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Another Triumph For The Manics - The Scotsman, 30th November 2007

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Title: Another Triumph For The Manics
Publication: The Scotsman
Date: Friday 30th November 2007

One year they are hot. The next year they are not. Then, usually right after they've been written off as past their sell-by date for the umpteenth time, Manic Street Preachers rise phoenix-like to become more popular than ever.

Since bursting on the scene with debut single Suicide Alley in 1989, the band have had more ups and downs than a yo-yo. And yet they survived to become Wales' biggest pop export since Tom Jones.

Having enjoyed three hit albums early in their career, the then four-piece appeared to have been dealt a fatal blow when guitarist/ figurehead Richey Edwards walked out of the Embassy Hotel in London on the eve of a major tour in 1995, never to be seen again.

At that point, it looked as if they were going to call it a day.

Not so, though. The band came storming back as a three-piece the next year with career-defining fourth album Everything Must Go, which contained their biggest chart success to date, the anthemic A Design For Life.

What really happened to Edwards is anyone's guess. Some reckon he took his own life, while the more ardent fans prefer the notion that he'd simply pulled a disappearing act, having had enough of the pressures of fame.

Whatever, in what was one of the most talked about events in rock history, his disappearance gave the band the exposure they needed to make the leap into the big league.

They rode the crest of this wave with another three massive-selling albums, though in true Manics style hit another low with 2004's Lifeblood, a decidedly formulaic album that was panned by critics and left even the most hardcore of fans disillusioned.

But whenever the Manics get knocked down they get back up again. And so it proved when bandmembers James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore and Nicky Wire returned to their recording studio in Wales only to reemerge earlier this year with Send Away The Tigers - an award-winning, mega-selling album that kick-started yet another resurgence for the band.

As they prepare come to the Corn Exchange on Monday, Bradfield acknowledges that 2007 has been a triumphant year for the Welshmen.

"It has, really," beams the singer, who goes on to recall the Manics' first ever Edinburgh visit, back in 1986, when these then unknowns played to just a few dozen curious punters. "We played there early in our careers and I remember because it one of the first times I'd been on an aircraft and when we touched down there were only 25 to 30 people waiting to greet us.

"I don't recall much about the actual gig or even the venue, expect that hardly anyone came to see us play that night.

"But we've had slightly better turn-outs whenever we've played the city since then," he jokes.

On their last visit here two years ago, the Manics held a sell-out crowd at the Corn Exchange enthralled as they raced through an impressive back catalogue that included such classics as Motorcycle Emptiness, Masses Against The Classes and Motown Junk.

And, as they prepare to return to the same venue again on Monday, Bradfield insists the band's enthusiasm for the live arena is undiminished, despite them enjoying a career that's already spanned three decades.

"I never tire of touring," says the singer. "More so now than ever, I feel as if it's a physical part of my life that I can't let go.

"It's great when we play an old song, say something from The Holy Bible, and its lyrics still have the ability to shock me. I realise how I was perhaps blase about the words when I was given them by Richey a very long time ago.

"But then it's also great to play a song like You Love Us, which shows the other side to our music. "And sometimes," adds Bradfield, his voice trailing off, "it's just great to be part of a big dumb rock band."