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Q Awards 2001: Best Live Act - Q Magazine, November 2001

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Title: Q Awards 2001: Best Live Act
Publication: Q Magazine
Date: November 2001
Photos: Andy Earl, Chris Taylor


Nicky Wire: He thinks they deserved it. There's a surprise

Where are you from and what are you on?

I'm from Wales and I'm on Ribena.

What was the best thing about 2001?

I think ending it.


When you make a record like Know Your Enemy with a lot of serious statements and you open yourself to attack then it gets kind of draining. The lyrics are just not understandable to most people, I guess. You realise the limits of being in a group. You've got to subvert from within. I've got to be cleverer - more deft, more subtle about things. You think to yourself, 'Do you want to reach a million people who don't understand or 300,000 who do understand?' It's a very tricky balancing act.

What was the last thing you won?

A Brit award or a Brat award or a Q award I guess. We won a lot in 1998, so one of those.

Who would you have chosen as best live act?

I think that's justified because over the last 10 years we have been effortlessly one of the great, exciting live acts. Considering there's only three of us. James should win it on his own, really, for singing two parts and playing three guitar parts at once. And there's not much else around, except Kylie. Her show is by far the best out there. But of course U2 deserved it. [Sarcastically] Like they said in their speech, they should have got all five, shouldn't they?

What's the best record you've heard this year?

I'll be very obvious and say The Strokes, cos if I was a young kid they'd be the band that I was into. It's not the greatest record on earth, but there's some sensivity and femininity, so it gets my vote.

Are Radiohead the best act in the world today?

I can't pretend that I'm the biggest fan of all their records all the time, but there's just something about them which you know is right. And that's really important because it means in 10 years time you can listen to them and pick up things you didn't before. Good luck to them.

You were conspicuously silent after 11 September. Were you tempted to make any public comment on the terrorist attacks?

No. I think after the whole Cuba thing you realise you're just not taken seriously if you're in a rock'n'roll band and you say anything. After 12 years, finally the voice seems to have disappeared altogether. It frustrates me because I have a degree in politics and most people who judge us probably have no idea of politics whatsoever, but they feel able to say that we shouldn't have a voice. I just feel a bit beaten down. It doesn't seem worth it. It would have been really easy to make a sensationalist statement. In our case it could have been extremely left-wing or extremely right-wing - we've had occasions of both in our history - but it just didn't feel right.

Would you have said something if this had happened, say, seven years ago?

I don't know. If we'd been at our strongest and mentally most vibrant I'm sure Richey would have said something.

What's next?

Nothing. [Grins] No, we're just getting the Greatest Hits together. The package has just got to be special. Two of my favourite Greatest Hits are Erasure and Steps. Both had 20 great songs on, so I think that's the limit. You go below that, you piss the fans off, go above it, you bore them. Maybe one new song. I've just given James a pile of lyrics now and he's getting stuck in.