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Manic Street Preacher Richie Edwards tell Jonathan Trew the white powder that’s been giving his band problems is a different sort to what you might expect.

By rights. Manic Street Preachers should never have made it to where they are today. The media would have toyed with them. given them five minutes of fame and then got bored; the Manics would have fallen victim to their own success/excess or simply failed to deliver and not lived up to the hype they built for themselves. But they didn‘t.

Born into the summer of baggy. they

were the antithesis of all the bands that were making it big. When peace and love vibes were all the rage. they were spitting out a Molotov cocktail of frustrated teenage ranting mixed with heavy political sloganeering and a healthy dose of in-your—face attitude. While apathy was the dominant ethos. and it seemed no one wanted to do anything other than get stoned and bliss out to Happy Mondays or The Stone

§ Roses. the Manics were setting themselves a frantic agenda for world

domination. They wanted to form the perfect rock 'n‘ roll band angry.

f emotional. anti-establishment. highly

politicised. controversial and appealing to a disaffected youth. They wanted to cut one perfect album and then split up.

Live fast, die young and leave a '_ beautiful vinyl corpse.

It hasn‘t all worked out exactly

according to plan. but it‘s not that far

off either. Sigue Sigue Sputnik

'; attempted much the same idea and have

now been mercifully consigned to the

novelty bin ofgreat rock 'n' roll flops.

; The Manics. on the other hand. have toured extensively, had eleven Top 40 hits. released two albums and have a

third. The Holy Bible. due for release in ; September. Pretty good going for four kids from Dullsville. Gwent with

accents to match.

Coming as they do from a depressed. l post-industrial wasteland, the Manics' lpoliticisation doesn‘t come as a

' surprise. Every record release comes with a quote berating the status quo.

: This is a band who wear their political hearts on their record sleeves, but they are somewhat dubious about what they can achieve.

‘When we started off.‘ says guitarist Richey Edwards. ‘people said. “Here‘s another left-wing band who think music can change something." but ? we've never really believed that. I think i that music can only change things on an individual level. In terms of society or culture. it means fuck all. We're not : the sort of band that is ready to put our ; name to any political party in Britain.

l There‘s no fundamental difference in choice between them.‘

While their politics seem pessimistic. E Manic Street Preachers are a band with T a future. in spite of their early promise to break up. Ask them why they didn‘t split after Generation Terrorists and

you won’t get a straight answer, but ask them what drives them on and you get closer to the soul of the band. ‘We're in it primarily for ourselves. and think that we’re doing something worthwhile.‘ he declares. Okay. so this deviates a bit from their original manifesto. but then what better way to confound your critics and stay controversial?

Recent appearances might suggest the Manics have undergone something ofa revamp in the image stakes. Out go the tight white jeans. the two-inch-thick mascara and the slogan-sprayed T- shirts. ln come the more austere and a damned sight less flamboyant Army and Navy togs. Have the Manics swapped the rock ‘n‘ roll rebel gear of bored youth for an ironic, two-fingered sartorial salute to the establishment? Or is this a return to the paramilitary garb ofart terrorists. musical guerillas out to subvert the conventions of society? ‘We were doing more and more touring and it was getting harder to keep things clean. White is impractical and the last thing we want to happen to us is to look like the Levellers.‘ groans a squeaky- clean Richey. Rock ‘n' roll for the Persil generation.

Further festival highlights rounded up.

I Aimee Mann How many today still carry a torch for the Boston band ‘Til Tuesday"? Possibly not so many as will be turning on to their frontwoman Aimee Mann over the next while. After the demise ofthat band. she found a manager willing to put up the money for her first 3in album, roped m guests Roger McGuinn and a bunch of antique keyboards and presented Whatever to lmago Records as a finished package. No mean spinner of a lyric and unrepentantly influenced by songwriters of the 60s and 70s. she lists her three concerns as ‘revenge. defeat

and despair" and is indulging her taste for throwing unexpected curves: she

hasjust toured America as a member of

a temporarily reshuffled Squeeze.

I Blur ‘This is one-and-a-half minutes

of us just doing what we do.‘ announced Damon Albarn at Blur's last festival appearance (Glastonbury a

triumph, incidentally) before launching into a hectic ‘Bank Holiday‘. They‘d already completely sold out a British tour by just doing what they do. At T In The Park(life) we'll get another hour of them just doing what they do (an album‘s worth of swooning emotion. unbridled energy. New Wave invention and dotty sidetracks, in case you've been asleep for most ofthe year) and it will be brilliant. a celebratory pogo- fest, no less. In the rollercoaster scheme of fame. fickle fame, Blur are tight at the top. grinning and waving madly. ‘Girls And Boys‘ for Single ofthe Year? All bets are off.

I Crash Test Dummies The fact that Brad Roberts' twenty-fathoms-deep

voice actually sounds like God should sound is pretty handy, especially when it comes to singing about the Big Fella (‘God Shuffled His Feet‘). and to projecting quirky art-pop across festive acres. The fact that Crash Test Dummies put the ‘lite’ in ‘polite' is less advantageous in the open-air. Still, there’s that single and its follow-up. ‘Afternoons & Coffeespoons‘. plus the prospect of a smattering of the more spirited stuff from the Dummies' debut album. The Ghosts That Haunt Me. All of which should conspire to lift the spirits and raise a smile on the day.

I Cypress Hill Precious indeed are those records which mark a sea change in hip hop culture. and LA trio Cypress

10 The List 15—28 July 1994