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This Year We'll Be Less Manic...And Behave Like Preachers - Sunday Mirror, 8th June 2003

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BYLINE: MAEVE QUIGLEY


THE Manic Street Preachers have promised not to wreck the stage at this year's Witnness festival.. in the hope of getting paid. The band headlined Witnness in 2001 but didn't get paid for the gig because they trashed thousands of pounds worth of equipment during their set. Nicky Wire explained: "I remember Witnness very well because I smashed a camera up which cost EUR30,000. "Someone was filming the performance and this weird, remote control camera was flying around the stage. And I trashed it.


"I didn't damage a person or anything - there was no bloke behind it. "We didn't get paid then - the fee for playing the gig was negated by me smashing the camera up. But you live and you learn." "I can't ever remember doing a bad gig in Ireland - north or south.It's always been a great place for us and I'm sure this Witnness will be the same." released a new com- pilation album, Lipstick Traces: A Secret History Of The Manic Street Preachers. The two-CD collection of B-sides, 14 cover versions and unreleased rarities is due out on July 11 and contains the last track recorded with guitarist Richey Edwards prior to his disappearance in 1995. "We put out the big corporate monster greatest hits last year and this is more of a fans album," Nicky said. "It's kind of to fill in the gap - we just didn't want to disappear for two years - we wanted to keep ourselves stimulated. "And there is loads of stuff on it that makes me smile including Judge Y'rself, the last track we ever did with Richey. "We were about to do a huge tour of America and that song was due to be on the Judge Dredd soundtrack. "But in typical Manics fashion it just all fell apart. It's good listening to that song because it's just so raw." Nicky said the band would never consider getting a replacement for Richey, who went missing from a London hotel in January, 1995. "We have never replaced Richey because we don't want to - he is still an important part of us. I know he is still there in some sort of presence - that's just the way it is with us and we live with it. "There is always a gap on stage which we can't fail to recognise, and that's why we do it - to remind ourselves and remind audiences I guess. "It is a weird situation to deal with it when someone is missing but you just have to get on with it because otherwise it will defeat you. "The best way to do it is remember the good times rather than get caught in the media thing of 'the Manics are permanently depressed and were permanently miserable', because it just wasn't really like that." Last year, human remains were found near where Richey's car was abandoned. "We were in Mono Valley recording and the first day we were there we picked up a newspaper and it said someone had found Richey's feet in the Severn. "That's just bad news - it's pretty impossible to deal with as you are just totally on a knife-edge." Nicky said the Manics were hoping to see The Thrills play at Witnness, too, heaping praise on the young Dubliners. "The Thrills are brilliant - just awesome. They remind me of being 16 and pretending to be in the Beach Boys - they are going to be massive. "It's very rare you see a natural band that fit together. They all seem to get on and it doesn't seem forced which is always a good sign. "But then I always think it's better if you are friends first and musicians second." Nicky said he'd love it if The Thrills supported them on tour when they release their new album next year. "But it might be the other way round by then," he joked.