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01/01/01 - BBC Radio 1 - The Evening Session

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Where are you right now?

I'm in Wales, the fatherland. James Dean Manic

This year has been low profile for you hasn't it?

Yeah it is the first time we haven't played a gig in a year. I've had such a good time recording and doing the album, touring hasn't really crossed my mind. And at the age of 31 it was good to have a year convalescing - my mind is still willing but I don't think the body is. 

Do you make new year's resolutions?

I made two last year and failed miserably. They were to drink and smoke less. My smoking's actually gone up, but that's studio life for you.....It's sit down have a bottle of wine, a cigarette and start writing. 

You managed to keep what you are doing with the new album secret, apart from the speculation about the title?

You get one journalist who makes up the rumour, then it becomes a valid rumour, which then you are asked to disclaim or say it's true. And 80% of the things on the internet are absolute rubbish, like being asked by a journalist if we going to call the album 'Money for Old Rope' a la 'Give 'em enough rope' - it's just stupid. It's like been asked if you are going to call the new single 'Fidel' as a tribute to Fidel Castro - it's like come on, even if you were going to write a song about that you wouldn't call it 'Fidel'. 

What is the best rumour you've heard about the band?

The next album was going to be a triple album, we weren't going to do any gigs and split up on the day it was released. 

I kind of feel that the next Manics album will be the start of a new era, am I wrong?

I don't know it's just really strange to think we've done as many albums without Richey as with him. It's like are we in the third phase or the second phase? We feel a bit more scared than usual. We are press addicts, and when I read the press these days there are so many journalists who I don't know, and so many young journalists who take a pop at the band just because we're older. I think the press is 'Yankaphilic' and love anything from America, but British music seems to have to work harder to gain affection in the British press.
We've always had the fear and that's almost made us retaliate in kind, and I think we work better when we feel a bit scared. We haven't sat down and said we've had two million selling albums in Britain and now we have to do it again - if we did that we'd fail on every level and we wouldn't sell that many anyway. 

The album feels, from what I've read, like a more instinctive record?

Yeah it is. The premise we set was we wouldn't rehearse the songs, so when we started in the studio that was the first time we played the songs. So they are 27 songs on the album and not one which has been rehearsed, there are 15 songs on the album which have only been played about four times. 

Who have you worked with?

Most of it has been done by Dave Eringa, who did 'If You Tolerate This', 'Masses Against The Classes', and lots of other stuff with us. David Holmes has done additional production on three tracks which have turned out amazing. 

And you are going to play in Cuba, is that a nightmare?

Yes, because there is no precedent to it. It might just be full of people gong "I don't like this, they have no rhythm, they're rubbish".