Not so manic now

With a hit single. a new album and a tour lined up, the Manic Street Preachers are closer than ever to mainstream success. But the unexplained disappearance last year of guitarist Richey Edwards hangs over the band like a shadow. Bassist Nicky Wire talks to Toby Manning.

5 The List 17-30 May 1996

ock 'n‘ roll has always been about spectacle. and no band has understood this better than the Manic Street Preachers. liver since they crashed onto the scene in late 1990 with the incendiary ‘Motown Junk‘. these childhood friends from Blackwood. South Wales have combined raw. visceral rock ‘n‘ roll with an incisive ability to mock and deconstruct the entire spectacle. With their strutting. preening. glam-tart image. their no-holds—barred onstage destructiveness and their knack for the headline-grabbing statement (‘all rock is homosexual‘; ‘I hope Michael Stipe dies of Aids soon' ). the Manics were a journalist‘s wet dream.

The Manlc Street Preachers (Iatt to right): lucky Vllre, James Dean Bradtleld and Sean floor:

If that had been all. the band could never have struck the kinetic chord they did with the fans. Not only were their songs searing.

anthemic and melodic. but. for all their knowingness. the band‘s intensity was

genuine. Ever stroppy and contradictory. the Manic Street Preachers played up to the spectacle for all it was worth and. as lyricist/bassist Nicky Wire says. tried to ‘subvert it from within'.

But just as the band were admitting in early 1994 that they‘d been naive to think they could control their major-label masters. so were there signs that the Manics weren‘t so much playing with the slobbering. drunken. self-destructive rock ‘n' roll spectacle. as being consumed by it.