It's been a long haul but Manic Street Preachers are celebrating surviving, Nicky Wire tells Lynn Cameron
It's a rarity for a band to make it to 10 albums. What's kept you going?
We're not one of those bands that was put together as a result of an ad in a paper, like lots of bands today are. We're not manufactured. We've known each other for most of our lives, and James and I went to school together.
Have you ever been close to throwing in the towel?
At our peak, maybe - when we played London's Millennium Stadium on Millennium Eve. It was off the back of This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours, which sold over three million copies, so we thought about going out at the top of our career. Also, when Richey (Edwards, the band's lyricist and rhythm guitarist) disappeared (in February 1995), we weren't functioning as a band, so that was another time we could have walked away. It was a unique, horrible experience.
How has your music developed over the 10 albums? Has each new album taken you in a different direction?
I've found there are two sides to our music: The dark, post-punk side that was Richey's lyrics and the more euphoric spree, which is the new album.
Postcards From A Young Man has been acclaimed as your best album yet. What makes it better than the rest?
It's one of the best. I'm really proud of it. It reflects our enthusiasm, our love of being in the band. It's also an old-fashioned kind of album - it's over quickly (laughs). We bought our own studio in Cardiff around three years ago and that has helped, too.
What's your favourite track in the album?
Golden Platitudes - the lyrics are some of my finest. It's about our pre-election disillusionment with New Labour in the UK.
Journal for Plague Lovers obviously had an intense emotional connection for you (the lyrics were taken from a folder of work left by Richey Edwards before he disappeared). Does Postcards have a particular connection?
Yes, in a way. It's a tribute to what we love about being in the band and about music as an art form.
You've been quoted as saying there's "something glorious in celebrating what you really are". What does that mean?
To celebrate getting here, having fun, surviving. It's what we've been through and what we are.
If you were sending a postcard to yourself 10 albums ago, what would it say?
"Be pure, vigilant and behave." It was one of Richey's sayings. Either that or "Hello Mum!".