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Manic Street Preachers Answer The Fans - BBC Wales, 21st November 2008

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We asked for your questions for Manic Street Preachers and we put them to Nicky Wire.

Last updated: 21 November 2008

Did you really support Bon Jovi in the early 90s, and if so, what were they like? - Gethin, Cardiff

Yeah, we did two gigs with them in Milton Keynes Bowl. And erm... there wasn't a lot of interaction to be honest! We were incredibly sh*t, we played a terrible set... it was 1992 I think. I remember Jon Bon Jovi coming on and thanking the bands: 'It's been a fantastic night and I'd like to thank everyone who's supported us, starting with the Maniacs!' That's how much they knew us.

The final verse of SYMM - "The ending for this song/Well I haven't really thought of one". Wasn't that a bit slapdash? - Laura, Swansea

I could never understand the reaction to that track. I think it's such a political, socially-active lyric and the idea is what conclusion can you come to when you're surveying so much tragedy?

That's the whole concept of the song; there's no-one who tried to touch those subjects like we did and it's that feeling of helplessness: do you believe in blame, do you believe in retribution? I'm not quite sure really...

You've got a lot of festival appearances planned this year. What's the best thing about being on the road? - Jeanette, Lostock Hall

We've learned to appreciate it a lot more than when we were younger. Time just gets so precious with work and having families and stuff so on tour we just learn to appreciate how special it is: the three of us on stage, giving it everything and getting so much energy off a crowd. It's our drug. I'm a very clean-living person but being up there is my drug.

Do you still look at that fourth space on the stage that you said was there a few years ago, where Richey would have been?

Yeah, that space has never been filled and never will be. It's always a weird sensation but obviously we have learned to cope without him being on stage. We've learned to fill those gaps in different ways. There's always a nod to the old boy.

You've revisited albums such as The Holy Bible and Everything Must Go. Are there any plans for the same regarding Generation Terrorists and Gold Against The Soul? - Aaron, Blackwood

Yes - I'm the kind of sad archivist who enjoys box sets. The two we've done have been a real success actually with the fans and just generally with reviews. They're very good value and I enjoy doing it.

Any chance of the Little Baby Nothing duet with Kylie Minogue? Are you still in touch with her?

Well, it'd be a beautiful thing. Nina Persson [of The Cardigans, who duets on first single Your Love Alone Is Not Enough] is going to do Glastonbury with us. We are wondering if she'd duet on that, she's coming all the way over. She'd be brilliant at it, but she wants to do Islands In The Stream by Dolly Parton. She's a huge Dolly Parton fan. So you might get to hear James doing Kenny Rogers' bit!

What are your favourite sporting moments and who would be your sporting heroes? - David, Graig

I've just got so many. I mean, Steve Ovett was one of my heroes, Joe Calzaghe, Gareth Thomas is a hero - he's a brilliant bloke as well as a brilliant rugby player, there are too many. Gareth Edwards' tries in the corner at the Arms Park covered in mud... Nigel Walker - amazing tries for Wales and Cardiff. He made the 110m hurdles Olympic final!


Will you ever consider playing small clubs and venues in the US? I live in New Orleans and would love to see you guys - Caz, New Orleans

We'd love to, but it's so expensive to do America. The days of record company support for tours which existed in those glorious early 90s have gone. It's a tricky one - at the moment we've got different fish to fry really. We've got plans to go, but it's pointless finalising things because we usually end up cancelling!

Where did you play your first gig before you were famous? - Amy, Auckland, NZ

It was about 1986 at the Railway Hotel in Crumlin. It ended in a riot because a couple of people dropped bottles by mistake and everything thought it had kicked off. It just turned into a disaster. We did Teenage Kicks, Ever Fallen In Love and Just Like Honey.

Did you decide to play Cardiff University on the back of James' solo gig there? I was there and the atmosphere was amazing - Marc, Cardiff

I think it's just about reconnecting. We've been in the trap of arenas and we've enjoyed that, but we've got so many good memories of Cardiff Uni from Generation Terrorists onwards. We did some amazing gigs there actually. It's a brilliant venue; the Great Hall is one of the great venues.

Is the Manic Street Preachers a meritocracy? I have my suspicions that Nicky always gets his way because he's the tallest - Dylan, Cardiff

No, I think we always get our way in different ways. We are a meritocracy but we know what our specific strengths and divisions of labour are. I do the lyrics and the artwork and maybe the overall look is directed from me but then I don't badger James about the music much.

I'm in charge of theories and concepts but I can tell sometimes they're not listening anyway! It's a healthy division of labour anyway. We took it from Public Enemy - me and Richey were the Ministers of Disinformation.

How does it feel to have a second guitarist on stage again? Does it take some of the pressure off James? And why no arenas on this tour? - Steve, Oldham

Taking pressure off James is the idea. He's for so long been playing almost three guitarists really! It's just cool having someone standing in shadows helping us out really. There's no official 'membership' that's for sure.

I think we will be doing some arenas later in the year, but I think if your album's about reconnection then you have to go down that route with everything - doing the gigs we're doing felt much more natural.