? [This is probably not as originally published!]
by Val Bodden
Cult Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers have started playing again in a private tribute to their guitarist who has been missing for six months.
Richey James disappeared in February, days before the band from Blackwood, Gwent, were to fly off for an American tour.
But a band spokesman confirmed that the band have been putting music to lyrics written by their 27-year-old rhythm guitarist just before he went missing.
The band are still praying that he will turn up safe but he has a known history of depression and self- mutilation and it is believed he may have cracked under the pressure of growing fame. A spokesman from the Manics' agents, Hall or Nothing Music Promotions in London, denied reports that the band were seriously considering picking up the pieces of a career which was being tipped for international stardom.
He said: "This one's purely for therapy. The band's future is on ice but they felt they needed to get together because they have done nothing since Richey disappeared.
"They certainly have no plans to perform live or make any recordings and have no intention of making a comeback yet." James has a history of depression. Last year when the Manics were playing at the Reading Festival, James, real name Richard James Edwards, was being treated for anorexia and depression at a London clinic. Police launched an investigation when he vanished but six months later still have no clues to his whereabouts. His L-reg silver Vauxhall Cavalier was found abandoned near the Severn Bridge days later.
But a police search by the joint forces of South Wales and Avon found no trace of the missing guitarist. All police could piece together was that after leaving the hotel on February 1 he returned to his flat in the centre of Cardiff.
He has not used cash or credit cards since his disappearance and left his passport at home. His father, Graham Edwards, said the family are clinging to the hope that he will eventually make contact. The band had 14 top 40 singles and three top ten albums.
[Originally published: Wales on Sunday, 23 August 1995]