Manic Street Preachers are back with a UK tour, new single and a greatest hits album. But for how much longer?
Manic Street Preachers are to tour later this year, NME can exclusively reveal.
The details of the tour were revealed to NME in an interview with Nicky Wire last week in which the band's bassist and lyricist revealed that the Manics would return to the live circuit in December playing Dublin The Point (December 1), Birmingham NEC (3), Glasgow SECC (4), Manchester Evening News Arena (6), London Wembley Arena (7), Newcastle Telewest Arena (10), Nottingham Arena (11), Brighton Centre (12), Plymouth Pavilions (14) and Cardiff Arena (15).
Speaking from his home in Wales, where he is compiling a new book of images by Manics photographer Mitch Ikeda due for release to coincide with a Greatest Hits album in October, Wire told NME that, contrary to rumours that this will be the band's last hurrah, "no decision" about their future had been taken. Speaking about the album, 'Forever Delayed', Wire said: "Greatest Hits albums are something I've always loved. It's an excuse for us to wallow in a bit of nostalgia."
Speculation has been rife that the album and tour would be the big send-off for the band before they split. "That's understandable, because our history's been up and down," commented Wire. "We haven't made a decision about the future. We've always been judged by the public. We shall have to wait and see. You're always nervous, no matter how many records you've sold in the past. If by Christmas we've sold about ten records and there's two people at the gigs, we might not be around. So until that time comes... It's quite nerve-wracking."
Wire did reveal, however, that the Manics have been given a new lease of life by the new guitar scene. "At the moment, there's a lot of good music being made and it feels like the shackles are off us a bit, with The Vines and The Strokes and everything else," he said. "The NME has got its act together and picked some good bands. I love The Vines record, I really love the Idlewild record. I ain't no godfather of music and it doesn't need me to say it. It's there for everyone to see. But even though there's a lot of good music, there's still a lack of pretension around. I'd like to think were still available for that."
Commenting on the album title 'Forever Delayed', Wire added: "It's actually a line from one of our singles, 'Roses In The Hospital'. At that time (1993), we didn't even know if we'd get far enough to get a greatest hits, but it was just a title that always stuck. I think it will be 20 tracks - like Erasure's 20 greatest hits. And Steps!"
'Forever Delayed' is released on October 28, and will be preceded by a new single on October 14, likely to be either 'Forever Delayed' or 'There By The Grace Of God'. The tracklisting is yet to be confirmed, but fans' votes will be taken into consideration via www.manics.co.uk to decide which of the band's 30 singles to date to include and what material they should play on the tour.
Despite the uncertainty about their future, Wire insisted the Manics have been prolific. Wire himself spent a fortnight in Tenby last November writing lyrics, although he also admitted to a lot of time spent "gardening and composting".
He said: "We've written 14 songs, so there's plenty of B-sides and quite a bit we can hold back. We really wanted to nail two classic Manics singles. The lyrics of 'Forever Delayed' are very influenced by a Werner Herzog film Aguirre: The Wrath Of God (about band of Spanish conquistadors searching for gold in the Amazon). It's just about being eternally trapped within your own kind of history. 'There By The Grace Of God' is kind of (Depeche Mode's) 'Enjoy The Silence' meets 'A Design For Life'. There's a very epic quality to it."
Speaking about the seventh anniversary of the disappearance of bandmate Richey Edwards, Wire told NME: "It's just a miserable experience every year. We were in Monnow Valley recording and you pick up the newspaper and it's all the usual stuff. It's just depressing. You can't put any gloss over it and you get a bit used to it, but you never get hardened to it."
Of the tour, Wire said: "It's going to be a total Springsteenesque, historical trawl through our career. Even if you're a Manics fan just for 'The Holy Bible', or the glam phase at the start, or if you're middle of the road into 'This Is My Truth...', there's going to be something for everyone, for glitter girls and Mondeo drivers." Ian Brown will be supporting.
[Originally published: New Musical Express, 27 July 2002]