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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes - Uncut, November 2010

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ARTICLES:2010



Title: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes
Publication: Uncut
Date: November 2010
Writer: Nick Hasted
Photos: Joe Dilworth, Kevin Cummins, Pennie Smith, Roger Sargent, Tom Sheehan, Pat Pope



Uncut1010 (1).jpg Uncut1010 (2).jpg



James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore and Nicky Wire slash and burn through the Manics' extraordinary history...


1. BLACKWOOD, 1988

NICKY WIRE: The "Suicide Alley" sleeve, in an alleyway in Blackwood. Richey took the picture. He wasn't quite in the band then. Obviously we were trying to mimic the first Clash album cover here. But we never felt balanced as a three-piece. There was always a missing link, which Richey would become.
SEAN MOORE: Hints of Who influence in the mod arrow - we were listening to "My Generation".
JAMES DEAN BRADFIELD: We wanted to be the most glamorous political band the world had seen. And we wanted out of Wales.


2. CAMDEN TOWN, LONDON, 1990

WIRE: This was for the Melody Maker. [MM journalist] Bob Stanley had become a bit of a champion. He invited us up to his flat, and we refused to sleep in there - we slept in the car instead! It was a mixture of shyness and weirdness. It's a nice soft shot, from when photography depended on light and shadows. We look very comfortable. It was always great having Richey as he was so photogenic. He looks angelic.
BRADFIELD: That's my worst hairdo - an attempt to recreate Lou Reed's blond period.


3. LONDON, 1991

WIRE: Our first NME cover shoot. Unfortunately, I did go out the night before with the explicit intention of getting a load of lovebites. Me and Richey both said we were going to do it - and he didn't pull! Richey used to carry a pencil case around with him. Looking in the mirror and carving with a compass, I don't think he realised he was doing it upside down, so it came out VIH instead of HIV.
MOORE: If Richey had carved it the right way, we'd probably never have got the cover.


4. BATTERSEA PARK,LONDON.1993

WIRE: I'm staggered at my revolutionary look. People were saying I looked more Dot Cotton than Audrey Hepburn. I bought that dress in Dorothy Perkins, and it actually smelled like old ladies. I got quite poorly at this stage, I had a liver problem and lost a lot of weight, so dresses were fitting me really well.
MOORE: Nick was wearing dresses long before Kurt Cobain. It stems from that Queen video, "I Want To Break Free".


5. LONDON, 1994

WIRE: I was particularly ill and Richey was a lot worse. I was about nine stone, a bag of bones. You've only got to look into Richey's eyes - we know we've done something brilliant, but damaging. We'd been to Thailand. I felt totally enveloped by darkness there that I couldn't shed and Richey seemed to be speaking in tongues. But the iconography of it is beautiful. Richey was just a brilliant fucking rock star.
BRADFIELD: Doing " Faster" on Top Of The Pops in a balaclava was meant to convey emotional bloodletting that turned into something physical - The Holy Bible. When complaints came connecting it to paramilitary activity, I did feel a bit sorry.


6. GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL, 1994

WIRE: It was the height of Britpop, everyone was walking around in fucking Fred Perrys. We turned up looking like aliens, That's Glastonbury; where I said "They should put a bypass through this shithole." We played like it was our last ever gig. There was enmity from the crowd. Pure hatred. It went past in a second.
MOORE: We hated the place, hated the audience, and hated ourselves.
BRADFIELD: I remember looking out and it seeming like a pit of hell. Richey unravelled a wee bit.


7. THE ASTORIA, LONDON, 1994

WIRE: The Astoria gigs were great - fraught, intractable. We were getting nosebleeds onstage. And Richey felt unreachable. That's the last shot of the last gig we did together.
MOORE: Richey had got to one of his lowest points. We didn't feel like it any more. It was a void - a black hole.
BRADFIELD: Those were great gigs. Those moments felt like we were chained together, indestructible, like the potency we'd always wanted had somehow been realised. Black holes can be thrilling.


8. CARDIFF BAY, 1996

WIRE: The NME said, "The men from C&A are back!" It's the non-image, from the extremities of some sense of perfect beauty. The New Order model entered our heads. the way they became anonymous, post-Ian. That didn't last long with me, I was itching to glamourise myself. It's shit as a trio. The balance was gone.
BRADFIELD: The most nondescript jacket any singer has ever worn!
MOORE: We saw ourselves as being blank. We were empty as people.


9. THE BRIT AWARDS, LONDON, 1997

WIRE: That is a happy picture. The first time we won the Brits felt like an unbelievable vindication. We were the perfect summation of all we'd hoped for, bad and good.
BRADFIELD: Someone asked me how the new single was. I said, "It's good." She said, "It better be, otherwise you're fucked." So when "A Design For Life" was a hit, it was one of the most powerful senses of relief I've ever had.
MOORE: I was embarrassed by it. It was perverse. I couldn't understand how we'd got from the Astoria to this.


10. MILLENNIUM STADIUM, CARDIFF, 2000

WIRE: Our Knebworth moment. We lost our way after this. If ever there was a time we could have split up, it was there. But we were too in love with being in a band.
BRADFIELD: Right opposite the Stadium used to be the Square Club where we played to Richey's sister, her boyfriend, and our manager. Now there was 60,000.


11. HAVANA, 2001

WIRE: I 'm not sure about my sideboards there. Fidel looks the best. If this had been The Holy Bible it would have been mega - because we'd all have been wearing the same uniform! We were recording Know Your Enemy in Spain, and sitting by the pool when I said, "What about Cuba for a launch gig?" I can't tell you how much money we lost. It was a gigantic fuck-up.
BRADFIELD: I look like Forrest Gump in the White House - a gurning idiot pasted in.


12. TWICKENHAM, 2007

WIRE: This is the rebirth. A lovely day, doing the video for "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough" with Nina [Persson]. After Lifeblood we were at our lowest ebb, commercially, artistically. To come back and have a great big hit single around the world, and to be together again feeling the same way, I was relieved. We thought we were just going to be a band that plays Guilfest.
MOORE: There's a strange symmetry there between Nick and Nina - they almost look like each other. I don't know if he'd like to be her in another life.


13. LONDON, 2010

WIRE: Michael Sheen and Anna Friel, in the video for our new single ["(It's Not War) Just The End Of Love"]. After The Holy Bible came Everything Must Go. After Journal For Plague Lovers, came Postcards From A Young Man. I'm an avid historian of the band. The new album is unashamedly nostalgic - we're not pretending it's dubstep. It's original to us, and we feel like we're the only band that can do that, as all our contemporaries are gone. It was inspired by postcards we used to send each other when we were 17. All that stuff you can see, it's never left us.