James Dean Bradfield & Nicky Wire
Manic Street Preachers

Summer Festivals / Gigs 2008
Questionnaire & Photography: Steve Bateman

After the Manic Street Preachers’ successful run of Summer Festival dates, Moscow + Newport shows and their critically-acclaimed Forever Heavenly 18th Anniversary gig – where the trio played a one-off, 6 song set, comprised solely of material recorded whilst signed to the legendary label back in the early ‘90s. Both James and Nicky have completed separate Q&A’s for R*E*P*E*A*T, from which we have combined and interspersed their answers to create one full-length article.

The questions were originally submitted to Hall or Nothing on July 18, 2008, but due to the band’s ongoing official obligations, the Questionnaires had to be put on hold – not forgetting about them though, JDB and The Wire very thoughtfully returned their answers to us in late October.

It’s safe to say, that besotted MSP fans are feverishly awaiting the group’s 9th studio album – due for release next year – and that from now until that time, there will be plenty of speculation as to how the tracks are going to sound and to the musical direction that James, Nicky and Sean may take. But one thing’s for sure, with formidable songs referencing the times we’re living in, and as socialist stalwarts, fearless nonconformists and upholders of counterculture rebellion, the Manics continue to stir interest and debate among their fanbase like no other!

And as a pre-eminent band who have delivered on everything that their glorious early Heavenly singles promised, who still have fire in their bellies and who still believe in a better world – backed up with a maelstrom of literary, political and polemic lyrics, offering realism, idealism and escapism. Long may the Manic Street Preachers continue to cast a mighty shadow over the ever-changing musical landscape, as they mean a lot of things to a lot of people!

So, as a little something to tide R*E*P*E*A*T readers over until the new LP, we proudly present our latest interview with Wales’ finest…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1.To begin with, if it was R*E*P*E*A*T’s round, what drink would you have and which song would you choose on the pub jukebox?
James: “I would have a Double Jameson or Penderyn Whiskey with 6 cubes of ice and ginger. And on the pub jukebox, I would choose either the Theme From The Rockford Files or Darling Be Home Soon by The Lovin’ Spoonful.”

2.NME has just released a 3CD compilation entitled ‘NME Classics’ – which features a timeline of legendary songs from The ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. But if you had to pick 1 defining song for each Decade, what would they be?
Nicky: “The ‘70s – God Save The Queen. The ‘80s – Sweet Child O’ Mine. The ‘90s – Live Forever.”

3.Liverpool was recently voted as "England's Most Musical City" in a national campaign set up by the Arts Council – but is this the city that you would have chosen?
James: “On the basis of The Bunnymen and The Mighty Wah!, Liverpool deserves it!”

4.Do you think indie music is now beginning to return to its independent roots, and is there a particular record label that you have long admired?
Nicky: “Independence is a state of mind. I have long admired the record labels, Heavenly, Rough Trade, 1965, Mute, Creation and Touch And Go.”

5.A number of music critics have stated that “rock ‘n’ roll didn’t become interesting until the British got hold of it.” Would you say that’s true?

Nicky: “For me, the most exciting post modern intellectual lyric is Help! and A Day In The Life is the most modern song ever recorded. But in answer to your question, I don’t know?”

6.Do you feel the role of Pop Culture in society is different now, and if people were to take one thing from the Manic Street Preachers, what would you like it to be?
Nicky: “Manic Street Preachers is about thought, knowledge, care, detail, loyalty, anger and hate.”

7.When musicians write and record songs, it’s a well-known fact that some come easily and naturally, whereas others have to be laboured over until they’re finally right. When this happens to you, which is the more fulfilling?
James: “The music to Faster took a week and roundabout 20 rewrites. The music to A Design For Life took 10 minutes. Both felt the same – pure elation!”

8.Can you reveal any details about the new MSP album – musical direction, song titles etc. as well as the rumoured release of a Deluxe Edition of This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours?
James: (left unanswered)

9.In your opinion, what’s the best documentary / film that has ever been made about a band?

Nicky: “Some Kind Of Monster – Metallica. The Filth And The Fury – Sex Pistols. One Plus One – The Rolling Stones / Jean-Luc Godard.”

10.Which non-musician do you think has had the greatest impact on The Music World?

Nicky: “John Peel and Jack Kerouac.”

11.A lot of your songs have memorable guitar riffs, but what do you think are some of the greatest riffs of all-time – and of all your guitar parts / solos, which are you most proud of?
James: “Some of the greatest riffs of all-time are… My Favourite Game by The Cardigans – Good Times Bad Times by Led Zeppelin – Satellite by the Sex Pistols – The Light Pours Out Of Me by Magazine – Into The Valley by The Skids – Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy – Limelight and Closer To The Heart by Rush – Chelsea Girl by Simple Minds – Start Choppin’ by Dinosaur Jr.”

12.What’s the best guitar shop that you’ve ever been to?
James: “One in Tokyo, but I can’t remember the name...”

13.And as an avid collector and connoisseur of guitars, is there a specific model that you would still love to own?

James: “I would love to own Steve Jones’ original white custom.”

14.Do you have a favourite magazine cover featuring the Manics, and if you could write the perfect headline for an MSP article what would it be?
Nicky: “Select 94 / 95? NME Los Angeles and Reading Frocks 97.”

15.Your records have always had thought-provoking titles, but are there any LP titles that you find inspiring?

Nicky: “Daydream Nation – Sonic Youth. Sandinista! – The Clash. Urban Hymns – The Verve. I Am A Wallet – McCarthy.”

16.As a band that has ceaselessly taken great care and pride in your artwork, which artists / groups from the past and present, do you feel have had the best sleeve designs?
Nicky: “New Order, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Echo & The Bunnymen, Suicide, Lou Reed and Shellac.”

17.The Internet and Social-Networking Sites have drastically changed the relationship between musicians and music fans, but had things been this way in MSP’s early days, do you think this is something that you would have embraced / utilised a lot more, along the lines of your old fan newsletters?
James: “Ask The Wire, I am useless.”

18.What’s the strangest rumour or untruth that you’ve ever heard about the Manic Street Preachers?
James: (left unanswered)

19.John Lydon famously said, “Anger Is An Energy.” But is there a quote that you would like to be remembered for?
Nicky: “I Love Hoovering.”

20.On a similar note, most fans are aware of the onstage rants that you now regret having, but is there one in particular, where you still stand by every word?

Nicky: “How about, “If you own an Ocean Colour Scene record – then get out!” Cardiff CIA 97 / 98? Or, “Snow Patrol are vile!”

21.As one of the most renowned make-up wearers in music, who for you have been / are some of the top androgynous rock stars of all-time?
Nicky: “David Bowie, the bloke in Mud, Kurt Cobain and me.”

22.Having now collaborated with / produced other musicians and written music for some of Patrick Jones’ Plays, are there any other projects outside of the Manics that you would be interested in pursuing in the future?

James: “Soundtrack for Patrick Jones’ first major film (one day). Or something for a Marc Evans film or an Aleksandr Sokurov film.”

23.You’ve recorded songs with Traci Lords, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Nina Persson, but if you could handpick one of your favourite bands to record a duet with one of your favourite female singers, who would they be?

James: “Nina again.”

24.After your fantastic cover of Rihanna’s Umbrella, if you could select any artist or group to cover an MSP song, who would you choose and which track?
Nicky: “The Fall – Wattsville Blues. PiL – Archives Of Pain. The Cardigans – Kevin Carter. Public Enemy – Repeat.”

25.Where’s the most unusual place that you’ve ever heard a Manics song?
Nicky: “America.”

26.What have been some of your favourite gigs that you’ve attended as a fan over the years, and who for you, have been / are some of the greatest frontmen and frontwomen in the history of popular music?
James: “Edwyn Collins + The Rocking Birds at the Forever Heavenly Festival this year. Echo & The Bunnymen at Bristol Colston Hall 85 / 86 – can’t remember which year?”

27.If you had to award one artist or band with an Ivor Novello, who would it be?

Nicky: “McCarthy and Billy Childish.”

28.And if you had to place 5 MSP songs in a time-capsule for future generations to hear, what would they be?
Nicky: “Yes, Your Love Alone Is Not Enough, Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky, I Live To Fall Asleep and Motown Junk.”

29.To date, what do you think has been the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll statement?

James: “God Save The Queen – Sex Pistols.”

30.Lastly, if a Pub Quiz Music Question was asked about the Manic Street Preachers, what would you like it to be?
Nicky: “Who is the greatest Welsh band of all-time (apart from Badfinger)?”

A very special thanks to James and Nicky, to Gill and Liz @ Hall or Nothing, to the Manics’ Manager Martin and to Rosey, for all of their time and help. Stay Beautiful.



"I knew I belonged to the public and to the world,
Not because I was talented or even beautiful,
But because I had never belonged to anything or anyone ever."


- Marilyn Monroe

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?