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Playing Live Is Our Lifeblood - Birmingham Mail, 16th December 2004

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Title: Playing Live Is Our Lifeblood
Publication: Birmingham Mail
Date: Thursday 16th December 2004

Performing live has always been the lifeblood of the Manic Street Preachers and the Welsh rockers are promising a night to remember when they play Birmingham's NEC Arena tonight.

With a new album to promote, aptly called Lifeblood, and a hit single, The Love Of Richard Nixon, the boys from Blackwood, South Wales, will be warmly welcomed by the Birmingham crowd.

Singer and guitarist James Dean Bradfield claims too many bands are slapdash about their concerts but the Manics quickly realised the importance of live dates.

"When we first started playing festivals we were just going out there and doing what we did and then we realised that it was actually a way to reach lots of new people, to introduce them to our albums and to bring them on board. People will come back from a festival raving about the live bands they have enjoyed."

"Live music has always been an important part of our ethic." The Manics, featuring Bradfield, lyricists Richey Edwards and Nicky Wire and drummer Sean Moore, formed 20 years ago and initially gained notoriety for their outspoken stance on just about everything.

They faced tragedy when Richey walked out one night and disappeared, leaving only his car by the Severn Bridge, raising fears he had taken his own life. Still not traced, Richey's family have refused to declare him dead and his royalties are still being paid into his bank account.

Many pundits feared the Manics' days were over but they came back with a string of hit albums, festival headliners and a greatest hits album and tour.

Lifeblood has been hailed as a sign of a more mature Manics and James is ready to admit they have grown with the years and their experiences.

"When we were working on this album we realised that the songs were starting from a very dark and negative perspective, there was a lot about loss and death, but we realised that they were finishing on a much more positive outlook. It is just not black and white, we felt much of it was leaving a question mark."

"When it comes to naming an album it is a like naming a baby. It was Nicky who came up with Lifeblood, it is usually him who names the albums as he is the lyricist and this just seemed apt."

Despite their fame, the Manics were not among the musicians asked to take part in this year's Band Aid recording.

James has no hard feelings and says he was not surprised. "I just don't think we are the kind of band they would have wanted. We were not approached and so we didn't go asking - it would have been very embarrassing to have been turned down! I do support it though and I will buy it."