The barmy Manic Street Preachers know what you need to take on tour: guitars, drums and of course, those essential Game Gears.
The Manic Street Preachers love Sega. Smart arses may claim that all sorts of cultural symbolism and disposable trash aesthetics lie behind their fascination, but whore cares - as long ans they're into the best? Dave Roberts talks to the four boys from Wales about sex, drugs, and Sonic The Hedgehog.
Just Who Are These Guys
The Manic Street Preachers (guitarist, Richey; lead singer, James; drummer Sean; and bass-player, Nick) are very rock 'n' roll. Their latest album is called Generation Terrorists. They appeared on Top Of The Pops with no shirts on. They like to sing songs about what horrible and boring things banks are.
In fact, the Manic Street Preachers are very, very rock 'n' roll. If the bloated and banal Guns 'N' Roses are the most dangerous band in the world, the Manic Street Preachers are from another planet. (South Wales actually, which is close enough). Richey once even carved the legend "4 REAL" into his arm with a razor to prove to an NME journalist that the band were serious. It was stupid, dangerous and probably quite messy, but it was very, very very rock 'n' roll.
So why do these boys with the rock 'n' roll world at their little winklepickers have these Sega-loving tendencies? What's wrong with some of the more traditional rock 'n' roll pursuits - like parking cars in swimming pools, liberating TVs from hotel rooms - or dying? Why Sega for God's sake?
Sega Power visited the guys themselves to find out...
Move Over Rock 'N' Roll, Sonic's Here!
Then ghost of Clive Sinclair has been exorcised by new heroes. The technobore wars have been won and the Manic Street Preachers are among the most prominent standard bearers.
Magazines such as The Face and NME have all put forward the theory that console games are the new rock 'n' roll of the '90s. And they even reckon that Sonic The Hedgehog (and that Mario chap) are going to be the pop stars of the '90s too.
It's a load of tosh, of course, but it just shows how very differently the rest of the world views us game heads now we've gone all trendy on them.
Their Kind Of Music
The Manic Street Preachers ' lead singer James was reported to have once said: "Spider-Man on the Mega Drive means more to me than any pop record of the last ten years."
Musically, the two previous decades - the '60s and the '70s - seem to have had much more of an influence. All they've taken from recent times is a heavy helping of attitude from straight rap bands like Public Enemy and NWA, and well-known situationists like Sigue Sigue Sputnik and KLF.
Richey Just Lurves Sega
The main Segaphile in the band is guitarist Richey. Richey is a great pop star. Even if he couldn't play a note and the Manic Street Preachers had never got further than the dodgy club circuit, Richey would still have been great. He's got lips, the hair, the whole look.
He's only been into Sega since he got his Mega Drive and Game Gear last July and like any new passion it burns bright. It burns very bright indeed - as you can see!
Sega Power: Why did you go for Sega?
Richey: Because Nintendo sucks!
The Manics Favourite Games
Richey: For me it's got to be Sonic. James loves Spider-Man vs Kingpin. Sean (the drummer) loves Joe Montana Football and Nick (the bass-player) goes for PGA Tour Golf.
Sega Power: And what are you into at the moment?
Richey: Decap Attack!
Are Games Just A Fad?
Sega Power: Why do you think the national media have suddenly picked up on console games?
Richey: Because the middle classes always like they fashion accessories.
Sega Power: So will games prove to be just a fad?
Richey: For the media yes, but for ordinary people no.
(A brief moment passes, and we wonder whether Richey includes himself - or the rest of the band for that matter - in this "ordinary people" bracket...)
Rock 'N' Roll Versus Sega Games
Sega Power: Is rock 'n' roll in danger of disappearing?
Richey: Not for the next ten years, no, but afterwards, yes.
Sega Power: Is it because there's a lack of real heroes at the moment - so people are forced to turn to familiar digitised ones - like Sonic The Hedgehog, for instance, or Alex Kidd?
Richey: If you had the choice to either queue in the rain to see a band, get crushed at a concert and then beaten up on the train home, or stay in your bedroom with your favourite game, what would you do?
Music, Fashion - And Games
Sega Power: James has said before that: "Spider-Man is the perfect metaphor for my life - much more than any record from the past ten years." What do you think he meant by that?
Richey: Musically, the last few years have been a dead-end, style-fixated artificial wake. Most music records are just boring when you compare them to video games anyway.
Sega Power: But aren't pop stars always going to inspire and influence people - more than games anyway?
Richey: People over the age of 20 will still need music, sport or fashion, but anyone younger won't.
The Manics On Sega
Sega Power: Don't you think there is a marked tendency for console games to be a bit samey - whether they're by Nintendo or Sega?
Richey: I know what you mean, but I do think things are getting better.
Sega Power: Is there anything you'd like to see changed in Sega games generally?
Richey: More quality control. Compared to games like Sonic The Hedgehog and Fantasia there are still a lot of shoddy games being released - even now. I'd also like to see businessmen lose some weight because they often block the aisles in games shops...
Our chat with the Manic Street Preachers comes to an end. Okay, their responses make them ridiculously easy to mock - and many people have done just that. But one thing's for sure, they do seem to "mean it, maaan!"
And at least they're getting worked up about something their audience can relate to, rather than some novel they've never read or a dodgy '60s combo that they think they should be into.
Richey really does dig Sega. He can rattle on about games he loves for hours - and can play them for days. The Manic Street Preachers have been called many things - derivative, sensationalist, laughable, Welsh. Some or all of these could be true, but there is no doubt that they really love Sega - games, gear, the lot. And they are really rock 'n' roll too. Not a bad combination really...