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We're Not Splitting Up - Daily Mirror, 12th October 2002

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Title: We're Not Splitting Up
Publication: Daily Mirror
Date: Saturday 12th October 2002
Writer: Brendon Williams

Welsh rock heroes in pledge to fans

The Manic Street Preachers have dismissed rumours about their future and promised fans: "We're not splitting up....yet."

Speculation has mounted for months that the boys from Blackwood are about to part.

For many, the forthcoming release of their greatest hits album on October 28, signified the end of the band who 12 years ago claimed they were the "future of rock 'n' roll".

But bassist Nicky Wire has a message for their army of fans: "There's no decision about splitting up, definitely not.

"The single's coming out Monday, the album's coming out two weeks later.

"Categorically we're not splitting up... yet."

Nicky added: "I feel unbelievably misplaced in today's pop climate which, I guess, means we are important.

"That's what has always been the case - the great bands have been on the outside, darting in and back."

The band's promise they are not splitting up comes as they celebrate the release of their greatest hits album in a BBC Radio 2 documentary tonight.

In one of their most revealing interviews, singer James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and drummer Sean Moore tell the story of their journey from the depths of despair to the top of the charts.

The programme also includes rare interview footage of missing Manic Richey Edwards, who disappeared in 1995.

His disappearance still haunts the band, who have no idea whether the troubled lyricist is alive or dead.

And Nicky Wire reveals he believes Richey will never be found.

He says: "If he is dead there's going to be nothing left. And the second reason is 90 per cent of missing people never make contact again.

"I don't even know if anyone would recognise him anyway, if he's put on four stone and grown his hair long."

Richey's car was discovered near the Severn Bridge shortly after his disappearance - a notorious suicide spot.

Manager Martin Hall reveals the heartache the band and Richey's family went through when remains were recently discovered in the River Severn.

He says: "Some trainers were washed up on the banks of the Severn with some human remains in them. It frightened us.

"We thought 'This could well be it.' They were a pair of trainers not dissimilar to those Richey used to wear.

"But they weren't Richey's."

Nicky adds: "When the police found his car we were all pretty devastated. James was bawling his eyes out.

"That's the only time I have genuinely ever thought, he's dead."

The programme also hears how Richey, during an interview with Radio One DJ Steve Lamacq, carved the words "4 Real" into his arm with a razor blade.

Lamacq says: "He started saying, 'Whatever you think of us please don't say that we're a fake band'.

"To this day I don't know where he got the razor blade from."

Despite Richey's mental problems - which led to a stint in Cardiff's Whitchurch Hospital and The Priory - he was credited as the brains behind the band when they first formed.

After his disappearance, the band faced their most difficult decision.

James Dean Bradfield says: "We had lost a member of the band, it's as simple as that.

"And we just made a decision, we can either call it quits and just be friends, like we always were, or - this sounds really corny - if we can actually redeem our lives at the moment through music and make ourselves feel better.

"It's a simple decision really. We made that decision pretty quickly."

The band also talk about the other low point of their careers - the death of their manager, Philip Hall, from cancer in 1993.

Despite their rise to fame in the mid 90s the band faced a momentous struggle to hit the big time.

Nicky Wire says: "Coming from Wales made everything 10 times as hard. There's no point lying about it. We intended to look like aliens and we had to sing 10 times larger than life."

Sean Moore adds: "We wanted to annoy people, we wanted to rub people up the wrong way and be the total opposite of everything."

And 10 years after busking outside Cardiff's St David's Hall, they ushered in the new century at the Millennium Stadium on December 31, 1999 - even though the sell-out gig cost them a fortune.

Nicky says: "We had 63,000 people and we lost about pounds 60,000 on the whole thing, and that's what makes the whole thing better."

One of the highlights of the band's career came last year when they were invited to meet Cuban leader Fidel Castro - one of their heroes.

Nicky Wire says: "It's not much different to meeting Rhodri Morgan - not to demean the moment because it was an amazing moment."