We're not exclusively anything. We mix certain styles and genres and, to us, they sit beside one another comfortably as pure Rock'n'Hell."- James Dean Bradfield, lead vocals/lead guitars.
"People will either laugh at as and we'll crawl away and be nothing, or we'll be one of the biggest bands in the world. There will be no middle ground with us." - Nicky Wire, bass.
If you could measure success in terms of tabloid notoriety and repealed controversy, the Manic Street Preachers would already he established superstars. Everything They say and do is an unqualified mixture of arrogance and naivety; exactly the sort of copy that the gutter press thrives upon. Being confrontational isn't enough, though, and with the band's debut album set Mr release (see review elsewhere this issue) it's lime to examine their musical depth.
Growing up as schoolfriends In Blackwood, South Wales )it's a pretty depressing place. The only way you can keep mom lopping yourself is to find same kind of glamour." - Bradfield), the fledgling Preachers quickly attracted the attention of various Incite labels. Their first singles were issued on the Heavenly label and, along with rampant media coverage, the majors were suitably enticed. After a biding war of sorts, the sprawling Sony/Columbia organisation signed the Manic Street Preachers for one of those mythical advance figures. According to some, the Punk revival had begun.
"The Punk revivalist thing really does piss us of sometimes," says Bradfield. "Because there's a lot of things on the album that have nothing to do with that era. I guess. if you write about anything other Than relationships people hark hack to Punk, because that's when there was a supposed social conscience behind the music. We have never been the Trade Unionists of Rock, we knew that we could never reach as many people as we wanted unless it was on a major. We were willing prostitutes."
As consenting adults, the Manics have already had two Top 40 singles ('Stay Beautiful' and 'Love's Sweet Exile') and created a genuine buss about their first long player. Entitled 'Generation Terrorists', the album, a double, contains 18 songs that range from angry rushes to mood pieces to token lifters. Produced to perfection by Steve Brown (The Cult) it's an impressive, often surprising, debut that sacrifices consistency for excessive ambition.
"The main themes of the album are alienation, boredom and exploitation," explains Wire) who, in partnership with guitarist Richey James, writes the lyrics, while Bradfield and drummer Sean Moore handle the music), " We know that we're tieing used and we've accepted it because we've always had complete conlIdence in our music. If you're a band and you want to sell records, you have to realise that you are a product. The record company is using us but they've had no say in the album's content. That s how we've maintained our integrity, and the people who thought we were a joke are about to lind out that we're completely serious about what we do."
Another comment attributed to the band, before the album was even recorded, was that it would be the Manic Street Preachers only record. When its natural lifespan had elapsed they would simply disappear.
"It's true at the moment," insists Bradfield. "We are basically the laziest people in the world and, lobe honest, it I had enough money I couldn't care less ft I never did anything again." "It just seemed like a natural thing to piss people off," is Wire's opinion. "After this record, though, I don't think I'll have anything left to say lyrically. This album in a perfect statement."
True to the band's contradictory nature, it the hype surrounding 'Generation Terrorists' evolves Into substantial sates there will almost certainly be a second Manic Street Preachers chapter. It's this sort of loudmouthed sloganeering that has led to accusations of manipulative minds molding an image. The reality lies in the fact that print doesn't accurately convey smile or a laugh. The Manic Street Preachers do believe everything they say, no matter how ridiculous, but there is an underlying sense of humour and sell-depreciation.
"As a band," Bradfield states, "It's complete arrogance to believe that everybody else is a prick and we're right. We love it when people slag us off because we couldn't give a fuck."
"The things we say are completely natural." says Wire. "I think that we're the most important band of the '90s, because we've cleared all the shit out all the way. We've put Rock on the agenda as a vital musical force."
"You can laugh with, or at the Manics, but 'Generation Terrorists' will remain as a convincing, angst-ridden body al work. To begin its promotional campaign the hand kick oft their first headlining UK lour this month.
"For a start," Bradfield concludes, "We're shit live. We can always be people's whipping boys on stage, anybody can bottle us. If you've got any shit inside yourself, come and take it out on us."