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"It's Always Good To Come Home" - South Wales Argus, 18th February 2011

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Title: "It's Always Good To Come Home"
Publication: South Wales Argus
Date: Friday 18th February 2011
Writer: Natalie Crockett

Gwent's biggest rock band is back with a new tour that will see them grace the Welsh capital for the first time in three years. Natalie Crockett spoke to Manic Street Preachers frontman James Dean Bradfield.

Recalling fond memories of their hugely successful homecoming gig in Blackwood last month, James Dean Bradfield admits it’s always good to come back home to Wales.

And that’s exactly where they will be on May 21 when the trio return to Cardiff’s CIA for the first time since 2006.

Fans are promised performances of their favourites including Everything Must Go in amongst tracks from the band’s new album Postcards From A Young Man.

But Mr Bradfield says the concert will be completely different from the “intimate” and “cosy” homecoming gig at Blackwood Miners' Institute.

He said: “Playing Blackwood, you can see people’s faces and reactions and then you spot and uncle or a auntie, you don’t get lost in the swathe, it feels much more intimate and more focussed.”

But even he admits the event organised by BBC Radio 2 may have been over-egged as a “homecoming”.

He said: “My opticians is still in Blackwood, I still go to Lui’s Plaice now and again and I’m up to see my dad all the time.

“It wasn’t as if I was coming back and everything had changed, I’m still very familiar with the place, it just felt comfortable.”

But one thing that did shock the band was the memories that came flooding back when they returned to the town’s Little Theatre 26 years after a riot broke out at their performance.

He said: “I remember it felt massive to me back then and now it didn’t seem so big. I remember people chanting to us, then a football smashing the piano and there was no going back.”

The lead guitarist and singer recalled Newport’s once thriving music scene remembering how he watched Oasis at the legendary TJ’s, and told how he once spent an hour talking to Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie outside the venue before handing him a copy of the band’s single Suicide Alley.

The band themselves played at the venue and Mr Bradfield said it “broke his heart” to hear it had closed down.

He said: “Richey used to go there all the time, it’s a bit spit and saw dust but the lay lines were right. I just feel sorry for a whole generation of kids that won’t get that.”

Now ten albums into their global career Mr Bradfield puts their success down to the fact they were friends before they were band members.

He said: “We went to the same school, same rugby club discos and chased the same girls before we became band members and that really was so important.

“We wouldn’t have written the songs that we did if we didn’t have those experiences -we wouldn’t have stayed together through all the things that have happened to us without those experience that everybody goes through growing up. There’s a brotherly love there.”

“I am 42 this month and still selling records and selling tours out. I am still amazed that we can still do it in the industry that’s in dire straits.”

Mr Bradfield said the band would probably take a break after the festival season to give fans a break after working relentlessly for the past four years. Tickets for their three date tour which includes dates in Cardiff, Llandudno and Wolverhampton go on sale at 9am today.