure, we vigilant, behave. So I'll take that one. Oh, and be nice to your parents."

If you weren't a musician, what would you be?
"I'd like to think I'd have been a footballer, but I probably would have done some humdrum job."

When did you last listen to Everything Must Go?
"I can't remember, but I think there's a certain sense of euphoria to that record."

What do you think of Radiohead?
"I admire their enigma."

Sum up the last 15 years in one word?
"Fabulousdisaster. I've melded two words together."

What's next?
"A European tour and a greatest hits album. We want to remind people of our past."

16. Manic Street Preachers - Everything Must Go

Following guitarist/lyricist Richey James' disappearance in 1995, Everything Must Go was make-or-break time for the angst-ridden Welsh rockers. Wisely they opted to throw everything they had at their fourth album. Emotive and grandiose, the results, exemplified by A Design For Life and the brutally effective title track, proved to be a rare perfect collision of rock posturing and pop savvy.

What we said then: "The Manic Street Preachers return to, and improve on the epic pop rock of Gold Against The Soul - 12 tracks of emotionally driven commercial rock" Q117, ★★★★

What happened next: Became Wales' biggest musical export after Tom Jones; balancing sales and integrity with mixed results