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Back To The Future - Norway Rock Magazine, February 2014

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Title: Back To The Future
Publication: Norway Rock Magazine
Date: February 2014
Writer: Terje Embla

As a second stop on a long-awaited major European tour, Manic Street Preachers visited Rockefeller for the first time since 2002. We chatted with Chief Preacher and Bassist Nicky Wire ahead of the audition.

Text and band photo: Terje Embla Live photos: Geir Amundsen

- Welcome back to Oslo. It is not so long since last, you played at the Norwegian Wood festival last summer. But then it was well over 10 years since you were last here. - Yes, then we probably also played here at Rockefeller, did we not? - Yes, that's right. The "Greatest Hits" tour in 2002. - Here we also played with Richey Edwards many years ago. It's special to play in a place you actually have a memory of having played with Richey. - Why has there been so little gaming outside the UK in the last decade? - Honestly, we got a little tired of touring life. Due to commitments at home, it became easier to only do festival jobs. We got paid well and did not have to be away from home more than one weekend at a time. But when we did a small European tour in connection with the "National Treasures" collection last year, we got a little back the old good feeling when we traveled around. And we saw with our own eyes that we had been missed. And this time we would finally also include Scandinavia, where we obviously still have a good audience. - Yes, the concert tonight is probably almost sold out, so you have probably been missed. Do you enjoy touring today then? - For my own part, it is hard work. The physical strain of touring life. I wake up every day with pain all over my body. But there are worse things to do. We thrive and we enjoy ourselves. Otherwise we would not have done it. As long as it still gives us the excitement, we will continue with it.

- Just a few months ago you released a slightly special album, "Rewind The Film", which was a pretty big departure from their more famous soundscape. Were you afraid of what the fans would think of it? - Yes, it lacks almost everything we have been responsible for musically. No electric guitars and no big choruses. "Rewind The Film" is very delicate and intimate. We always talk about doing something completely stripped down, and we are very proud of it. But I understand that it is not the highest among our biggest fans. - Maybe we can compare it a bit with Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska"? - Clearly. "Nebraska" was a great source of inspiration for the album, and we have always wanted to do something similar one day. And now came the opportunity. - Is there a style you want to continue with? - I do not know… I do not think so. We always want to be big and loud on stage, and then it does not fit with that style. It was probably just a one-time thing we had to get out of the system. - And now only a few months later comes the next album, «Futurology». Is there any connection between these discs? - They were recorded at the same time and in the same studio. We had so many songs. Enough for at least two full albums and more. The original plan was to release one album, but eventually we realized that the songs did not stick together well enough. Songs like "Europa Geht Durch Mich" and "4 Lonely Roads" just would not be on the same album. Then we decided to share them. "Rewind The Film" is reflective. We saw ourselves in the mirror as middle-aged men. It's a very honest and personal album. While "Futurology" is more optimistic and has more of what we try to convey to our audience. We try to describe the uplifting quality something can give you, whether it's a Ritchie Blackmore guitar riff, a Morrissey lyrics trophy, a Munch painting… it's an album full of inspiration.

- What inspires you today? - Less music for me. More art and paintings. I'm a big art collector. When it comes to music, I still like to listen to the classics… Purple, Zeppelin… but there is little modern music that takes me. - So you do not fully follow what is happening on the music front anymore? - Yes, I follow closely, and I still buy a lot of new music. But I can not quite get the same relationship to something new that I have to the music from my childhood. - Do you feel that new bands are missing something? - I do not hear the same desperation anymore. The all or nothing mentality. There is no one who has the massive drive anymore, like all our favorite bands had. They wanted to change the world, they were idealistic and romantic. I just do not hear it in music anymore. - At least you had a massive drive in the beginning. - Haha, that's right. We wanted to make the debut album of all time. Something went wrong, but at least we had the romantic idea of ​​wanting to do it. And we tried. And you really hear that on «Generation Terrorists». - Are you still relevant? - Well, it goes in periods. When we do concerts and see that we still sell out arenas wherever we go in the world, then we feel it. But we can not pretend to be where we were in the 90s with "Everything Must Go" and "This Is My Truth". We still need to be inspired, we can not just run around and play our hits and think we are relevant. - It's been 25 years since you released their first single, and you have kept it going ever since - unlike many other bands of your generation. What's the secret? - It is easy to split up and reunite. There's a lot of money in it. I've always said that if we split after "The Masses Against The Classes" and came back 10 years later, we would be much bigger today than we are. But I'm very glad we kept it going. We released some very interesting records during that time. The secret is probably just that we are still a little in love with the idea of ​​being in a rock band. It's still exciting for us to do this. - There must have been moments where you actually considered giving? - Yes of course. And the moments come more and more often… hehe. We were so incredibly dedicated the first ten years, when there was nothing but Manics for us. But age, obligations, children and family… there is a lot that makes it harder for us to run a rock band today. - You probably took a short break after "Know Your Enemy". - Yes, it was one of those moments where we did not know if there was a future for the band or not. When you have had the top position on both the album and single list, and played for 65,000 spectators in your home country… where do you go then? - No, there is probably only one way from there… - Exactly. Down! Haha. But we kept going, and a few years later came "Send Away The Tigers" and "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough", and again we sold thousands of records and again we got new listeners. The world opened up a little again for us, and we visited places we had never played before. We discovered that we had fans in Hong Kong and Croatia. We suddenly played for 25,000 people in Latvia! We never thought we would do that. - "Send Away The Tigers" is actually one of my favorite albums. - It was good to hear. We love that album. It opened up so much for us. We almost felt a little reborn.

- With such a long sailing time, what is it like to carve together the perfect set list today? - It is difficult. Simply impossible. There are always fans complaining and wanting to hear other songs. But we must also think of the slightly more casual listeners who only know the most famous songs. In Scandinavia in particular, the "This Is My Truth" album sold very well, so of course we have to make some songs from it. And we want that too, because we need the energy that the audience gives us back when we play the most popular songs. In addition, we try to satisfy the slightly harder core of fans by playing some more obscure songs. This time we do, for example, "Die In The Summertime" and "Archives Of Pain", they have been around for a long time. - Speaking of the two songs, "The Holy Bible" turns 20 years old these days. Do you have any plans to mark this in a way? - We are actually working on the case… we want to, but have not nailed anything yet. It feels really great to do that thing there again. But we cross our fingers that we can achieve something later this year.

Then Nicky is brought to the sound test, and we thank you for a nice chat. On the way to the stage, I overhear him telling vocalist James Dean Bradfield that I was a "Tigers fan." Apparently an album that saved the Manics after a difficult period.