James Dean Bradfield has been talking about the creative links between Manic Street Preachers and Patrick Jones, brother of Nicky Wire.
Bradfield was talking at the second performance of Jones' play, "Everything Must Go", which is being presented in association with the Manics at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff until March 13.
The play, described as "a revenge tragedy for the Nineties", centres on the "lost generation" of South Wales, with a liberal use of Manics' lyrics in its dialogue and a soundtrack featuring the Manics and fellow Welsh bands Catatonia, Stereophonics and Super Furry Animals.
"I was really excited," James told The Maker after the show. "It felt like it upped the stakes a tiny bit." Asked if Nicky Wire felt the same, he answered: "Nick's got a different take on it, cos it's his brother. He's not proud, as such, it's just a re-establishment of a kind of creative urge - kinship, I think. Cos we all started off together, and Pat was like an overseeing father figure at the start. And it's good to see him pull up beside us and take over us, kind of thing. It's nice. It's really nice to feel like we're all on the same playing field."
Reminded that he had cited Patrick as one of his favourite authors, James agreed: '"Yeah, he was! The irony was that Pat used to bring back loads of books when he came back from America. He got me into a lot of stuff when I was 15. And it was good to get loads of books, but then it was good to read his stuff and realise that a lot of it had much more reference to our history. You kind of felt as if he spoke the same language. I fell in love with American authors and American poetry, and it was good for him to come back and re-establish himself as, like, something that was indigenous to where he came from."
Asked if James thought you could say more in a play than in a song, he replied: "It's just a different set of rules. For a start, in a record, we could never use any humour, could we? Well, a lot of people probably think a lot of our records do! But our records were never meant to be humorous."
"Pat's working in a more complete arena. He doesn't feel as if he could be censored in any way. Whereas, if you're working in a rock band...I'm not on about censorship as in someone being above you, some kind of corporate scheme, I just mean that when you're in a band, you can't say certain things without turning into 'Rock Follies' or something. And it's good to see that he's got a whole voice. There's no amputation."
Bradfield contributed some guitar parts to a forthcoming, spoken-word album of Patrick's poetry, along with other friends like Catatonia guitarist Mark Roberts and Super Furry Animals' electronics master Cian Ciaran.
"For me, it's nothing strange, you know?" explained James. "Its like, we got together cos we were all friends. We all shared so many facets of our personalities and in our histories. And it was just good to not work with an outsider again, so good to keep that incestuous thing going. I don't mean incestuous in terms of nepotism. I mean like we all know what we're saying to each other."
A family kind of thing?
"I don't wanna get too Italian here! It's just good to work with a friend again, just because you want to work with him and, like, his words inspired you..."
"I was fully prepared for him to turn it down. I always go out for a drink with him when I come back home and, if he'd turned it down, it wouldn't have been a big deal. This is his time, and I think what the play proves is people might talk about some of our songs being in the play, but, in a roundabout way, it just proves how much he inspired us, rather than the other way around."
Nicky Wire left the theatre promptly with his mum, but expressed his thoughts in an article in the programme.
He wrote: "We, as a band from Wales, support any cultural enterprise that gives people the chance to express their ideas and to attack established forms of behaviour and life. We feel it imperative for people, especially young people, to have an outlet for their pain, anger and souls. We all must have a chance to bear witness to our reality and to allow others that chance to paint it, act it, feel it, sing it, be it. When we wrote, 'Libraries gave us power', we meant any form of knowledge and expression that develops us as humans. We fully support the Sherman and all it stands for."
Nicky also spoke to Radio 1 about Patrick's album, "Commemoration & Amnesia", due for release by Big Noise in May: "It sounds fantastic." Wire added: "Obviously, it's an advantage having me as his brother, but other times it's a disadvantage, and I just tell him to get lost all the time."
In another conversation with Radio 1 , Nicky talked of plans for a new Manics single in the summer, a best-of album, some remixes and another new album next year.
The band's spokeswoman confirmed they would probably release a fourth single from the LP this year and agreed that a best-af album was planned, although not for immediate release. She doubted they'd find much time for recording this year because of their international touring schedule.