Boy Cried Wolf
The Firebrand EP Release
August 2010
Interview: Steve Bateman

Wayne Murray is the talented singer-songwriter behind Boy Cried Wolf – a musician who has now been a part of The Music Business for over a Decade, having previously fronted the bands Catch, Thirteen:13 and The Honeymoon. For the past few years, Wayne has also been lending his services to the Manic Street Preachers as a touring guitarist, with his Official Biog revealing…

“We all know what happened when the boy cried wolf, right? These are the fables spoon-fed to us as children to instil a sense of moral grounding – the literary equivalent of a wagged finger, a verbal warning, or just a firm kick up the arse. What we’re left with is a karmic sense of getting what’s coming to us – of receiving back from life what you put in. The story Boy Cried Wolf frontman Wayne Murray has cultivated over his divergent career itself reads like a tragi-fairytale set to the soundtrack of romantic longing. Formerly the singer of nearly-rans Thirteen:13, whose glistening nostalgia-tinged pop possessed some of the finest melodic refrains of the early noughties, Murray soon found himself – and his band, who were promising much – in a Hansel and Gretel wilderness as the fairytale that should have reached its ever-after moment bruised and blackened into the full-stop refrain of “Nevermore.”

“I had just been dropped by BMG Records,” Murray explains. “The previous two years had been a struggle, and I started the year feeling as though I’d been pulled apart by horses.” However, with Murray’s undoubted prowess as a songwriter, allied with an impassioned vocal style, the story was never going to end there. Having garnered something of a reputation as a performer among his peers, it wasn’t long before a silver lining emerged amid the clouds. “Being dropped played a big role in what happened to me, so when James Dean Bradfield offered me the chance to play guitar in his solo touring band I was understandably nervous,” Murray recalls of his first encounter with the Manics frontman. “But blisters on fingers of practice later, I was on tour and my confidence was restored. Later the same year, I was asked to play guitar with the Manic Street Preachers at the Xfm ‘Winter Wonderland’ show. I’m convinced the call-up came about after I inadvertently wore a ladies’ tennis top to a live radio session with James for Janice Long,” Murray grins. “James told Nicky Wire on the phone and Nicky thought it was brilliant.”

And so, having gained the Wire’s approval, Murray soon found himself a staple member of the Manics’ live set-up. What for many would have been a happy little niche to fall into, Murray’s creative urge was merely galvanised all the more by the opportunities that came his way. “Boy Cried Wolf was born out of my songwriting,” Murray insists. “I wasn’t looking to form a band, but I was learning so much on the road [with the Manics] that half my time was spent trying to fit new ideas and directions into new songs and just trying to make sense of it all.” What happened was a catharsis. With the remnants of Thirteen:13 like smouldering embers in Murray’s past, the singer-songwriter took the experience he gained and threw himself into crafting a fresh perspective that became Boy Cried Wolf, resulting in the forthcoming EP ‘The Firebrand’, which melds the idealism of Murray’s former output with a world-weariness that lends the tracks a certain gravitas that only comes from deep-seated experience…

“‘The Firebrand’ sounded like utter heartbreak, which was perfect,” Murray explains. “The EP is our calling card. What came out of those sessions was a sense of rejuvenation – it was born out of the ashes from manically preaching around the world. I felt I’d pieced something together from the lost Polaroids and moleskin diary scrawls I had gathered and saved for Boy Cried Wolf…” Armed with such conviction, the resulting EP is a beautifully crafted piece of work and testament to one man’s determination to pursue the dream that, for some, will always be just beyond reach – the fairytale so rarely afforded refuge in a world of unhappy endings. After all, it’s not every day a lyrical legend casually hands you some of his words…

“During the rehearsals for ‘Journal For Plague Lovers’, Nicky Wire heard a rough-as-fuck live demo of the then-untitled ‘No Comfort From Your Skin’,” Murray remembers of the genesis of one of the stand-out tracks on the EP. “Months later, Nicky presented me with a beautifully presented hand-written lyric sheet. It was mounted on pink card and had a picture of Bob Dylan walking arm-in-arm with Suze Rotolo on the back. These were the lyrics that became ‘No Comfort…’ And I can’t begin to tell you how much that meant to me.” And so, having borne the brunt of dislocation and redeemed himself with hard graft, self-belief and ultimately the approval of the seminal performers of his generation, Wayne Murray writes himself another chapter from the remnants of experience, in a tale that doggedly pursues the ever-after with the conviction of a man with more to say and less to prove – for whom his story and his truth are one and the same. For Boy Cried Wolf, the story is just beginning…”

Prior to the release of The Firebrand EP and the Manics’ Autumn Tour, I spoke to the very friendly and genuine Wayne over the telephone at 11am on Tuesday morning August 17, for an hour, just before he was due to start recording in Brighton later that day with one of his bandmates. About Boy Cried Wolf, his love of music, his other interests and what it’s like being onstage and on-the-road with MSP…

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.At what age did your love of music first begin, and has the importance of music in your life changed over the years?
“Ah, brilliant! I mean I’ve always been into music, but I was quite late really, like I don’t remember much from school and I don’t remember much before I kind of got into music if that makes sense? I remember being in CDT, Craft Design Technology (laughing), and one of my friends would listen to a Walkman (pausing), I went to a really strict Catholic School as well and so we weren’t supposed to listen to Walkmans, but this teacher was kind of cool and he had Bummed by the Happy Mondays. I’m not a huge Happy Mondays fan by any stretch, but I just remember listening to it and I hadn’t heard anything like it at the time, and it was literally like 2 months later that I went to my first concert, which was Daisy Chainsaw. It’s not the sort of music that I’m into now, but I hadn’t heard anything like it at the time and I was just absolutely blown away you know – there was stage-diving and it was the first time that I’d ever seen a strobe-light. This was maybe when I was 14 and then Britpop happened, so that was that really. But my love of music has changed so much and like I said, I can’t remember too much about what I was like at school, or even what I was into too much before I got into music, if you know what I mean?”

2.I know that you’re really excited about the release of The Firebrand EP, so can you tell us about this and also, if there are any plans for a Boy Cried Wolf album and tour?

“Yeah, absolutely! I’m really excited about the EP and it’s like an absolute Godsend the way it’s happened, with James and Nicky’s involvement – it’s really galvanised me and the band quite a lot. It’s coming out on November 1 and we’re trying to work on tour dates now – I think we’re going to announce them in the next fortnight, but it’s obviously quite hard because I’m about to start really in-depth rehearsals with the Manics and then we go on tour at the end of September, and I’m going to the Czech Republic with them on Wednesday, so I’m trying to fit everything in around it (laughing). But during the Autumn Tour, we’re definitely playing in Cardiff the day after the Newport show and we’re supporting British Sea Power (excitedly), which is fantastic news! They knew we were trying to fit in a few of our own dates, so they said we can support them, which I’m really chuffed about, because I’m quite a big fan of theirs and they’ve got a cult following and they’re very lauded and very well-respected musicians. I quite like the idea of people being hardcore fans of Boy Cried Wolf as well (laughing)! I would love it if people felt very strongly and passionate about our music, no matter how big or small the audience is. That’s why I’m still doing it and still plugging away, because I totally believe in it and I write music from my heart. It’s such fun and it’s a chance for me to express myself through songwriting, that I can’t see a point where I’m not going to want to be doing it.”

3.A new music service called ‘mflow’ ( enables you to follow friends, artists and DJs, listen to songs they rate and if anyone buys the music you ‘flow’, you earn 20% of the price to spend on more music. Do you think this is a good idea, and if you were a member, what are some of the songs that you would ‘flow’?
“Oh wow, that does sound like a good idea, but I hadn’t heard of ‘mflow’ until you just mentioned it now. At the moment, I’m listening to Arcade Fire’s new album – Nicky Wire hates them doesn’t he (laughs heartily)? I’m not like their biggest fan, I’m more of a fan of the new song they’ve released from The Suburbs (pausing), I think the single might also be called The Suburbs. I’m really into that and I went to see a live band recently in Brighton called the Young Natives – I was pretty blown away, I thought they were fantastic! What else do I like listening to that I would do that for (thinking)… I heard a single by Wild Beasts, who are signed to Domino, I like them. I’ll give you one more song that I’d ‘flow’… Obviously, something from the Manic Street Preachers’ new album and (suddenly) oh, The Horrors – anything by them, I’m a massive fan! I own Primary Colours on every format that it was released on, I absolutely love it! I’ve listened to it a whole bunch and I think they’re really superb!”

4.Of all your songs to date, which are you most proud of and why?
“It’s hard, because I’ve been in signed bands quite a bit before and I’ve been lucky enough to release a lot of records, so if I’m thinking of going well back to what I’m most proud of (pausing), some of my songs achieved different types of success, like Thirteen:13 had one song A-listed on Radio 2. But, I think the song I’m most proud of – and I’m not just saying this because obviously Boy Cried Wolf is my band now – but I think musically and because me and my heart fits into it, I would say The Firebrand. It couldn’t be more me sort of thing, so I’d say that’s one for sure.”

5.Thom Yorke once spoke about “the power of ambiguity in words and phrases.” Would you agree with that + how do you go about writing lyrics?
“Yeah, I would agree with that and I’m just reading a book about the David Bowie album, Low, at the moment. Only half of that album is lyrics and half of it is all music, but they said that he was in such a kind of mad, wild space when he was writing it, that he was almost detached from writing it. But, I can still listen to the lyrics and I still love them, because they’re all about isolation and bedroom angst – I really like Low. I’m going off track here, but I’ve also been watching loads of Rolling Stones documentaries as well, and they did that William Burroughs method of writing lyrics, where they’d cut-out words from anything like magazines and put them together. They’d just have all of these phrases and jumble them together and they would then form the lyrics for a song. I guess it’s the way they picked the order of the words, or how Mick Jagger sang the song, as to what the meaning became. So, I can see what Thom Yorke is saying, you can probably find meaning and stumble upon something quite poignant, by snatching phrases or cuttings or snippets or bits that you remember from lyrics. I mean the way I do it is, I rely a lot on my stream-of-consciousness, so the first initial stage of me writing a song, will usually be me picking up an acoustic guitar and I will then murmur words or just try and find a melody. Through that, I wrote a song called When You Cry You Cry Alone, which was just me mumbling for half-an-hour or an hour (laughing). Then, I listened back to the Dictaphone recording of what I was singing and I just remembered hearing that, and I think that’s very strong, When You Cry You Cry Alone. I wrote the whole song around the title really – I worked out what it meant to me and conjured up images. Another way I write, is very filmic almost. You know, I imagine playing the whole scene out in my mind, or on the sheet of paper when I’m writing it, trying to think of it almost as a film (laughing). If it’s a love story, I’ll think of Betty Blue or Paris Texas, so it’s a more kind of fractured love I guess.”

6.As a singer-songwriter, are there any singer-songwriters who you greatly admire?

“Yeah, there are so many and I always find that a difficult question, because my brain just goes into overdrive and I can’t actually remember any! I mean, I’m so into David Bowie at the moment and I’m really into Brian Eno as well and his production – I’ve been reading up lots about him and following his work from Roxy Music through to U2 even really. I’m trying to think of other people at the moment that I love (thinking)… Evan Dando – I’m a really big Lemonheads fan and I really like his solo album, that’s a big one for me! I’d almost have to say Kurt Cobain for once as well, because you asked me before how I got into music and like most people my age, 32, Nirvana just had such a profound impact on my life at the time, that I guess even now, I still think about that. But, there are so many! Let me give you one more (thinking)… The Beatles – all of them really – because their arrangements played a big part in how I think about music – how they tried to push boundaries, their vocal approaches, just everything really… John Lennon especially.”

7.What instruments can you play, and how would you describe your style of guitar playing?
“In my mind, it’s like the kid at school who thinks he’s the best footballer in the world (laughing), that’s how I think about myself when I play drums – I think I’m amazing (laughing)! If I get behind the kit, I just think, ‘That sounds absolutely brilliant’ you know (laughing), it’s wicked! Although everyone else in the room thinks it’s an absolute racket! But, I can keep the beat on the drums. Do I play anything else (thinking)? Yeah, I’m a good bass guitarist and at the moment, I’m trawling through eBay and thrift stores looking for an upright piano, as I want to learn it. Me and Sean Reed from the Manics, when we’re touring, we always think, ‘God, we spend so much time on the bus, that we could be learning another language’ (laughing)! But, my thing is, is that I want to learn how to play piano. I did get into music quite late, I couldn’t play any instruments until I was about 14 really, 15 almost, I picked up a guitar and it was a means to an end you know? I wanted to be the singer (laughing), but I also wanted to write the songs, so I just learnt a few chords and then took it from there. But, it wasn’t until quite late on, in my early 20s, that I actually got properly into playing electric guitar. I never studied it, but I just played so much and I’ve been lucky enough that my job has always been in music and has been about playing guitar, that I’ve actually ended up pretty good (laughing). I think I would describe my style of guitar playing as (pausing), it’s hard, because I think I’m very much a learned rhythm guitarist and it kind of harks back to not trying to be good at everything really, like I try to pick a strength. Much like Keith Richards I imagine, I love the idea of really listening to the drums and really listening to (pausing), I think my particular brand of playing, I express myself a lot. So I really will bring my interpretation of what I think the vocal will do, I’ll pre-empt it or I’ll pre-empt a lot of things, almost have like a bit of a map. So, I’d say that my rhythm playing is probably different, because I haven’t sat down and learnt from a book or a teacher, I think it’s much how a singer would sing, how I play guitar. It’s quite individual to me and I think I’m a really good rhythm guitarist and an ok lead person (laughing).”

8.Do you know exactly what type of music you want to put your lyrics to, or does this come about more through jamming with your bandmates?
“Um, more often than not, I bring a song to Boy Cried Wolf pretty fully-formed, apart from maybe the arrangement, which is something that we work on as a band much more together. But it’s pretty much me who writes the song and who has the lyrics when we come in. But in the band – especially Paul, the other guitarist – because we work a lot out of his studio, it’s a lot about deconstructing as much as constructing a song, if you get my meaning? We build it up in rehearsals and then we take it to the studio. It’s not a thought-out process, but it is kind of like we would work for days and days on an idea or on a rhythm or something like that, but we won’t be afraid to scrap it. Because none of us feel like, ‘We’ve got to do this,’ because we’re all in our early 30s basically, so it’s not like we’re trying to compete with anyone. We’re just desperate to make it as good as it possibly can be, so we’re not afraid and we don’t have any time constraints (pausing), obviously, we want to get the EP ready because we’re going to be selling it on the Manics Tour, which is a fantastic piece of news! We’ll have a little corner of their merch world, which will allude to kind of how Nicky Wire wrote the words on No Comfort From Your Skin, as well as how James plays the guitar solo and also sings backing vocals.”

9.As your songs are full of memorable melodies and hooks – from all of your favourite music, which melodies and hooks instantly spring to mind?
“Ah, brilliant – that’s a great question – and another way I write, is that I’ve been singing melodies and saying we could almost do something like this for the middle 8. So let me think of some great melodies that I love at the moment (thinking)… It’s a great question and I don’t want to let you down (still thinking)… I’m trying to think of the main riff I play on my guitar that I love playing, if we go up and check the guitars before everyone gets onstage. Got it, I always play Always On The Run by Lenny Kravitz (laughs heartily) – that’s a great riff! But a song that springs to mind if I’m being really honest, is Today by The Smashing Pumpkins, yeah. It’s a riff I always play on the guitar and I’ve never not loved hearing that song, so that would be a big one. Another song I always play on guitar is Jumping Jack Flash, that’s like a really balls-to-the-wall riff (singing riff). It’s cool and I love simplicity in itself as well you know? I love the lead line to Motorcycle Emptiness and I hear it so much, especially when it starts speeding up and the technical ability that James has to play it, it always kind of gets me! There’s definitely a song by Led Zeppelin I would choose as well for the melody (pausing), I saw a documentary on them and it had more of a folky song that I absolutely loved, When The Levee Breaks or something I think it was. I would love to give you something current as well, someone new that I love, who I haven’t mentioned before (thinking)… Laura Marling, but it’s so crap now, because I listen to everything on an iPod, so it’s very rare that I can remember song titles, but I do really love Laura Marling’s new album and all of her melodies I think are fantastic!”

10.Which stage of creativity do you most enjoy – writing, recording or mixing?

“They’re all great, but I’m one of these people who loves writing and I love the creative process. You know, like with the four members of our band, I look around the room and I think, thankfully – somewhat begrudgingly including myself – ‘We are great musicians,’ which is due to our age and due to a lot of the jobs that we do. Toby is Graham Coxon’s touring bass player, Paul the guitarist is just an immense blues musician and a real learned / studied musician, who can play anything really, really, really well – like mandolins, slide guitar and electric guitar. So I just enjoy that process so much, sort of being in the room with them and like I said, building a song up and watching a song grow. But I’m very aware that that’s where I believe my strengths lye. I love singing as well (pausing), I think Thom Yorke again said that when Radiohead were recording OK Computer, he wanted a different vocal approach and a different vocal sound for every track on the album, which I thought was absolutely fantastic! So, I always approach a song not just opening my mouth and singing a song as I would, it’s something I really think about and I want it all to be not different for different’s sake, but I almost want to get into character for each song really, if that makes sense? I enjoy those processes and I feel that that’s where my strengths are. The production and the mixing (pausing), it’s not that I don’t enjoy it, it’s just that I don’t think that’s where my strengths lye really. I think it’s very hard for anyone to be good at everything sort of thing. I love working with producers and I’ve been really lucky to work with some fantastic ones, like Stephen Street for example, Steve Osbourne, Tom Elmhirst who mixed Back To Black by Amy Winehouse, Mike Hedges on The Honeymoon – I’ve worked with some great, great people! I enjoy what they bring to the table a lot, and what they do for the song just as much you know? So yeah, it’s more kind of the band and the writing side of things that I really enjoy, and of course, playing live! That’s a big thing for me, and hopefully, we’ll get to the stage where we can go on tour (pausing), we’ll be playing at least 10 dates this year – it will be a mixture between London and Brighton – but we’re also doing a Cardiff show at The Globe and we’re hopefully doing In The City in Manchester, during the Manics Tour as well. So I’m excited about all those things!”

11.Have any song ideas ever come to you in your dreams a la Paul McCartney and Yesterday?

“Just last night, we watched On The Waterfront, it was the last thing that I watched – it was 1 o’clock in the morning and we had some downtime – so we watched it and then I went to bed. It was literally one of those moments where I wrote a load of lyrics on a sheet of paper, and it’s a new song that we’re going to be starting later on! I don’t know if you’d say it was a dream, because I was awake (laughing), but the paper and pen were just there and I was up, just thinking about things, thinking about films and other little bits and bobs, and then I just wrote these lyrics. I woke up this morning and said, ‘Oh, they’re interesting’ – I just went through them. But yeah, sometimes I guess, but it’s like I said before, I’m all about the ‘You never know when inspiration will strike’ approach or anything like that really. I love the romantic notion that Paul McCartney wrote Yesterday in a dream, that’s absolutely amazing! If I can write anything nearly as close (pausing), maybe I should try sleeping more and dreaming more (laughing)! If I could come up with something like Yesterday, I would definitely go into one of those space capsules and sleep for a couple of years – it would be worth it (laughing)!”

12.If you could have played or sung on any album in your record collection, which one would it have been?

“Oh, wow-wee, fantastic! I’m trying to not say something boring, but immediately, I’d say Revolver. That would be quite fun! Let me think again (thinking)… I’m trying to think of a current album that I’m absolutely immersed in. The last album that I think from start to finish just blew me away and I thought, ‘God, this is almost where I want to be,’ to say that in truth, it would have to be OK Computer. How it changed the world massively and just my whole take on everything is amazing! And just to give you something more current – I know that I’ve given you a few here now (laughing) – but Midlake, The Trials Of Van Occupanther. When I toured with James Dean Bradfield in 2006, we were listening to it then and that’s how we all got into it. We had an advance promo copy as well, because Nick Dewey who played drums on that tour, he was managing them or something, so we got to listen to it before everyone else and the song Roscoe was just on a loop on the bus, as well as a lot of Rush at that time I remember (laughing). It’s not something that I’m that into, but it’s one of James and Nicky’s favourite bands! So we listened to a lot of Rush! But yeah, the Midlake album I first heard on The Great Western Tour and it’s an album that I never fail to put on and listen to madly! I absolutely love the production, the vocals, the lyrics, the themes, the colours – everything about it is brilliant!”

13.What else in life do you enjoy + what would be your ‘Mastermind’ specialist subject?
“Outside of music, friends and family would be a big one. What else inspires me (thinking)? I mean, our band is based in Brighton but I live in London, so everyday I’m in Brighton, I walk near the sea and just kind of look out to it and throw stones into it, but I don’t know? I walk a lot (laughing), I’m trying to really think about what inspires me outside of music because it does take up such a lot of time in my life… Just friends and food, all the good stuff really, and reading – but when I read, it’s usually about music and musicians anyway (laughing)! My ‘Mastermind’ specialist subject would be, let me think (long pause + thinking)… I couldn’t pick something music-related, because it would be borderline obsession (laughing)! What do I know a lot about that I wouldn’t completely shame myself on (thinking)? I’m pretty good at football, but would I go on for that? I don’t know? I’m trying to think, The Wire knows so much about everything, he really is just like a fountain of knowledge! So if I think I know a lot about sport or a particular sport, he knows so much more than me (laughs heartily)! Let me think (long pause + thinking)… William Burroughs actually. I’ve read all of his books and I’ve read biogs about him, I know obscure spoken-word albums that he’s done, and I’m sure there would be a question on ‘Who did he collaborate with?’ – like Kurt Cobain and all that sort of stuff. So maybe I could just about pass on that. I would have to re-read a whole lot of stuff and get into him again, but I’ll say that for now, William Burroughs.”

14.As a member of a new group, do you think it’s important that small venues are saved for the sake of up-and-coming musicians?
“Oh, I mean, I couldn’t feel more strongly about it really you know? Again, harking back to when I was a teenager, there was just nothing like it and I don’t think there ever will be again. I have a 9-year-old son and his favourite band are 30 Seconds To Mars, and with their concerts, there are people stage-diving and there’s mosh-pits and there’s all of this stuff going on and he was saying, ‘I want to do that, I want to do that!’ I’m just thinking that even that aspect has changed, and even though for some it may be for the better, it’s all just so sanitised at the moment isn’t it? The thing about the smaller venues is, is that’s where you can at least still possibly get a snippet of rock ‘n’ roll and real sweat and real grit and history written on the walls. Rather than these fucking 02 Academys (pausing), not to slag them off (laughing), because we’re playing shows at them on this tour. But yeah, I feel very strongly about it and the best thing about doing The Great Western Tour with James, was that all of the venues that I played before in all my bands – which I was kind of blown away to be playing – like the Oxford Zodiac, the Barfly in London which I played a whole bunch of times (pausing), in fact, all of the Barflys. Like in Cardiff to everywhere we went, to the Bristol Fleece & Firkin – it has pillars in front of the stage so you can’t see anything (laughing) – but I played there a few times. We didn’t play there on The Great Western Tour, but we did the others and James would get so wound up and he’d be so nervous and I was like, 'It’s amazing that this small venue can do this to James!’ But he feels it as well, it is just as important – if not more important – that a small crowd can still make you nervous. It’s a bit more unforgiving in a way as well, isn’t it? You only have 100-150 people intently focused on you. I think they’re so important and just yesterday, we went into a pub that’s been really gentrified and it had really nice tasting ales, it had a really great menu, wooden floors and tables. So it was like, ‘This is nice, but isn’t this kind of killing out the old man’s pub?’ What I love and what’s great about Britain in a lot of ways, is that we have a pub on every corner and they’re all very individual. I guess that’s another thing I’m trying to say, is that with all of these venues, there’s no individualism – it doesn’t really matter where you go to see a band, like these Academys. Because they’re all mapped out to a certain spec and are all the same, do you know what I mean? That’s the idea of touring, to play and hear your sound in different venues, knowing that they all have a different history and that some legendary acts have played there. It’s like it is was then, rather than being decked out to an Academy blueprint or whatever’s going to help them sell more beer. I think it’s so important and I give respect to bands who – even if I can’t stand their music – there’s lots of bands who, for example (laughing), Keane – I can’t stand their music but I’ll leave it there (laughing) – but the Bull & Gate was closing down and their first ever gig was there I think, so they played there again. Radiohead played at the Oxford Zodiac. I went to see Coldplay play at the Bull & Gate with Terris, who were on the cover of the NME one time. I saw Oasis at the old Marquee Club (pausing), the old Marquee Club was the best, no doubt about it – it was just amazing! I saw some great bands there, with Oasis being just so unreal, it really was jaw-droppingly amazing and it was packed to the rafters! But now, it’s like a pub and no-one drinks in there, it’s horrible, it’s like an old Wetherspoons pub and I just think about the history that venue had and how great it was and how I would have sorely loved to have played there. The Astoria’s gone you know, I saw the Manics play there on The Holy Bible Tour, I saw Richey play there and The Holy Bible is an album that I loved then and it’s still an album that I still love now! We got to play there on the Send Away The Tigers Tour, we played 3 nights in succession at the Forum, the Astoria and then at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, but the Astoria gig was one of my favourite moments ever! I’d seen so many bands there – I saw the Manics there and then we got to play it and it really was just amazing with the balcony up the top. But now it’s gone. It’s tough, and I know a lot of people who have seen bands at the Astoria and who had grown up in the last 20 years of music, that were really sad to see it go. And The Town & Country Club – which used to be the best venue – I saw The Smashing Pumpkins there, I saw Babes In Toyland there, it was just the best venue, but now it’s an Academy and the whole vibe of the place has changed. It’s just different, even though it’s the same venue and the stage is in the same place. Thank God it’s still there though, but for how long I don’t know, but it has changed slightly you know? The romance has gone.”

15.Of new artists / bands, are there any who you think have the potential to become festival headliners + is there a time when you think a lot of cool groups emerged as part of a music scene?
“God, it’s amazing when you don’t pick up a music magazine, and I listen to Radio 2 a lot, so I don’t think my finger’s on the pulse of new music at all (laughing)! But yeah, I think there is a lot of good music and there’s a lot of stuff that I’m hearing at the moment that I really like. I don’t know if they have the potential to become festival headliners, possibly, but The xx are a band that really move me and everytime I hear their songs on the radio, I think, ‘Yeah, that’s top-notch!’ I’d like to think that Laura Marling would one day step up to the plate – I imagine she would be absolutely brilliant on a bigger stage! Other young exciting bands, God, I’m struggling to think (long pause + thinking)… Wild Beasts again, the last 3 songs that I’ve heard from them have been really something different, like the high falsetto he sings with and how he sings about really strange stuff as well. So, I like them. I’ll give you one more (thinking)… Think Wayne think, bands that I want to go and see now, possibly bands on at Reading Festival (thinking)… I don’t know, give me a clue Steve (laughing)!”
*I say to Wayne that my favourite new band of recent times are without a doubt, The Joy Formidable, who I think are absolutely brilliant and definitely have the potential to become festival headliners! I also remark how lovely they all are and that Ritzy is a complete sweetheart*
“Oh brilliant, yeah, absolutely – they supported Paul McCartney with the Manics in Cardiff. I saw them and couldn’t place the name, but I remember when I saw the girl, I thought, ‘I’ve seen her up the top of a mountain with her band’ (Whirring promo video). Good for you Steve! I’m such a huge fan of both PJ Harvey and John Parish – I absolutely love PJ Harvey, she’s in my ‘MySpace Top Friends’ and is a massive inspirational figure to me. But yeah, I think we need more, more, more female singers! I really like Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs as well. You also asked me ‘Is there a time when I think a lot of cool groups emerged as part of a music scene?’ Can I say Britpop (laughing)? As I said, I remember that I’d just got into music and I got into music late, I got into Grunge initially and all of the bands around at the time like Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins… But then Britpop did come along and for me, I was just getting into music and in a way, 14 is quite late to start your love affair with what would completely take over everything that I used to think about. From The Beatles to Led Zeppelin to The Stones and whatever would come later, like David Bowie. But when Britpop came along, I just found it (pausing), when I saw Suede, I just thought this is beyond sexy, cool and raucous and their first album absolutely blew me away you know? I just remember being such a fan of theirs, and then there was Blur and I saw Radiohead really early on supporting The Frank And Walters, which is the most bizarre thing ever! I remember hearing Creep and there was like a pocket of fans in The Frank And Walters crowd that actually loved them! And even though some of the bands were absolutely dreadful i.e. The Frank And Walters, The Sultans Of Ping and Jacob’s Mouse, there was stuff around it and happening – like you would see Radiohead support them. But even the crap bands, I was having such a good time, but then the bubble did burst and when I started listening to more and more new music and getting into it, bands like Pavement would come along. When Slanted And Enchanted came out, I think Britpop was still happening, but that’s when I was cottoning onto the fact that there’s actually so much good music out there, it’s ridiculous – and a lot better music than all of the stuff that I was listening to at the time (laughing)! But at the time, I was having a really good time listening to Britpop. I can’t even for the life of me remember what year that would have been, but it was the beginning of Britpop and there was The Good Mixer and Blur (pausing), I used to live in Camden and I used to be very close to Food Records at the time. Andy Ross, who signed Blur, was a big figure in all of our lives really. He would be in the office everyday, and we’d go in and listen to music all day, then we’d go and place some bets, go to The Good Mixer, drink, play pool and talk music. I was only 17 or 18 at the time, so as you can imagine, I was very impressionable and it meant the world to me, especially being a big Blur fan as well obviously.”

16.Can you remember how you felt when the Manic Street Preachers asked you to join them as a touring guitarist, and what’s it like being onstage and on-the-road with them?
“I remember when it happened really, really well actually. I’m very good friends with Martin Hall, their manager, and I think they had a meeting (pausing), I think this is how it happened… Nicky had seen some footage of me playing with James at the V Festival, it was on television, then he kind of mentioned to James (laughing), ‘What’s the story with Wayne? Can he actually play the guitar? Is he any good?’ and James was like, ‘Yeah, he’s really good and he’s really cool.’ I think Send Away The Tigers was shaping up to sound quite big and everything else, so they thought the idea of getting a guitarist who could also sing would be quite a good plus. So, I didn’t get asked, I think Martin told me or kind of sounded me out about it and I was just like, ‘Yeah, that would be the most amazing thing in the world!’ Even though I had played with James and that was nerve-wracking enough – there was so much homework and so much worrying about it beforehand. But it all turned out to be absolutely fine, and it was so much fun and so inspiring and I had learnt so much already, that by the time I got to play with the Manics, you’d have thought that I would have been quite cool, ‘I can handle this’ kind of thing (laughing), but I was an absolute nervous wreck! I think the first song we laid into was (pausing), I’ve got a feeling it could have been Everything Must Go. It’s quite a challenging song and I’m quite exposed in the parts I’m playing, that I completely panicked, I was just so nervous (laughing)! The first gig we ever did was the Winter Wonderland and I was 20 minutes late meeting the band in London, which didn’t go down well at all. I just remember standing behind the curtain before showtime and they were nervous and I just had a real moment, I looked at my guitar tech when I was walking onstage and I could feel myself mouthing the words, ‘Help me’ (laughing). But it was too late you know, 1,2,3 and we were into You Love Us and then thankfully, everything kind of kicked in and it went fine. But, I still get moments where I can’t believe it, in anything that we do. It could be really small, it could be lounging around at Faster Studio or James will buy me lunch and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, cool’ (laughing). I still get ‘pinch-me moments’ all the time, and I think it’s something that everyone who’s involved with the Manics – from the crew, to me and Sean, to the management, to everyone that I see who they met when Everything Must Go and This Is My Truth was out. There’s a real air of huge respect and a genuine love for the band, and I think that carries on to everyone who’s involved in it. So yeah, it means a hell of a lot to me really, and it still does – it means as much to me now, as it did when I first started!”

17.Do you have a favourite Manics era / any favourite songs, albums, artwork and videos + how did you find learning tracks from their back catalogue – any particularly tricky ones?

“The videos for Everything Must Go and If You Tolerate This, I always remember being really kind of visually blown away by – I think especially Everything Must Go, because of the strings and how grand it sounds. Personally, for me, I couldn’t remember hearing anything like it at the time, how epic it sounded and then there’s obviously A Design For Life. But my favourite era I would have to say, is The Holy Bible. They’re the songs I look for on a set list, like Faster, and I’ve learnt so many of those songs. I know we’re going to hopefully be doing another couple on this new tour, ones we haven’t done before, or at least one that we haven’t done before. But I think The Holy Bible again, for James’ guitar playing and how angular it sounds – everything about the album really! I do love singing the harmonies in the band, so a song like Autumnsong is something that I always look for on the set list and I think, ‘God, I can’t wait for it to get to this song!’ We just started playing Tsunami again after a long time, it was 8 years since they’d played it, and even though I’m quite exposed again – I play the arpeggio line in it and I do a lot of singing on that song as well – even though it’s challenging, I kind of get a bit of nervous energy. Like, I wouldn’t be nervous about playing You Love Us or Motown Junk, because punk rock is very natural and it’s maybe a chance to kind of lose myself and jump around a bit. But if you watch me in Tsunami (laughing), I’ll be standing as still as if a shark was on fucking stage really (laughing), because of the concentration it requires. Lots of tracks from their back catalogue were tricky to learn though, and the big joke on tour is – Indian Summer was a big one because it’s got a capo on the 4th fret and I start the whole song off – but all of us have to start something off in this band really. Whether it’s James on Jackie Collins, Sean Reed on Send Away The Tigers, or if it’s me on Indian Summer. They’ll always be something that (pausing), I don’t know why, you’re there on your own and you’re not playing to a click-track or anything and Sean Moore’s not there to count you in, you’re just there on your own (laughing)! Suffice to say, the first show of the Send Away The Tigers Tour, I played the first bit perfectly and then just started to kind of lose it, and James told me afterwards that he wasn’t even angry, he just thought, ‘Go on Wayne, you can do it’ (laughing)! I’m trying to think of some of the more difficult songs to play (pausing), the maddest thing about the Manics, is that it’s all so different really, so a song like Sleepflower is a completely different technical way of playing guitar. James can do it all really, but for me, it’s kind of like, ‘Right, I need to get my metal head on here’ a little bit, because it’s all palm muting and very different. Then I will literally put the guitar down, pick up an acoustic and we’ll be playing Ocean Spray, which is a completely different style. Also, swapping from such big songs like Faster, which is so dug in and really about the rhythm and keeping the (singing rapid beat), which is really hard to do. Sometimes, the simplest things are the hardest things to do, and then you put the guitar down and you’ll be playing Little Baby Nothing, which is quite a soft acoustic song, for me anyway, because I get to strum the guitar. It’s just all of the different styles of playing, because they have so many different albums and they’ve moved forward with their music and wanted to do different things, which is now more grandiose I think. I mean this new album is going to surprise a lot of people I think, and it sounds absolutely fantastic – there’s shades of the Manics that I’ve never heard before that are really interesting and again, it’s kind of picking your brain. As I said, there are some real technical things that are quite hard, Tsunami being one of them (laughing)!”

18.What do you think of the band’s devoted fanbase and have you had the opportunity to meet many fans over the years?

“Yeah, I have, I’ve got to know quite a few of them and they’ve been so kind, they’ve come to Boy Cried Wolf shows and I’ve become quite good friends with some of them actually – they even help out with Boy Cried Wolf on the Internet side of things. Beforehand, even if I was into another band like The Cure and I went to a festival, I’d always see the Manics’ fans and it would always intrigue me enough, to find out about the band. That’s almost like how I started to find out about The Holy Bible in the first place really, just looking at their fans and thinking – even subconsciously thinking – that’s a Manic Street Preachers fan and that’s a Manic Street Preachers fan. Even though I didn’t know much about the band, it occurred to me then, just how loyal their fanbase was. Like at a festival with 70,000 people, you could spot their fans from miles away you know? It would all be about effort! Not only do the fans follow them around the world and go to every gig on the tour and stuff like that, but they make such a huge effort to kind of dress up and I can’t tell you how fantastic I think it is really. I know it means a lot to the Manics as well – it’s something that they talk about and it’s not to be taken lightly.”
*I say to Wayne, that James recently mentioned in a radio interview with BBC Wales, that when fans first started dressing up like the Manics and he felt like the band had their own audience, it was a moment that made him very proud*
“Ahh, that’s amazing!”

19.What have been some of your personal highlights / defining moments, during your career so far?
“I think I’ll go with – in no particular order – just what springs to mind. Having Nicky Wire hand me a lyric sheet for a song that I’d given him a really rough Dictaphone demo of – it didn’t have a title then, but it’s now called No Comfort From Your Skin – he heard it and he really liked the song, and he gave me this really beautiful hand-written lyric sheet with pictures on and you know, Nicky’s kind of scrawling. I was like, ‘It doesn’t get much better than this!’ Then Boy Cried Wolf got offered a week at their studio and James came down and said, ‘If you want me to play on anything just let me know.’ So he plays the guitar solo and I asked him to do a few harmonies, but I can’t tell you just how much that meant to me. It really was like, go back and have a little quiet weep sort of moment you know, ‘This is as good as it gets.’ I remember in my band Thirteen:13, we played a gig at Dingwalls in London and it’s quite a big small venue if that makes sense? We sold it out and we just had the most fantastic gig – it was the first gig we did an encore at and I just remember leaving the stage and thinking that if the band split up or we get dropped, it would be ok, because of this show sort of thing. And it was, it did mean everything to me! Then I have a real knack of what the Manics perceive as the worst gigs or really troublesome gigs, of walking into the dressing room afterwards (laughing) and saying ‘That was the best gig ever!’ I remember Glastonbury, Nicky just absolutely hated it and was swearing and really was on the verge of walking offstage – we were on the Pyramid Stage and it was all muddy, it was horrible. But, I’d wanted to play on the Pyramid Stage for so long and it just so happened that my sound onstage was absolutely perfect! James kind of almost overcompensated, by really going absolutely mad, mock poses and hardcore soloing (laughing), and everything was turned up so loud that I just absolutely loved it! Then there was the V Festival, we were second from headline and it was pitch black, there were lights all over, a huge, huge audience and it was on my Birthday, so James got the audience to sing Happy Birthday to me. So that was a real moment, and of course, there’s all of the travelling that the Manics allows me to do. The American Tour was another absolute highlight of my career for sure! Touring America on a bus and driving all over the country, no planes and playing at these venues and seeing how happy it made the Manics as well, because every night was sold out and again in America, there’s a real hardcore fanbase. It was just fantastic to see and everything about it – for all of us – made it the most enjoyable trip!”

20.Lastly, chips or cream buns?

“Ooh (thinking), it’s going to have to be chips!”
*I mention that all of the Manics went for chips as well*
“I can well imagine (laughing)! On tour, we’ll drive miles out of our way to find a good chippy (laughs heartily)!”

A very special thanks to Wayne for all of his time and help. Stay Beautiful.

“That’s just what we get for falling in love”

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?