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Live Webchat: Manic Street Preachers - Top Of The Pops, 9th February 2001

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The Manic Street Preachers are back with a new album called 'Know Your Enemy', two new singles and their first ever webchat.

Katy Owen: Hiya, I love your music and I'm a big fan. I would like to know what your new album 'Know Your Enemy's music style is going to be like? Are we expecting a rock and roll album or more of a pop album? James: I'd say most of the tracks are like 'Found That Soul', but they're quite varied. Basically, some of the tracks are kind of like soul. Then after that there's other stuff which is like disco.

Dave Hammond: Have you visited any of the many websites dedicated to you and which ones have you seen? Nicky: No James: I've visited one or two, but I'm such a luddite that I haven't had much experience in it. Nicky: We read the fanzines to be honest. They're more our era and we think more effort goes into them!

Liam Hogan: Lads. You've read about the much publicised argument between Jean -Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. Whose side would you have taken at the time? Nicky: I'm always on Camus' side! He was more handsome, and also a goalkeeper, so I think he's a much more worthy person than Sartre. James: I believe the things Camus said because his personal life was such a mess.

CJ: When did you start to learn guitar James? Nicky: When I taught him! James: When I was 15. It's true, Nick did teach me my first chord! After that, I left him standing.

Laura Prior: Nicky, I own a Dyson DC04 model and it's great, the only problem is that it's quite heavy it's difficult for stair vacuuming. Do you recommend the Dyson Stair Vacuum? Nicky: No, actually. I've got a huge stairway and you can reach the top with the elasticated end of the DC04 anyway.

Gareth Flynn: How do you feel about some of the "Know Your Enemy" tracks being leaked from Sony's website? Nicky: I guess it's just Sony's incompetence! We don't care at all, to be honest. It just shows that these multinational companies are very fallible. James: When we were young, we wanted to see the artwork, read the lyrics. We think that should be part of the whole experience.

Motown Junkie: Nicky, where was the leopardskin on TOTP? Have you given it up? Nicky: It's just worn out. I got bored wearing it.

CJ: Which new sports do you like Nicky? Nicky: I can't think of any new ones. I've been a WWF addict for the last two years. Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Jordan Allen: What's the deal with the Cuban things? James: Everybody assumes we're going to Cuba as a grand gesture, but one of us just said it would be great to do our first gig in Cuba. It's our sixth album, and we think we should be able to do what we want. People say it's so obvious, but why didn't we do it before? Why are people so surprised?

Colin Houlson: What do think of the media's obsession with Eminem? James: I think to a certain degree, he's like Shaun Ryder was ten years ago. Lyrically, they are similar. Both very adept to actually not letting themselves be censored by what they think is wrong or right. I'm not surprised so many people take him seriously.

Sam Kenyon: Will you be playing any of the older songs pre Holy Bible on tour this year? James: Yeah, we will, just like we've always done. But we'll be playing a lot of new songs too. Nicky: We've always played lots of old songs. But there'll probably more emphasis on new songs on this tour.

Yestin Rowse: Will Nicky be wearing any dresses now? Because it just won't suit him with short hair. Nicky: That's correct, dresses won't suit me with short hair, so I won't mate! Good point.

The Craw: Are you writing the score to Patrick Jones' 'Everything Must Go'? I hear you acquired the rights.. Nicky: Yeah, we did acquire the rights and we're trying to turn it into a film. We're in the first stage of a long process. But we'll end up quite heavily involved in the soundtrack.

David Brown: Are you with Patrick and his views on Nationalism or like those who sang the National Anthem at T In The Park - Proud and Loud? Nicky: My brother is a law unto himself and very provocative, even more than me, which is hard to believe. He manages to alienate every single person in the whole world!

Babyblue Allen: What sort of music are you listening too at the moment? What's the inspiration for the new album? James: I've been listening to J Mascis and the Fog album, Marilyn Manson, loads And the Outkast album. Nicky: The influences on the record are from our youth really. Why So Sad is influenced by the Beach Boys, for example.

Nostalgic Pusshead: Sean's role in composing the Manics' music has always been quite unclear. Could you tell what exactly his part is in the writing process, e.g. by giving examples? James: Often I will start the main melody off, then often we just need another section which is cleverer than the rest of the song. Sean had a big bearing on the middle part of Kevin Carter, for example. James: In You Love Us, I wrote the verse and Sean wrote the chorus.

Emma Davies: Do you have an opinion on the whole "popstars" idea? Nicky: It's compelling television. It's a sick idea I guess, but it's much more interesting than Big Brother. At least with the Popstars thing you see a lot more agony - it's much more voyeuristic I think. I felt gutted for the Geordie girl, but I liked the guy from Cardiff.

Rachel McDonald: What are you reading at the moment? James: I'm reading a collection of Japanese noh plays. Nicky: I'm just ploughing through my Christmas Books. One's called Correspondences by Ray Johnson. And Derek Jarman's Garden - half photos, half poetry and text.

Andrew Manwaring: Will you be playing Wattsville Blues where Nicky takes lead vocals? James: Yes, we'll be playing that live. It's going to be a bit of a freak show because Nick can't sing live and play bass at the same time on some tracks.

Gareth Flynn: Has Nicky considered writing an autobiography or band-biography when he finally retires from it all? Nicky: No, usually when a member of the band writes it, all they talk about is themselves. So most band autobiographies are really tedious. Simon Price's book is really good - it was just voted in the top 50 rock biographies of all time. If I got a �100,000 advance, I probably would!

Matt: Richey's spirit will always be with the band, but do you write songs with him in mind.. trying to use his style..? Nicky: On this album, really, not at all. I've written songs about him in the past, but this album is pretty much purely the three of us. The spirit of Richey always there. But this is about our youth really. James: Spiritually, Richey never had anything to do with the music.

Joe Newman: What do you guys have against the "hypocritical" Beastie Boys? Just something I read in Q... Nicky: I don't know if we all do. I know I do! I just find them hypocritical. They never sing songs about the desperate state of America, the way America wipes out a race of its indigenous people. They just like to expose themselves to trendy causes. They should look at their own country before they berate countries like China. They should look at their own country, which isn't a democracy. And I don't like them musically anyway.

Vladimir Kuznetsov: You said once Yeltsin was a person of hate for you. Do you have any strong feelings towards his successor, Vladimir Putin? Nicky: I don't think we ever said that James: Unless Nicky had a mind rush when he said it!

Tasha Wyson: James, I hear you are a keen Bruce Springsteen fan. Is this true? If so when did you first get into him? James: I'm a massive fan of the early stuff, but I don't really like any stuff after 'The River'. For me he was always like an American Joe Strummer. I like the 'Born to Run' album - I don't know why, I just can't explain it

Shalom Cohen: Is it right that you took the inspiration of releasing 2 singles at once from the Guns 'n' Roses double album? James: The initial decision to put two out came from the fact that we didn't all agree on what the first single could be off the album.We felt that any one song we chose would be unrepresentative, so it had to be two singles, because it's a black and white album

Alex E: Have you ever been put off writing any songs that you might think could become banned or would get a bad press? Nicky: I've never censored myself particularly, no. James: There was a lyric called 'Anniversary To No One' which we were scared of writing because we felt bad things would happen, we were superstitious about it. Nicky: It's more down to superstition than censoring. There is a song called 'Snuff Movie For The Nation' that James lost. It's a song about how we like violence on wildlife programmes.