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Interview: Nicky Wire - whatsonhighlands, 5th August 2015

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The Manics man shares his words of wisdom ahead of the band's performance at Bella

Highlight of this year’s Belladrum is sure to be Manic Street Preachers, a band who may have been going for almost thirty years, but still know how to invest live performances with more swagger and verve than just about anyone else around. We asked the group’s Nicky Wire to share his thoughts.

We’re looking forward to playing Belladrum. We played Rock Ness a few years ago, but apart from that we’ve only ever come as far North as Aberdeen, so it’s about time we came up to you. And I’ve heard lots of good things about Tartan Heart.

What’s the point of Manic Street Preachers these days? Probably doing what we do because no one has come along to replace us. We’ve inspired people to do PhDs and go into education, but it seems not to form bands!

I Remember when I was young there were people like Lydon, Strummer (below), Ian MacCulloch who’d inspire you and give you the feeling that you wanted to be in the band. You just don’t get that now. The last time I saw that was with The Libertines and I don’t know if they’ve even got that anymore, though I did hear their new track and liked it.

There’s never been a greater divide generationally. It’s the pacifying aspect of the digital age.

Everything has become a fake celebration, like an ad for Nokia. And for the first time in my life I’m starting to think that it’s too late to change it.

Should young musicians be ashamed of themselves at letting people like Ed Sheeran become famous? A couple of years ago I would have said yes, but having a young child now maybe I’m not quite so dismissive.

I think we’d have struggled in today’s social media world. No one wants to do anything; they just want to shout on Twitter.

You can get intoxicated by adulation. Sometimes you still need to be hated a bit.

There are more possibilities in your world as you get older. It was good to do the Holy Bible shows, especially the one at Cardiff Castle (full show above), but part of me misses that recklessness we had when we were young. It’s a bit more comfortable these days.

It’s difficult to negotiate your forties when you’re in a group, but I think we’ve rediscovered our inspiration. The last two albums we’ve made have been among our best. Futurology was definitely our most European. That said, I can’t imagine we’ll still be doing this in thirty years time.

Nothing inspires me as much as being in the band. I tried writing my autobiography, but realised I wasn’t good enough at it. Painting is a thrill, but it’s not as good as making music.

If we’d split up after our first single I’d probably be living at home with my mum now. Just pottering about. You have to embrace the idea of boredom, something the new generation doesn’t understand.

People have got really short attention spans these days. It’s like with cricket. Way back you’d get the Endless Test where it’d go on until it was finished. Now it’s 20/20 with everyone just bashing it.

If Wales qualify for the Euros next year, I’m sure we’ll be going out to France to see them. James has been to all their games so far. We’d love to write a song for them. We’ve got loads of ideas already. They deserve a decent song.