The first record Nicky Wire bought was Neon Knights by Black Sabbath. As a teenager he would get as excited by Guns N´Roses´ rock´n´roll as by New Musical Press´ newest indie favourites. The Smiths, Echo & the Bunnymen, Sex Pistols and Hanoi Rocks were all equally important elements in both Nicky Wire's and the rest of Manic Street Preachers musical universe.
Before the release of the debut album Generation Terrorists, Manic Street Preachers said their goal was to sell 16 million copies of the record in question and then split up. But that didn't happen however, and now it´s turn for the bands sixth studio album, Know Your Enemy. When Manic Street Preachers stopped of in Finland in the beginning of March, Soundi handed Nicky Wire a fresh copy of the Hanoi Rocks 4CD box and got the bassist-ideologist to hum Boulevard of Broken Dreams with a blessed smile on his face.
When was the last time you listened to Hanoi Rocks?
"I constantly tape cassettes to play in my Walkman. I listen to them all the time in the hotel room, the airport and other similar places. Every once in a while I include something by Hanoi Rocks. Most recently Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Underwater World, I think."
Do you still remember how you discovered Hanoi Rocks?
"Yeah. It was pretty late, 1988 or something like that. When Guns N´Roses was at the top of their career they mentioned Hanoi Rocks in an interview. I had a schoolmate, who digged Hanoi Rocks really much and because he knew I liked Guns N´Roses, he introduced Hanoi Rocks to me. He lent me some Hanoi Rocks albums and I got excited about them. It makes me feel kind of old..."
Do you still go to record stores?
"Of course. Always, when it´s possible. When I visit Cardiff, I always stop by my favourite record stores, to some of them I've been going to for almost 20 years. I still buy a lot of records. This one I don´t need to buy anymore." (Touches and looks at the Hanoi Rocks-box looking almost in love.)
How big is your record collection?
"Unfortunately I had to sell all my vinyl records, when the band was starting and we needed a lot of money. Me, Sean and James sold all of our records. It was horrible, but we had to get money from somewhere. It´s even worse, when I think about that we only got 100 pounds, or something like that, for them. 100 pounds for probably thousands of vinyl records. Oh no. I have some thousand CD's and I've started to buy vinyl records again. Lately I've bought a lot of such records, which I've regretted selling for long."
What kind of music have you been listening to recently?
"I've been listening to a lot of those same vinyls I listened to when I was young. The Stooges, which influenced Found That Soul, The Beach Boys, which influenced So Why So Sad, The Fall, which influenced Wattsville Blues and to early New Order, which influenced Baby Elian. I've been listening to such records we grew up with and got us to start the band sometime long ago."
On the Know Your Enemy album there´s a hidden track, your own version of McCarthy´s We´re All Bourgeoisie Now. Because of that, thousands of people are going to want to get to know more about McCarthy, so can you recommend any of their records?
"Their first album is called I Am A Wallet (1987). It´s one of my most listened to albums ever. Under the punk era I was too young and I didn't get interested in music until after that. I Am A Wallet is an album which lyrics really spoke to me when I was younger. The music is pretty much like The Smith´s guitar pop and sure, I like that, but the text really hit home. I hope people get to know McCarthy, because they were never really popular and didn't make any money. They were really not appreciated enough. After three albums the band split and Tim Gare founded Stereolab. Stereolab's okay. It´s good background music for reading, cleaning and other kind of relaxation."
Have you lately got really excited over a new band?
"I think At The Drive In is a really good band. I also still like Idlewild. JJ72 are pretty good. I don´t think they sound like us at all, even if some say they do. Also Goldfrap´s album is really great. As I said, I still buy lots of records, even if they don´t change my world anymore. I get real satisfaction from buying records. It´s still great to listen to a record for the first time. "
Do you ever have to fight with your wife Rachel about what record to listen to?
"No. I have my own little room, where she can´t come in. It´s just my place."
What kind of music does she like?
"She's not a very big music fan. Ice-hockey is much more important to her. She's quite obsessed with the Cardiff Devils. That team is full of Canadians and Swedes. There's actually quite a good atmosphere at their games. I go to them pretty often."
How do you feel about Napster?
"For some reason most people seem to be really naïve and believe that Napster is charity. It´s not, Napster is like any other company, who tries to lift it´s market value, until it sells its shares to whoever offers the most. Every time one of our songs are played on the radio, anyone can tape it. So it´s not about the act itself, but about the capitalistic way of thinking behind it all. Napster is capitalism the same way as Coca-Cola. And that´s the kind of thing we fight against."