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Manics: Fans Support Lay-Off - Melody Maker, 24th July 1999

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ARTICLES:1999



Title: Manics: Fans Support Lay-Off
Publication: Melody Maker
Date: Saturday 24th July 1999



MM240799.jpg



Manic Street Preachers fans are rallying round the group after two weeks of controversy. We spoke to a cross-section of fans and found all fully supportive of the band's decision to retire from live performance for two or three years and their New Year's Eve gig at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

The band, meanwhile, have discounted reports on the Internet that they have already rescheduled their axed American dates.

One panicular Manics list has published a complete list of new dates, beginning in Atlanta on September 9 and finishing 20 days later in LA.

However, a Manics spokeswoman said that while it was possible the band might reschedule the dates for the autumn, none had yet been confirmed.

She added: We're worried about people going out and buying plane tickets for gigs that don't exist. As soon as they're real, we'll let people know."

The dramas in the Manics camp began with their cancellation of a festival appearance at Rock Werchter in Belgium. Rumours circulated that the band had split, or that Nicky Wire had thrown a tantrum and walked out. The official reason given for the cancellation was that James Dean Bradfield had problems with his throat.

The band then called off their American dates. Sadly, it transpired that James Dean Bradfield's mother was seriously ill, and he needed the time off to be with his family.

The Manics played a spectacularly exciting show at T In The Park, at which point Nicky Wire told the BBC that the band would not play any gigs for two or three years after the Millennium concert

Steve Anderson, who runs the LegoStreetPreachers website, told us: "I can understand them wanting a bit of a break. They did an interview on Red Dragon [Welsh radio station] three or four weeks ago and they said that what they want to do is just work in the studio and do some recording and do gigs when they're ready for it again. "I've got no time for the rumours of them breaking up."

Mary O'Meara, editor of Manics Terrible Beauty, said: "The band have been touring almost continuously for 10 years. There's been a normal, natural progression to stadiums and once that happens, well, touring tends to become less frequent too.

"Of course it would be a great shame if such a fantastic live band stopped touring completely, but nobody said that was happening and you can't blame them for wanting a break - and a change."

"The demands made on the Manics have been extraordinary - both from fans and press. They have always been the band who like to say 'yes' and I honestly think it's time they learnt to sometimes say 'no' I think people sometimes forget they're human beings and have lives to live."

"I never thought there was a split. I think the reaction to the cancellation of one festival, where they weren't even headliners, was way over the top - you don't hear rumours like that when any other band pulls out of something. It annoys me because it feels like people are almost waiting for disaster to strike. Haven't they had enough trauma?"

Manics fan convention co-organiser Steve Burnett said of the forthcoming lay-off: "It's not really big news to me. They've said all this before. I doubt very much if the Millennium Stadium will be their last gig ever.

"To be honest, I'd be glad if they quit touring for a while, cos they obviously don't enjoy it. Some gigs they love and when they do, it's amazing. But when the touring becomes too much, they lose the spontaneity. The skipping rope thing went on forever, didn't it? I think they do need a break. They've been through a lot as a band, especially now."

"At the end of the day, they exist without permission. They can do what they want."

Fan and Iconoclastic Glitter fanzine editor Erika Sage, from Marlow, Bucks, said: "It's nothing different from what they've said at the end of each album. I think I'd be more surprised if they said they were going to tour next March."

"I never thought they were going to split for the reasons that were gossiped about. If it were to happen, then as and when they wanted everybody to know, they would tell us.

"As for postponing the American tour, I feel certain that everybody would do the same thing in that position. For people to gossip about whether they're splitting up when there are far more pressing things for the band to be worrying about is nasty, really."

London fan Alice Black said: There's always been so much speculation around the Manics that its difficult to know what to take seriously. I'm not that surprised that they want to take two or three years off touring. I probably will miss them - two years is quite a long time - but they have my support, whatever they do."