A band who made gracing NME's cover a manifesto point, our relationship with the Manic Street Preachers has always been intense. Nicky Wire and Dan Martin get all 'I love you, man'.
Can you remember the day you did that cover you're holding up?
"I can remember the whole trip really vividly. There'd been the riots in LA. It was a terrible tour. No-one in America liked us, though at least there was people there. NME had the idea of going to Disneyland rather than doing the picture among the riots; rather than trying to be 'street' and credible. So once again we put a twist on it and went to Disneyland."
Did you like Disneyland?
"I hate rides and shit like that. I get really dizzy and feel sick. Sean loved it - he went on loads of rides. James and Richey were screaming and stuff I feel really ill when I go on rides."
What was it about NME that always fascinated you so much?
"We just felt it was really culturally important. It had been a big influence in our lives. It informed us, it had been like an educational tool. It was very broad in its writing, it wasn't just about music. In fairness, all the music papers mere important to us-but NME, along with Top Of The Pops, we just felt that those were the two things that would understand us, I guess. It was really part of the masterplan - that first picture that Kevin Cummins took of me and Richey. I can't think of another cover where is the bass player and the so-called rhythm guitarist who write lyrics together being on the cover!"
"We have had a lot. To this day, getting the Godlike Genius Award [in 2008], that was pretty amazing in itself I guess a lit of landmarks in general centred around those early days especially. It made us feel like everything was moving in the right direction. It felt like if the fucking NME would understand us then anyone would. I'm glad we were around when we were- there was much more of a fierce intellect involved in pushing through the barrios, if you like"
Ever hated anything we've written about you?
"I guess the most famous cue was probably the review of 'Forever Delayed [2002 Greatest Hits compilation] - the 0/10. Was it Mark Beaumont? But I've spoke to Mark since - James was particularly annoyed by that, but we've never been that kind of band To be honest with you, people talk about the friends you've made in the music biz - most of the people I'd happily talk to are journalists I'm not the average musician who thinks journalists are out to stitch you up!"
Was that review fair comment?
"Not really, because I grew up on bands who had Greatest Hits. So I know where he's coming from, obviously, but I guess we redressed that by putting everything on 'National Treasures' [the Manics 'Complete Singles' collection]. But it was symptomatic of us, going through that period, to get so big that NME's bound to go off you. I go off bands when they get really big! Then you kind of fall in love with them again; it's the Way it goes."
And then somebody gave you 10/10 for 'Lipstick Traces'
"Barbara Ellen gave us 10 out of 10 for 'Generation Terrorists' and if you read the review she doesn't even mention a single song, she just goes on about the idea of the band. It's one of the best reviews ever written. And then Barbara was with us far that amazing cover we did in Thailand."
We can't talk about you and NME without mentioning the '4 Real' incident...
"I think I was in the dressing room, and Richey had gone outside, out of the dressing room, and was talking to Steve [Lamacq] one-on-one. The funny thing about that was it didn't get the cover. Can you imagine now? It'd be on the cover of every fucking thing, wouldn't it?"
Were you shocked by what a big thing it became?
"I just thought it was an amazing art statement and ferociously intelligent and glamorous. It felt like, 'You're one of the bravest, most intelligent people I've ever seen', and I still think of Richey like that to this day. I just think of this massive gap in rock'n'roll society that had been left by him not being around."
Describe the NME to an alien.
"I felt like NME opened my eyes, really - to music, to culture, to films, whether it be Tim Roth or Martin Amis; the famous cover on youth suicide. It's pretty brave for a music magazine to do a cover on youth suicide, in spite of all the amazing music. And of course the writers as well. I still buy the NME every meek - and you can print that."