Following last year's Best Of album Forever Delayed, next week sees Manic Street Preachers release their B-sides LP Lipstick Traces: A Secret History.
Named after a Greil Marcus book on US history, it also includes new song Forever Delayed and Judge Y'rself - the last song, not heard until now, that they recorded with Richey Edwards.
In the second of our two-part interview Nicky Wire talks about those last days with Richey and Forever Delayed's delay...
PS: As with the Best Of, the choice of B-sides has had some criticism...
NW: Ah, but the fans can only blame each other for the tracklisting. We knew that, whatever we picked, people would go 'How dare they leave off...?' So we let the fans vote via the website what should go on. There's 20 songs, including two new ones, and we've put the fan's top 15 choices on. I'm sad there isn't room to put Patrick Bateman on, as James guitar is fantastic, but it goes on for seven minutes.
PS: Has having to fill two CD singles with B-sides ever caused the band a problem?
NW: Looking back, Prologue To History should have gone on This Is My Truth, not been a B-side. It's a different, dancier sound and one that suited us. It would have given This Is My Truth a little more variety. But, at the time, we were worried that we didn't have enough songs to fill out the B-sides of that album's singles. A bit silly, I know. I love Prologue, hence it's the first song on Lipstick.
PS: Why has Judge Yourself, the last song made with Richey, only surfaced now?
NW: We made it for the Judge Dredd film, as me and Richey were huge fans of 2000AD. Richey had a cartoon printed in the comic when he was 12, which I've got at home. When we said we'd do a song for the film, I was drawn in a Dredd strip, which was - and is - a highlight. It felt appropriate to use the song now. We hadn't finished mixing it when Richey went missing but Dave Eringa's mix is, I hope, how it'd have ended up.
PS: Is it hard listening to Judge Yourself?
NW: Quite the reverse. It's been well documented that the final two weeks we recorded with Richey for that song were one of the happiest times the band had, there was no sign of anything wrong. Hearing that song, it brings back good memories of those sessions. When Richey went missing, it was never even discussed that the song would be used for Judge Dredd, it would have been so wildly inappropriate. But it's celebratory, so I'm glad it's out now.
PS: Do you still think of Richey every day?
NW: Yes, as I'm sure his family and anyone else close to him does.
PS: Are any of the covers on the new bonus covers CD of special importance?
NW: Not as such. If you look at the people we've covered on our B-sides - Guns N' Roses to Burt Bacharach - you can pretty much join the dots and see what makes us sound the way we do. When we came to London, we were almost run out of town for liking GN'R. It makes me laugh that everyone loves them now.
PS: Having covered Take The Skinheads Bowling, what do you think about its use as the Bowling For Columbine theme?
NW: I think Michael Moore's fantastic in every respect, as is that documentary - I wouldn't call it a film in the proper sense. But he's gone with the Teenage Fanclub cover. I love Fanclub but that version isn't their finest moment.
PS: Any plans for your Move show?
NW: I've just found out we've got to play for 90 minutes, not 75. Ah well, we'll wheel a few more hits out, I suppose.
PS: Forever Delayed is on Lipstick Traces, but wasn't it meant to be a single?
NW: We had such a great time doing the hits tour last Christmas that we wanted to keep the momentum going. 'Yeah, let's do a new single, come on then!' Then, as is typical of us, by the time the tour finally ended we collapsed over the finishing line in a heap. We could have roused ourselves but Sony had a few doubts about doing the single in January. So we went 'pffft' and pretended we'd never said anything.
PS: You captained Wales schoolboys, do you still ever play football?
NW: I did captain them but then I got a knee injury and discovered The Smiths and I've never really played since. The celebrity football circuit looks awful. For one thing, what would I wear? I'm 34, I like to have some dignity. Maybe if there were leopard-print shorts I'd be tempted. I've still got the legs.
PS: As a Spurs fan, any hopes for 2003-4?
NW: Oh, don't let's end the interview on a low note, please.