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Preachers Find New Crowds To Convert - Metro International, 6th October 2009

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Manic Street hitting the States for the first time in a decade >The band talk about revisiting material written by their missing co-founder The Manic Street Preachers’ first American tour in 10 years celebrates a new album of bristling lit-rock, “Journal For Plague Lovers.” But, really, crossing the pond was a case of now or never. “If we didn’t go with this record, it was like we’re never ever touring America again,” says singer and guitarist James Dean Bradfield. “As soon as we relaised that, that was it.” Also, the Welsh rock band’s hugely successful album, “Send Away the Tigers,” which remains unreleased in the U.S., brought them a renewed audience in Europe, taking them to countries they’d never played before, and renewing the band’s energy. “We’ve had the experience of playing to audiences who waited for us. We thought if we go back to America, it’s going to be new for us. At this point in our careers, anything new is good.” Yet, working on “Journal For Plague Lovers” returned the Manics to the past, to once again use lyrics by the band’s erstwhile co-founder Richey Edwards. The wordsmith and guitarist disappeared in early 1995, just before the band was headed for a pivotal career-making American tour. Edwards was never found, but months earlier he gave his friends three journals packed with lyrics. It took many years, however, before the Manics could face Edwards again. “The prospect of doing it scared us. We had this responsibility toward Richey, but we had to wait for old feelings and trauma to subside. Once we did it, I realized this is the closest I’d get to ever having the band whole again.”

The late(?!) Richey Edwards The late(?!) Richey Edwards

“Journal For Plague Lovers” offers the opportunity to reassess Richey Edwards’ artistic legacy. His slashed arms and starved appearance, not to mention likely suicide, built Edwards into a dysfunctional legend. These songs introduce a dissatisfied seer and tangential thinker with a wealth of observations and ideas that he possibly hadn’t fully grown into. Even so, he was never one to hold back. “Richey’s words were always famous for being full of intent and no punctuation,” says Bradfield. “Sometimes you have to edit it. That’s only a small part of the process. Some songs I used all the lyrics that were on the page.”

Manic Street Preachers Tuesday, 7 p.m. World Cafe Live 3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia $24-$34, 215-222-1400 www.worldcafelive.com

Wednesday, 7 p.m. Webster Hall 125 E 11th St, New York $25-$30, 21+, 212-353-1600 www.websterhall.com

Thursday, 9 p.m. The Paradise 967 Comm. Ave., Boston MBTA: Green B Line to Pleasant $20, 18+, 617-562-8800 www.thedise.com

Linda Laban