Nicky Wire talks to Keith Cameron.
Why did you decide to work with Richey again?
"There was a kind of longing to. With [2007's] Send Away The Tigers, we'd made a glorious, Technicolor, slightly disposable rock album It felt Ike we'd justified ourselves again. James said 'I've been looking at these words and I think it's the right thing to do.' It's not something I've looked at a lot, the file he left me. It possessed something I was frightened of. But having looked at the lyrics I immediately knew they had to be used. I don't think there's any cynicism involved
Was it like going on a journey of discovery?
"It was. And I really enjoyed the almost academic side of it. We weren't trying to understand these words. They're the lyrics of a 27-year-old man. That really invigorated us. Made you feel...the magic."
Why did you sing William's Last Words?
"The main reason is that I wrote the music. James said, 'I think you should sing this one, it's going to resonate much more.' There's no catharsis involved, it just felt really sweet. It's the one lyric I've looked into: Richey was obsessed with Archie Rice in The Entertainer, the Olivier film about the showman who's just on his arse. Whether autobiographical or some kind of analogy, I don't know, but it obviously sounds like it is."
You recorded in Wales with Steve Albini. Did he bring his microphones and his boiler suit?
"He did. He wore his boiler suit every single day. He played baseball, I filmed a lot of it and I've actually got him having a laugh at times! He really pushed us. He's not exactly Mr Overflowing With Compliments, but that's what we wanted. It worked. He got out the power of the band. I don't think we could get that power if we weren't writing to Richey's words, because we all move on, we've got kids...You feel the same, you just know you cant act the same. In some ways, this is a tribute album and we feel comfortable with what we've achieved for the boy."