Returning to smaller venues, and playing songs that span their whole career.
It's been more than two years since they toured in support of their Lifeblood album. Now the Manic Street Preachers are about undertake a lengthy UK tour playing of some of the smallest venues they've played in years, Bassist Nicky Wire tells us why.
You're doing a five-week theatre tour. Like Spinal Tap's, is your audience becoming more selective?
Ha! I don't think so. On the last tour we played smaller places like Brangwyn Hall in Swansea, and doing venues like that was a bit of a lifeline as we'd been on the arena treadmill. That gig especially was a touch-paper; not having to worry about the projection screens behind us, not worrying about projecting ourselves, we looked forward to going on stage every night. We'd have made it eight weeks long if we could, but we have other commitments.
You've mentioned that you'll be playing longer sets than usual and that you've been sifting through your back catalogue. Did you unearth any surprises?
I did trawl through everything, I hate those bands that don't play old stuff. We're entertainers; it's not a test. We'll be doing things like Sleepflower and Born To End. We've only ever done Freedom Of Speech Won't Feed My Children once live and it was a disaster, but that's always been one of my favourite Manics songs.
And you're still not doing encores?
No. We only ever did an encore at the Marquee and it was abysmal. By the time we got back on stage all of the audience had filtered off.
As you're revisiting your past, will we get to see Nicky Wire in a dress again on this tour?
I don't know yet. I've just been to Selfridges, actually, but nothing caught my eye.
How important was it that you and vocalist James Dean Bradfield both did solo albums before making the new Manics album, Send Away The Tigers?
Very important I think. It was a decluttering exercise for me; I got to be nihilistic and sneering away from the Manics. I think James felt some pressure because he was expected to sell records a bit more, but he got his singer-songwriter thing out there and he got to write the wards - and what great words they were. When we got back together we remembered why we wanted to be in a band again.
The albums The Holy Bible and Everything Must Go have both been revisited recently with deluxe anniversary editions stuffed full of extras. Are there plans for more?
I'd like to. I suppose we'd have to wait for the 20th anniversary of Generation Terrorists [in 2012] before we did that one. But I'd like to revisit This is My Truth Tell Me Yours, I love those reissues; they're like boxed sets. They paint such a great picture of what made those albums, it's like reading a book, I've got lots of demo versions of songs on that album, too. They're much more live and punky. There's a version of Tsunami that's just magnificent.