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'The Manics Is My Home, This Solo Album Is a Holiday' - South Wales Echo, 31st July 2006

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Byline: By Gavin Allen South Wales Echo

James Dean Bradfield says he can't help but admire Pete Doherty for capturing the early Manic Street Preachers' spirit of 'holding it together and pulling it off by the skin of your teeth'.

Bradfield, whose debut solo album The Great Western entered the charts at number 22 yesterday, is forever bonded to his former band-mate Richey Edwards, who disappeared in 1995 and has never been found.

The true complexity of who Edwards was has been lost to the one-dimensional nature of rock myth in much the way that Doherty is dismissed as some smack-headed singer soon for the grave, and Bradfield sees a spiritual link between Doherty and the Manics.

When asked if there was currently a band out there who captured the spirit of the early Manics, he volunteered: 'I see it in Primal Scream who went about the same thing as us in a very different way to us but I can't deny I see it in the whole Libertines/Babyshambles/Pete Doherty thing.

'It's the spirit of it, and I don't mean that in a patronising way.

'It's that thing of keeping it together by the skin of your teeth and having it all wash out in your music.'

It is not a comparison Bradfield uses lightly because he is tired of the way the media takes the memory of his best friend and turn it into a easy comparison marketing tool.

'There was a review of my single (That's No Way To Tell A Lie) in the NME which was critical of me and I'm fine with that but it mentioned Richey in a hurtful way and that's when we feel we have a duty to him.

'When someone talks about him like that we feel we have to put them right on what kind of person he was and make sure he is represented correctly because he was a more complicated person than this doe-eyed rock saint.

'As a band we live by the sword and die by the sword because we signed up for that whole rock mythology thing when we were younger, the stuff you get with people like Ian Curtis (iconic Joy Division singer who committed suicide), but sometimes some of the stuff you see written is just rubbish.

'Represent him as a real person rather than a myth, y'know.'

The passion and dignity with which Bradfield still deals with the Edwards questions is admirable and when he talks about Edwards and the Manics it's clear Bradfield is refocused in his love for the band.

'People didn't quite get (last album) Lifeblood and that's not a bad thing, but we had to make sure we hadn't lost touch with what our essence was.

'It was about understanding how we were pushing ourselves. Even if we didn't find an answer we needed to feel comfortable with what we were doing.

'That was the first time I'd had a break from the band since I was 15 and it showed me I'm still not past that thing of having a guitar in my hand and writing songs. It showed I'm still fired about music and I didn't think we (the Manics) could be any closer as people but this has proved to me that we crave each other as friends and as musicians.

'The Manics is my home, this solo album is a holiday.'