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Looking For A Way Out - Trouw, 14th September 1998

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Title: Looking For A Way Out
Publication: Trouw
Date: Monday 14th September 1998
Writer: Hans Nauta & Peter Sierksma

Since their previous CD 'Everything Must Go' belong the Manic Street Preachers to all the big names from the pop world. Bassist Nicky Wire writes most of the lyrics and is called a "big poet" by singer James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore. From today the new CD is in stores and so the poet came to the Netherlands for a conversation, but he would rather stay at home, in Blackwood, Wales.

"To read and do the household. I'm so ordinary that people find me eccentric."

"My father worked in the mines, in fact everyone in Blackwood, but after the strikes he became a construction worker. In the ten years after the 1984 coal mines, the community was broken, not only Blackwood but the whole country. Wales is largely working hard and no drink on sunday, it's a clean country. If you get back to the mines after fifteen hours, you can not go anywhere else. "

"In '84 I was fifteen. In the weekend, I went to Cardiff with James. We played the guitar on the street so we could buy burgers or LP's. There was no pop scene."

In 1986, a great deal of attention was paid to the punk, initiated ten years earlier by the Sex Pistols, in Great Britain. "We learned to know The Clash, but it was not good for us, but they were the best band in the world. In our bedrooms we thought," That's what we want to be. "For us the Sex Pistols and The Clash were the only two bands that made fantastic albums and were politically aware too."

From the beginning, the combination of music and politics played with the Manic Street Preachers play an important role. "We started as a neo punk band." The band members fiercely opposed the ruling culture of McDonald's and Madonna. "We were nihilists. If you are young, think of the world. Now I doubt that. I've become more reasonable. " But there were many reasons to be angry. "So much anger and hate, working class hate. We had nothing, Blackwood was a community in crisis."

One of the first tracks, 'Motorcycle Emptiness', originated from the film 'Rumblefish' by Francis Ford Coppola. "Boys tried to escape the void of engines, but the road did not go anywhere. We watched the movie again and wanted a soundtrack for writing." The situation in Rumblefish showed a strong resemblance to the Blackwood of the 1980s. It was the soundtrack with a viewless reality. That emptiness is a major theme in the work of the Manic Street Preachers. The search for a way out seems to be a rudimentary religious motive. "We are indeed seeking. But is that thinking religion? Everyone has his own god. I do not know that yet."

Some fans experience the Manic Street Preachers in an almost religious way. That feeling was called when one of the band members disappeared smoothly. Richey Edwards was the guitarist and writer of the Manic Street Preachers. He got psychological problems, drank a lot and mutilated himself. At the beginning of 1995 he disappeared. "There are indeed fans in Britain who see Richey as their god and compare their way of life with that of Jesus."

Although it takes a lot of trouble to talk about Richey, Nicky goes on, quiet and thoughtful. "I could understand that he wanted to go away, but this is almost worse than being dead. There is no grave, there are no flowers. Every time the phone goes home, I think," that's "m. Today, we talk less about Richey. It works paralyzing."

The album 'Everything must go' contains some of Richey's lyrics. "He left behind forty but it did not feel good to use them again. Maybe we'll ever publish his work in a book."

The new album is called 'This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours', a title that is testimony to some relativism: no longer is your own opinion evident. There are several truths for Nicky Wire.

Nevertheless, he remains critical of society. "Relativism and criticism can come together well when you realize that you are part of society, so I criticize myself. I'm as lazy as anyone. My ideals of the past are not that strong anymore." On the new album Nicky Wire wrote about the gap that grows between our lifes. "There is a social hole. Young people lack a certain responsibility today. Many of the Blackwood mining regions joined the International Brigade in the 1930s to fight in Spain against fascism. That would make few now. That also counts for me."

Nicky's image and his origin also formed a gap. He grew up with names like Lenin and Marx, but now belongs to the elite. "Wales has always voted Labor, a Communist Party was not there. In financial terms, I made a jump to the high class, but my lifestyle has remained the same. I bought books and records, and I still do. I can not drive a car I prefer to hang around, read and write at home. People call me eccentric and strange because I do not behave like a pop star. I still live in Blackwood, down the valley. "

The ideals are less powerful, the absolute truth no longer exists. "Capitalism governs us all. Accept that and make the best of it. Fight for your own identity and self-esteem." This pragmatism of Wire is consistent with his political ideas. "I am a member of Labor. The conservatives were completely wiped out at the last elections in Great Britain. Tony Blair has already done a lot for Wales in a short while. We now have our own parliament, the assembly. We are not separate. But some places in Wales are so far that people from London have no idea."

Blackwood has recovered in the last few years. "Wales gets more self-esteem. It's better than when we were young." After his musical career, Nicky wants to take part in the parliament of Wales. "I studied politics at the University of Swansea. I would like to put a stamp on the world from politics. Many people call me depressed, but I always see a ray of light. Most people know sad moments and loneliness. Being constantly cheerful, that's not the real world, do you think? "