The Manic Street Preachers have had a successful career since 1992 which saw the release of their debut double LP "Generation Terrorists"
This was followed the next year by the "Gold Against the Soul" album, and in 1994 by "The Holy Bible" album. All of these were excellent records.
On February 1st 1995, Richey Edwards, guitarist and more importantly a lyricist for the band disappeared. This event has been reported and covered dozens of times since. There have been no positive sightings of him since his disappearance, and it is not known if he is alive or dead.
The 3 remaining band members, James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore understandably took a lengthy break to deal with this and had all our respect and sympathy.
They returned, as a 3 piece, gradually, first contributing a version of "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head" to the "Help" album in September 1995. They then made a full return in spring '96 with their 4th album, "Everything Must Go". This was preceded by the "Design For Life" single which entered the UK chart at number 2, as did the LP in the album chart on its release. At the tail end of July, the single "Everything Must Go", taken from the LP, was released, later than originally planned due to delays shooting the video, and went straight into the UK chart at number 5.
"Kevin Carter", the third single from the album, was released in England on Sept. 30th.
It entered the charts at number 9.
The record features a track "Sepia" on the b-side, the lyrics for which are said to be a message to Richey.
According to Nicky Wire "basically it says `we miss you'".
On Wednesday 16th of October James Dean Bradfield co-hosted Radio one's evening session.
His choice of records during the show included "Ghetto Defendant" by The Clash, "Everything is Sorrow" from the Boo Radley's new LP, Therapy's "Teethgrinder" and finally The Chemical Brothers "Chemical Beach". He also gave the Bradfield seal of approval to the Super Furry Animals, calling them `the greatest rock'n'roll Welsh band since Badfinger'.
The final single to be taken from the "Everything Must Go" album was "Australia", released on December 2nd '96. Instead of the usual set of new songs released on the CD, 3 cover versions were recorded for the release. These are Primal Scream's "Velocity Girl", "Take the Skinheads Bowling" by Camper Van Beethoven and Andy Williams' "Can't Take My Eyes Off You". The single entered the UK charts at number 7, making an impressive total of four top ten singles from the album!
Kylie Minogue appeared onstage with the band at one of their recent London shows, singing the female parts on "Little Baby Nothing". It has been rumoured that the Manics plan to re-record the song with Kylie for inclusion on a "Best Of" type package. The band had asked her to sing when they originally recorded the song back in 1991 but she refused, opening the door for Tracy Lords.
In January 808 State released the single "Lopez", which features lyrics written by Nicky Wire and sung by James Dean Bradfield. On the 28th the NME Brat awards took place, where the Manics won in the Best Album category for "Everything Must Go", Best Single category for "Design for Life", and also the Best Live act award. At the Brit awards ceremony held on Monday 24th February they performed "Design For Life" live and scooped awards in the Best British Album and Best British Group categories. James dedicated the awards to Philip Hall and Richey Edwards.
News broke earlier this year of a reported sighting of Richey Edwards in a hippy street-market in Goa, India. Richey was reportedly seen by College Lecturer and Musician Vyvyan Morris when he visited Goa on November 6th 1996, though he has only recently seen fit to fully report the event. This sighting still remains unconfirmed but police investigating Richey's disappearance are taking the information seriously. Richey's family say they've heard a number of these rumours in the past and are waiting for police to check it out before proceeding any further.
The 42nd Ivor Novello songwriting awards were held on the 29th of May with the Manics collecting perhaps the most well respected award of "Best Contempory Song" for "Design for Life".
Their Reading performance in '97 went down pretty well. They played one new song in the set, a 'tortured ballad' called "Ready to Drown".
James Dean Bradfield spent some time during '97 working with Kylie Minogue on her new album, which was released towards the end of the year. The music for her single, "Some Kind of Bliss" was co-written by James and Sean. A second song, "Don't Forget", from the album also features music by James and Sean. James also co-produced the two tracks alongside Dave Eringa.
Towards the end of September a live video of May's Manchester Nynex arena show, attended by some 15000 people, was released. Titled "Everything Live" the tracklisting for the video will be: "Everything Must Go", "Faster", "Kevin Carter", "La Tristesse Durera", "Roses in the Hospital", "Elvis Impersonator", "Motown Junk", "Motorcycle Emptiness", "No Surface All Feeling", "This is Yesterday", "Australia", "A Design for Life" and "You Love Us".
Recording of the new LP has finished, with around 20 songs completed. James has told that reports that the sound of the LP was more like "The Holy Bible" are completely wrong, saying "it's like something from our past, something from our present and something from our future."
The first single, titled "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next", taken from the new LP will be released on August 24th.
Lyricist Nicky Wire wrote the song about the Spanish civil war (one of his current fascinations) and has described it as his homage to The Clash's "Spanish Bombs".
B-sides for the single are currently being selected from their newly recorded material.
The video for the single was shot in London in early July with director Wiz, who previously worked on "Everything Must Go" and "You Love Us".
The LP will be called "This is My Truth, Tell Me Yours" and is due for release on September 14th.
The Managing Director of Sony music (parent company to the Manics' label Epic), Paul Burger has described the LP as "absolutely and without doubt the most important album we'll release this year".
11 of the 13 tracks to be featured on the LP has been confirmed as: "South Yorkshire Mass Murderer" - said to be about the Hillsborough football disaster, "Ready for Drowning" - played live at Reading in 1997 , "You Stole the Sun", "The Everlasting", "Black Dog", "Tsunami", "I'm Not Working", "You're Tender and You're Tired", "Born a Girl" - reminds me of Nirvana's "Been a Son", though I expect it to be quite different, "Nobody Loved You" and "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next".
The LP was recorded at the end of '97 and the beginning of '98 at Big Noise studio in Wales, studios in England and Mike Hedges' studio in France. As well as Hedges producing, Gregg Haver, who worked on "Everything Must Go", Dave Eringa - "Gold Against the Soul" and "Motown Junk" - and Apollo 440's Howard Gray have also been at the controls. The album features a duet with Sophie Ellis Bextor of Theaudience and is said to feature James playing a Sitar on one or more tracks.
Sophie has said that the track she worked on will most likely be a b-side to one of the singles, and also revealed tha she was around the Manics' third choice vocalist for the track. Both Cerys from Catatonia and Sharleen from Texas were hoped for, but were not so interested having both already done duets recently.
Keyboard player Nick Naysmith is now understood to be a more permenant member of the band than simply having a touring role.
It is not known if he is credited with any songwriting on the new material.
The release of the album will be accompanied by a BBC2 documentary about the band, made with the Manics' concent and assistance and directed by Mike Connelly.
It is the first time the band has worked with the media in this way.