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Sidelines: Manic Street Preachers - Melody Maker, 4th August 1990

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ARTICLES:1990



Title Sidelines: Manic Street Preachers
Publication Melody Maker
Date Saturday 4th August 1990
Writer Bob Stanley
Photos Joe Dilworth


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MM040890.jpg



"I wanna wake to a shot parade of wealth, take a spraycan to my useless vote" - "Teenage 20/20"

"We've got to play ordinary venues at the moment but we dream of playing the rubble of London's palaces" - Richey

They've got a way with words these boys. The Manic Street Preachers are from Blackwood, South Wales, and have been around since the end of '88. They formed in a state of total frustration, know that if they sat around waiting for something to happen, it never would. With bruised guitars and battered amps, they emerged with "Suicide Alley", a fiery Clash-alike that garnered Single Of The Week in one weekly. While the song wasn't hugely impressive, its sense of urgency was: it was the first song the Manic Street Preachers had written and they recorded it just as soon as they'd saved enough from their giros. Pop immediacy! They pressed 300 copies and gave them all away.

Touring around Christmas '89, they recorded the staggering, jagged pop gem "New Art Riot" as a demo for £60. When Damaged Goods offered them a single deal shortly afterwards, the group re-recorded "New Art Riot" and it's lead track on their new EP. The new version may lack the demo's bristling magic, but it still cuts most things to ribbons.

The nervous looking singer James, Richey's who's the dark-haired, brown-eyed guitarist, the "Ian Brown of the band", Nick the lanky blond bassist, and moptop drummer Sean (who doesn't look a day over 14) all try to contain their vitriol.

"We recorded 'New Art Riot' and then they produced it after we'd gone," explains a sad-faced James. "They were like, 'What do you know about it?' We just had to get a record out though."

Richey: "We haven't signed with anyone yet, we can't find a really forward-thinking record label. Even Creation - why have they signed The Telescopes? I suppose they've got Ride, they seem to have the right idea, but all they want to be is pop stars. It's just like saying, 'I want to be a dentist.' Last time we saw them they had all their girlfriends displayed at the front of the stage and they all looked so smug."

Surprisingly, Ride are a group the Preachers' have quite a lot of time for. Manic Street Preachers are a hard bunch to please. The sleeve for the new EP is very striking, the 12 star European flag in sagging, sorry state.

"Nineteen-ninety-two is a great dream, but already there's a return to nationalism," Richey explains. "Look at this country. It's like people in Eastern Europe, they've got given a little bit of democracy and little bits of fascism happen, like anti-Semitism and misogyny. All the old traditional ideas like 'a woman shouldn't work', it's all coming back. In East Germany right now they want a Big Mac and nice jeans, they've already forgotten how it was before and what they could have been. The worst thing of all is that the West is saying it's a victory for capitalism and it proves the whole world wants a Coke."

Some people may listen to Manic Street Preachers may say, "Very nice, but isn't it all a bit 1977?"

Richey: "We're not the fucking Senseless Thing. We don't want to return to some supposed golden day like they do. You hear bands like that and they talk as if now is useless and everything in 1977 is so great. We're now. All you can do with the past is to never want to be like it. Cos the past has created what we're living in now, and we're not happy, so it must have failed."

"New Art Riot" will be limited to 1,000 copies because the group aren't completely satisfied with it - the original demo should be released later in the year as a B-side. Meanwhile, they've got the staccato "Repeat After Me" lined up for a third single, a couple of gigs coming up and a few dreams in their pockets.

Nick: "We want to set fire to ourselves on 'Top of the Pops'. The most alientated people in the world!"