Manic Street Preachers, the pop-art revolutionaries from Wales, stood at the edge of their grave a few months ago when guitarist Richey was admitted to hospital with serious psychological problems. Just when their CD The Holy Bible would come true. It seems that the tire has saved it, at the bottom of it. Bassist Nicky Wire: "It's terribly gone out of hand."Manic Street Preachers: Tonight in the Suede Program in Paradiso.
It seemed like a shocking publicity stunt: Richey, guitarist of the Manic Street Preachers, who in the presence of a journalist and photographer with a razor carved the slogan 'Real' in his arm to prove that his bond had to be taken seriously.
The picture of Richey's bleeding arm on the front page of New Musical Express was, for many, the convincing evidence that rock and roll was sick. Because if musicians go to self-mutilation to generate a little publicity, there's something very, very wrong. What would be the next step: amputation? Suicide?
A few years later, it is again a NME cover that proves that more is going on. Leaning against a gypsum garden ornament we see Richey, his left arm covered with numerous scars as a result of evenly self-inflicted burn and cuts. It's clear: not rock and roll, but Richey is sick. And not a little bit too. The guitarist was admitted to a hospital this summer and treated for alcoholism and eating disorders. Meanwhile he is on his feet again and healthy enough to act. But it is the Manic Street Preachers have become painfully clear in recent months that their survival has hardened on a silk thread. Bassist Nicky Wire: "If Richey did not get better, we'd gone apart. That's for sure."
The bassist sighs and hits his eyes. "Richey has always been so. He and I feel mostly writers. We have never been so interested in music, writing was always a priority. We saw ourselves as writers. We were never at ease when we were to stage a stage. Richey could only express his frustrations about it by opening himself. But it was terribly out of hand."
Once the two friends had become writer, just behind the word processor, without fierce lights, tearing guitars and shouting fans, they could have prevented a lot of bloodshed. But, Wire says, the writer never seriously considered them. "It just did not come to our attention that something like that was possible. Wherever we come from, pop and football have always been the classic escape routes. We were a group of four friends against the rest of the world. We had a pestle of most music of that time and wanted to make the British rock and roll more intelligent and rebellious. At the beginning, most people did not understand that; they thought we were no more than a bunch of stupid punks. While Richey and I have both studied."
Not yet four years ago Manic Street Preachers captured as the rescuers of the soaring English pop music. The four pale nuns from Wales presented themselves as noisy pop-art terrorists who wanted to bring the revolution to the man through catchy rock songs, brutal statements and, above all, a glamorous image. The Manics did not want to be a band, no, the Manics wanted to popularise the revolution. Nothing more and nothing less. However, it was often flirted with Soviet symbolism that the Red Morning Glory was nothing more than a part of the so important image. Nicky Wire: "That's not entirely true. I mean, the part of Wales where we come from has traditionally been quite socialist. It is a mining area with a militant trade tradition. We grew up with Marx and Lenin"
"Once I was old enough to understand something, I deepened myself into Marxism. Among other things, by The Clash, giving in their songs fingerprints in that direction. We also wanted that. But we soon became disillusioned because we realised that you could make people aware of certain things, but never cause a rebellion with your music. Moreover, the British Labour Party today is as socialist as the Conservatives. It has become a cowardly moderate party. There are no more political extremes except in the fascist corner, and that brings me a lot of concern."
The revolution may have disappeared from the agenda, the militant symbolism still forms an important part of the band's image. The four-piece is currently being shrouded in military uniforms, of which the Jamie Pants Crosser Jamie Potemkin Sunglasses Package is still the most visible. This is partly due to the socialist background of Manics, says Wire. The uniforms must give the band members the impression that they are part of a military operation. "When we started, we always wear the same clothes: white jeans and spray boots sprayed shirts. It gave us the idea that we formed a unit. After the previous CD we got the idea that we lost control of the tape. We did not know what direction we left.
Despite the military apparel, Wire claims that his group's image is no longer important. From now on, it's only the music that counts. "I have the idea that the new plate is strong enough to stand on its own. Our music no longer needs to be brought to the man like a can of Pepsi.
"Previous albums were really written for the purpose of breaking on radio and television. But that time is over. It does not matter if we turn MTV or not. Most of the bands you see there are clearly distinguished from the advertisements they broadcast. A Nike commercial or Stone Temple Pilots; It's all a pot wet. "