Sister Morphine – Back in the groove and nailing it!

“Ghosts Of Heatrbreak City” is such a good sleaze rock’n’roll album! We had to ask SISTER MORPHINE a few questions about their past, present and future. Singer Gaz answered.

How did you get the idea to give a new life to SISTER MORPHINE?

I found myself nursing a serious knee injury which had me laid-up and looking for something to occupy my time when I couldn’t really move about. I had an MRI scan the evening before my fiftieth birthday and when they put the headphones on me to drown out the sound of the machine ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ was playing – that makes you feel old, I can tell you! So, to fill the time without getting up I decided to convert a load of old tapes to digital with a view to sharing them with my music nerd friends. I was thinking live bootleg tapes which I still have a load of – Hanoi Rocks, Zodiac Mindwarp & the Love Reaction, Quireboys, The Dogs D’Amour, Manic Street Preachers, KISS, to name but a few. However, I found a stack of old Sister Morphine rehearsal tapes from 1989, 1990, and 1991. These C90s contained rough, sometimes incomplete versions of songs that I had completely forgotten about, so I converted them and sent them to my old band mates – guitarists Jamesy and Jonesy, drummer Denley Slade, and bassist “Hollywood” Mike DeSouza. This started a file sharing frenzy with other songs that had seemingly disappeared off the face of the planet resurfacing. I was on codeine for pain relief and this, infamously and painfully, gives you constipation. I don’t know if it was the backing-up that got to my brain but I decided that I needed to get my shit out in different ways, so I suggested to the boys that we regroup to make an album including all these great songs that never got the chance to shine.However

Was it easy to convince everyone in the band?

Easier than I ever imagined! Within an hour of me sending the message everyone was in and committed to making the album. We were in regional lockdowns at the time – this was early 2021 – so we had a million group posts and video calls trying to come up with a plan. Those video calls would result in three brand new songs being written. A finished product still seemed so far away, though – that, two years later, we have, in my opinion, a killer album released is quite remarkable.

When was it when you first started?

Jamesy and “Hollywood” Mike were in a band called Self Destruction Blues; the former singing and playing guitar, the latter providing the eye candy. They decided that they wanted a proper frontman with dazzling good looks and a voice to die for, but they couldn’t find one so they asked me to join. This was in 1989. I joined the band the day before my eighteenth birthday. The band name was changed, Denley and, later, Jonesy joined, and it all clicked and we were away.

Was there a big sleaze/glam rock scene in Wales?

At the time the big thing was Glam Vs Thrash! Two camps at odds with each other – us cool kids and those other sweaty oafs! One Tuesday night James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich walked into our local rock club, Metro’s in Newport, and all the thrashers were treating it like the second coming while I was like, “wake me up if someone from Faster Pussycat walks in!” Ha ha. I actually had a piss next to Lars – the sound of his piss hitting the porcelain sounded exactly like the snare drum on ‘St. Anger’. But I digress; the glam thing was big, with bands like City Kidds and Ragdolls riding the Tigertailz coattails. We would eventually get lumped in with the whole glam thing, but we were always on the Hanoi Rocks/New York Dolls side of the subgenre – really we wanted to be the Stones or the Faces, not leather boyz with electric toyz.

How many shows did you play approximately and what do you remember of them?

In that first year, 1989, we were still really finding our sound so we only did two shows – the second of them a pretty high profile one in London with Last Of The Teenage Idols, back when playing in London with a name band was a bit of a dream for kids from places like ours. We went for it in 1990 and played scores of shows, garnering a small yet fevered following of cultured individuals. A lot of the times the show was a local “Rock Night” so you had all types of rock fans in attendance: you would sell T-shirts to some people who loved your performance, yet have others wanting to fight you for not sounding like the Scorpions… on the same night! Every show or every night of a tour is a constant battle between good times and bad decisions – at our age now even the latter are remembered as the former.

You were probably associated to bands like The DOGS D’AMOUR, QUIREBOYS or GUNFIRE DANCE. Did you play with any of them?

We did several shows with Gunfire Dance as part of a package that saw them as headliners, us opening, with Silver Hearts the prime beef sandwiched between us. It was clear from the first time we saw and heard Gunfire Dance that the band should have been huge. Looking back, they were just a few years ahead of the game. When the alternative culture became the norm in the Nineties their edgier, oft-kilter brand of rock ‘n’ roll would have hit several marks but in the years before that every label wanted its “rebels” to have pop metal hits; stage-managed rebellion. Think the Quireboys having to get rid of their best-ever drummer in order to have that polished sound of the first album – they went from the Faces to ‘Atlantic Crossing’ era Rod in one swoop. I was lucky enough to hang out with the Survival Records line-up of the Quireboys when I was seventeen, but we never got to play with them. We did, however, play with Red Dogs who featured current Quireboys guitarist Paul Guerin – well, one of the current Quireboys line-ups! Paul has always been great and whenever I bumped into him when on Uber Rock duties he always smiled in all the right places when I serenaded him with Red Dogs classic, ‘Sweet Little Ruby’, EVERY TIME I SAW HIM! We were actually booked onto a Dogs D’Amour gig after our Teenage Idols gig in 1989 but it never happened. It’s mentioned in a review of the gig that I have somewhere.

What other bands from that scene did you like or hung out with?

We spent some time with the aforementioned Silver Hearts (who later became Last Great Dreamers) and are still friends with Marc Valentine and Slyder Smith. In fact, our drummer, Denley, was in the regrouped Last Great Dreamers for a few years, and now plays in Marc’s solo band. I’m still friends with a load of the City Kidds – they had around ten thousand band members so it’s hard to walk down the street without bumping into one of them, teasing his hair or straightening his spandex. Former Kidd Matt Blakout (now Tigertailz drummer) was my best man! We played a few shows with a band called Roadhouse that, apparently, Jon Bon Jovi had said good things about – they had the JBJ quote on their posters and everything! He was probably on about the Patrick Swayze movie. Anyway, Roadhouse had a prima donna of a frontman who would smash his micstand into the stage and storm off if the band wasn’t going down well, but a lovely guy on drums named Ramon who, like me, loved comic books and pop culture. We used to correspond and he’d send me Punisher stickers and the like. We also played some shows with a band called Who Cares Anyway? and their drummer now plays in The Hip Priests, who we love. In fact, guitarist Austin messaged me on the release day of our album to tell me how much he liked it – little things like that from cool mofos means a lot.

Did you release any official demos in those days?

We recorded a four-track demo tape in a place called Chariot Studios in Cardiff in 1989. Sadly, due to the gentrification of every cool fucking place on the planet, the location no longer exists. The demo was entitled ‘The Agony & the Ecstasy of Sister Morphine’ and none of the songs made the cut when it came to rehashing some old tunes for our ‘Ghosts of Heartbreak City’ album! We also released a tape entitled ‘Singing Songs ‘Bout Yesterday’ that included a song from the demo, ‘For a Girl Like You’, alongside several live songs recorded in venues across the UK that, again, no longer exist.

Why did the band stop playing?

We found ourselves treading water. We’d had a couple of management “agreements” but found ourselves looking for new representation. We did a 250-mile round trip to meet some prospective management but, predictably, they were just another bunch of chancers and crooks. We were still teenagers and couldn’t even rent a van to get us from gig to gig as we weren’t old enough. An opportunity came my way to write about cult movies and pop culture – my other great passion – so I took up the offer and left the band. I went from being threatened for not whistling like Klaus Meine to dealing regularly with underground filmmakers like Jörg Buttgereit. That seemed like the right thing to do at the time. The band carried on for a little while with a different singer, but it was like that time Mick Hucknall replaced Rod Stewart in the Faces – there was a ginger bloke stood in the same place saying the same words, but it wasn’t the same.

How was it when you first started playing together again?

Everything, initially, when we could eventually meet up and rehearse, was about deciding which songs would make the album. It was great fun revisiting all the old songs, resurrecting some yet showing others the proverbial door. Plus we had three, then four new songs to work on so it was an exciting, productive time. Remember, some of the band members hadn’t really played for three decades so hearing them back in the groove and nailing it was spectacular.

Can you tell us about Big Egg Records?

Big Egg Records is a new Welsh record label that I first became aware of when some friends’ bands got included on a compilation album that the label put out. They reached out on social media asking followers to recommend bands that they should be working with. Sister Morphine had just recorded the scratch tracks for our album before recording proper started, so I sent Big Egg a couple of the tunes and they were interested. The last time we released anything was in 1990 – and on cassette! – so we wanted someone to help us with not only the final physical product, but also all that digital releasing shebang which those of us from the jet age are allergic to. The guys at Big Egg Records are just big music nerds like us so have been great to work with – they just want to help bands get product released. They also tell me repeatedly that I am not only the best singer that they have ever worked with, but also the best looking, which is nice.

You seem to be good at Internet promotion. Do you think that being involved in Uber Rock helped you to stay up to date with the way music and the Internet work together nowadays?

Johnny Hayward and myself founded Uber Rock, but previously to that we had written for the Glitzine website – we had experience of both sending content into an editor, and then being the editors. The latter showed us how NOT to do things. It was a steep learning curve and, like every corner of the music industry, littered with rude bastards. I have tried to use the experience and the knowledge of how not to do things to stir up a little interest in Sister Morphine and the album release. The band’s story made it a little easier, but that ease was nullified by choosing a band name thirty-three years ago that social media search results consider related to drug misuse and continually block! I think I’ve done okay, though… and without spending any money!

You say in the I-84 Bar interview that you’re a “member of the cult of Richey.” Did you get to meet him? Did you see the Manics in their very early days?

I live around six miles away from Blackwood, where the Manic Street Preachers come from, so you would often see them around in the early days: Nicky generally in a shopping centre, James in more random places – I remember him once pushing past us to get nearer to the front when The Black Crowes were playing New port Centre. I only ever saw Richey when he was hanging out before Manics gigs, though. I had written to an address that was on the back of one of their 12-inch records looking for info and Richey replied to me, and sent me a white label 7-inch of the original version of ‘You Love Us’. I have the letter framed on my wall. I saw the band many, many times when Richey was still there: awe-inspiring at times. I have also seen them numerous times since he disappeared. The gigs now are full of people who would also pay £15 to see a tribute band and think that a band must be great because they have paid to put an ad in Classic Rock magazine. Not for me.

Do you have any gigs planned so far?

We had an album launch gig booked, but the venue has closed so that went the way of the dodo. We will consider any opportunities to play live again but are conscious that our huge stage set with mechanical dragon and tank drum riser will struggle to fit into smaller venues.

If SISTER MORPHINE could choose a band to open for, who would it be?

I think we have that crossover appeal that means we’d be equally at home supporting bands like The Dogs D’Amour, The Quireboys, or Michael Monroe as we would punkier outfits like The Boys or The Professionals, or even old school US bands like Jetboy or Faster Pussycat. We’ll consider anything that involves potential more good times… and more bad decisions!

Will there be a vinyl version of the album?

We hope so, eventually. Not having the 12-inch EP that we had planned to release in 1991 in our record collections was a major catalyst for us recording ‘Ghosts of Heartbreak City’ as it happens. That quest for bona fide Sister Morphine physical product has resulted in a cool digipak CD, but we’d love a vinyl release, with lyrics and a huge thanks list included. The waiting time for vinyl to be manufactured at the present time is wild, though – by the time we get the chance to do it a different format may already be the new old thing! It could be 8-tracks! If it is I know a Welsh lyric writer who would claim at least part of the credit for that…

Facebook page

Buy from Big Egg Records

Sister Morphine “Ghosts Of Heartbreak City”

SISTER MORPHINE had a first life from 1989 to 1991 in South Wales. They even got a deal with South Bank Studio who released the MANIC STREET PREACHERS‘ “Suicide Alley” 7″. After those pandemic times, the members of the band decided it was the right time to give life to some of their long lost songs and they even gave birth to four new songs including high energy opener “Holy City Zoo” and the power pop hit “8 Tracks and Zodiacs”. Sometimes band reunions are a bit scary after a long time but SISTER MORPHINE haven’t lost their rock’n’roll edge since songs like “Do You Wanna Get Wasted?”, “Nothing Dirty In The Truth” or “Ghosts Of Heartbreak City” sound like some good late 80s/early 90s sleazy rock’n’roll. Names like QUIREBOYS (especially on “Get Back Home”) or GUNFIRE DANCE come to mind and songs like “Cry The Rain” or “Days Of Wine & Roses” could have been mix tape favourites in rock’n’roll high-school. The ROLLING STONES influence is obvious in songs like “Waiting On Salvation” or in “Living With Snakes” and you’ll even get a glam punk fix with “Red Eye Juice.” Sometimes the band even takes you deep into the glorious 70s with the catchy “Sea Of Love” and even though the music is pure rock’n’roll, the vocals sometimes remind me of WEDNESDAY 13 (“Black Hearts & Bruised Egos”.) 15 songs usually sound like too much for me but when the last song (“Seven Long Years”) stops, I tend to get back to it for a couple more. High quality rock’n’roll ! /Laurent C.

Buy from Big Egg Records

Facebook page

Nicotine Pretty “Real Life Glories” EP

Although NICOTINE PRETTY released two singles before, “Real Life Glories” is their debut EP (co-produced by Glunk Records.) Opening song “ByGone Boy” offers us some fine glam punk rock’n’roll reminding a bit of early MANIC STREET PREACHERS while “This Ship Ain’t Going Down” show us the snotty street punk side of NICOTINE PRETTY. The band also knows how to mix 70s punk to 90s indie melodies and catchy choruses (“Bad Whiskey”, “Over The Edge”) and if you haven’t listened to the singles before, you’ll find them on here since “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul?” and “Nicotine Pretty” have been added to the track list. The music, attitude and spirit in this EP also remind me of the early 00s glam punk scene, which is a very good thing! /Laurent C.
Facebook page

The Sick Livers – Smell of rock’n’roll!

As The SICK LIVERS are about to release their new album “Mid Liver Crisis”, we asked Ginge (vocals) a few questions about the band, his music tastes and inspiration.


Can you introduce the band? When did you start?

Sure thing. The Sick Livers are VJ (guitar), DJ (guitar), Dai (bass), Matty (drums) and myself, Ginge, who shouts and screams stuff! We started out at as 4 piece circa 2007, released a few EPs and then exploded! The hiatus done us good, we recuperated, DJ joined us on second guitar and it was the injection we so desperately needed. He gelled Dai’s bass work and VJ’s fizzy guitar perfectly, and that line-up is the one you see today.

Your new album “Mid Liver Crisis” is out on Glunk Records/Baldy Long Hair. Can you tell us about the recording, and these two record labels? I heard about a cassette release soon?

“Mid Liver Crisis” is due for general release in August 2015 and there’ll be loads of formats and versions available via Glunk in the UK and Europe, and Baldy Longhair in the America and Canada. The labels suit us perfectly, both carry the same DIY ethos as ourselves, and it really is a match made in heaven… or hell! We can do things our way with companies who are sucking on the same proverbial tit as us. Glunk operate just down the road from us in Wales and they released our debut album. With “Mid Liver Crisis” they’ve gone over and above, beavering away behind the scenes to get this album heard. The same can be said for Baldy Longhair who operate out of New Jersey. We were elated when they offered to put out the album in the States, especially as we adore previous stuff they’ve released. A massive thank you must be given to the labels. Also, Baldy’s The Disconnects will be joining us in August for a UK tour. I cannot wait for that one!

You mention TURBONEGRO and ZODIAC MINDWARP in your biography. How are these two bands important for you? Can you think of any other UK bands in the same vein?

Those two bands seemed to get name-checked a lot on release of our debut album. Personally, I love them both and you can definitely hear the influence in our tunes, if only in my input lyrically and the melody that accompanies the riffs the boys write. That’s the great thing about The Sick Livers, we all listen to different shit and not necessarily all in the glam or punk genre. In regards to UK bands, it’s pretty hard to think of bands that compare in what we do. I don’t mean that in a big headed way, I guess it’s a very niche genre here in the UK. We’ve had natural comparisons, as well a split release and some tours with The Hip Priests. A new-ish band, Swamp Delta, from the Midlands seem to be harnessing that sleazy guitar groove. They’re ex members of Gaye Bykers On Acid and Crazyhead. I hear they’re very fond of us via our bassist Dai. Their forthcoming album is called “Sick Liver Blues” so what’s not to like!

SickLivers02The SICK LIVERS seem to be a pretty wild band to see live. Your favourite shows and wildest live moments so far? You also recently played with The DICTATORS, right?

Every show is something of an event and it all kicks off in some way or another. Give it one person, hundreds or thousands – you always get the full throttle live experience from us. We’re only as good as a game party audience though, and luckily we seem to attract that crowd! Picking one moment is pretty tough, but our last gig involved a naked man assuming the 69 position on top of me as I lay on my back covered in shredded paper! So yeah, our shows can be a tad wild!! The recent gig with The Dictators was fantastic. I’m a massive fan and to have the privilege of the support slot was ace. Really nice guys too. Ross The Boss took time to chat and he was equally as humbled as ourselves to be playing. He just seemed really happy to be playing those old Dictators songs live again. A top night all round.

How did you get the idea of writing “I Wanna Be A Jäger Girl”, and “Smell Of Elvis”?

“I Wanna Be A Jäger Girl” came about after spending far too many hours in lovely, grubby venues where girls come around and sell shots of Jägermeister. I guess I just wanted to be one of those girls, just for a night. No-one needs to see me dolled up though! The song is probably a release of my inner feminist and has empathy and admiration for the girls who do that job. “Smell Of Elvis” came about after my missus bought be some aftershave balm from a budget shop here in the UK with Elvis Presley‘s signature on it. It smelt fucking awful, but hey, if everyone keeps saying I look like a fucked up version of The King, I may as well smell like him. Albeit almost 40 years since his death!!

Is rock’n’roll too safe, or just dead today?

I think rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well, you just gotta look in the right places. There’s tons of great bands out there, you just gotta wade through the mediocre corporate safe shit to get there. Scratch the surface, go see some underground upstarts in some sweaty venue, and you’ll always find the good stuff.

Since you’re from Wales and wear spray-paint punk jackets, I can’t help thinking about early MANIC STREET PREACHERS, although their influence can’t be directly heard in your music. Do/did you like them?

I absolutely adore the Manic Street Preachers, up until “The Holy Bible” at least. On growing up, they were my Clash. I lived and breathed ever word they said. So vital in my teenage years, they got me through the good and bad times. I bought all the early stuff on day of release and on every format. I stupidly sold them ’em for drugs in the late 90s, but hey, that’s drugs for you! The Manics weren’t lying when they said “You Love Us” because that’s exactly what I did!

5 albums you couldn’t live without, and a few words about them.

Always hard to pick top 5 lists but I’ll have a go. These are all subject to change at any time!

The Holy Bible” by Manic Street Preachers. An intelligent, heartbreaking and personal account from Richey Edwards which soundtracked my teenage years.

Appetite For Destruction” by Guns N’ Roses. My first real induction into how dangerous rock ‘n’ roll could be. For a very brief period, G N’ R were the bomb.

Scream, Dracula, Scream” by Rocket From The Crypt. A defining rock ‘n’ roll album that made me fall in love and want to be in Speedo’s gang.

Total 13” by Backyard Babies. An album that soundtracked my drug days. They weren’t lying on the title, every track is killer. An album they’ve sadly never bettered.

New York Dolls” by New York Dolls. The swagger, attitude and glam stomping debut from New York’s finest totally blew me away on first listen and remains one of my favourite albums of all time. People moan about the production but this is the bomb.

Are you into rock’n’roll books/biographies?

I love writing but sadly I’m absolutely fucking useless at reading. I wish I could lose myself in the written word but I just get agitated and I gotta move. That, coupled with the fact I have the attention span of a goldfish means I can’t just sit down and relax with a good book. Looks like I’m stuck with memories of my childhood books – grubby porn mags found in Welsh railway hedges!!

Do you plan on touring in Europe?

A tour of mainland Europe is something we hope to make a reality in 2016. We’ve gained loads of good contacts to make a DIY tour happen after briefly dipping our toes on Irish soil earlier this year. There’s also an East Coast tour of the USA on the cards. Best we sell some records and try not to self destruct!


Facebook page

The Sick Livers “Mid Liver Crisis”

South Wales’ dirtier punk rock’n’roll band is back with 10 new songs spitting right in the face of political correctness. When so many bands try and copy TURBONEGRO from A to Z, The SICK LIVERS take the best ingredients of Norway’s Denim Demons and use them in their own way, bringing us catchy songs like “This Is My Denim”, or “Perfect Nothing”, some high energy rock’n’roll (“One Man Stag Do”, “Out With The Dogs”) for DEAD BOYS fans and up tempo punk fury (“Smell Of Elvis”.) You’ll find what you need on “Mid Liver Crisis” if you’re looking for your rock’n’roll fix, STIV BATORS needed Lunch, The SICK LIVERS need a rock’n’roll Nurse just like the NEW YORK DOLLS!
UK SUBS‘ Charlie Harper described “Dark, Dangerous and Delicious” as the best tracks HANOÏ ROCKS never wrote, and well, how could Charlie be wrong?
You’ll probably get weird looks when walking down the streets singing “You Make Me Wet” or “I Wanna Be A Jäger Girl”, but well, isn’t it what rock’n’roll should be about?/Laurent C.
Facebook page

The Sick Livers “Motors, Women, Drugs, Booze & Killing”

TSick_Livers_coverhe name of the band and the album title both tell us that these guys are probably not the new straight-edge hardcore sensation!… Hailing from South Wales, The SICK LIVERS like to sing about drugs in a punky catchy way (“Gimme The Drugs”, “Cocaine Jeans”) with the help of loud sleazy rock’n’roll guitars, and deliver some dirty non-PC fun in 8 songs.
“Get Ready”, “Seven Year Itch” or “Sick Liver” will get punk rock’n’rollers singalong quite easily at the band’s gigs, and TURBONEGRO fans will love the guitar solos a tune like “Blood On Your Halo”!
The SICK LIVERS probably got too much ROSE TATTOO, AC/DC, or NASHVILLE PUSSY in their blood, but we won’t complain about that! “Bummed To Death” will leave you want more…
I was talking about hardcore, well the vocals actually sometimes sound close to some in the early 80s hardcore bands, you can feel some high energy running in the these guys ‘veins, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them selling out European rock’n’roll clubs (especially German ones) in a near future…The vinyl version (you’ll also get a download code in case you need the mp3s) is released by Glunk Records, which is run by the Über Röck guys, so you can trust them when it comes to rock! Apparently, Glen Matlock once said “Sick Livers? Hate the condition, love the fuckin’ band!”, you’ll probably think the same!/Laurent C.
Facebook page

Manic Street Preachers “Rewind The Film”


(-review by Geordie Pleathur)

“I have two rules in life – to hell with it, whatever it is, and get your work done. You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.”
(-Ray Bradbury)

“I’ve never understood why CONservatives despise the idle poor, but worship the idle rich.”
(-Peter Crowley)

“The hardest job I ever had in this country was being a homeless person with no money. ”
(-A. Razor)

“Yesterday’s weirdness is tomorrow’s reason why.”
(-Hunter S. Thompson)

“The Tea Party is low hanging fruit—Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Michelle Bachman were all literally invented by the Empire as persons for the “left” to loathe and ridicule as Obama and Hillary serve these purposes for the “right.” Can we focus on the root and quit hacking at all these branches? The only reason I ever mention any of these people is to point out the hypocrisy and fraud of the Empire.”
(-Cindy Sheehan)

“We are not good at anything else anymore… can’t build a decent car or a television, can’t give good education to the kids or health care to the old, but we can bomb the shit of out any country…”
(- George Carlin)

“First the terrorism-industrial complex assured Americans that they were only spying on foreigners, not U.S. citizens…Then they assured us that they were only spying on phone calls, not electronic communications. Then they assured us that they were not spying on American journalists. And now both [major political] parties and the Obama administration have assured us that they will not detain journalists, citizens and activists. Well, they detained journalist Chris Hedges without a lawyer, they detained journalist Laura Poitras without due process and if allowed to stand, this law will permit the military to target activists, journalists and citizens in an unprecedented assault on freedom in America.”
(-Carl Mayer)

“Rebels have always been a small minority of the young, even in the 1960s. A lot of the men were in college to escape the draft and being sent to Vietnam. People did turn out for occasional large peace marches, but in between most of the organizing was done by a small number of people, while the rest of the young focused on getting their degrees and qualifying (they thought) for the middle class. Which does not rebel because it’s too comfortable. And because they don’t know anything, including the college graduates.”
(-Lynn Porter)

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”
(-Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“There is not even a lone voice of dissent straining to be heard over the chest-thumping, war drum-banging, and jingoist palaver within the self-referential bubblescape of the U.S. corporate media. Nor, it seems, is there a member of the political class, who is endowed with any political power or clout, who even holds a scintilla of deference regarding the will of the people — the vast majority of… whom stand overwhelmingly opposed to U.S. military involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Yet: The machinery of empire trundles towards war, as the media truckles to authoritarian power on bended knee and promulgates a 24/7 propaganda campaign in its behalf. Why is this so? The populace of empire sups on the blood of the colonized, thus empire’s operatives feel zero need to garner our consensus regarding how empire is sustained. They believe that they have the public’s implicit support, so there exists no need for consultation; we have granted the elites the power to wage war by the plebiscite of our appetites, by our feelings of entitlement insofar as maintaining our way of life.

The nation’s elite, unlike the toxically innocent general public, possess the ruthlessness to be frank with themselves: They know that the soil of empire is fertilized by blood, its gaudy, bloated mansion is constructed upon a mountain of corpses. But they will never publicly admit to such a thing; no one will who is allowed to be part of the mainstream dialog would dare to venture such an utterance. To even ever such a thought would be cause for instant and permanent banishment.”
(-Phil Rockstroh)

“School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.”
(-Ivan Illich)

“What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open
their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?
Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the
stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men
weeping in the parks!
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the
loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy
judger of men!
Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the
crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of
sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment!
Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose
blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers
are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo!
Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows!
Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long
streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories
dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose
smokestacks and antennae crown the cities!
Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch
whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch
whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch
whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen!
Moloch whose name is the Mind!
Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream
Angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in
Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch!
Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom
I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch
who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy!
Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch!
Light streaming out of the sky!
Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs!
skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic
industries! spectral nations! invincible mad
houses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs…”
( –Excerpt from Howl, Allen Ginsberg )


“Feeling a bit of cognitive dissonance today between twerking, Miley Cirus’ pathologically-desperate-MSM-fuelled-need-for-attention, Chelsea Manning, Syria, chemical weapons, and a nation that has seriously lost its moral high ground between Iraq, secret rendition, torture, GTMO, and the NDAA. I feel stretched to extremes inside, and a little bit hollow. It’s hard to be sane, while living in an insane time. I just want to remind myself, and others, that it’s ok if you feel rather odd today. Or regularly.”
(-Tangerine Bolen)

“A whistleblower who exposed US war crimes just got sentenced to more jail time than murderers, slave dealers, and people who sell nuclear weapons to terrorists.”
(-Abby Martin)

“I don’t even know what American liberalism is anymore in the era of Obama. I don’t know what set of principles and beliefs they’re adhering to when you see so many liberals on a network like MSNBC lashing into people like Edward Snowden and defending the NSA. I don’t understand what liberalism is when they’re defending endless drone warfare. It really seems to me like Obama has dragged liberalism along with him and dragged it into this kind of abyss where it’s become hollow.”
(-Max Blumenthal)

“I was a top student in college. They feed the egos of such people until their sense of identity depends on being smart and they equate smart with being able to regurgitate official academic explanations of everything, for the ‘benefit’ of the ‘un-educated’, of course. Advanced indoctrination is a difficult handicap to overcome. It’s basically the ‘teacher’s pet’ syndrome internalized and carried beyond the school walls– easy to see past if you’re not the one– difficult to get over if you are.”
(-Martin Truther)

“The sentencing phase of Manning’s trial revealed that contrary to the claims of pundits and politicians, Manning had no blood on his hands — the Departments of Defense and State were unable to tie his releases to the deaths of any U.S. informants…”
(-The Young Turks host, Cenk Uygur)

“A man searching for paradise lost can seem a fool to those who never sought the other world.”
( Jim Morrison)

“The blood-sodden Neo-Con agenda trundles forth, with Syria in the crosshairs, and Iraq and Libya reeling in the kind of tumult and terror required for the imperial plundering of a nation’s resources by ruthless, foreign interlopers.

Empire’s nasty, little secret: Denied of the militarist-enabled stealing of resources,… the U.S. empire would collapse within weeks. This is why it is essential that the minds of the rabble (that would be you and I) on the homefront remain colonized. A collective sociopathic mode of mind must be maintained. The knowledge that the structure that sustains what is termed our lifestyle is, in reality, a deathstyle that could cause members of the general population to have a bit of difficulty swallowing their hormone-bloated, antibiotic-ridden slabs of animal flesh at family outings at their local Applebees. First, as a starting course: What is required swallow whole the lies of empire.

For example, crackbrained casuistry, such as the following: Those will be humanitarian bombs tearing to shreds the bodies of Syrians when the U.S. Military makes its move on the nation. Sure thing, bestowing humanitarian values are the abiding concern of the leadership of imperial powers. The people of Iraq would simply love to testify as to the beneficence of the forces that invaded and occupied their nation. Strange isn’t it, that no one, possessing power and influence, in the U.S. seems interested in soliciting their opinion on the matter?”
(-Phil Rockstroh)


IMG_5565_ALEX_LAKE_0America has no visible artists like the Manic Street Preachers, perhaps they could have had some, before the media consolidation, but now, all our would be gutter-poets, prophets and whistle blowers are wearing hairnets and sandwich artist golf shirts and trying not to get fired from Subway and Arbys. Our entire controlled media is corrupt. Industry has captured the regulatory agencies. The medical establishment might as well be the mafia and no one wants to face it until it’s there own grandma who dies because of naked malpractice, otherwise suffering some bad side effects (the ones everybody now knows from, for example). University campuses harbor torturers and war criminals like John Yoo and David Patraeus and war machine recruiters have invaded our gutted public elementary schools.
Congressional approval rating was only 6% in June. Psychologists tell us that about 6% of the population are sociopaths, while war profiteer-owned big-media claims that 9% of Americans are pro war in Syria/Iran/Etc., so you gotta figure in that six percent, plus another three percent probably comprised of private mercenary families, military brass, weapons building families and big-oil shareholders, but my gut says even that 9% statistic is high. Nobody wants America to spill more blood in the middle east for G.E., B.P., Exxon, Halliburton, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, but the orders have already come down from the chain of command, from high above Obama.
Besides the willfully and diligently uninformed, soy chai tea latte sipping, Prius drivers who believe you affect positive change by wearing shoes shaped like your toes, juicing, and sitting on pink pillows, oh so many of us understand we now live in a full fledged, clampdown, Beyond Orwell, Beyond Kafka, fascist surveillance, war horny, police state; where graffiti artists can be tasered to death over the price of a coat of paint. For writing the letter “r”. Thugs will laugh and high-five over his body fully certain that the cop union will protect their jobs while rightwing state radio does a number on the victim’s good name.
Cops use military grade chemical weapons on peaceful demonstrators and get paid forty thousand dollars for the stress of the negative publicity. Secret agents search every cavity, it’s stop and frisk, non-stop. Everyone is demoralized, except for those in dedicated flight from reality; or these eager blue-gloved and badged participants of state violence—the steroid drunken tough guys who use pain compliance holds on waifish, peaceful protesters, fire-fighters and seniors, who are assembling in public spaces and standing up for their pensions; and public schools, standing up for THEIR right to organize, standing up for the right to know what’s in their food, but the chairs are on the table for democracy. Dennis Kucinich tried to impeach the Bush administration, so they gerrymandered him out of office. Dr. Cornel West has said that justice allows suffering to speak. Ever since the Bush gang’s corporate coup de tat and the Murdoch media-grabs, loudmouthed liberals like the Dixie Chicks or Sean Penn are relentlessly pummeled by the Ann Coulter whores for war, while belligerent blowhards for fascism and state violence are reWARded with cushy jobs in bullshit broadcasting. Rich people treat the rest of us like objects.
Female academics can still speak sometimes, as long as they keep to the approved script of gun control, gay marriage and abortion, but otherwise, the lower classes are kept away from the microphones, and expected to stay quiet in our little boxes, or face the wrath of the Pinkerton brutes. The middle-class has been trained by their universities and cable brainwashing subscriptions to identify with tyrants and slave owners and blame the poor for the crimes of the rich. Only property is sacred. In Columbia SC, homelessness is illegal. In Raleigh NC, it is now illegal to feed the poor. Diane Feinstein wants to narrowly define a journalist as a paid flack for war-state propaganda. She also wants to make it a crime to say anything critical about the NSA spying. Teacher’s salaries are tied to standardized testing in over-crowded class-rooms, while oligarchs install overpaid administrators to slash funding for public schools, lay-off employees, and scapegoat educators. This push to privatize is a fully bipartisan effort on behalf of the plutocrats who shape our destinies-the Koch brothers and AIPAC. Bill Gates, the Heritage Foundation, CFR, and Rahm Emanual. The Walton family and the shadowy ALEC business group, who writes the nation’s laws. Rahm Emanual closed sixty schools in minority neighborhoods and is building gigantic sports stadiums and prisons, and sic’ing his uniformed goons on students and teachers, exactly like Koch whore, Scott Walker, in Wisconsin. He gives raises to cop brass willing to oppress their community. We live in a society that allows one man to make fifteen million dollars A DAY while a low-income mother gets $4.50 for food, and much of Congress and many of your own misinformed friends wants to slash the $4.50.


With more and more of our most vulnerable and powerless citizens being typecast, slandered, demonized and disenfranchised, with the bully culture mass-media, lack of jobs, foreclosures, cuts to food-stamps nation wide, the bulldozing of community recreation centers, the greed of all the juicer-crazy, ex liberal, yoga mat homeowners who refuse to rent to low income families on government assistance, the planned absence of affordable housing in a post-Nafta, deindustrialized war economy, with frequent police attacks on Food Not Bombs and other charities who nurture, feed, and advocate, on behalf of our meekest populations, people are feeling the fear.
The drone lobbies are instructing the corporate media not to use the word drone. Talk-radio trains the enforcer class to talk tough, and indiscriminately “intimidate and dominate”(Viper team TSA motto) like the Nuge and Bill O’Reilly. The Pentagon is staffed by war machine lobbyists and Raytehon lawyers, who keep gifting local law enforcement with these gigantic tanks and Lrad weapons of war that all have “Rescue” painted on the side! Even ex punks spew hateful venom at the vulnerable populations while sucking up to fascists and white collar criminals. As a pal of mine says, if you want to do a lot of cocaine, you have to wear very expensive, pin-striped clothing and own a fine time-piece, because only poor kids with small amounts go to jail. But the criminal class in office have promised their private prison shareholders with manufacturing contracts a fresh wave of “new offenders”. Cops are registering croc-wearing college dude partiers who urinate outside of crowded festival porta potties as sex offenders at Burning Man.
I warned you ten years ago they would come also for the middle class. We’re seeing hundreds of armored vehicles being moved around the so-called homeland. Rabid enforcer class bureaucrats and frothing monsters call for violence against advocates and activists for the poor and still call themselves “Christians”. Uniformed hard-ons will mace and taser anyone, indiscriminately at most anytime, but generally, if you look rich, or drive a newer vehicle, they give you a wider berth. The rich can drink in the streets at sidewalk cafes and craftbeer stocked coolers at summertime softball games in the parks and at their drunk-driving, tailgate parties, and out-of-town vendor, summertime wristband public-intox orgies. A poor person with an unapproved beverage in a brown bag on a hot day, gets twelve cops responding to the scene to mace and cuff him for open container and always the bogus resisting arrest. Local office professionals see no problem with this. Ten thousand raging football fans drunk and shirtless, screaming, fistfighting? They call that All-American. A couple of dreadlock hippies sharing a joint under a tree? The police state calls that criminal, a justification for a beatdown and arrest. Honor students asking war pigs like Kerry and Patraeus uncomfortable questions on university campuses? Tasers, beatdowns. Punk rockers questioning classist bigotry spewed by rightwing punks? Avalanche of hate mail from fame worshipping fanboys hoping for a backstage coke and stroke with their idol. If you live long enough you may discover your blessings become a burden if your “Got Mine, Jack” Donald Trump programming prevents you from sharing them. It takes a lifetime for some privileged folks to figure it out. Who needs love when you have enough high-quality, legal, white people prescription drugs? Who needs friends, when you can hire employees and interview personal assistants? Who needs mercurial bands when you can manufacture underage beta slaves to lip synch to slutty techno excrement? Who needs Republicans when you have Obama and Biden, Clinton, and Kerry?


While the NDAA indefinite detention prez and the AIPAC lobby drags the nation to always more dirty wars based on lies, most Americans are STILL all a chatter over Hannah Montanna’s tongue wagging, fly catching performance; or Justin Timberlake’s klieg lit mediocrity. Where were you when N SYNC replaced the Replacements? Glen Ford calls Obama “the dreamer with the kill list” because he gives a vague, feel good Bill Clinton speech about Martin Luther King Jr., one day, then bombs brown children, the next. The powers that be, who force us to live like we do, are banging drums for more wars, based on dubious and quite possibly manufactured threats. The ocean is a radioactive soup from the Tepco spill that’s still being covered up by the media. B.P. destroyed the gulf and the government sent in mercenaries to hide the damage. Nobody has any disposable income anymore and the few who do are climbing the evil pyramid, claws first.
They poisoned the food and water supply. These “smart-readers” they’re installing in our apartments are dangerous, but the oligarchs obviously mostly fear YOU SMART READERS, the NSA follows your every move. Meanwhile, most of the cable dizzy and hate-radio programmed people are still sleeping. “Shhhhhhhh….Los Angeles is sleeping….”: Hello Disaster sang that line in the 90’s, and it still rings pretty true, as all our best writers, screenwriters, songwriters, and truth-tellers have gotten either shut-out by the Big Machine, or sidetracked by wanting to rub shoulders with bikinis and cigars. I know you know some of the TV people, who just spew non stop Bill O’Reilly talking points and outdated-for-decades bullshit platitudes about how free America is, and all the shining opportunity that awaits us all, if we’ll just take out a mountain sized college loan, and piss in a cup, and jump on George Jetson’s 9-5 treadmill. Don’t you wish you could mute the programmed TV people? The “People” magazine and “Entertainment Weekly” subscribers? It’s only the peace makers and unions and whistle blowers and victims of fracking and Corexit who have been silenced. The really heinous part about growing up in the empire of lies is that most times, no actual black clad adjustment bureau government agency needs to neutralize a critical thinker, the conformist parakeets of the bourgeoisie will do that, just instinctively. They really are Agent Smiths. That’s what all those so-called reality shows are about. Boot camp conditioning, shaven heads, cult brainwashing, weeding out the weird. They promise the khaki class all the privileges of membership. You can be a celebrity DJ for a day. The biggest hot tub, a wraparound sundeck, the V.I.P. pass, CABLE! Maybe that inside job Alex Jones dude is a blowhard, but he’s right about a domestic propaganda war. We’re now seeing anti-war activists accounts suddenly suspended on the Fascist-Crack surveillance grid, as the so-called social networks are being used as effective tools for consciousness raising and peace activism by the waking masses. Homeless people are being vilified and criminalized, even as low wage workers stand up for a living wage in the slave-class retail and food service industries. Nowadays, those heartless robots who yell “get a job” out of their speeding cars are clearly willfully oblivious to the fact that homeless people are competing for minimum wage jobs with college grads, retired people, and former home-owners.
The people that scapegoat the poor, these haves who have no compassion, who brag about their own achievements, while slandering those less fortunate, are sadly everywhere. Sometimes it seems the women are even worse, hissing that third hand Rush Limbaugh shit. Bukowski said a free soul is rare but you know it because you feel very good around those people, most of us adults are so scarred from abuse and baffled by ratrace bullshit, we can’t even tell a friend from a foe, anymore. Roseanne Barre, Rosie O’Donnal, Charlie Sheen are all blacklisted for questioning 9/11 and the Patriot Act. Phil Donahue, Keith Olberman, Cenk from the Young Turks, Dan Rather, they’re all banned from the mainstream airwaves.
How long until they retire Letterman for speaking the truth about the hideous perils of FRACKING? Everyone who still has cable, or reads those shitty corporate rock mags tell me about all the horrible music of today and I can’t believe they think I’m ever gonna like Kanye West. Last bands I liked begrudgingly at all were shit like, oh…Towers Of London, Red Star Rebels, These Animal Men, Tsar, that kind of thing. Forgotten gangs. Boys From Nowhere and Forgotten Rebels, Throbbing Purple. Rock anthems to lost causes and honest punk rock rebel songs. Mostly, I still listen to vintage trash like Mink Deville and Jim Carroll-gutter soul. Some country. Kristofferson and Hank The Third. Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School Of Medicine. You ever drive around, wondering who these people are, who still own all those big houses? Some are doctors, lawyers, pharma reps, stock brokers, computer wankers, heirs, bean counters, yes-men, accountants, but many others are just snitches, corrections officers, goon squads and agents of organized violence. These people are not to be respected, these roughmen who shoot you in bed. The enforcer class don’t even know they are slaves to the pharaohs.
Others still have Hope & Change stickers on their cars even as Obama and Kerry and Clinton hang around Henry Kissinger planning more coups, more regime changes, more wars. Why are they sharing all our e-mails and phone calls with a foreign government? Really, pause for a second and consider that.


RewindTheFilmI know they are all probably a bit older than me, but the Manic Street Preachers were all my generation really had, aside from Sinead O’Connor, New Model Army, and rap, in the way of provocative, intelligent, socially conscious music. When I first got the “New Art Riot” vinyl, I was like ho-hum. Preachy politics and stenciled shirts, the American suburbs were already teeming with lamesass Clash wannabe boy bands who were heavy on the Murray’s pomade and skint on ideas, or any messages beyond, you know, we like to dress cool. I fell in love with them when I first laid my ears on the “Stay Beautiful” e.p. They had a really fabulous pop feel like Gen X, almost; smart lyrics, but I was still unconvinced about the guy with the Freddy Mercury pipes singing the guy who couldn’t play but gave all the interviews’ lyrics.
They were dreamy pinup boys for kids who missed Sputnik, but also a bit like Cheap Trick, two models and two Regular Joes, all with a Marxist bent, teaching the more erudite and scholarly outcasts of the world about history and literature and persuasively convincing Smiths fans that Guns N Roses and Public Enemy were important. “R.P. McMurphy”, “Motown Junk”, “Motorcycle Emptiness”, “Little Baby Nothing”, “Condemned To Rocknroll”…the Manics started peeling off hits like a stockbroker at a stripclub, they made it look so easy, gave courage to my goth gang who were all taking our own early stabs at songwriting, now we had a reason and I’m still waiting. They were warning us about the banks, the warmongers, the media-fed consumer-zombies while the rest of the world was still in their fecking shiny, happy ska phase. Next, came “Generation Terrorists”, Richie’s slashed arm, and an American tour that failed to ignite the enthusiasm of the “alternative” festival attending, Fox tv discovering population.
The Manic Street Preachers became more experimental after their landmark debut full length, that was too literate for macho sports fans and too rockin’ for college radio Lemonheads dweebs. I’d have to say, they were probably the last band who really influenced my own little clique of heartbroken punk rock losers. This time of year, I always find myself missing those early days, when we wrote our first hits in grimy basements, our hearts seemed to beat in time with that long lost Gabba Gabba Hey spirit I always lament the death of, of former possibilities, faded loves and tarnished dreams. Hiraeth is a homesickness for the home that never was, but damn well should have been. Choose your poison to get to paradise lost.

“Playing all the records
Praying that they’ll never stop

There is too much heartbreak
In the nothing of the now
I want to see it all
Never going to let you down”

…We continued to follow them, as we got older and ruined our lives with pills, bad wives and cursin’, usually identifying with their melodic testimony and defiant upstart objections. Dumbfuck Murkans still don’t know what to make of a Welsh rockgroup who sings something like, “and If I can shoot rabbits, then I can shoot fascists”.
Richey went missing, some of my gang died, some of us fell apart and spent a decade and a half trying to pick up the shattered, missing pieces of our former selves. Early on, our own personal fortunes seemed to rise and fall with Bradfield and company, but whereas they gained entry to epic recording studios and the big media, we splintered off into various factions, and watched in horror, as most everything the Manics, and the Clash before them, warned us might happen, happened.
Now, some of us are getting older, facing death, still asking questions, and the Manic Street Preachers continue to grow and ache along with us. We are often reminded that the past is past, how we had our window of opportunity and blew it, and now we should shutup and die quietly, but some of us remain haunted, just like the Manic Street Preachers.
They are always able to convey these difficult to articulate, hard truths about life, love, pain, other people’s pain, war, exploitation, and alienation in songs like “Sorrow 16”, “Spectators Of Suicide”, “From Despair To Where”, “Everything Must Go”, “Kevin Carter”, “If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next”, “Let Robeson Sing”, “Show Me The Wonder, “Nostalgic Pushead”, “You Stole The Sun From My Heart”, “Design For Life”, “So Why So Sad” and the new title track, “Rewind The Film” that similarly longs for those fleeting precious moments when we still had friends, we laughed ourselves stupid until the dawn’s early light, rocknroll seemed possible, and we were dumb enough to actually try it. “Rewind The Film” is a heavy, challenging, tough album for some of us fatally flawed lost souls to absorb in autumn, in the midst of our annual depression, where we involuntarily find ourselves tediously still wringing our arthritic hands about a long loathed youth we can not alter, nor revisit, and an ill-starred destiny we can not escape, as we watch on, in sheer horror, as our loved ones are fucked over by their doctors, lawyers, and insurance companies; as the last shreds of democracy and human rights are trampled in the name of glorious winners take all greed-head fascism, genocidal depopulation, and unprecedented income inequality. We see a nation where a little less than half of the population are still enraged by the mere idea of a half black Commander In Chief, while the majority are content to overlook his broken oath to defend the Constitution to prove that they somehow AREN’T racist, that they are down with the hip-hop yo, that they are “post racial”, while Black America is still under the heavy boot of the private prison profiteers and the bogus drug war.
Only nowadays, white poor people, and their family pets, are also being shot everyday, by an insanely militarized 5-0, for no reason. We feel a burning awareness that we have a finite amount of time left, and more dead comrades than living ones, and the leaves crunching beneath our duct taped Creepers only serve to remind us of how we were always alone and that shining moment when we were still part of an optimistic gang of seemingly like-minded rebels was just a smoke ring, a soap bubble, yesterday’s buzz.
Some will call “Rewind The Film” a departure, but attentive longtime listeners will instantly recognize the maudlin mellowness as this once angry young band has always been extremely versatile, and much more nuanced than the familiar Beatles Meets Queen big U.K. radio hits. It’s the voice of weary experience, stamina and fatigue, of grief and longing, compassion, regret, bitterness, defeat and perseverance, and genuinely earnest concern for the generation to come. Maybe James Dean is comfortably ensconced in some posh studio on the beach somewhere but this is one old punk who still has it, he still gets it, he’s not afraid to remember: “It’s the longest running joke in history to kill the working classes in the name of liberty.” Just goes to show that even the losers really do get lucky…sometimes. “Not in MY time, but in our sons and daughter’s times, if you get the feelin’, call…and you got a room.”

Press shots by Alex Lake.


studies showing that power increases the likelihood of hypocrisy here, that wealth increases the likelihood of reduced empathy here, and finally that conservatives are more likely to make up facts to justify their beliefs here

Rinse and repeat until the corporatocracy burns to the ground.

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