Band pledge to quit in 2002 after next album.
Manic Street Preachers will split after their next album, due for release in 2001.
Speaking to NME after a press conference in Cardiff last week (October 5) to promote their Manic Millennium gig at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Arms Park on December 31 , lead singer James Dean Bradfield said that he didn't still want to be in the band when he was 40 and bassist Nicky Wire added: 'When my passport's up in the year 2002 I don't intend to renew it."
The band plan to spend all next year preparing the album, their sixth, for a 2001 release. They then plan to release a greatest hits package, rumoured to be a double album titled 'Forever Delayed', and call it a day.
The band will not tour for a year after the Manic Millennium gig because, according to Bradfield, "we want to concentrate on making the best album we can possibly make." He also said that they wanted to leave their fans with a final statement that "wasn't shit", which was widely taken to be a reference to the lukewarm critical reaction to their last offering, 'This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours'.
Talking to NME following the band's announcement, a spokesperson said: "They won't be doing it forever, that's obvious. But they're not splitting up now. They're still only 30, 31. We don't want fans to freak out. They're going to play this gig, have a year off to write the album, then we'll see."
During the press conference, Bradfield sought to kill off industry rumours that the band were on the verge of splitting up imminently.
"Unfortunately, we're not! It's just going to be the last gig for a long time. Then we're going to start on the next record next year. We've been touring for 14 months, and for ten years as well. So for the first time in a long time, we're just going to take a long time off, not do any gigs and record the next album. We're not splitting up at all... Nick thinks about it every other week when he gets homesick but I make him carry on, basically."
Wire added: "This gig will undoubtedly be the peak of our career. It will be hard to top it. I don't deny that, it will be very difficult. We'll come offstage to 54,000 people. It'll be the last gig of ten years. But we've still got a few records left in us yet."
The band also said that their final album would mark a change of direction for the Manics and that their New Year's Eve gig, their biggest to date, would see the end of their current incarnation.
Wire explained: "I think nostalgia is a very dodgy thing. You've got to look to the future. We've been together ten years and it's lovely and we're proud of what we've achieved, but this gig is like ending a certain phase and the next phase will be radically different again, hopefully."
Wire also disclosed to NME that he was relieved that he'd made up his mind to be honest about the future of the group - and immediately launched into a diatribe against Gomez and the Longpigs, bands who have both criticised the Manics in recent weeks.
He said his new attitude had begun to take shape after their lacklustre appearance at Glastonbury and the subsequent 'Billy Bragg Personal Backstage Toilet Scandal' which in turn sparked an avalanche of criticism that the band weren't '4 Real' any more.
"It's all tied up with that," Wire said. "We reached a point at Glastonbury where... you know, there's no way it was the worst gig we've ever done but we were just as bored as everyone else with it. It was just average, which is even worse than being bad. So from T In The Park onwards, it was like... I'm just really happy to be the most unpopular man in rock again.
"I know no other bands like me as a person, they think I'm untalented and all the rest of it, but it just makes me feel good again. I've been false for a year, pretending I like all these idiots. I read in the NME what Gomez said about the Mercurys and that there's not an original bone in our bodies. Well, I'd like to see them get a Number One record with a song about the Spanish Civil War! Their lyrics are some of the most fifth-form pile of student drug shit that I've ever heard. Mary J Blige has got more soul than they'll ever have. And for them to take the piss out of so-called R&B is just the biggest joke in the fuckin' world.
"And I think it was the Longpigs that said their album's a million miles away from ours. Well, I think they
meant a million sales. I think they got mixed up. So you know, I don't feel any need to go into my shell any more if people despise me. I'm strong enough again. For a while.
"I feel liberated, I feel cleansed, I just don't need to please. People say that shaking and faking in the music industry is bad but it's worse among bands. So many egos flying round pretending to like each other, it's just a load of bullshit. I've nothing in common with any other musicians, apart from maybe some of the Super Furries who I genuinely love as people and as a band, they're just so lovable and endearing. But that's as far as it goes."
Wire also confirmed that their next single would be 'Masses Against The Classes' and that it would be released in the third or fourth week of January.
He said the inspiration behind the new harder, faster sound of the track and their determination to have complete control over its release was watching The Clash documentary Westway To The World.
"It just brought it home to you that they had complete control. You know, 'White Man In Hammersmith Palais', 'I Fought The Law', 'The Cost Of Living EP', all those records were never on albums, but apart from 'Suicide Is Painless', we've never had that. It's something we always wanted to do, but we just kind of forgot about it. It's going to be a frivolous, in-the-bargain bin-two-weeks-later type single. We're not worried if it goes Top Five, or Number One or Top 20, it's just something to get out of our system. We're not going to do a video for it and we're not going to do any promotion for it, we're just going to bang it out."
As for their Manic Millennium gig, Wire gave little away about the full line-up: "There's a lot of our favourite bands. It's music we like and I think a lot of our fans will find it compatible. It will be quality, not just any old crap. We didn't want to have a Welsh-only policy. It's just a night of music," he said. The Manics will be fighting shy of Welsh nationalism following the complaints of English fans who went to see the Stereophonics gig at Morfa Stadium this year and felt intimidated by the flag-waving. Wire said he felt that the debate concerning Welsh nationalism had become too extreme and that the point of it has been lost.
"The thing that people don't really understand is it's not other people's fault if the national flag of England is tainted with racism. Are you telling me that the Rastafarians are racist 'cos they like their flag? I mean, I'm not a nationalist, I don't believe in nationalism, I really don't. It's all a bit silly, innit? The Stereophonics can't stop people turning up with flags, can they? I'm Welsh and I'm quite proud of it 'cos it's so schizophrenic and fucked up. But I'm an internationalist. That's what I've always been."
The band also revealed that their names were to be immortalised in stone in the gates of the Millennium Stadium to celebrate their status as the most successful Welsh band ever.
Wire said: "We're definitely having one stone for Richey as well which I think is going to be a nice touch. It won't just be the three of us, it'll be the four of us. Whether he'd like it or not I don't know but it's going to be nice that he'll be on there as well 'cos it's for the band."
The full line-up for the Manic Millennium will be announced over the next few weeks. Tickets are on sale at £30 each via the 24-hour NME Virgin Cola Ticketline on 0870 1 663 663. Calls are charged at national standard rate.