Generation Manics

From the early 90s debut as a working class glammed-out punk band influenced by The Clash, Guns n’Roses, Public Enemy as well as writers/thinkers such as Albert Camus, Valerie Solanas and Guy Debord to the 2000s’ stadium pop rock band playing in Cuba and shaking hand with Castro, the MANIC STREET PREACHERS have always divided people: either you love them or hate them. We have asked a few people from the glam/punk/rock’n’roll scene to express their opinion about the Welsh band…

“We just want to clear everything away. Maybe, after us, music won’t seem as important as actually changing the world” (Richey James, 1992)

Adam Becvare (LUSTKILLERS)
Accept for such bands as Hangmen, Green River, Dogs D’Mour, I had all but given up on rock bands in 1990 and was for the most part uninterested. I was warned of Manics by my good friend at Sony Music and sent the advance copy. The energy was there, the recording over produced, the anthems a bit cerebral, awkward and even clumsy. the biggest crime was the obvious drum machine. Ironically, all I was writing and recording with were machines at that time.

Nonetheless, Manics were still sexy to me and so I was invited to the Chicago show at METRO. 1 of only 5 dates on their first US tour.

I dont recall the opening act but i remember my anticipation for them to get off the stage. Even my goth contingent were anxiously awaiting to be impressed by the band being touted as Rock’s new saviours.

We sat like gods in the theater box of balcony as Manics strutted out to a only half full venue. Except for Wire, we agreed the band were comically short. There was a great vulnerability and the band were clearly intimidated. I’m sure they opened with Slash n Burn and the sound was perfect as Metro always is. The drumming was embarassingly bad which explained the drum machine on the CD. I seem to recall Richie was not even plugged in, but he was super cool with his F-hole tele slung low. We all wanted to love the Manics but were broken hearted that these were indeed not the new Saviours.

The greatest part of the show was Wire’s frustration which ended in him bursting a feather pillow on the last number. There was no encore except that the feathers of that pillow reached the ceiling of the club into the balcony down 2 flights of stairs and out to the street! Pure Genius.

Afterward we all awaited downstairs in the bar for Manics meet and greet. They never came out. I am sure they were ashamed. Wire met a northshore chicago girl that nite that became his wife. There was plenty of swag all over the bar…..still got my generation terrorists cocktail napkings and stickers. We still wished them well but were convinced there would be no second cd.

Then, as I stood with manager and band mates, down the stairs came Michael Schenker. I could barely believe my eyes. It clearly made no sense why he was there but there he was. I talked and shook hands with my childhood hero and yes i trembled. Manics thought they were so rock n roll but here was a man who lived/died and survived it all by age 21…Drugs/booze/fights and emotional breakdowns.

I never gave Manics much attention again until “this is my truth…” cd PURE GENIUS. and yes it is an entirely different band…..thank god. I met with them in Berkeley, Ca and saw the most brilliant show in SF. I will never forget that show or cd.
so many people make heros of the past. They build a legend from what never was. Richie looked cool but had too many problems. The true heros are the survivors. that is my truth.

‘O’ (Undercover Slut)
What influence did the Manic Street Preachers have on you or your band ?
Absolutely none whatsoever! But a huge respect to that Richey James era! I was living in England when “Generation Terrorists” came out & you had to be blind & deaf to miss ’em… At that time, they were way different from everything that came out in the U.K.

Do you still see them as the same band as before?
Fuck no! They were unique & became fuckin’ boring! Money… money… money…

What’s your opinion on the Richey James’ case?
… Blame it on the U.F.O.’s!

Shari (Black Velvet Magazine)
To be honest I don’t think the Manics had much influence on me. Having said that, they’ve been my second favourite band for the past 12 years. But I’ve never been inspired to do anything because of them. I’m not the sort of person who reads certain books because they do or does anything just because they do. I’ve always been my own person. That said there are a lot of things that I really like about them, both as individual people and as a band.

When did you first hear about them?
In 1992 when a pal of mine (Karen Gray who wrote the first Manics book, ‘For Real’) sent me a tape of ‘Generation Terrorists’. I then went to see them on tour later that same year and haven’t looked back since.

What makes/made them special?
I like that they are their own people. They don’t do anything because anyone else does. I like for example that Nicky’s never taken a drug in his life and that he’s a loyal husband to Rachel. There aren’t many guys in the world that are faitfhful these days, especially guys in bands, so that’s one thing I think is really cool. They’re very down-to-earth, they don’t act like superstars despite being one of the biggest bands in the UK. Then there’s their intelligence. How they say things in their lyrics. It’s more mature and intelligent that just boyfriend-girlfriend type songs. They make you think and take note. The songs in general are great – whether it be ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’, ‘You Love Us’, ‘From Despair To Where’, ‘A Design For Life’, ‘You Stole The Sun (From My Heart) or ‘Masses Against The Classes’. The music was what attracted me to the band initially and is what’s kept me as a fan all along.

Do you still see them as the same band as before?
Before what? When Richey was in the band? Of course not. Most people and bands aren’t the same as what they were ten years ago. It makes you wonder what they’d be like if Richey was still here though. Would they be as they are now with Richey here? I think they’re still the same people underneath it all, they still have the same beliefs and interests. They’ve just matured and their music has matured with them.

What’s your opinion on the Richey James’ case?
… I don’t know. I really hope he’s out there alive somewhere. But I don’t know. It’s been so long now.


Other recommended sites:
Stay Beautiful
Black Garden

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