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"If We Hadn't Got Richey Help He Might Have Tried To Kill Himself" - Select, October 1994

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Title "If We Hadn't Got Richey Help He Might Have Tried To Kill Himself"
Publication Select
Date October 1994
Writer Steve Lamacq
Photos Neil Cooper



Richey's history of self-mutilation stretches further back than '4 REAL'

When Richey James was hospitalised last month suffering from 'nervous exhaustion' it was the latest instalment in the diary of a troubled mind. The psychiatric treatment he is currently receiving in a London clinic is for a condition that has worsened over the last year and has existed for far longer. Friends of the Manics guitarist have confirmed Richey has a history of self-mutilation dating to before the band formed.

Richey began cutting himself while still at university, but it was the carving of the phrase '4 Real' on his arm after a gig in Norwich in 1991 that made his problems public. It looked like another band 'statement' at the time, but now seems more the act of an ill person getting worse. by the end of 1993 he had started stubbing cigarettes out on his arm. In Thailand, while on tour with the Manics in April, he was pictured with cuts on his chest and had begun drinking still more heavily. Although never seen as part of the Manics' 'musical wing', Richey's insecurities about his guitar-playing ability and contribution to the group combined with tragedies in his personal life to worsen his mental state.

James Bradfield, Manics lead singer and guitarist: "Our priority was to make sure Richey was OK. At first we didn't think about what we'd do as a band. We could have cancelled the tour, but he wanted us to carry on playing while he was away. But it's not the same. Playing T In The Park festival was terrible without him."

Martin Hall, Manics manager: There were contributing factors to his decline. The death of Philip (Martin's brother and co-manager of the band, who Richey was very close to) was one of them. But now Richey says he would have probably ended up the same way, regardless...The thing is, he doesn't see anything wrong in cutting himself. It makes him feel better. It's his way of releasing pain and his argument is, it doesn't harm anyone else. It's almost like a badge to show that he's emotionally strong enough to deal with problems in his own way. He was at the point, though, where no-one - not even himself - knew how far he might go. If he had carried on without any help he might have ended up killing himself.