The Preachers are back to convert more believers, writes Mikey Cahill
Welsh people are some of the warmest, weirdest humans you'll meet.
Manic Street Preachers' leading man and guitar-wielder James Dean Bradfield ticks both of these boxes. The band's Twitter feed reveals the night before this interview he "rewarded a very patient Oslo crowd". Do tell.
"Well, we hit the ground running, we thought it was gonna be a good gig, then my guitar broke down at the end of the first song in the middle of my biggest solo," he mutters, good-naturedly. "I had to sing my guitar solo like some f---ing karaoke idiot. We fixed my guitar up, it broke down again and then we got the crowd to sing the Norwegian National Anthem. Right at the end of the concert the guitar broke down again so I felt like I had to give it away to someone in the front row."
Not just any guitar, a White 1990 Gibson Les Paul Custom. A design for life. "Turns out he was an avid guitar player so I picked the right person," Bradfield adds.
Australian fans of the Manics might be at the right place, right time in the next fortnight as the intellectual rock trio complete their Send Away the Lions tour -two shows to coincide with the British and Irish Lions rubgy tour of Australia.
Despite current form, could the faulty fret be a bad omen for the UK's maulers? Let's hope so.
Bradfield deflects the question. "We've had our eyes on this Lions tour for the past two years or so and we're rugby obsessives. We thought if we could just combine the two ... " An interesting fact for rugby diehards: Cardiff Blues player Jamie Roberts is a mate of the band and not too shabby with the axe.
"I have had a chat with James Dean Bradfield and he suggested I get up on stage to play a bit of rhythm guitar in Australia, we could even play the song Australia, it was a hit Down Under,"Roberts stated two months back. Bradfield catches the pass and runs with it. "Jamie's a mate because he plays for my regional team. He came to our studio once when he was injured to lend one of our guitars and he banged out a wicked version of Angie by The Rolling Stones. I jokingly asked him to play on stage and he made that public!" Seeing as they're match-fit, perhaps James and charismatic bassist Nicky Wire could be an inside/outside centre pairing?
"It's pathetic, I still dream about scoring a try for Wales at least twice a month. I'm probably underselling that too, it's more than twice a month," Bradfield whispers.
On to more important stuff, what kind of set will the Manics choose from their 10-album discography?
"This is a rabble rousing set list. If there's such a thing as a Manics party then this is it. It's not us investigating ourselves because we are a bunch of idiosyncratic, post existentialist pricks, this is us in party mode."