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"It Has Taken Us Six Years To Get Over Losing Richey. At Last We Are Facing The Music" - The Sunday Mirror, 18th February 2001

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Title: "It Has Taken Us Six Years To Get Over Losing Richey. At Last We Are Facing The Music"
Publication: The Sunday Mirror
Date: Sunday 18th February 2001
Writer: Maeve Quigley


Today's press coverage may well make it look easy.

But the Manic Street Preachers' historical Cuba gig last night has lost the Welsh band's frontman a good few nights' sleep.

"I kept having this recurring nightmare of 60 Cuban musicians at the front of the stage with no-one else in the hall and them looking up at me saying: '[You've got no rhythm'," James Dean Bradfield told Sunday Mirror.

And he admits to being a bit shocked that the band is making history by becoming the first Western group ever to play in Fidel Castro's country.

"There wasn't a grand design to it. A friend asked why we had three references to Cuba on the new album and was by accident or design."

"I replied it was by accident but said it would be great to do our first gig for the album in Cuba."

"Our manager Martin said he would try and make it happen for us. And when it did start happening we were shocked."

The release of the band's new album, Know Your Enemy, marks a turning point in the turbulent history of the Manic Street Preachers.

They have now recorded three albums as a three piece and three albums as a four-piece, prior to the disappearance of guitarist and songwriter Richey James Edwards.

He was last seen at 7am on February 1, 1995, when he checked out of a London hotel and drove to his flat in Cardiff where he left his passport, credit cards and supplies of a drug he was taking for depression.

Six years ago to the day yesterday his silver Vauxhall Cavalier was found at a service station on the English side of the Severn Bridge. Police believe it had been abandoned three days earlier.

Although there have been a number of "sightings" of the star, it is thought more likely he committed suicide, but no body has ever been found.

It's tough still for the band when you realise all four had been friends from childhood and grown up together in Blackwood, a Welsh pit town.

While they will never forget Richey, James says the band has tried to move into 2001 with a new perspective.

"We decided to be more relaxed and recording the latest album was the best time we'd had in the band since the start," he revealed.

"From The Holy Bible onwards we had so many factors to get over.

"Once we did Everything Must Go, the first album without Richey (although he wrote some of the songs before he disappeared), we felt we had survived some of those factors."

"I think we realised that since Richey disappeared, we had all been tense about the next move and we knew we had to chill out and relax.

"It shocked us when we realised that we've now done three albums as a three-piece," Bradfield muses, sitting back on the plush leather sofa in his room at Dublin's swish Clarence Hotel

"I'm not saying that you feel a sense of betrayal, but we have ploughed through certain emotions."

The new album Know Your Enemy shows the trio of James, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore at their best.

As well as the tracks relating to different aspects of Cuba, James has written his first full lyric for Ocean Spray, a deeply personal song about his mother's death from cancer in 1999.

The last gigs the Manics did in Ireland were in the summer of 1999 but they're doing the Heineken Green Energy show at Smithfield on May 4 and also the Witnness festival.

And the front man says when it comes to gigging, there nothing quite like Irish concerts and fans for atmosphere.