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My Prog Hero: James Dean Bradfield - Prog Magazine, October 2022

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ARTICLES:2022




For the Manic Street Preachers frontman prog means Rush, Pink Floyd, Russian Circles, and a lost classic album by fellow Welsh rockers, Man.

“For me prog starts with Rush, when I was about 17. [Manics bassist] Nicky Wire and his brother were already gigantic fans, and – like a lot of people coming late to them – my in was The Spirit Of Radio, the album Moving Pictures and songs like Limelight, where they were almost at an interface with The Police.

Pink Floyd’s Meddle had a little influence on our album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours [1998], and I’m a big fan of Russian Circles, Chicago Transit Authority and John McLaughlin – especially on Mahavishnu Orchestra’s The Inner Mounting Flame. And then there’s Man.

I was working as a barman in the Newbridge Miners Institute in the 80s and a version of Man played there, and I remember it being a big deal. I’d bought Rhinos, Winos And Lunatics [1974] and liked some of the songs, but I wasn’t sure. Then a couple of years later I was flicking through the racks at HMV and saw the cover of The Welsh Connection [1976]. I thought it was maybe a compilation of obscure Welsh bands, then realised it was by Man, so thought I’d give them another go.

I took it home, put it on, and bam!

This album’s definitely a slam-dunk lost classic. It was their 11th, so they were way down the line, were never going to get any bigger at this point in historical terms, and they’d started steering away from the more blues-based stuff. It was the first record for a new label [MCA] so there was change in the air. They had John McKenzie on bass, and he and [drummer] Terry Williams locked into something nimble and nuanced and absolutely gorgeous.

The title track and Love Can Find A Way had lots of Steely Dan in it, big time, but this came out a year before Aja, so that’s a bit of a coup for Man! The Ride And The View’s got more of a groovy, trippy, Little Feat vibe, and Something Is Happening is so beautiful – at one point it’s like Herbie Hancock, so articulate and dextrous. The whole album was a departure for them.

Man never quite hit the heights; I suppose they were almost too versatile. I like a lot of tracks from their other albums, but this is the one I put on and don’t take off.”
My Prog Hero: James Dean Bradfield
Publication: Prog Magazine
Date: October 2022
Writer: Grant Moon










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