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The Truth Is, More Manics Hits To Come - Western Mail, 28th October 2002

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Title: The Truth Is, More Manics Hits To Come
Publication: Western Mail
Date: Monday 28th October 2002
Writer: Karen Price


As soon as the Manic Street Preachers announced they were releasing a Greatest Hits album the rumour mill went into overdrive.

Legions of their fans automatically assumed that the band were finally looking to wind down after 13 years.

The fact that they also revealed they were embarking on a Greatest Hits tour only added fuel to the speculation.

But bassist Nicky Wire was quick to point out that "no decision" about their future had been taken.

"Greatest hits albums are something I've always loved," he said. "It's an excuse for us to wallow in a bit of nostalgia."

But while they may be keen to take a trip down Memory Lane, what exactly does the future hold for the Blackwood band?

Wire, lead singer James Dean Bradfield and drummer Sean Moore have all changed considerably since they released their debut album Generation Terrorists in 1992. At the time, they - along with fourth band member Richey Edwards, who disappeared in February 1995 - were regarded as a typical rock band with radical beliefs and a couldn't-care-less attitude.

They were in the business to make the music they wanted to make rather than to conform to an idealist image.

Thirteen years on, although they are still not afraid to share their political beliefs, they are now renowned for their catchy rock anthems and appear to be happier spending time with their families than leading typical rock'n'roll lifestyles.

But music insiders say this does not necessarily signal the end for the band.

Bethan Elfyn, presenter of BBC Radio 1's Evening Session in Wales, believes the Manics have reached a turning point in their career and that they will soon reinvent themselves.

"I think that everyone usually presumes that when there's a greatest hits album the band is about to split up," she said.

"But from the last performances I have seen of the band, like before the Wales v Italy game, I think they are looking fitter and healthier and raring to go."

Elfyn said the Manics had previously revealed that they were looking to take a "more experimental" direction following the release of their greatest hits album and tour.

"They have achieved what they wanted to do and can now say, 'Take us or leave us'. They do not have to go for record sales and can just be themselves which takes the pressure off.

"James has a very wide range of musical interests and has cited Motown as an influence and their last album had a disco-style single on it. Perhaps we will see more experimentation of that kind rather than more rock anthems that their fans are used to."

She also believes Bradfield - the only single member of the band - may branch out with solo performances.

While 13 years is a long time for most bands, the longevity of the Manics is even more amazing due to the fact that they considered splitting up when lyricist Edwards disappeared almost eight years ago. He has never been found.

But, after taking a short break to work on new material, the band re-emerged in 1996 stronger than ever and topped the album chart for the first time with Everything Must Go. Since then they have enjoyed a string of other chart successes and amassed a selection of industry awards.

"I think they have had an incredible and difficult career," said Elfyn. "They have carved out their own path and a lot of their ideas have been unique."

One of those was their trip to Cuba in February 2001 when they were the first British band to perform in the country embargoed by the US for 40 years. "They have provided the music industry with something that's really different," Elfyn added. "That's what's made it a long-term thing for them."