Manic Street Preachers: NME Godlike Genius
Shockwaves NME Awards Show Big Gig
February 28, 2008

Sean Moore
Questionnaire & Photography: Steve Bateman

Completing R*E*P*E*A*T's latest set of Exclusive Interviews with the Manic Street Preachers, is a brand new Q&A with "The man who keeps the beat alive, Mr. Sean Moore" - which Sean filled-in during the weeks following the NME Awards Show. A ceremony where the band, after enjoying something of a renaissance, was at last deservedly crowned as the music paper's Godlike Genius.

The questions were submitted to Hall or Nothing on February 25, 2008, and Sean kindly typed his answers and returned the Questionnaire to us on March 12.

As the quietest and most private member of the Manics - rarely giving interviews - it was with great delight and surprise when we received the finished Q&A, especially as Sean has revealed some of his innermost thoughts and cherished MSP memories, at what will undoubtedly be looked back on as one of the golden periods in the group's glorious career so far!

Who'd have thought, that by becoming the band that you never had when you were growing up, it would eventually lead to this…

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. 2007 was one of the Manic Street Preachers' most successful years to date, and you've just received the NME's Godlike Genius Award - how are you feeling?
"Certainly not Godlike, but optimistic for the future of the Manic Street Preachers and another chapter in that story."

2. For you personally, what have been the biggest changes that you've seen take place in the band and in each other, since you first emerged?
"Nothing has changed in the band apart from the obvious, still the same people… although Nick does eat tomatoes now."

3. In the group's early days, you successfully merged art and culture - both high and low - often courting controversy with a mix of antagonistic actions and confrontational statements in the process. But ultimately, which of these do you think, were the most effective in helping to get your music and message across at that time?
"Alienation, Boredom and Despair - in any order."

4. When discussing the quotes from literature used on Manics' record sleeves, you once stated, "We used to totally believe in everything that was written in print, it was like gospel to us. We just used it as reference and took from the past and tried to turn it into the future." One journalist even declared that you've "perhaps done more for the literary world, than any other band ever has," with many of your fans - old and new - also expanding their reading lists. Is this gratifying for you?
"Gratifying in being one of a few that try to blend all of these cultural expressions. The Internet on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired."

5. Do you think the best bands are a product of their environment, and are there any who you feel share, or have shared, the same spirit as the Manic Street Preachers?
"Usually, all the greats have shown this."

6. James recently said, that the Manics sometimes feels like both a Welsh band and a British band - that there's "a duality going on." But if you hadn't all grown up in Wales, do you think you may have had a different outlook on life, been a completely different band, or even existed?

"Who knows? Identity is always an issue when you're young."

7. You're now very much considered to be an Iconic group, but what has been the best thing that someone has ever said about the band?
"NME Godlike Geniuses."

8. Musically and lyrically, which Manics songs are you most proud of, and in order, what are your Top 3 MSP Albums?
Song… A Design For Life
Albums… Everything Must Go, The Holy Bible, Send Away The Tigers

9. Nicky has spoken of how he would like to one day work with Steve Albini, but to date, which producers do you feel have best 'captured' the Manic Street Preachers on tape?
"Dave Eringa, Greg Haver and Mike Hedges."

10. What do you think are the most overlooked qualities in Drummers?


11. Do the three of you have, or has anyone in the band ever had any pre-stage rituals + what's the ultimate Manics' song to open a live set with?
"Nothing to speak of. You Love Us."

12. Over the years, James has had some increasingly elaborate and entertaining stage introductions for you and Nicky. But do you have a favourite for each other, and if you ever had to, how would you introduce James on stage?
"For James… The Greatest Guitarist and Vocalist since Page & Plant in one."

13. Will the professionally shot live footage from the final shows with Richey at the Astoria in 1994 - as used in the alternate promo video for A Design For Life - ever be officially released on DVD, either as a complete set of 3 gigs, or as 1 show?

14. You love shopping, and continually keep up-to-date with the latest high-tech gadgets and inventions. But what have been some of your favourite purchases, and is there anything that you think the world would still benefit from having?
"Technology isn't moving fast enough - too many Marketing Strategies going on, drip-feeding us all."

15. Similarly, you adore video games, but in your opinion, what's the greatest video game of all-time?
Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - any platform,
Sonic The Hedgehog - Sega Mega Drive

16. For most musicians and fans, the sequencing of songs on an album, is a very important factor in the listening experience of a record as a whole. As a group, how do you decide on the final running order of your LPs + has there been any alternative album titles that were nearly used?
"The final running order of our LPs is down to compromise."

17. Of all the countries that you've ever been to / played in, which have been the most satisfying to visit?

"Japan, Canada, Italy, Spain and Portugal."

18. With the Internet rapidly changing the way in which people consume music, it's highly likely that fewer artists and bands will enjoy longevity / have storied careers. Are you glad that MSP were able to grow and develop in the traditional way, as opposed to how The Music Industry is now beginning to operate?

19. And what are your memories of the day that you signed with Sony Music in 1991?
"Playing Coventry Stoker to about 40 people."

20. Do you have a favourite Manics era / any favourite artwork, looks, photographs and videos?

"The Holy Bible."

21. What have been some of your personal highlights over the years?

"The Brits, Ivor Novellos, Cuba, Millennium Stadium and the NME Awards."

22. And has there been anything that the band didn't do, but now wished you had / anything that you did do but now wished you hadn't?
"Wished we had toured America, China and South America."

23. How would you like the Manic Street Preachers to be remembered, and musically, where do you think you're going to go next?
"A Great Rock 'n' Roll Band. Don't know yet?"

24. The Music Press only ever seem to write about the sadness surrounding Richey, and solely portray him as a Tortured Genius / Icon. But do you have a particular fond memory, or warm story about Richey, that you may be willing to share with us?

"He was only tortured during his time after Generation Terrorists."

25. Lastly, chips or cream buns?
"Chips and cream buns together. Why not?"

A very special thanks to Sean, to Claire + Terri @ Hall or Nothing, and to the Manics' Manager Martin, for all of their time and help. Stay Beautiful.

Big Gig Set List

The Masses Against The Classes
Motorcycle Emptiness
You Love Us (w/ Tom Enemy on 2nd guitar)
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
Everything Must Go
Send Away The Tigers
She Sells Sanctuary into Motown Junk
Your Love Alone Is Not Enough (w/ Cerys Matthews)
You Stole The Sun From My Heart
A Design For Life

"The creation continues incessantly through the media of man. But man does not create…
he discovers. Those who look for the laws of nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator. Copiers do not collaborate. Because of this, originality consists in returning to the origin."

- Antoni Gaudi