Manic Street Preachers' first American tour in 10 years begins Sept. 21 in Seattle, the very city where the Welsh rock band started its last tour in 1999. Singer/guitarist James Dean Bradfield is hoping that this show, which follows the US release of the band's ninth album 'Journal for Plague Lovers,' goes better than the one a decade ago. "It was fucking awful," Bradfield tells Spinner.
The travesty was due to the band's gear being held up at Sea-Tac Airport. "The equipment arrived 30 minutes before the gig and everything was out of tune. Also, I think Peter Buck might have been there," he adds of the R.E.M. guitarist and Seattle resident. "Somebody said he was there and I remember feeling intense pressure because 'Murmur' and 'Reckoning' are two of my favorite albums. I hate it when someone says, guess who's in the audience - Peter Buck. Oh great, good, thanks for the pressure. Thanks a lot," he half-jokes.
Of course, that Seattle incident was nothing compared to real tragedy when the band was preparing to tour its third album, 'The Holy Bible,' in 1994. Guitarist Richey Edwards went missing shortly before their departure and was never seen again. 'Journal For Plague Lovers' brings Edwards back to the fold, using the lyrics he left behind in some notebooks.
Spinner can report that the 1999 Seattle show turned out well – 'cause we were there – and despite the odd technical twiddling, the band sounded fantastic with Bradfield singing his heart out. Did the fact that there was a huge hiccup make him try harder? "No," he says, "that was just a guy with a Napoleon complex up there."