The Art Of Falling Apart - Mojo, February 2002
On February 1, 1995, Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers seemingly vanished off the face of the earth. Six years on, Stuart Bailie looks at the extraordinary life and strange disappearance of rock's most famous missing person.
It is mid-April, 1994. The Manic Street Preachers have almost finished their third album and are in the midst of a photo session on London's Fulham Road. Richey Edwards, who has authored many of the new songs, passes some spare time by filling in a questionnaire for a regional magazine. The second answer concerns the issue of suicide, wanting to know if Richey has given it some thought lately. Apparently not. "Never have," Richey writes. "Self-mutilation is a very different issue to suicide. It is a controlled pain personal to you, allowing you to live/exist to some degree."
These are the questions that Richey has routinely answered for the past three years, ever since his habit of self-laceration became public. The interest has been quickened by the recent suicide of Kurt Cobain. Richey-watchers also understand that he is mourning the death of his co-manager Philip Hall. The Manics played a charity tribute for him in London in March, bringing Bernard Butler, late of Suede, on for a few songs at the Clapham Grand. What isn't generally known is the fact that a college friend, Nigel, has just taken his own life. Richey's mood is blackened further by the fact that his old dog, Snoopy, is going blind and is losing control of his back legs. Edwards is also depressed by the growing trend of historical revisionism. He even makes a point that Schindler's List is dangerous in its attempts to "humanise" the Holocaust.