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The Music That Changed My Life - Q Magazine, November 2011

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Title: The Music That Changed My Life
Publication: Q Magazine
Date: November 2011
Writer: Dorian Lynskey
Photos: Alex Lake

Q2011 (1).jpg Q2011 (2).jpg

The revolution began with Talulah Gosh...Until they sold out over some bass strings.

How are you, how's your day been?
Nicky Wire: I've been at the record company trying to go through the artwork [for singles collection National Treasures].
James Dean Bradfield: I went back to Cardiff, saw the wife and dog. It was nice to see two smiling faces who still like me.
Sean Moore: I went to see [Harry Potter And] The Deathly Hallows [Part 2] just to cap off 10 years of my life.

What were you doing 25 years ago?
NW: Waiting for my A-level results. Brilliant time.
JDB: We were practising by then. I went to Cardiff busking.
NW: Maybe [first single] Suicide Alley was hovering around. The first really good song we wrote. We knew Richey [Edwards, late Manics guitarist] but he wasn't in the band. Flicker [Miles Woodward] was our bassist then and only had two strings. Refused to have four.
JDB: You could see the element of our sell out straight away. We were like, "Hey, man, that's too punk for us."

What were you listening to?
NW: The Clash, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Smiths, C86 really grabbed us. I'd been through AC/DC and Whitesnake and was now into Talulah Gosh.
JDB: I was really evangelical about early Simple Minds. The first Billy Bragg album [Life's A Riot With Spy V Spy].
NW: Sean was into the fucking Residents just to annoy us.

Were there any records you disagreed about?
JDB: Well, Sean despised Guns N' Roses.
SM: Cock rock.
JDB: We had a big argument. It was Pixies vs Guns N' Roses. He just kept going on and on. It got so frustrating that I smashed the Guns N'Roses record.
NW: James had his revenge with Generation Terrorists.

What's the best record of the last 25 years?
SM: Radiator by the Super Furry Animals.
JDB: Fuzzy Logic [also Super Furry Animals]. It's just perfect.
NW: I Am A Wallet by McCarthy is definitely my most played album. That and [Greil Marcus's book] Lipstick Traces are the two things I always go back to for inspiration.

Were books and films as important to you as records?
NW: My brother [playwright Patrick Jones] had done an American Studies degree so we were reading Karouac, Ginsberg, Corso and Burroughs. That leads you on again and you start devouring Larkin and Plath. It's really easy. That's why I was truly surprised when Bono discovered Situationism at the age of 33. You have to do that when you're 15. It's a young man's text; then you develop those ideas for the rest of your life.

And your first gig?
JDB: Echo & The Bunnymen at Bristol Colston Hall.
NW: I went to very few gigs. I hate gigs. Gigs are so boring. I miss the total disregard for an audience. That's why The Libertines and The Horrors are the only two [recent] bands I've wanted to be in because there's an element of chaos.
SM: Mine was the same gig as James's

Is there a classic album whose appeal eludes you?
NW: Arctic Monkeys, I never understood that. They're the flattest, most linear thing ever. And it's degenerated, much like The Strokes into cataclysmic boredom.
JDB: Anything Brian Eno has to say or do these days I absolutely fucking detest with every atom of my being. He has no idea of what makes ordinary people tick. He has an utterly elitist take on everything. And his production is destroying bands. He's nearly destroyed Coldplay because he's trying to make them sound like Enya. He's the Nick Clegg of the music world. He's a bad motivational speaker. He's an empty vessel who spouts bullshit and means nothing.

What's been your most inspired songwriting moment?
JDB: A Design For Life. It was a very high-stakes game because of the lyric and because of the time it was in the band [after Edwards's disappearance]. It was inspiring but scary too.
NW: I don't remember anything being a struggle on [Everything Must Go] considering how fucked up we were.

Which musicians never let you down?
JDB: Usually the ones we haven't met.
NW: For me John Lydon and Morrissey are the ultimate truth-seekers. Uncontrollable working-class rage. It only exists in a very few of us. The fact that Morrissey called an album Viva Hate! His performance at Glastonbury - you could tell there was a man, like me, waiting to explode with venom and hate.

What record makes you cry?
NW: For me it's Tom Sawyer by Rash because it reminds me of the day I grew up. It's Bonfire Night, me and my brother are keeping the fire going for ages, then he slunk off to watch Rush on TOTP. And I thought, "Oh,God, that's it, childhood over."
JDB: The Wonder Of You by Elvis Presley because it was my mum's favourite song.

What would you have played at your funeral?
JDB: The Old Rugged Cross. The most dour fucking hymn of all fucking time. I don't want any rock songs or any of that bullshit. I want badly played organ and badly sung hymns. Keep it really fucking Welsh.
NW: I want to be cryogenically frozen.