Severe laryngitis is being blamed for the cancellation of two sold-out Manic Street Preachers concerts - one in New York City on Tuesday (Sept. 14) and another in Boston on Wednesday (Sept. 15). Singer James Bradfield sought treatment by specialists in both cities.
The band is set to perform in Detroit on Saturday (Sept. 18), although that was a shaky proposition for a while. "We had to cancel the Boston gig just as we were going on stage, which is something we'd never done," says bassist/lyricist Nicky Wire. "But James' falsetto had disappeared and everything had just gone."
Although the timing couldn't be worse, it falls perfectly in line with the Welsh postpunkers' history of American touring. In 1995, the Manics were about to embark on a three-month tour in support of their album The Holy Bible (experts predicted the tour would finally break the band in America, where the members can dine at any Denny's unrecognized - even though they grace magazine covers in England), when then guitarist Richey James disappeared (he never returned and is presumed dead.)
"I think The Holy Bible was the one chance we had in America," says Wire. "It was so dark. And at that time it seemed to fit in with a lot of the music that was around - Alice In Chains and Marilyn Manson. To this day I have no idea why (James) chose to do what he did."
The next year hope again flickered when the Preachers - shaved down to a trio - snared an opening slot on Oasis' breakthrough stateside trek. But the kibosh came down again, when Liam Gallagher stormed back to the U.K. after only nine gigs. The band's next American tour was supposed to begin this July, in support of the album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours. But Bradfield's mother died after a six-year battle with cancer. The band's current tour represents the postponed dates from this summer.
"It's a curse when it comes to America," Wire says. "I don't know. God's looking at this, saying, 'No, you shall not have a chance.' But we're here for another two weeks at least, so we're just hoping that the rest is all right." A spokesperson for the band says the Boston and New York shows will be rescheduled. Ticketholders are well-advised not to hold their breaths, however.