...Or, at least we do now. Manic Street Preachers gas a job convincing us that they rocked at first. Looking back, we just can't work out how the hell we missed these early bangers...
Manic Street Preachers were the most glamorous, iconoclastic, contrary and trashy band in British rock when they emerged in the late '80s. Stupidly, we looked the other way at first. In response, they turned their amps up to get our attention. Listening to their new National Treasures singles collection, we can't believe how wrong we were about their early stuff. Bassist Nicky Wire rubs our nose in it...
Self-released 1988 debut, featuring Clash-style pose on the cover.
"My Dad loaned us £500 for the recording. I remember [Dead Kennedys singer] Jello Biafra sent us a postal order asking for one. Richey took the photo on the cover, and The Clash reference on the sleeve was 100 per cent deliberate.
First 'proper' single, released 1991.
"It was a tactic to [get into] Kerrang! at the time - we didn't want to be stuck in the ghetto of [the other music weeklies] because that had become so infiltrated by low ambition indie stuff. We loved Guns N' Roses - always said Guns put the roll back into rock 'n' roll, and people saw that in us."
Their first Top 40 single, released in 1991.
"We wish we'd left the 'fuck off' on, but whenever we do it live it's a great feeling having the crowd shout 'fuck off' at you! Renault [used the same title] for a Megane ad, one of the shittest cars ever. It was so demeaning to have one of our titles
associated with it - did look into suing but it wasn't applicable, apparently."
YOU LOVE US
Glam-punk anthem, released at the height of grunge.
"Nirvana actually floored us. We thought, 'Here we are trying to dress like the New York Dolls and a bunch of Americans come over looking like shit, but with this fucking amazing record. So when we
did Top Of The Pops we had to do the complete opposite and make it as glamorous as possible."
Credit crunch-predicting Generation Terrorists album track.
"People did snigger at this. Even we had to laugh sometimes, but now I'm proud that we were deeply committed to what we were saying. I got into debt at university, but it just seems bizarre now, 'cos the levels [of debt] were on such a different scale."
FROM DESPAIR TO WHERE
Highlight from 1993 "corporate rock" album Gold Against The Soul.
"We were obsessed with Alice In Chains and Black Crowes, but lot of the album sounds like a band locked in their version of stadium rock. We supported Bon Jovi and I went on doing the old Kiss thing, saying, 'We're only on first because we're the best...' to the total bemusement of 40,000 people."
Lead single from their 1994 masterpiece, The Holy Bible.
"It's got some of Richey's best lines - there's no computers involved, it's just him devouring culture to the point where he has to get it out, at any cost. To see his brain accelerating was kind of disturbing, but also made you marvel at his intellect."
Beautifully impenetrable single from The Holy Bible.
"I have no idea what the lyric's about, I just remember Richey in a drunken state going 'Revol - lover, lover - revol, it's going to be
great, Wire!' I look back on The Holy Bible with immense satisfaction and sadness, because you can never do something like that again."
Holy Bible album track written when Nicky's space bar was broken...
"I don't know why we picked Revol or She Is Suffering as [Holy Bible] singles, Yes or Whiteamerica... would have been much better. Sometimes we get fans complaining about why we don't play it live, but you can't go through the motions with those songs. I listen back to it and it still scares me a bit."
THE MASSES AGAINST THE CLASSES
After two mainstream rock albums, the Manics rediscovered their edge on this one-off single.
"Having the first Number One of the new millennium felt great. This was me saying, 'We have to go back to our roots and do something
pure punk It didn't set the tone for the decade, sadly..."