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Manics 'Couldn't Help' Edwards - BBC Wales News, 8th July 2006

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Title: Manics 'Couldn't Help' Edwards
Publication: BBC Wales News
Date: Saturday 8th July 2006
Writer: Jo Manning

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The Manic Street Preachers' singer James Dean Bradfield has said he and band mates "couldn't help" the troubled Richey Edwards before he went missing.

The band's guitarist and lyricist remains missing after last being seen at the Embassy Hotel, London in 1995.

Bradfield also rubbished comparisons between Edwards and Pete Doherty adding he was "not qualified" to offer the Babyshambles frontman advice.

Responding to comparisons made between controversial Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty and Richey Edwards, the Manic Street Preacher who disappeared in 1995, Bradfield said the only parallel was how their mutual search for perfection had messed them up.

And, speaking from the Cardiff studio in which he part-recorded his solo material, he said he had no advice for the former co-frontman of The Libertines because he "didn't feel qualified".

"It's impossible to give that kind of advice," he said.

"I would never have any advice to give to anybody who is close to Pete Doherty or to Pete Doherty himself because I don't feel qualified, because we really didn't know what to do ourselves with Richey.

"We've re-traced our steps in terms of what happened to Richey so many times and at the end of the day Richey was surrounded by people who cared about him and who were quite sensible and still we couldn't help."

Bradfield also said the mythologising of Edwards' disappearance, sparked by the discovery of his Vauxhall car at a Severn Bridge service station, got the band down, because his friend was not "writing his own script".

He said: "What happened to Richey was something that was more real and to a degree tawdry because it was a grey day at the Severn Bridge.

"We don't know what happened. I don't like people thinking of Richey as someone who was writing his own script. He wasn't doing that at all.

"He was going through something which was quite arbitrary - it was something that he had no control over."

Bradfield's album, which is preceded by the release of his solo single That's No Way To Tell A Lie on 10 July, was written and recorded while the Manics take a two-year break.

The group's bassist Nicky Wire is also releasing a solo album later this summer and drummer Sean Moore has become a father, but Bradfield insists the band will not be splitting up.

The trio, friends since childhood, have already written and recorded material for their next album, but Bradfield said the band needed the hiatus to "get some perspective".

"We realised we had been in a band for 21 years," he said.

"After finishing the tour (in April 2005) we felt we deserved to take a break, get some perspective and then make the next Manics album as good as we can make it."

But Bradfield got into writing and recording his own material because "there was no way I could function without the promise of writing and performing music."

One song, An English Gentleman, is about the Manics' late publicist and mentor Philip Hall, while the title track explores the tense duality between Bradfield the West London rock musician and Bradfield the working-class boy from Blackwood.

The track Which Way To Kyffin is a tribute to the Anglesey-based landscape artist Kyffin Williams and Bradfield said many of these words were written on the train journey between London Paddington and Cardiff central.

"It felt as if all the people who came up in the songs, and all my own emotions and memories that came up in those songs, were based over that journey between the two places - Cardiff and London," he said.

"My album is a bit more introspective - it looks into the past a lot whereas there is something about the new Manics record that will be a lot more inclusive".