Appearing at the Hay Festival this week was the man who sang The Intense Humming of Evil, Methadone Pretty and Of Walking Abortion.
But James Dean Bradfield, from the Manic Street Preachers, told those gathered that he had lost some of his fearlessness from the time when he first appeared on Top of the Pops some 20 years ago.
“We did not used to care what we said and would have to duck from punches thrown by other bands who we had slated in the press,” he said.
“I’m definitely more positive now and keep some of the things I think private.”
Despite this, Bradfield still managed to cause a few gasps when he admitted he liked a song by Sting.
Talking about how films and literature can give songs new meaning, he said he now enjoyed Sting’s The Shape of my Heart because of the film, Leon.
To much amusement, he said: “I thought to myself: “What is going on?”
Bradfield was in Hay with his friend John Niven.
Both spoke about how their upbringing had influenced their careers - and Bradfield is clearly fond of his Welsh roots.
He said: “When we started the Manics we just wanted to get out of the valleys.
“All the things that were supposed to make you proud of being Welsh were being destroyed in some apocalyptic disaster.
“But when I went to London there was a time when I seemed to come back home every weekend.”
The band he led fought the Britpop groups in the charts as the biggest of the Cool Cymru brigade.
Bradfield said the Welsh phenomenon had been dismissed by some critics. But it was a time he remembered fondly.
“We would go around Scandinavia and meet people whose favourite band was the Stereophonics or Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci,” he added.
“And I thought it was amazing that people in Cuba would ask me if I knew Gruff from the Super Furry Animals - it just made me really proud.”