Alex Silva

Alex Silva On Engineering/Co-Producing
Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible
March 2011
Interview: Steve Bateman

Released in August 1994, the Manic Street Preachers’ third album, The Holy Bible, was to be their last with Richey and is now considered by many, to be the band’s definitive period – lyrically, musically and visually – regularly placing highly in ‘Greatest Albums Of All-Time’ lists. Most recently as NME’s # 1 ‘Darkest Album Ever Made’, and in August 2005 (9 months after the 10th Anniversary Edition was issued + further cementing its artistic, cultural and historical significance), even topping BBC Newsnight’s ‘Quintessential Newsnight Viewer Top 5 Favourite Albums Poll’, ahead of Radiohead’s OK Computer. With Richey reportedly penning 70% to 75% of the words – which still resonate as much now as they ever did – the songs are devoid of any hope or joy, are judgmental and are filled with contempt, invective and polemic. Frequently staring into the abyss and plunging deep into the heart of darkness, by documenting the wrongs of the 20th Century World and our seemingly unchallenged conditioned existence, all punctuated with Richey’s internal suffering, self-disgust and fragile state of mind at the time. Where, through his escalated lyric writing and blurring the divide between observation and the autobiographical in some instances. He bravely examined source material such as prostitution, fascist military dictators, desire, the glorification of serial killers, failed political leaders/relationships, anorexia, concentration camps/the Holocaust, self-abuse, old-age and the right to freedom of speech. And although Nicky did contribute to some of these lyrics / think up a lot of the song titles, in his own lyrics, he addressed American consumerism/British imperialism and looked back on childhood. Also wanting to move away from the glossy, beefy and mainstream US rock sound of their previous effort, Gold Against The Soul, and for The Holy Bible to be much more focused, linear and representative of them. The group made a conscious decision to return to their “grass roots, rediscovering their Britishness and influences that had inspired them when they first formed,” including Gang Of Four, Joy Division, Magazine, PiL, Siouxsie And The Banshees, The Skids and Wire. Eschewing expensive residential recording facilities as well, the LP was laid down cheaply over 4 weeks at Sound Space Studios in the red-light-district of Cardiff with engineer/co-producer Alex Silva, who at the time, was the only other person allowed to encroach into the band’s insular world – with not even the Manics’ management attending any of the intensive and isolated recording sessions.

Referring to these insalubrious surroundings, where there were no other distractions and only strict concentration on the actual record itself, as a coterie who all shared the same feelings and tenets, Nicky once recalled, “We knew we were doing the right thing.” With James describing the making of this particular album, as “preventing him from having a social life” and Alex “attributing the break-up of his relationship with his girlfriend at the time to the long hours involved in the recording.” Who as well as engineering/co-producing The Holy Bible, also engineered Suicide Is Painless (Theme From M*A*S*H) and later worked on selected b-sides + JDB solo material. But returning to The Holy Bible and its gestation, the long player was “constructed with academic discipline, with the band working to headings and structures so that each song is like an essay,” with the record’s title chosen by MSP’s ‘think tank’, Richey, “to reflect an idea that everything on there has to be perfection.” Who would go onto reveal in one interview his reasons for why, “Whether you choose to believe or not believe in religion – whether you're agnostic, atheist or a believer – the simple fact is that religion has shaped world history and still does. Even if people deny it, it's still an important factor in world events. The holy book in any religion is supposed to be about the truth, and I think the way most religions choose to speak that truth to the public, is always used in a way to beat them down and keep them in their proper place... If the Holy Bible is true, it should be about the way the world is, and that’s what I think my lyrics are about. They speak about the world as it actually is, don’t ignore things, don’t pretend things don’t exist. I don’t think that’s any way to live your life, really.” One journalist was moved to meditate, “The Manics’ triumph is that, when they could have been the full stop at the end of rock ‘n’ roll, they chose to be a question mark. The Holy Bible sounds as though it was created under so much fucking pressure that songs that would once have been fat, rampant anthems have buckled, been crushed and flattened, broken down, emerging as thin, white-hot strips of purest vitriol.”

Deemed to be “out of time and out of place” by another writer, Q would declare that it was a “graphic, violent torrent of self-lacerating punk fury which infamously details the horrors in Richey Edwards’ head.” With NME’s ’50 Darkest Albums Ever Made’ feature concluding, “A moving opus of fanatical self-examination and despair at humanity.” Sonically however, it is undeniably JDB’s sedulous, angular, harrowing, claustrophobic and at times unsettling compositions – nailed together with Nicky and Sean’s drilling rhythms – which along with the record’s stripped-down / raw production values, take the tormented, uncompromising and perfectly-formed lyrics to another level entirely. Inhabiting different personas, almost like a method actor would and becoming a voyeur, incredibly, with emotional vocals and shape-shifting phrasing, James managed to mentally embed himself in the poetic and personal pain of Richey’s lyrical vérité. Making it almost palpable, by fitting every word in – unedited and uncensored – and framing his hard-hitting / arresting lyrics with unflinching, black-hued musical architecture, where no syllable is sacrificed and no note is wasted! I therefore thought that it would be more than worthwhile chatting to Alex, who as previously mentioned, had an insider’s view. As he was on hand the whole time during the recording of The Holy Bible, to ensure that all of the sounds / dynamics JDB was coming up with, were ‘captured’ exactly as he wanted, and would communicate each song’s message in the most direct and memorable way possible. If after reading this interview you would like to find out more about Alex and his career, please visit his official website at But now, in the concluding part of my series of talks with key Manic Street Preachers’ producers, he remembers what it was like to work on a timeless masterpiece, which although “epitomising him in every way,” would turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy and tragically see the vanishing of Richey less than 6 months after its release…

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, when and how did you first come to work with the Manics?
“The first time that I worked with the Manics, I think was in 1992, when we did Theme From M*A*S*H for the NME, and it was about 2 years later that we did The Holy Bible…”
*I ask Alex if it’s correct that the band originally approached Mike Hedges (who was unavailable to be quizzed for R*E*P*E*A*T) about producing The Holy Bible, but he wasn’t free at the time, and that they also thought there was a chance it could have been their final album*
“I’m not aware of the band originally approaching Mike Hedges to produce The Holy Bible – obviously he did the album afterwards, Everything Must Go – but I’m not sure at the time if he was in their world, so to speak. There was a producer who came and did one song, Steve Brown, who did She Is Suffering and I think he was more a part of them at the time, having done Generation Terrorists. There’s always a discussion that I have with the band, because I’m convinced that when they first came to the studio, they were planning on The Holy Bible being a mini-album, 6 tracks or so. Although everytime I mention that to them, they don’t seem to recall any of that. But nonetheless (laughing), as far as I know, they were planning on maybe doing it up in Liverpool at Studdridge Street Studios. Then, I bumped into Nicky Wire in a café around the corner from our studios, Sound Space, and basically begged him to do it in Cardiff – whether that had any impact or not, I don’t know. But in the end, they did come to Cardiff to do it! I don’t recall them ever saying that they thought it could be their final album though, being definite about that, no, I can’t say that I do remember that happening to be honest.”

2.Can you remember your initial discussions with MSP about what they wanted to achieve sonically with the long player / their ideas for fleshing-out demos, and then, the first day and the last day of making the record?
“Well, I mean, when you make an album, the artist you’re working with normally has a lot of references and they had a lot of CDs that they wanted to play me. Specifically when we worked on each song, we would start each song by listening to 2 or 3 songs by other people that they liked the sound of, or that they wanted to ‘capture’ the spirit of, like Pantera, PiL or The Clash. Certainly, The Clash was one artist that they were very excited about trying to ‘capture’ the spirit of – from their earlier albums – and I remember in particular after the first or second song we recorded, they were very excited, because the takes ‘captured’ what they were looking for. I remember the first day of making the record quite vividly, because obviously like all sessions, it was a technical setting-up day, doing lots of soundchecking. Sound Space Studios is a very small space, so to get the kind of sound separation you need, takes a lot of work! I remember soundchecking the drums with Sean for hours and he was getting pretty bored (laughing), having to hit snare-drums and bass-drums. So at a certain point, I remember that I kind of had to put an end to punishing them with having to soundcheck endlessly. That was the first day, and the last day also was quite memorable, because at that point, I think it was just me and James and I think it was like a 36-hour day! We started at 10am on the last day, which might have been a Thursday I think, possibly – I can’t remember the exact month now, although I’m sure it was in the summer – but we worked throughout the night until about 3pm the next afternoon. So at that point, we were pretty exhausted anyway, because we’d been working 7-days-a-week very intensively on a very intense album, and various members of the band and myself, were also having pressures domestically. So, I think we were all very tired and this last day was somehow very euphoric, but we were also totally worn-out at the same time (laughing)!”
*Although Alex is listed as an engineer on The Holy Bible sleeve credits, I ask if he’d now class himself as the co-producer as well*
“I think at the time, the band had an ideal, James said that “No albums have been produced since Led Zeppelin III.” So in that case, they felt there was no need for a producer as such – maybe because the term producer carried too much weight for them. But in subsequent years, James has kind of told me, “Yeah, you can call yourself the co-producer of that album.” Although I'm fine with my credit, I just recorded what was there.”

3.Did you work on multiple song ideas, or did you prefer to finish one song at a time – including overdubs – and was there a moment where you felt like THB was starting to come together / its character was beginning to shine through?
“I think it’s very rarely on any album that you finish one song before you move onto the next. The first thing to do really, especially depending on the environment you’re in – and because Sound Space was so small – the thing that we needed to do, was to get all the drum takes down. So generally, we got the drums and bass and a guide guitar for every song, and then once they were definite with drums and bass, we would then move on and work on the guitars, which I guess took the biggest chunk of time. Once the tracks started to build-up (pausing), I mean, it’s definitely such a direct, emotional outpouring from that album, that it definitely felt like it was something very special, and I think gauging the drive of the band and the focus that they had, it definitely felt like you were working on something of importance. Possibly at the time, maybe nobody had any idea that it would be such a revered album and it still amazes me and makes me very proud, that it gets noted in so many areas for what it is – that’s fantastic!”

4.Following the bold claims and resurrected punk, glam, metal and rock ‘n’ roll of their early years, where the band spat-out, ‘Originality Is Worthless’. Some music critics believe that this album gave the group their own voice and identity for the very first time, almost heralding a clean slate after being initially regarded as an act made-up solely of their influences. But of all the arrangements and sounds that you helped bring to life, which are you most proud of?
“I think The Intense Humming Of Evil was a song that I liked very much and I felt very involved in that, with this kind of looping of the industrial sounds in the background. Originally, I think that sample – like on a lot of the other songs – was meant to just be an intro texture, but then the way it worked out, we kind of extended this industrial noise and it became part of the music as well. All of the sound design stuff, like the speaking in-between songs and also the industrial sounds, the band had them on very low-quality cassettes. Generally, they were just played in from the cassette player, with a little bit of noise-reduction to try and improve the sound slightly, but with The Intense Humming Of Evil, as I’ve already mentioned, we actually looped the sound and that was the only song I think where we actually did something as far as editing goes, to the sounds. The high-pitched whistling was guitar feedback on the edge of making the amp implode! As for another song that I’m proud of, I think Yes as well, was a song that I loved very much and I think that was maybe one of the first songs James sang. It was also because it was the first time that I’d had an extended time working with the band, that I began to appreciate how they worked together, because James not being the primary lyric writer, had to interpret what Richey and Nicky wanted to say with their lyrics, and that for me, was also a moment where I kind of really appreciated the work that was being done.”
*I ask Alex if he would mind telling me how some of my favourite sounds on The Holy Bible were created, which he’s more than happy to, so I mention the thrashing electronica and James’ final distorted scream, “Who’s responsible? You fucking are…” on Of Walking Abortion, the treated vocal + hypnotic dreamlike quality of This Is Yesterday, which comes as a shaft of light in the album’s sequencing, and finally, the bleeping noises / quivering cry at the beginning of Die In The Summertime*
“On Of Walking Abortion, the thrashing electronica is white noise, filtered and played through a keyboard. With James’ final distorted scream, I think that was actually done through the guitar (pausing), it was while we were doing the guitar takes, as he screamed through the pickups as he reached the end of that particular guitar pass. So that sound was not worked on or manufactured, that was the guitar sound coming out of the cab and that’s what it sounded like when you shouted through the pickups. For This Is Yesterday (pausing), we had a very, very limited set of effects and I think all of the effects on the whole album came from a ‘Zoom’ micro-pocket guitar processor, which is like a tiny guitar processor that fits on a guitar strap. I’m not sure exactly if that’s the effect that you’re talking about, but I know there were a few vocals that we also processed through this guitar processor, which was basically all or nothing, regarding the depth of the effect. So that might have been like a chorus effect from a ‘Zoom’ effects processor. The bleeping noises at the beginning of Die In The Summertime were made by switching pickups while the guitar was feeding back. The vocal sound, as with Of Walking Abortion, was made by screaming through the guitar. Jack White took it a step further and had a microphone built into his guitar!”

5.Seeing as the musical / thematic ideas mesh together so flawlessly, with the harsh and sombre words clinging to the dense and opaque sonics – resulting in a strong continuity from beginning to end – once tracks were fully composed, did you have to ‘massage’ many of them into place?

“No, the band had such a clear idea and James with all of his guitar playing, was so definite about what he wanted, that there was no real question about having to make anything work you know? They knew exactly what they were doing!”

6.James has disclosed that Faster was “rewritten roundabout 20 times.” So, can you tell us anything about some of the alternative versions + are there any other songs that went beyond your collective expectations?

“Before they came to the studio to record, Sound Space was also a rehearsal room complex and I remember visiting them once or twice, while they were rehearsing prior to coming to the studio, but I can’t specifically remember what songs they were working on. So, all that kind of stuff would have happened beforehand. As for ‘Are there any other songs that went beyond our collective expectations?’ I think what you hear on the final record, is not drastically different from what we were doing in the studio – it’s a pretty true representation. I think She Is Suffering had a great feeling to it and it felt very big in its emotion, and that I guess is not a big surprise for me, but it’s one of the songs that had a great weight to it – also thanks to Steve Brown’s work.”

7.Did you record any additional tracks, such as b-sides, and how would you describe the mood in the studio?
“Everything we recorded, was included on the album. I think a few weeks later, we possibly did some b-sides, although I can’t remember which were part of The Holy Bible era, because I did quite a few with them. The atmosphere in the studio was very positive and up – the band was in a great mood and always kind of joking, going out a lot and shopping in St. David’s Centre. James, Nicky, Richey and Sean were all in the studio from 10am to 6pm, and once Nicky and Sean’s parts were done, the rest of the evening was just me and James. Again, it was a tiny space and the only place to hang-out was the actual office of the studio, which, as Nicky once said, looked like something from Minder (laughing)!”


8.As Mark Freegard mixed the LP – completing the journey from studio tracking to final mix – what do you feel he brought to the individual songs / overall feel of the album, and are there any recorded parts that he didn’t use?
“Mark Freegard did a great job mixing it and I think he kept it quite natural, he brought out the right emotions for each song. I’m pretty sure that the band worked closely with Mark on the mixing, but I think he maximised what was happening in the studio really. There was no kind of big production values happening after they were finished in the studio really, and I think they might have chosen him because he mixed The Breeders album, Last Splash, which they liked very much – I’m not entirely sure, but I think it might be something to do with that. Unless I’ve forgotten, I think everything we recorded was used in the final mixes and I can’t remember anything being replaced or replayed after that.”

9.On a similar note, both the band themselves and Manics Fans have discussed at great length which version of The Holy Bible they think is best, the UK version or the US version (mixed by Tom Lord-Alge), either as a whole or song vs. song. Personally, I think I would go for the UK version, just for its rawness and because it seems so much closer to the group’s original / singular vision, but what’s your preference?

“I think I would agree with you, because the UK version was the first one and that’s kind of what you get used to. Also, that album feels like it’s something that comes straight from their mouths and from their hearts, and like you say, the rawness of the UK version suits the lyrical feeling more I think.”

10.Can you tell us about James’ guitar playing on THB, and how would you describe Nicky and Sean as a rhythm section?
“With James’ guitar playing, at the time, guitar solos were not really considered ‘in’ anymore and I think James was one of the first guitarists that I worked with where (pausing), he would do solos and because we were recording straight to tape, we would drop-in tiny fragments of the solos, then re-record and drop-in again. Then, he would double-track it all – I think nearly every guitar on that album is double-tracked! But he would double-track them to such an exactness, that you maybe can’t even hear that sometimes there’s two guitars. That really was a labour of love to get it so perfectly doubled, that you can’t hear the difference, but it adds a bigger power to the sound. I think on that album, his guitar work is phenomenal!”
*I say that James has remarked that he thinks some of his finest guitar work is on The Holy Bible, as Richey’s lyrics “pushed his playing and writing skills to extremes.”*
“Yeah, it really is phenomenal! I mentioned this in an interview once before, that after I did that album, I felt that that’s how you’re meant to record guitars, so I probably spent the next 3 or 4 years driving all guitarists crazy (laughing), by making them double-track everything and making it perfect! By then, James had probably changed the way he liked to do guitars (laughing) and he’d probably moved on since then! With Nicky and Sean as a rhythm section, I love both of their playing a lot – I really like the way Nicky plays bass, he just keeps the pulse of a song going, but there’s something about his attitude towards playing, it always falls just right I think.”
*I ask Alex if the soundbites on Ifwhiteamerica… such as “And we say” are Nicky*
“Yes, it was a reluctant Nicky Wire. I also was press-ganged into doing some backing vocals on Revol (laughing)! But going back to your question about Nicky and Sean as a rhythm section, with Sean’s drumming (pausing), they’re very composed in the true sense of the word and I really like that, because what they do, I think compliments James’ playing very well. So, I think you can only gauge how it works together, and in that sense, that’s the sound, so you can’t really question it!”
*I ask Alex if there were any other instruments used during the making of this album, which added to the sonic textures*
“No, I don’t think there were any keyboards – apart from the filtered white noise on Of Walking Abortion, plus a glockenspiel sound on Faster – and the only thing that I can think of, is on She Is Suffering. There was this very high-pitched beeping sound and that was actually just taking the guitar cable that was still plugged into the Marshall, and I think with a sweaty hand, pressing really hard on the cable and it would cause this feedback. Which depending on how heavily you pressed on this jack, you would have a certain control over the pitch of it, almost like a theremin. I don’t know why it did that, but it did, so I remember working on that a little bit and that I think is one of the few (pausing), well, if you can even call it an instrument, but it’s an additional sound apart from the basic guitar, bass and drums work.”

11.After lyrics and music, another of the record’s unique characteristics are the spoken-word samples, but was it a difficult task trying to seamlessly synch these with the tracks without fear of disrupting the flow of the LP?

“We weren’t using samplers at the time, so we would just play the cassettes until they kind of landed in the right place. Possibly because it’s a guitar-based album and the sounds came from a lo-fi cassette, they had the right tonality I think, that glued well with the guitars. The only synchronisation was pressing play, to see how it felt. I think after a few times, it felt like it had a good feeling to it and maybe the fact that you couldn’t sit there for hours, playing around with microseconds, I think made it felt very spontaneous and that’s probably why it's quite natural. The band already had all of the samples when they came to me, Richey was the custodian of all those sounds and he was the one who always presented those sounds to me.”

12.When Generation Terrorists was released in 1992, Patrick Jones wrote, “It is part mirror, part cure for our present condition – every word lashes minds into questions… It is to music what Marx was to politics, what Einstein was to science, what Ginsberg and Kerouac were to literature and Pollock to painting – it, they, us tear down and begin to rebuild with a better vision.” Although now, by comparison, The Holy Bible seems a lot more suited to this viewpoint, so how do you feel about the ever-growing importance of the album and its status as an essential classic / reference point for future generations of musicians?
“Well (exhaling a deep breath), unbelievably proud I guess, and of course to be a part of something which has such notoriety you know – in a positive way, if that's possible – is only something that I can be really proud of! I think something that is so important lyrically as well, means that it will never go away – it’s definitely a classic album! I saw that it was recently named as NME’s # 1 ‘Darkest Album Ever Made’ and I think that ultimately, the core of music is somehow pain and searching for something better, so I think to be the ultimate dark album in a way, is possibly one of the greatest compliments you can have as an artist you know? I don’t know, but if you had the 'lightest' album of all-time awarded to you, I'm not sure whether that would feel as important (laughing)!”

13.You stated earlier, that you knew you were making something very special at the time, so would you be able to elaborate on this, and also, what are some of your most treasured memories from The Holy Bible sessions?
“The Manics were the first, important big band that I’d worked with, so definitely the whole thing for me was very special and to see a band who were so driven about what they wanted to do (pausing), I think it was kind of an antidote to their previous album, which was far bigger and more elaborate. So, it definitely felt like we were making something very special and essential. Because they were so excited by what they were doing you know, and I can only gauge it from the reaction of the people I’m working with, but I don’t think any of us dreamt that it would become so noted. At the time, I think it was the worst selling album that they’d made, but sometimes, these things take time before they really grow and I think that’s one of those albums. It definitely wasn’t the easiest album to make and it was pretty heavy at times and a lot of hard work – it was really working the whole time, it wasn’t kind of sitting around and idly chatting. The whole thing was very focused work from beginning to end, and I think that’s what makes my memory at least, that the whole thing was a very special time!”

14.What did you think after hearing the tragic news of Richey’s disappearance less than 6 months after the long player’s release, and then in 2008 - 2009, James, Nicky and Sean putting his remaining lyrics to music on Journal For Plague Lovers?
“I think at the time, when I heard the news of Richey disappearing, of course it was upsetting, but no-one would’ve dreamed that that would’ve remained the state of things, that he wouldn’t come back. Because he’s not the first musician to disappear, but not many never resurface and so I think maybe now when you think about it, it’s a bigger shock than at the time, that actually, it was meant to be permanent. I think Journal For Plague Lovers was a great, brave album to make, because they were possibly opening themselves up to a lot of criticism. But in the end, again, their honesty about what they’re doing I think, makes it right and it’s really great that they did that. At the time, when they were doing it, I was also talking with them and I think they were trying to decide between me and Steve Albini, and then obviously, Albini confirmed that he could do it. I would’ve loved to have done it, but maybe it’s better that it turned out that way, because otherwise it might have become a bit too awkward, to kind of try and recreate a situation that happened before. But I’m always happy to talk about The Holy Bible, because it means a lot to me that I was a part of it and to be remembered that I was a part of it by other people, is really a medal I wear with pride!”

15.Lastly, chips or cream buns?

“Well, I don’t need to think about that, because I grew up in a fish ‘n’ chip shop, so I’d have to say chips really (laughing)!”

A very special thanks to Alex for all of his time and help + for kindly allowing R*E*P*E*A*T to use the portrait taken of him by photographer Anton Corbijn.

“I think I’m a facilitator.
I’m good at encouraging ideas out of people
and helping the artist to realise what’s in their head.”

Where The Holy Bible spoken-word samples come from (originally courtesy of, now with amendments sourced from 227 Lears, A Critical Discography, Forever Delayed and Wikipedia)…

Intro: "You can buy her, you can buy her... this one's here, this one's here, this one's here and this one's here. Everything's for sale." Quote By: Junior, an aspiring New York pimp and security guard at the Midtown Whorehouse - taken from a '93 television documentary in Channel 4's 'Red Light Zone Season' called, 'Hookers, Hustlers, Pimps and Their Johns' (broadcast on 29 December 1993). The sample was extracted from the part in which the director of the factual programme, Beeban Kidron, is led around a whorehouse and then shown a catalogue titled, 'SCREW', which contains sex workers. When Junior opens the first page, he proceeds to point out black and white photographs of 5 different women, while uttering the aforementioned dialogue. Another line, 'It is New York', actually preceded 'everything's for sale', but this was omitted for artistic purposes. Therefore, it is the perfect sample to be used in Yes - MSP's song about prostitution of the self: prostitution meaning the need (being part of a band, or a person living in society in general) to conform to social standards and norms. Losing your real self, because you are forced to say yes and to sell yourself out. Outro: "Two dollars you can rub her tits, three dollars you can rub her ass, five dollars you can play with her pussy, or, you can lick her tits. Choice is yours." Quote By: Junior at Theatre District Peep Show (interestingly, at this point during the TV documentary, Madonna's 1990 single, Justify My Love, can also be heard in the background, but this music was obviously carefully filtered out / wiped by Sean using his Akai S1000 Sampler).

"Next Thursday, you're invited to watch Rising Tide's live coverage of a gala tribute in salute to Ronald Reagan. Host Haley Barbour joins special guest Lady Margaret Thatcher in celebrating the former President's 83rd Birthday. Tickets are $1000 a plate, but you can see the event free, on GOP TV." Announcement of a TV show in 1983. This weekly show was hosted by Haley Barbour, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. The sample is taken from 'Late Licence - United States Of Television', a clip-based look at American television sampling the wide range of American programming - network, regional, cable and satellite - which was transmitted in the UK on Channel 4 between February - March 1994, airing on Saturday nights at 11pm. It was presented by Laura Kightlinger and in this particular episode (telecast on 12. 2. 94), she looked at the Republican Party's GOP TV and other American channels. GOP TV is a Republican TV channel and functions as a mouthpiece of the Republican National Committee, or GOP / Grand Old Party.

Of Walking Abortion
"I knew that someday I was gonna die, and I knew before I died, two things would happen to me. That number one I would regret my entire life, and number two, I would want to live my life over again." Quote By: Hubert Selby Jr. (1928-2004). This quote is taken from an interview with American writer, Hubert Selby Jr. He answered the question, 'What have been some defining moments for you?'
*227 Lears noted that although Selby Jr. repeated the story in other interviews, it is likely that this spoken-word sample may have been sourced by Richey from a BBC Radio 4 broadcast, which he selected as an end of year highlight for Melody Maker (December 25, 1993): In a feature entitled, 'Richey Edwards Of Manic Street Preachers Chooses His Men Of The Year', one of his answers was: "My favourite radio programme this year was about… not cult books, but books which have aroused a lot of displeasure. They started off with Hubert Selby Jr.’s Last Exit To Brooklyn, with the author talking about it and reading excerpts, then J. G. Ballard’s Crash."

She Is Suffering (US Mix)
"It is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering." Quote By: John G. Bennett (1897-1974). John G. Bennett is a British scientist, mathematician and philosopher, who integrated scientific research with studies of Asiatic languages and religions. George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (1866-1949) is a philosopher and mimetic engineer. They both were attracted by Eastern spirituality and Western intelligentsia. They are the founders of the spiritual 'Fourth Way Movement', which helps people to live towards an aim, which is necessary according to the ideology of the movement. As Buddha said, 'Living Means Suffering', it is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering. This quote was potentially sampled from a commercially-available audio recording, of a talk given by J. G. Bennett on Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way, which took place at Friend’s House Lecture in London on November 11, 1974. The exact same dialogue was also used by Robert Fripp in his 1979 song, Exposure.

Archives Of Pain

"I wonder who you think you are, you damn well think you're God or something. God give life, God taketh it away, not you, I think you are the Devil itself." Quote By: Irene MacDonald whose daughter, Jayne, was a victim of Peter Sutcliffe (1946-2020). The voice is from a BBC Newsnight report by Martin Young (originally televised on 27 November 1980), whereby grieving relatives of the victims of The Yorkshire Ripper, speak movingly and directly to camera, as they seek information from the British public to help bring the as yet unidentified murderer to justice. The next year, on Friday, 2 January 1981, Peter Sutcliffe was arrested and convicted, with his five-year reign of terror coming to an end. In the previous five years, beginning in July 1975 with his first attack, he had killed thirteen women and left seven others for dead.

4st 7lb
"I eat too much to die, and not enough to stay alive. I'm sitting in the middle waiting." Quote By: Caraline Neville-Lister, an anorexia patient who died aged 29. Taken from the '40 Minutes' documentary (screened on BBC2, 11 January 1994) called 'Caraline's Story - A Young Anorexic's Final Months'. The documentary was directed by Jeremy Llewellyn-Jones and reflects one day in the life of Caraline.

"I wanted to rub the human face in its own vomit, and force it to look in the mirror." Quote By: J. G. Ballard (1930-2009). Taken from an interview with British writer J. G. Ballard, in which he explains his motives for writing his novel Crash.
*As with the potential source for Of Walking Abortion's spoken-word sample - rooted out by 227 Lears - the dialogue used on Mausoleum, could have also been conceivably taken from the same BBC Radio 4 broadcast?

"I hate purity, I hate goodness, I don't want virtue to exist anywhere, I want everyone corrupt." Quote By: Winston Smith (John Hurt). Spoken by John Hurt (1940-2017) as Winston Smith in the film version of George Orwell's famous classic 1984, directed by Michael Radford and released coincidentally in 1984. The movie stays very close to the book and sees Winston falling in love with a woman named Julia (played by Suzanna Hamilton). On their first secret encounter, Winston speaks the lines mentioned above - in a way he is declaring his detest of the Party, which has turned concepts such as purity, goodness and virtue, into mere synonyms for 'loyalty to the party'.

The Intense Humming Of Evil

"The court has come. The court of the Nations and into the courtroom will come the martyrs of Majdanek and Osventsim. From the ditch of Kerch the dead will rise, they will arise from the graves, they will arise from the flames bringing with them the acrid smoke and the deathly odour of scorched and martyred Europe. And the children they too will come, stern and merciless. The butchers had no pity on them. Now the victims will judge the butchers. Today the tear of the child is the judge, the grief of the mother is the prosecutor." Quote Extract / Narration From: The Nuremberg Trials, a 1947 Soviet-made documentary film about the trials of the Nazi leadership. It was directed by Elizaveta Svilova and produced by Roman Karmen, and was an English-language version of the Russian language film ('Judgment of the Peoples' or 'Judgment of the Nations'- see text below). Most of the film describes the Nazis' crimes in detail, particularly those committed in the Soviet Union. It claims that if not stopped, the Nazis would have "turned the whole world into a Majdanek." The film does not refer to the Auschwitz concentration camp by the German name by which it is usually known in the English-speaking world, but instead, referred to "the martyrs of Majdanek and Osventsim," using the original Polish name Oswiecim/Oswiecim. In early October 1945, the four prosecuting Nations - the United States, Great Britain, France and Russia - issued an indictment against 24 men and six organisations. The individual defendants were charged not only with the systematic murder of millions of people, but also with planning and carrying out the war in Europe. They set up an International Tribunal to prosecute these people for committing crimes against humanity. The trials executed at the tribunal are called The Nuremberg Trials and took place between 1945 and 1949, at the Palace of Justice in the German city of Nuremberg.
*Alex Silva on the industrial noises: "As far as I can recall, it was separate; the voice and orchestral music are from a single recording, the mechanical scraping sound was additional."
*Unidentified spoken-word sample on The Holy Bible (US Mix): A number of MSP Fans have noticed how on the American version of the album, there is a muffled, yet eerie and unnerving ghostly voice that appears between 2.31 - 3.02 and 4.01 - 4.32.

"227 Lears and I can't remember the first line." Quote By: Sir (Albert Finney). Spoken by Albert Finney (1936-2019) as Sir in the 1983 film The Dresser, directed by Peter Yates and based on the 1980 Broadway play written by Ronald Harwood. "Lears" refers to performances of King Lear, Shakespeare’s tragedy play and is a reference to Shakespeare being regarded as impolitically correct by some during the 80's and 90's. Sir not remembering the original lines, can therefore symbolise PC, changing lines in plays or works of art to make them Politically Correct, thus rendering the old versions impotent.

Postscript – The Holy Bible 1994 Studio Equipment & Recording Sessions Gear (courtesy of Alex Silva - March 2016)

Guitars, Bass & Drums
Guitars – Mainly James' White Les Paul Gibson.

Bass – Rickenbacker 4001, Fender Precision.

Drums – Possibly Yamaha.

Amps & Microphones
Guitars – The guitars were mainly played through an old Marshall amp with 4x12 speakers. Also used was my Rickenbacker 75w combo with 2x12 speakers. I think also a Soldano amp through the Marshall speakers. Finally a Fender twin reverb was used a couple of times. Mics used for guitars: SM57 & SENNHEISER421.

Bass – The bass was always recorded through an Ampeg SVT with an 8x10Cab. Mics used for bass: AKG 202.

Drums – Bass drum: AKG D12 Neumann U87. Snare drum: SM57 & Beyer M201. Toms: SM57. Overheads: AKG 451.

James' vocals – Neumann U87. The vocal mic was recorded through a focusrite mic pre and then compressed with a summit audio compressor.

Recording Console
Allen and Heath Sabre.

Tape Machine
Fostex e16.

PPS –The Holy Bible 2014 Tour Gear (courtesy of

One of the most surprising things about seeing the Manics live in 2014, is that Bradfield uses a Fender Jazzmaster on most of The Holy Bible's songs, with his trademark Alpine White Gibson Les Paul Custom making a lone appearance on Faster. He also used a black Gibson Les Paul Standard with Bigsby, and a Fender Thinline Telecaster on This Is Yesterday.
For the most part of the set, it appears he uses no other effect than a chorus, which is on most of the time. On this tour, as in other recent tours, his amp of choice is a Mesa Boogie Lonestar combo, which was listed on the Manic Street Preachers official website as one of James Dean Bradfield's Top 10 favourite amps.

Nicky Wire has played a variety of bass guitars in the past: Rickenbacker 4003 during Generation Terrorists, Gibson Thunderbird and Fender Jazz bass, but his favourite instrument these days is the Italia Maranello bass guitar. His favourite bass amps have always been by Ampeg (currently he stacks two SVT 810 cabs on top of each other). For The Holy Bible 20th Anniversary tour, his bass of choice was a red Fender Precision Bass with matching headstock. Wire also played a green Fender Jazz Bass.

Remembering Richey
Of course, the missing Manic Street Preachers lyricist Richey Edwards has never been known for playing his guitar too well (or at all) and he didn't care! But if you want to know, he used to play (or pose) onstage with a Gibson Les Paul standard, Fender Telecaster and, his trademark guitar if there was any - the Fender Thinline Telecaster.


Complete MSP Gear Guide:


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?