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Manic Street Preachers Talk The Past, Future And Playing Cornwall - West Briton, 23rd June 2016

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Title: Manic Street Preachers Talk The Past, Future And Playing Cornwall
Publication: West Briton
Date: Thursday 23rd June 2016
Writer: Lee Trewhela

For only the second time, Manic Street Preachers play Cornwall next month.

The Eden Sessions headline slot on Saturday, July 9, comes after a string of acclaimed dates where they've played the entirety of Everything Must Go to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

I spoke to Nicky Wire, the Welsh wonders' charismatic bassist and lyricist about the tour, the future and a return to Cornwall.

"The Everything Must Go tour has exceeded all our expectations – we started in Estonia and ended in Swansea at what was one of the best gigs we've ever played. It changed our perception of the album only in so much as we could see how much it means to people.

"It's an album that's always been dear to our hearts but seeing the reaction of our fans has been very emotional. It's an album that connects a lot of people with their youth just as The Smiths and The Clash do for me."

Their fourth album – containing that wonderful run of singles: A Design For Life, Kevin Carter and Australia – was the moment they crossed the bridge from mouthy indie types to full-on rock stars, all on an album that aimed to make sense of the disappearance of guitarist and original band spokesman Richey Edwards.

Nicky added: "It's quite something to now have a back catalogue of 12 albums since 1992 that people can trawl through like I did with Bruce Springsteen when I was younger.

"I'm probably the biggest fan of the band – which I always say – so to see our albums in record shops always gives me a thrill."

Not bad for a band who said they'd split after their first album.


With his ever-youthful enthusiasm, Nicky said: "Being brutal about ourselves is what's kept us going. For instance, Gold Against The Soul had really good singles and guitar solos but not much else. We've made some really good albums and some pretty awful ones. We're our biggest critics.

"Thurston Moore said the only way to leave Sonic Youth was to be sent to prison. I feel like that with the Manic Street Preachers."

Or to cheat on your wife, in Thurston's case, I interject. Nicky, laughing, added: "Well, that's prison too …."

"We've never been one of those bands that's considered splitting, reforming and going through the motions. Even when we've played live in less successful times we've always blasted it out and believed in ourselves."

I told Nicky I thought 2014's Germanic, icy Futurology was their best album since The Holy Bible.

"A lot of fans say that too. Futurology is a late career peak sonically and lyrically, and I'm immensely proud of it.

"In the last 10 years, since Send Away The Tigers, we've definitely reinvented ourselves on each album – Journal For Plague Lovers, Postcards From A Young Man, Rewind the Film and then Futurology.

"Your Love Alone Is Not Enough is the moment we fell in love with being in the band again.

"We're at a crossroads now – we've done a couple of anniversary tours since Futurology and now we've got to come up with something exceptional."

Have you been working on anything? "Fear and trepidation…" joked Nicky.

"I think it needs to work thematically as that was so central to Futurology.

"The test of still being in a band is being enthused and we still want to express ourselves and share our passion with the world.

"I thank the lord we started when we did. It's a totally different landscape now. We were able to build a career by going around the world and build a following. If your Facebook and Twitter figures aren't good enough now, they don't even play you.

"We emerged at a time when a number of bands only really broke through on their second albums, like Radiohead and Blur. That wouldn't happen now."

So are they looking forward to playing down here again?

"I've seen some Eden Project stuff on telly and it looks amazing. We'll play some mega hits, five or six Everything Must Go tracks, some fan favourites and I know James is working on a couple of quirky acoustic songs.

"It's always nice to play places we don't normally go. I know we played in Truro on the Send Away The Tigers tour and we were once booked to play the St Austell Coliseum but it never happened."

How thrilling it will be to see the Manics between the biomes. A lot different than the first time I saw them, supporting three-fifths Cornish band The Family Cat in Bristol back in 1990. I unsuccessfully tried to chat to the shy, dejected Manic Street Preachers boys who were sat morosely in the corridor to the venue's toilet. What a difference a couple of decades makes.