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Thanks A Scot: Manics Out To Repay Fans For Year Of Hell In Pop Wilderness - Daily Record, 3rd August 1996

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Title: Thanks A Scot: Manics Out To Repay Fans For Year Of Hell In Pop Wilderness
Publication: Daily Record
Date: Saturday 3rd August 1996

Welsh rockers The Manic Street Preachers say they owe their remarkable comeback to their Scottish fans.

And they plan to repay them with a blistering performance at Loch Lomond today.

The group - one of the weekend's main highlights - will take the stage at 5.30pm for an hour-long show which seals a remarkable year.

Their new chart-topping LP Everything Must Go includes Top 10 smashes A Design For Life and the title track, currently at number 5.

It's a long way from the despair and devastation they felt when they quit the music scene after the mysterious disappearance of their guitarist Richey Edwards almost two years ago.

When suicidal Richey, who suffered from anorexia and often scarred his own body, went missing his car was found abandoned by the Severn Bridge. He hasn't been seen since.

The group were stunned when - soon after the tragedy - insensitive fans chanted, "Where's Richey?" at concerts.

Only after their comeback gig at Glasgow's Barrowlands were The Manics given the confidence to carry on playing.

"Luckily our first gig was at Barrowlands and it went so well that it set us up for an entire tour," bassist Nicky Wire said. "There was a euphoric atmosphere. It was the first time we'd felt comfortable because the crowd made it easier for us.

"We've always done well in Scotland. Perhaps it's because we're Celts and there's some kind of Celtic bonding going on. Scots don't like getting beat by the English and neither do the Welsh."

Nicky recalls: "When we played a couple of early gigs after Richey disappeared there was a small pocket of people went out of their way to have a go at us. Luckily, since then they've either gone off us or become worshippers of Richey, huddled in their bedrooms. They're caught in a time warp!"

Nowadays Nicky and the remaining band members, singer James Dean Bradfield and drummer Sean Moore, still refuse to give up hope that Richey is still alive.

"Richey was six stone," says Nicky. He was verging on anorexia.

"That was Richey. Everything to extremes, whether it was food, drink, alcohol or cutting himself. He lived his life like that.

"When I'm at home, sometimes I get a phone call and it's a wrong number or I don't pick up in time.

"I just think `Is that Richey?' I often speak to his parents a lot and they find it amazingly difficult to cope with not knowing if he's alive.

"It's hard to see what to do next other than to give him his space and hope that he'll come back when he wants to.

"Some of Richey's lyrics are still on the album.

"We didn't want to completely forget him because he's been with us so long."

The Manics are no strangers to Oasis shows.

At the Oasis homecoming gigs at Manchester's Maine Road earlier this year they were in brilliant form.

And they're back in Scotland just weeks after their T in the Park show.

"Now I can't wait to play Loch Lomond because it's one place I've always wanted to go to since I was young," says Nicky.

"We respect Oasis but I've hardly ever spoken to Noel. I'm a shy boy who goes straight back to the hotel.

"But James has talked to Noel quite a bit and there's a mutual respect. We all admire Noel."