He was the guitarist of the Welsh band. But is he or was he? Because he's disappeared in thin air for over a year. While the remaining members of the band come out with a new CD, we investigate in the latest black hole of rock.
Sooner or later Richey'll turn up acting like nothing happened. Or he'll say that he left to try and experience a life without fame, to be a normal person, because he couldn't take it anymore to be a rock star. These are just guesses , while we wait for his return, something that might never happy because rock, when enters in the dirty section, doesn't forgive.
7.00 in the morning of February the first: the Welsh Manic Street Preachers are getting ready to leave the Embassy Hotel in London. For three years they've earned the fame which was worked at by screaming torments of this generation, with the punk rock of the Stones and the 70's glam. Generation Terrorists, Gold Against The Soul and The Holy Bible are the three albums in which they debuted with, with which people began to like the or hate them. Now there's one trip that awaits them: destination America, for a tour.
Richard James Edwards, for the public, Richey, isn't there. While being the guitarist of the Manics, he also writes a great part of the lyrics. He's the image of a typical rebel: lashes soaked with mascara, fake leopard jackets and actions that frighten the world. A mix between James Dean and Sid Vicious.
Richey isn't there. He left in his hotel room a suitcase ready to go on top of an un-made bed, antidepressants Prozac , his passport, credit cards, a box containing books, two videos and loose leafs with quotes that he loved to copy from books. Also, there was a piece of paper with the words "I love you" on it. The next day, February 2, the band's manager, Martin Hall tell the media about his disappearance.
Since the, it's all been a mystery. Despite everyone searching for him: the 17th, the fuzz finds his car, a silver Vauxhall Cavalier, near a station close to Severn Bridge, a bridge where many suicides take place. What if Richey's body was down there, the strong currents washing away his body? So he committed suicide? Or has he made himself a new identity and ran away to the other side of the world? One thing's certain- he went to his apartment on February the first , in Cardiff. Then on the 5th, a student from Gwent spotted him and two days later from a taxi driver in Newport. Also, it results that ever since the middle of January, he began extracting 200 pounds a day, until his disappearance.
A year after his disappearance, the Manic Street Preachers made a new album 'Everything Must Go', dedicated to him.
"Somehow we managed to get through the first moments of shock," the guitarist James Dean Bradfield says, "We couldn't leave our public, nor the music. Everything must go on, it's a law of nature." he goes on, " When they found Richey's car, we worried about Richey as a friend more than a musician. Still today, when I talk about him, I feel a big emptiness pit inside me. Such as losing a brother. We rather would've liked finding a letter explaining his disappearance more that just going. The horrid thing is that we don't know how things really went; if we did, we would've justified ourselves a reason. This way is just cruel."
Richey the intelligent one, Richey the star. His life is a mean game of evil, a slot machine. Stories that are incredible: in '92, he tries to convince a reporter to publish the quote "Kill yourself before you're 13". Then in front of another journalist, he takes a razor blade and cuts "4 Real" down his arm; also, during a concert in Thailand he slashes his chest to please a fan "Richey, look at me when you do it", she tells him before the show. The 'day by day' of Richey are just ups and downs, of depression, anorexia, pissing his head with vodka and recovering in the hospital. The last one in the summer of '94.
A week before his disappearance he's interview by the Japanese press. While one of the chats, he quotes, "The brought me into the hospital and then to reality. I drank a lot, until the point where I couldn't get out of bed. Now I can get up and I know what I've to do: especially writing, cos it makes me feel better. Because writing is an art for me. I know I still have a lot of time ahead of me, now. I've cut the drinking and I live my day while before I used to just get out of bed and immediately drink. That way I burned off days and days."
It seemed as though he came out of a tunnel. An illusion: the Embassy Hotel, the credit cards and everything on the bed, the "I love you" note, the running away. The searches are still on, while all of us await, edge on our chairs.
James Dean Bradfield has now recovered. "Richey was the image of the Manic Street Preachers, more than just a musician. It wouldn't make sense to replace him. Then again, who would brutalise themselves the way Richey did onstage?"