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Degenerating Terrorists? - NME, 2nd January 1993

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Title: Degenerating Terrorists?
Publication: NME
Date: Saturday 19th December 1992
Writer: John Harris
Photos: Pennie Smith


Manic Street Preachers, who sweere slammed by Sugar frontman Bob Mould last week in the wake of recent comments made by bassist Nicky Wire, are at loggerheads with their record company over a new song put forward for release as a single.

'Patrick Bateman', which contains the line "I fucked God up the ass" has been mooted as an A-side, but Columbia are allegedly unhappy with the track, inspired by Bret Easton Ellis' novel American Psycho.

Although it would almost certainly be banned on radio, the Manics are apparently adament it should be released as their next 45.

The band were condemned by Bob Mould after Nicky Wire told a 2,500 strong crowd at London's Kilburn National Ballroom that he hoped "Michael Stipe goes the same was as Freddie Mercury pretty soon". Stipe, who has remained enigmatically silent throughout 1992, has been the subject of repeated rumours about his health, although spokespeople for the band and guitarist Pete Buck have strenuously denied all rumours that Stipw is HIV positive.

Speaking exclusively to NME, Mould said "How big a dickhead does someone have to be to say something that stupid? Are they that desperate for attention? I feel very sorry for them for their naivety, and I feel sorry for their fans for tolerating them. I don't particuarly like REM's music any more either, but to wish a predicament like that on anyone is very selfish and very useless."

"Freddie Mercury was not canonised for his music. Freddie Mercury was canonised because he personalised the issue of AIDS to every person in Britain, because he was already a prince. Something the Manic Street Preachers will not achieve in their wildest dreams. They will be long, long gone very shortly...mark my words."

A spokesman for the Terrence Higgins Trust also spoke out at Wire's comment: "It's a very nasty thing to wish on anybody," said the Trust's Jimmy Glass. "It shows a real lack of health education on his part. It's a very unpleasant thing to say."

Insiders claimed that Wire likely to be sacked from the band, but the band have denied the rumours, defending him from wisespread criticism.

Richey Edwards, elected as the band's spokesman, seemed genuinely surprised by the controversy the comment had aroused. It was intended, he explained, to highlight the "reverence held up to rock stars" and the alleged emptiness of "liberal arguments" about AIDS. And, he said, it was no more shocking than many statements made by the Manics in the past.

"In the light of things we've said before, I really don't think it's that remarkable." he explained. "One of our first statements was 'I laughed when Lennon got Shot'. And I told the NME that I hated Slowdive more than Adolf Hitler. That's a much more offensive thing to say."

"If Nicky had said 'We hope Prince Edwards dies a horrible death', a lot of people would have thought well done, right on, it's the Manics having a political conscience yet again."

Richey was dismissive of those who took offence because of Nicky's broaching of the subject of AIDS.

"AIDS is just a fashionable disease. What about cancer? Everyone I met after the show seems to think that Denis Leary is a comic genius, and his whole act is based on lung cancer. Does he cause offence every time he appears on MTV? Why is one disease laughable and another completely taboo?"

Those shocked by Nicky's apparently callous attitude to the death of Freddie Mercury also recieved short shrift.

"If you have unprotected sex, get a disease and die, then big deal. Everyone makes a choice. I don't feel sorry when someone sticks a needle in their arm and dies of a heroin overdose; I don't care if someone dies of a heart attack after a lifetime of eating beefburgers. So why go over the top over someone like Freddie Mercury? It was his choice."

Such sentiments were roundly ridiculed by Jimmy Glass. "I wish life was that simple," he said. "Whether people deserve sympathy or not is irellevant. What really matters is continuing education about AIDS and how to prevent it."