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08/04/05 - BBC Radio 6 Music - Phill Jupitus

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Manic Street Preachers there and Picturesque taken from the God Save The Manics EP. Nicky Wire with us of course. We're backstage in Swansea. Would I be right in saying you're giving this away?

N: Yeah we are actually and we're paying for it all ourselves as well it's kinda nothing to do with Sony.

DJ: Walking it like they talk it.

N: We really wanted to break the chain for once and just do something spontaneous, it's the only way I can describe it y'know.

DJ: Is it the internet that had made that a do-able thing?

N: It is but we were just in the studio and we were itching to do something. I mean Picturesque what you've just played is an old kind of half Richey lyric that me and him did a long time ago and I just felt sometimes you can't control creativity (the DJ's laugh)

DJ: This is the first time, and let's not beat about the bush, this interview being conducted hours before we actually broadcast it, I'm going to be seeing you for the first time, we'll probably already have been banging on the show what I thought of it, first time I've seen the Manics indoors, seeing them in Wales - is this culturally for an Englishman to see the Manics in Wales - am I going to find it a comfortable experience?

N: It could be quite strange. We haven't played Swansea for a long time. I came to University here, I know Swansea really well. The last time we played I think it was at a free festival and we got bottled so yeah, culturally yeah, I suppose it is a bit different down here. But I'm really looking forward to it, I've got a lot of good memories. I should've got my degree in this place but I didn't bother turning up for it.

DJ: Any particular reason not?

N: I think we were supporting The Levellers or something terrible.

DJ: But you were at work. That's a really good reason not to pick up your degree.

N: But they're giving me an honorary degree tonight. DJ: Are they really? N: They are yeah. DJ: At what point in the set, do we know? N: I might do it before the set, I think it might be just a bit too much otherwise... but they've been trying to do it for years so...

DJ: At what sort of stage, I mean I don't know how much upfront you plan things in the Manics Organisation, but Lifeblood did incredibly well for you. And now doing this EP. A lot of bands at this stage in the Tour might be starting to get a bit weighed down and depressed and just want to come off the road.

Other DJ in the background: They are depressed.

N: That's our natural state.

DJ: Are you very good at keeping the life going in... the EP, which is some amazing songs on it, 3 good tracks you know...

N: The great thing about this tour, it's the first time I can honestly say in all the time I can remember we're not actually promoting anything to buy. It's not selling Lifeblood, it's not selling this, it's quite an odd experience but it's very rewarding and it's a very communal kind of fan thing, this tour.

DJ: Why did you decide to do it?

N: Just because for so long every tour's been centred around a product, I can't deny it, and you enjoy it - you plough through - but this is a bit different. It frees you up, I think you get a bit more freedom. I mean the Setlist we're doing is very different, there's lots of Holy Bible stuff, Design For Life, which we have ended with for probably 12... 10 years is like second in the set and everyone - double take - and we kind of end with half of Paradise City - Guns N Roses - and Motown Junk as well. Yeah it's great, it's just freed us up a bit.

DJ: And specifically able to play smaller rooms indoors again. Normally an album tour would take you round the arenas and things. And this hall in particular, I caught a quick glimpse of it - what is that up on the wall?

N: I think - I'm useless at these things - it's something to do with white woman's hall. DJ: Is it Rousseau? N: Yeah you could be right but it's beautiful, it's absolutely beautiful (maybe the DJ thinks he's on tv because we can't see it)

And we've been followed round by this American documentary team all tour as well, so I had to walk on Swansea beach this morning which was lovely and I got absolutely pissed on and it was proper Welsh rain you know, that rain that makes you really wet.

DJ: The wettest rain in Wales. Let's play something for you now, what are you listening to on the tour bus in the walkman at the minute?

N: Yeah, big time (or is that Big Time the album title) Rilo Kiley, absolutely fantastic, Idlewild's new album which I think is criminally underrated actually, I'm a big fan of Idlewild, I think the new album is amazing. Rilo Kiley especially Portion For Foxes. It's just purest pop.

Me: Apologies to Nicky if I've spelt it wrong. That's a beautiful song. He has good taste.

DJ: Rilo Kiley, Portions For Foxes on BBC 6 Music and we are backstage at the Brangwyn Hall, flailing around with the language, in Swansea. You see when I played it, I do The Grand. "Where are you going sir?". "Grand". N: Oh yeah the Grand Theatre by the - I know that. DJ: It's that black cube sort of tardis like affair. It is exactly like the tardis cos you go in and it's still like the victorian theatre in that big perspex bubble thing (N: is it really? Cos there's pantomimes and shit in there)

N: We actually did our first ever gig wi (that's how he says it) Richey, which he only came on for 2 songs 'cos that's all he could play at the time. We were in our last year in University and our first ever gig was in Swansea as a 4 piece.

DJ: Whereabouts was that.

N: Mandela Hall, where else. Every University's got one.

DJ: And a Steve Beko burger bar (Nicky cackles with laughter) That one at Uxbridge had a Steve Beko burger bar next to Mandela Hall (N: brilliant)

DJ finally gets back on topic... DJ: So is this a hangover from the Lifeblood tour... is it augmenting the live sound having another guitarist on stage?

N: It just felt really good, it took a lot of pressure off James. I mean for years he's been playing 2 or three guitar parts, and doing vocals and backing vocals at the same time and jumping around. It just really worked.

DJ: Personally, was it a weird decision to sort of make?

N: We thought it would be but everyone's pretty much accepted it I think - fan wise, I check chatrooms and all that kind of malarkey.

DJ: What's your chatroom handle?

N: (sounds mock horrified) Nah! I don't enter them (they're laughing at him) DJ: I bet he does.

N: He's a real cool guy, Guy, we've known him for so long, and all he's interested in... he's just standing there playing his guitar.

DJ: And as Phil pointed out to me, were were on the train on the way up, he said "and he's English", and his eyes got all big. N: He's a scouser. We play Liverpool Saturday so he's got a big turnout. DJ: I bet he has as well. N: And Jimmy McGovern's coming so I'm really chuffed with that. DJ: Oh wow. N: You know, Jimmy McGovern who did Cracker and all that, he's coming, I'm really chuffed with that. Last time we played Liverpool, Arthur Scargill came, this time Jimmy McGovern. DJ: That's not too shabby. N: It's better than Kate Moss isn't it (DJ finds this hilarious)

DJ: How has the guestlist been on this tour? What sort of A list people do you get coming along?

N: Wayne Bridge (who?) was on the guestlist for Southampton but I don't think he turned up. The hotel in Southampton actually, was the chap, Murinho (I can't spell it) the Chelsea player, there's only one decent hotel in Southampton, they were playing Southampton that day, so Murinho was just on the mobile constantly for about 4 hours. There was more autograph hunters for the footballers than there were for us.

DJ: There's a hotel in Liverpool where the teams always stay and it was just always full of these people that would hang around with the footballers, you'd go in and everyone would ignore you because they're just looking for footballers.

DJ: So once this tour's over, is it a wind down time for you, I mean obviously ahead of the summer, the festivals around the corner.

N: Yeah we're not doing any festivals. It doesn't feel right. We don't feel like getting a sun tan this year. These last couple of gigs we're doing at the Hammersmith Odeons where you get the free CD as well as the free download...

Then it gets a bit confusing to transcribe. Nicky half sings: I think it ain't no love in the heart of the city. DJ: I thought I'd be able to avoid the metal conversation and off they go (Nicky's singing in the background) but I think it'll be the last gig we do for a fair old time actually. I'm not being defeatist or bleak or anything it's just been a good... really compressed 6 months. We tried to change it from the endless slog and tried to do things a little bit differently.

DJ: It must be an odd time because you come together quite organically after you've had a break but when you're going into a break there must be a little feeling of "are we going to do anything again?"

N: You get offered decent money to play Istanbul, Hungary and Serbia or whatever and you think it's there, there's always temptation but sometimes you've just got to put a nail down on it and giving away this at the last gig and all the rest of it does seem like a nice little sweet ending to it... to a decent 6 months.

DJ: So it's been an amazing period for you...

N: Yeah (slight sadness in his voice)

DJ: Thanks so much for chatting to us Nicky, always a pleasure. And did you enjoy your Rush t-shirts - Phil got you a couple of shirts, he got me a couple they don't mean as much to me as to you.

N: I give my brother one as well, the sweatshirt one, 'cos he's a huge Rush fan. He's still got the denim jacket with the Rush man painted on the back.

DJ: This is the Manic Street Preachers from the God Save The Manics EP and Secret Society. Nicky thanks very much.

N: Oh brilliant. Pleasure.