I interViewed Richey Edwards as a preview for the Manics’ appearance at the first T In The Park. In the end, Richey didn’t turn up and they played as a three-piece for the first time. The set was fast, furious and uncomfortable. Backstage, the rest of the band would only say that their friend was in a bad way.
In fact, he had booked himself into a clinic. He had starved himself down to a ludicrous weight, was drinking dangerously and was reported to have been on a self-mutilation binge, none of which was apparent from our conversation. Whatever stress he was under, it didn’t show. I had expected him to be a snotty, arrogant and awkward shit. Instead, he was softly spoken, thoughtfully argumg his replies. I didn’t ask him about his problems — it didn't seem fair or even relevant and, besides, he picked at his own scabs enough without anyone else dabbling in the wounds.
Richey said that 'music can only change things on an individual level. In terms of society or culture, it means fuck all.’ A dispiriting thought for a musician. (Jonathan Trew)
August 7994 —— Richey books himself into a private London clinic, where he is treated for alcoholism. A statement from the band’s publicists reads: ’Speculation that Richey is leaving the group is completely unfounded. Even from the clinic he is very much involved with the artwork and other aspects of the new album. He is, however, very ill at the moment, and things have now developed to a point where the band —— but more importantly Richey -—- have decided that he needs professional psychiatric help to deal with what is basically a sickness.’
30 August 7994 —- Dedicated to Philip Hall, The Holy Bible deals with anorexia, self-harm, serial-killers and the Holocaust. ’lt’s not Abba Gold, ’ says James.
THE HOLY BIBLE
" James Dean Bradfield
opened the door to his
room in Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel one hour before
his Barrovvlands gig. Smaller than expected, he
was looking fit and muscular in a T-shirt and
combat pants. I had a beer, he had a cup of tea, we both had a chat.
TH‘E HQ_LY Sign
James murmured his answers. He seemed shy, not used to being interVIewed. Richey normally did all that spokesman stuff, but he was fresh out of the Priory clinic and didn't need the extra pressure of having to talk about his problems with the press. James does it for him: 'Since Day One, the situation With Richey has been damage limitation. We’re Just stemming the tide.’
James was cautious, but open, when talking about July’s T In The Park gig which they played as a three-piece. He referred to the gig as a ’betrayal’ of his friend, but also seemed annoyed.
’Richey wanted us to play it,’ he said. 'If we hadn’t played, I would have imposed a bit more guilt on him and he would have felt he was really fucking things up for us.’ (Peter Ross)
23 January 7995 ——- In his last interview, Richey is photographed with a shaved head and striped pyjamas. He is upset by the recent death of his dog and says he has thrown notebooks of lyrics into a river.
7 February 7995 — On the eve of an American tour, Richey leaves the London Embassy Hotel at 7am. He is never seen again.
The following months see the so—ca/led Cult of Richey go into overdrive. Obsessive fans get deeply into self-harm and anorexia, while music press mail bags overflow Co": 2.0:: 320' page D
27 Aug—IO Sep I998 THELIST 112