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Manic Attack - Melody Maker, 26th September 1998

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MANIC STREET PREACHERS shot straight into Number One in the album chart this week as Manicmania swept Britain.

The Manics popularity was underlined at an exclusive signing Melody Maker-sponsored Radio 1 performance alongside the likes of Robbie Williams and Ash.

Cardiff's Virgin Megastore opened its doors to an unprecedented 3,500 fans at midnight on September 13 to herald the release of the Manics fifth album, "This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours".

Manics fans queued for up to 13 hours for a glimpse of their heroes, with 90 security guards being drafted into the store to cope with the thousands of hysterical fans.

The signing session, which gave fans a chance to chat to James, Nicky and Sean, lasted until 3:30am.

The following morning saw the first appearance of the Manics' specially constructed "Truth Box" which toured the country for a week enabling fans to record their own truths, the best of which will be aired on MTV. The person with the "best truth" wins a trip to Barcelona to meet the Manics.

Speaking to The Maker in Cardiff, drummer Sean Moore said: "The show went pretty well, we seemed to have a few technical problems but all-in-all we really enjoyed it and the crowd reaction was great. We just wished that we'd been able to play a few more songs."

Asked what the band's individual truths were, Nicky Wire told The Maker: "We've already recorded our truths in London. No, we're not telling anyone what they are! Everyone is just going to have watch the programme. I think its going to be pretty interesting to see what people reveal to the camera..." Lisa Goold, assistant manager of Cardiff's Virgin store, told The Maker:'The reaction to the band was amazing, everyone who came along was well up for it and the band were really good. They stayed and spoke to all the fans, no one was turned away or left disappointed. One fan that I spoke to had started queuing at 10:30 on the Sunday morning, over 13 hours before the doors opened. He seemed happy enough, though!"

Gifts given to the Manics included jewellery, books and a mini wind-up Hoover for Nicky Wire!

Fifty competition winners got the chance to meet the band before the session.

Sara from Gwen, a competition winner, said, "The shop opened up at midnight especially for the single and we won the competition they held. We know the band anyway, because we've seen them a hundred times. . . Nicky thought it was a fix! I heard six new tracks on the radio, I think the album is going to do very well commercially, but I'm not sure about it. I think the lyrics are fantastic. . . maybe it'll grow on me. I guess I'm an old Manics fan."

Stephanie and Laura from the Manics' home-town of Blackwood, both overcome with tears after meeting the band, told The Maker: "Our school motto is 'Endeavour' and they actually remembered it and told us to endeavour as well! They were talking to us and all we could do was stand and giggle, it was so embarrassing!"

Jamie, Kath, Stephen and Michael from South Wales ended up talking about football with the band.

"At the gig they re-named 'Everything Must Go"Bobby Gould [much derided Welsh manager] Must Go', which we thought was pretty cool."

Many fans brought an assortment of items along to be signed, including a copy of their debut self-released single "Suicide Alley". Wesley from South Wales brought along a guitar to be signed: "I think I might have to frame it now or at least hang it on the wall! James is my hero!"

A broadcast date for the Manics fans' truths has yet to be announced.

Elsewhere around the country, record stores were reporting massive interest in the Manics album.

A spokesman for Virgin Megastore in Edinburgh said: "It's definitely the biggest-selling album we've had this year. On the first day of release we sold between 300-400 copies and by now we've probably sold nearly 1,000."

In Manchester, record store bosses were celebrating the release, declaring it a "shot in the arm".

A spokesman for the Manchester Virgin Megastore said: "We opened at midnight on the Sunday and sold loads of copies. We haven't had a decent big album for months. We also opened the shop early on Monday and they flew off the shelves. It's definitely the biggest album of the year."

The Manics have come under fire for their song "South Yorkshire Mass Murder", which criticises the police handling of the Hillsborough disaster.

View Image - 'Oh please James, just sign them. . .' Enlarge this image. 'Oh please James, just sign them. . .'

A spokesman for the South Yorkshire police force said officers had declined to listen to the song but added: Judging solely from the title of the song this would appear to be in bad taste and is likely to cause offence to many people."

A spokesman for the Hillsborough Support Group said: "We cant comment on this particular issue but the band in the past have been very decent and helpful to us and we are grateful."

Nicky Wire hit back at the criticisms of the track and told Radio 1 he wrote the song to highlight the plight of those killed at Hillsborough. He told Radio it was unfortunate that it takes "a disaster for the fans to be treated like humans".

Sidebar THE MANICS have reacted angrily to press reports that the album will not be released in America. A spokeswoman for the band said discussions are continuing with sereval labels, with Virgin America the most lidely to release "This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours".

Virgin America co-president, Ashley Newton, said: "I think the new Manics album is a masterpiece and we will be proud to release it on Virgin Records in America. We have been in discussion to this effect with the group and Sony UK for over a year."

Newton said the album would most likely be released when the band were available to tour the States, possibly 1999.