It's a Tuesday night in mid September and Nicky Wire is sat in a London hotel room, wearing shorts, on exceptional form, waxing lyrical about actually enjoying a packed summer of festivals the world over...New Wire, New Danger. '
We're up in town for some Vodafone live awards thing. We were up last week; we played live at the Q awards party in the O2 Arena and got nominated for a few awards. Which was lovely. We also got to see Cherry Ghost, who are supporting us on the Christmas dates, they were mesmeric.
I was reading the other day about this couple that live in a Travelodge. Twenty years ago they decided that they wanted to go to more antiques fairs so they wanted to be more mobile. They moved from their fifteen grand flat in Sheffield, which is now worth a hundred grand. There was this brilliant quote from them in the paper, they said "We love it in the Travelodge, they give us the best room, it's Room 1 and it's only a 2 minute walk to the Little Chef and there's plenty of other eateries around!" I think that
they're pretty much living my perfect life. Whenever you see a Travelodge, 23 quid a night, it's always a welcome sight.
We've just come back from Istanbul, which was just glorious. I've never felt so welcome in a place since when we went to Japan in 1992. It was the first time we've ever played in Turkey, the country has only just gone on the 'circuit' really, so we were slightly nervous about the whole thing, but when we got there, there was 10,000 people singing the words to "If You Tolerate This" At one point James did the most stadium rock thing I've ever seen, halfway through "Design For Life" he said "You take this one!" and they just sang the whole fucking verse! The place was a good hour drive out of town; it was quite a way to go. We had a fucking nightmare on the way, B.A. lost our entire luggage, and James still hasn't found his. The most amazing was when we got into Istanbul at about two in the morning and coming over the Bosporus, all the mad architecture, new and old, east and west it was very much like the first time we went into Tokyo, like there is somewhere left that we didn't really know. That said, we went to Harvey Nichols the next morning to replace the lost clothes so it wasn't that alien. The rest of the festival had Franz Ferdinand ¬ their drummer has the most amazing tattoo on his neck - a couple of lovely Turkish bands apparently Turkey's biggest band who came back to say hello, apparently they're unbelievably big Manics fans. Pete Murphy from Bauhaus lives there, he came backstage to meet us. He was a bit of an icon for us growing up,"Bela Lugosi's Dead", every fucking indie kid's dream, to get the sympathy vote from the local Goth girl and get a snog at the end of the night.
Festival wise this summer, we were gutted that Fflam in Swansea was cancelled. Greece didn't happen cos of the forest fires, which was a real disappointment to us. They're trying to reschedule it, it's meant to be us and Kasabian, our summer playmates, we've done so many festivals with them, it's been brilliant. I watched them in Tokyo and they were absolutely awesome. Tom was Dave Gahan in his heyday, he just led from the front and he had 50,000 people in the stadium eating out of his hands. We'd already played a stormer and he came and ruled it, he just connected with the audience so well. I was really impressed with Kasabian live, they're pretty uncompromising really, and it's quite an original music I think. I thought they were fucking enormous sounding. We did Osaka which was blindingly hot, 95 degrees, then we did Summersonic in Tokyo as well, us them and the Arctic Monkeys. I didn't see them 'cos it was past my bedtime. At one stage I was watching Kasabian and they have a break where Serge does his psychedelic bit. All of a sudden I realised there was a hand up my rather sweaty skirt. It was Tom Kasabian, just before he went back on to sing the next song. I said "Do you realise it's a bit messy down there?" he didn't give a shit, he's brilliant. They actually came up to me and applauded me for my Snow Patrol comments, which ended up in the Daily Mirror. They were all going "Well, someone's got to say it!" Unfortunately it's always left to me!
We were out with the other Tom, the singer from the Enemy, in Japan. He was looking slightly the worse for wear; I don't think he'd eaten anything the whole time. His brilliant quote was "The only thing I eat from the sea is salt." He was fucked over there, he really was. I think they're a really special band, I think they are going to grow and grow. There is something unique about a band that young being so fully formed. Also, in the NME, he said "Nicky Wire is a giant in physical and historical terms" ¬ I've got to love someone who says that! I fell in love with Japan again on this trip. I've fallen in and out of love with it a few times now, but playing to that many people in those venues was incredible.
The bass player of the Noisettes came up to me and said "The Holy Bible" was his favourite ever record, saw us seven times on that tour... Ffye from the Guillemots, he was there, he knows every single word on "The Bible", I kid you not. The singer of The Sunshine Underground, his thing was "Everything Must Go" how come none of them end up sounding like us - they were all
The northern V gig was just brilliant, probably the best UK festival gig we've done since T In The Park in 1999. It was just starting to drizzle, we had a huge crowd, I don't really know why it was so big for us up there. It was really special, quite touching. For the first time in a long time, we got that singing back thing.
Had a great time at Electric Picnic in Dublin, watched The Good, The Bad & The Queen from side of stage, met Paul Simonon, which was a big thing for me. I own one of his paintings, a picture of Cromer beach in Norfolk, which is gorgeous, I went up and told him and said how much I loved his bass on the album. He was really chatty, I just wanted to tell him he was my bass-playing hero, which seemed pretty easy after half a bottle of vodka before I went on. Damon was looking in fine form too. Love that record. We'd played a brilliant, anarchically shit gig before them. There was a bit where my bass fell apart and smashed. I didn't realise that when those Italia Maranello basses splinter when they break. I badly cut my hands, Davo cut his hands. Everything was out of tune but it was a real old fashioned, heavy, murky horrible Manics show. It was brilliant.
Scott Thomas, our agent, found this interview with Christian Bale in America - I obviously haven't seen it because I haven't got a clue how to get You Tube - anyway, he's on an American chat show going on about us, how we're one of his favourite bands. Bizarrely, five days before, another one of our great exports, Ioan Gruffudd had texted James from the Hard Rock Café in L.A. to say that "Motorcycle Emptiness" was playing on the jukebox sounding great. Christian Bale, I genuinely think he's a brilliant actor. I think 'The Machinist' is modelled on Richey. It's an anorexic, prison camp, insomniac, pyjama looks he was brilliant in 'American Psycho' and 'Batman Begins' is one of my favourite hotel movies. Apart from the last 10 minutes, it's an absolute classic filmŠ him saying that was such a brilliant thing, it really has been a Manics summer of love this year! Even Mooro is enjoying himself, it's really strange. I think I've been really sociable this summer, I was saying to James the other day that I've built a lot of bridges this year. He reckons I've slagged more people off than ever. I pointed out it's the right people for once!
It's been a brilliant summer really. I never thought I'd love festivals so much, especially being as it rained so fucking much. Also, I was at home for six weeks after Stanley was born which was bliss. We got nominated for best reissue of the year for "Everything Must Go" in Classic Rock, which I was made up about. Been listening to loads of music, Sean's been updating my ipod; I don't know how to fucking do it. I love the Super Furries album; "Show Your Hand" is just a glorious pop record. Cherry Ghost, "Dead Man's Suit", it's unbelievable, it's so poetic, the words are just amazing. "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osborne, Randy Rhodes is one of the greatest guitarists before "Motown Junk" in Japan; James was doing the riff from "Crazy Train", which isn't easy I can tell you. The Enemy album, lots of Neil Young. Shack "H.M.S. Fable" and "Delivery" by Babyshambles - Pete's best song in years. A honourable mention to That Petrol Emotion
We've been toying with the idea of doing a Christmas single. Its either "Ghosts Of Christmas" which is a bit Poguesy or "Who Killed Christmas?" as in it's become fucking shit. James tells me he's written some words and I've got to fill in the blanks my line was "I killed myself on Christmas Day/it felt so good I did it again" Martin and James kind of looked at me a bit shocked. It might be official release, it might end up on the website, I don't know. We want to do something that sounds like The Sweet, something a bit festive, a proper Christmas record, the anti-X Factor in the classic British tradition of Wizard, Slade and Saint Etienne featuring Tim Burgess. Hopefully the lyrics will give it something a bit extra.
Last thing - "Indian Summer" is out in a couple of weeks, the video is getting shown all over the place, which is great. We did it on the beach in Penarth with my brother Patrick, then him and me edited it in a little suite in Newport, properly lo-fi. Slightly prophetic title, the weather's been really alright this month so far. September has always been my favourite month, weather wise. You can wear a jacket without feeling cloistered and hot.
Some thoughts to leave you with - desperate shame about Gordon having his picture taken with Maggie but on the plus side me and James are interviewing Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson from Rush for Classic Rock. Saxondale is back, Gavin and Stacy and the Rugby world cup is on and the conkers are falling. Sometimes life is sweet!