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Media Mania - Irish Independent, 6th September 1994

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Title: Media Mania
Publication: Irish Independent
Date: Tuesday 6th September 1994
Writer: George Byrne


In the current promo pics he may be wearing a shirt bearing the slogan 'Poser-Liar-Fake-Phoney' but in person James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers is the very model of sincerity and affability, perched over a Jameson and red, surrounded by the nouveau famine chic in the snug of Kiely's of Donnybrook.

In Dublin to promote the band's third album - The Holy Bible - James reflects on the Manics upfront relationship with the media: an in-yer-face exercise in manipulation and shock tactics which has witnessed such legendary antics as rhythm guitarist Richie James carving thee phrase '4 Real' into his forearm with a razor blade when an NME journo questioned his commitment to his art.

"I don't think we knew just how far Richie was pushing himself, how close he was getting to the edge." says James. "Right from the early days. Richie was the chief architect of the idea and philosophy of the band - in fact the original intention was that he'd act as sort of a Minister for Propaganda, more or less the same role Professor Griff fulfils in Public Enemy.

"He couldn't really play at all at the start, but looked great on stage, so it made sense to hate him there...but this is a bit too much past tense: he's rejoining the band as soon as he's better."

At the moment, Richie James is in the same London clinic as Sinéad O'Connor, having reached a state or near-anorexia, coupled with severe nervous exhaustion and a two bottles-of-vodka-a-day habit.

The extreme of his behaviour and personal problems were starkly revealed in an NME on-the-road piece in Thailand two months ago, and Richie's lyrics on the new album reflect a troubled soul.

This parlous mental state is most pronounced on 4st 7lb, a harrowing diary, of an anorexic which still contains beautiful lines like "I want so walk in the snow, And not leave a footprint, I want to walk in Ow snow, And not soil its purity."

"Looking at that lyric now I can see what he was going through," admits James, "and yet this album is, I feel, our most positive musical statement. When me recorded Generation Terrorists, we didn't really know where we wanted the sound to go, and with Gold Against The Soul we went a bit too much for the Grand Rock gesture...which was mostly my fault. I have to admit."

Indeed, with The Holy Bible the Manic Street Preachers have honed their always-pointed lyrics and razor-sharp melodies into a combustible, compulsive whole. They can still rock like demons and theorise like nobody's business. A perfect modern musical contradiction ... and you can catch them in the Tivoli on October 22.