Richey Remembered

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Richey Edwards is the only guitar hero revered more for his brains than his power chords. Over the next six pages, NME celebrates our countless run-ins with the troubled star, considers his influence on Pete Doherty's generation, unearths one of his last ever interviews and muses on his disappearance with Manic Street Preachers bandmate Nicky Wire.

Culture, Alienation, Boredom and Despair

by Stuart Bailie

It's still one of the most astonishing rock 'n' roll statements ever made. There he is, a little punky guy from Wales, talking to a sceptical music journalist. He pulls out a razorblade and, while he's explaining the sincerity of his art, he starts carving a mission statement into his forearm. The first slash goes the deepest, almost chopping an artery. But he goes on, until the legend '4 REAL' is revealed, raw and concise.

His name is Richey Edwards, sometime van driver for the Manic Street Preachers, now - in 1991 - one of the band's chief songwriters and media shakers. For the past two years, he's been writing long, impassioned letters to NME writers, to other bands, to fansizes and managers, willing his band to rise out of the isolation of Blackwood, South Wales. For the most part, he's been successful. But he sometimes meets people who question the band's intent.

Steve Lamacq, then an NME writer, cares for the ideals of punk rock, and doesn't want to see them abused. So on May 15, 1991, he travels up to Norwich Arts Centre, where he sees the Manics play, and he talks to them afterwards. Richey can't convince Steve, so the razorblade appears. There's blood all over the carpet, while his shirt, emblazoned with the slogan, 'Spectators Of Suicide', is a write-off. Understandably, there's panic afterwards, but Richey still has time for some NME photos, removing the bandages to show all the damage. His arm looks bad, but it's the eyes that really shock. He's rushing on pain and his body's endorphins. He's out of it.

Their tour dates are affected, but they still make it to the Marquee in London. By then, the Norwich photos have appeared in NME and many more people are curious. According to reliable rumour, Richey will use this opportunity to kill himself onstage. Really. We're watching him and his bandaged arm, realising that anything could go off. But instead of onstage suicide, the band play a song called 'You Love Us', which finds them effortlessly mocking the boring old ceremony of rock 'n' roll. It's hilarious and arrogant and postmodern and it rocks.

From then on, Richey is unmissable. His words and actions are always fascinating. He says he's going to set fire to himself on Top Of The Pops. The Manics, he claims, will sell 16 million copies of their first album and then combust. He tells students to work hard instead of getting pissed. He talks at length about Nazi foreign policy, which he studied at university, and he hates the bogus scholars who try to deny the Holocaust. He also enjoys slagging off the indie underachievers. "We will always hate Slowdive more than Adolf Hitler," he deadpans.

Richey and bassist Nicky Wire are the band's Glamour Twins. They get loaded on Babycham and they're doused in perfume. Nicky digs Marilyn Monroe, but Richey is pure Liz Taylor with all that drama and eye-liner. They model leopardskin and love-bites, they plaster their records with reading lists and they despatch character assassinations at will. Yet even from the beginning it's clear that, while Richey enjoys the support and the attention of his friends, he's increasingly lonely and unwell.

* * * * * * * * * *

A year after the Lamacq incident, and I'm sitting with the Manics in Barney's Beanery, a Los Angeles bar. The LA riots are barely over and the band's first American tour has been muted. Richey tries a tequila slammer, likes it, and tries some more. Unfortunately, he has an allergic reaction, his skin turns pink and his arms puff out. Since the scar tissue is still thin, '4 REAL' rises out of his arm in 3D relief, a scary reminder of the recent past. And the other arm isn't so pretty either. Cigarette burns and slashes, the stories of so many, other unreported incidents. He calls them his "war wounds". Earlier that day, he had even started a new one, gouging a hole in his hand with a paper clip. He can quote medical textbooks, talking about the "euphoric agony" of mutilation. But if he ever understood the causes of his condition, he certainly couldn't stop it.

Next he's drawing circles on beermats, and explaining why we're all doomed. "The only perfect circle on a human body is in the eye," he reasons. "When a baby is born, it's just so perfect, but when it opens its eyes, it's blinded by the corruption and everything is a downward spiral." Another drink...

Since the Manics were one of the last bands to break before the internet arrived, a great deal of their correspondence passed through the letters pages of NME. This was also a time when bands like Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses were in decline, when the escapist promise of ecstasy was going wrong. In contrast, the Manics had apparently liberated a whole new culture of listeners, who wanted intelligence and clarity in their music. Many of these new converts were female, and a subsection of these concentrated on Richey.

Bands hadn't really written about anorexia, bulimia and self-harming before this. But Richey was there, delivering 'Roses In The Hospital' on their second album, 'Gold Against The Soul', and then getting totally immersed in the body politic with 'The Holy Bible', their terrible masterpiece from 1994. He was also writing about sleep, or the lack of it. Night-time was always difficult for Richey, because he couldn't put his mind to rest. "The things I get in my head, I don't like," he reckoned. "Nothing else happens in my mind, I just get swamped with one idea." Hence the deluge of alcohol to help in that quest for a "blank" sleep.

And so these fan letters piled in to NME, some written in blood, others chopped together from beauty mags and problem pages. There was too much bad poetry and even a bunch of cynical putdowns, suggesting that Richey was a chancer and an attention-seeker. Mostly, though, the writers felt an intense empathy with Richey. They too had suffered some of those problems with self-image and with internal pain. And they were pleased that he was airing these issues, making it less secretive. The other person to go into this area was Princess Diana, although she probably had a different fanbase.

"I've always found it hard to express how I feel," he figured. "Even from when I was a little child. It's a very British emotion - they keep things bottled up inside them. Some more than others..."

So Richey wrote '4st 7lb', with the pay-off line, "Such beautiful dignity in self-abuse". Then there was that memorable single, 'Faster' with the self-cutter's manifesto: "I am an architect, they call me a butcher". To their credit, the other band members created music to match this vision. Their references were post-punk explorers like Joy Division. And while the album's content was grim, the band enjoyed the camaraderie of working in a cheap studio, Soundspace, in Cardiff's red-light district.

Richey wasn't bothered about playing guitar. James Dean Bradfield took care of all that, and when it came to the recording process, drummer Sean Moore was another dependable talent. Richey was the driver, and during the sessions he worked on the words and the record's artwork. It was almost 50 years since the concentration camps had been liberated, and Richey was determined to mark that occasion. Hence 'Mausoleum' and 'The Intense Humming Of Evil'.

The required reading in 1994 was Elizabeth Wurtzel's Prozac Nation. We were still reeling from PJ Harvey's album 'Rid Of Me', the diary of a severe breakdown. And of course Kurt Cobain had killed himself, leaving us to ponder the dark corners of 'In Utero'. Richey liked it, of course. In retrospect, you can understand why so many people were so eager to enjoy the Britpop lark that was just beginning. Everybody needed a break.

* * * * * * * * * *

In April 1994, NME was backstage with Richey at the MBK Hall in Bangkok, Thailand. Physically, he had changed. He was doing 1,500 sit-ups a day, and he'd lost weight. This wasn't necessarily a good sign. A fan had given him some ceremonial knives earlier, and so he put them to work, leaving a dozen slashes on his chest. Ten weeks later, he was in an English hospital. Officially, he was "very ill". A press release explained that "he needs professional psychiatric help to help deal with what is basically an illness."

We met him again on September 16 at Bluestone Studios in Pembrokeshire. James, Sean and Nicky had played a few summer festivals as a threesome and they did their best to promote 'The Holy Bible' in his absence, talking up those fearsome songs. Now they were preparing to tour Europe with their friend again. They reckoned it was better to travel with a sick Richey than to leave him behind on his own.

And Richey wanted to talk. He looked glazed after his time at Whitchurch NHS hospital in Cardiff, followed by a stay in the Priory. But his thinking was still acute, and he was often aware of the dark humour in the story. But the gist of the interview wasn't a cheery one. It dealt with a sensitive artist who had hauled himself into a brash kind of celebrity. He could never deal with intimacy. He was self-obsessed. And he had lost it, alone in his Cardiff flat, obsessing and cutting. Hence the treatment.

"My mind wasn't functioning very well," he explained quietly. "And my mind was stronger than my body. My mind subjected my body to things that I couldn't cope with. Which meant I was ill. For the first time, I was scared."

We talked Kurt Cobain and 'In Utero' and the alarming parallels with 'The Holy Bible'. Richey knew where this conversation was headed and he denied that his lyrics were some kind of a public farewell. Let's remember, this was a band who had deliberately decided to cover the old M*A*S*H theme, 'Suicide Is Painless', only a few years back. But the guy wasn't having any of this. "In terms of the 'S' word", he murmured, "that does not enter my mind, and it never had done. In terms of An Attempt. Because I am stronger than that."

But the Manics' dates at London's Astoria in December were bleak. The sound was completely out of control - the band members were getting nosebleeds onstage. The new songs had a monstrous quality, and Richey looked vacant and gone. On the last night, he and his mates trashed their equipment, momentarily happy. This was his last public gesture.

He went missing on February 1, 1995. His car was recovered in a service station by the Severn Bridge on February 17. There have been no confirmed sightings since. The band say he was rather calm during those last days, but that can be ominous, too. Strangely, he had been taking money from his bank account on a regular basis in those final weeks. There was always the chance that he had faked his disappearance. "He could be working in a sewage farm in Barry," Nicky supposed later.

The Manics eventually regrouped with a wonderful, compassionate song, 'A Design For Life', and a new career as a big-selling band. 'Everything must Go' revisited some Richey lyrics, and these were severe but not unexpected. We had to wait 'til 2003 to hear an unreleased song, 'Judge Yourself', from the sessions of January 1995. Once again, the Reaper was paying a visit: "Blessed be the blade, blessed be the scythe, Dionysus, here to crucify..."

You can't glorify Richey because he was unwell from an early stage of life. And yes, he did some unpleasant, selfish things in his time. But he was also a rare presence, with his poetry, his jokes and his sense of rebellion. We loved him.


"We Won't Die Of Devotion"

A decade ago, the Manics were as important to people as The Libertines are now. NME's Dan Martin remembers what it felt like to be in the Cult Of Richey.

But first a word from Pete Doherty, 10 May 1997...

Camus, Saw, Conquered

About your Manics article (NME, April 19). Mr Wells knows the Manics are middlebrow and they probably always have been. Kafka, Camus and Proust might sit snugly on shelves in assorted adolescent bedrooms around England, but if their owners were led to them by the inside of a CD cover, the true motivation stretches as far as the need to drop an esoteric title into a conversation in the common room.

The Marxists, Situationists, pseudo-bisexual-BAD POETS avec eyeliner, pseudo-leopardskin BAD POETS sans eyeliner, and the rest of the Cult Of Nothing should accept, for the last time, that with Richey went all feeble hopes of purity and guitars and profound graffiti.

Don't hold it against the lads - they want to do it. They are comfy. And they know that there is more chance of social equality through conformity that through locking yourself in a hotel bathroom and shitting in your purse. Besides which, the middlebrow ethos is far more revolutionary than the self-conscious political seriousness school of thought.

Peter Doherty, Somewhere Rather Lonely

P.S. That's the final word on the Manics. Forever. So all fanzines must stop. Let it be known.

How funny that even a teenage iconoclast and master manipulator of the media such as Peter Doherty didn't foresee the delicious, tragic irony of it all. Even he couldn't have known that his dreams of stardom would come true, that he would become the next British rock star to inspire such fervour. But still, in that letter he misses the point about the glorious legacy that Richey left behind. Because in these two wildly differing, cautionary tales of rock 'n' roll, sit two figures who share the knack of inspiring complete devotion in people, whether they liked it or not.

If the weekly fanatical assault on the NME letters page isn't enough of a comparison between Pete and Richey, how about the way they both inspire so much love and hate on opposite sides of the rock landscape? How about the way they both shook a generation of teenagers out of pop complacency? How about the way that, exactly ten years after Richey was sent to the Priory by concerned friends, leaving his band to struggle on without him, exactly the same thing happened to Pete? We should all hope that that's where the comparisons will end.

* * * * * * * * * *

I was one of those teenage "Marxists, situation(al)ists, pseudo-bisexual BAD POETS sans eyeliner." Thing is, it wasn't Kafka, Camus or Proust that the inside of the Manic Street Preachers' record sleeves dragged me to, it was everything. While the Cult Of Richey is remembered as a morbid support-group for self-harmers, there was far, far more to it than that. What plenty more of us took from Richey was his honesty, his refusal to pull punches, the way he tore open the distinction between he sexes, the mischief of his humour, his politics, his delight in winding up liberals just as much as he did the right. You don't often hear about how much fun it was.

They led us on to philosophers for sure, but they also led us to Public Enemy (whose producers, the Bomb Squad, remixed 'Repeat (Stars and Stripes)' from 'Generation Terrorists') and the film Betty Blue (the band's original name). Richey and Nicky Wire's courtship of the teen press meant that we found them in Smash Hits (Richey told readers to kill themselves before they were 13) and they took us on to the NME, where we discovered the alternative universe.

And still, they rejected any kind of worship. With 'Stay Beautiful' they rubbished the teen-worship relationship: "Now you say you know how we feel/But don't fall in love cos we hate you still". Despite everything they were never really a fans' band. Where Pete invites his fans rounds for cups of tea, the Manics kept us at arm's length. But that didn't matter either because it wasn't about these people, it was about the world they created. As Richey wrote on 'Little Baby Nothing', "Rock 'n' Roll is our epiphany/Culture, alienation, boredom and despair". Smiths fans took that same teenage melodrama and turned it into insecurity and introspection. We (at least we like to think so) turned it into anger and spite. We learned that you can wallow in how much is wrong with the world, while still fighting for it.

* * * * * * * * * *

The Manic Street Preachers only became a great band because James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore were skilled enough musicians to back up the posing. Richey's guitar was never plugged in, but alongside Nicky (whose bass was) he was the beating heart, the conscience, the stylist, the minister for propaganda and the walking reading list. He was also a charismatic leader and a handsome devil, and so people followed him. Of course we only heard about those books through him - we were only 14 - and of course agreed with everything he said and we did everything he told us (apart from, say, killimg ourselves at 13). Yet on the opposite side, Richey didn't encourage his fans to cut themselves - they just saw him doing it and realised that they weren't the only ones, and so were encouraged to talk about their problems.

Lately, Pete's dreams of liberty and artistry are so romantic and fantastical that he doesn't seem to understand that they have to exist within certain parameters because it's better for everyone that way. But Richey's heroic flaw was different. He might have been a chronic alcoholic, habitual self-mutilator and borderline anorexic, but those are earthy, medical problems that Richey was strong enough to have defeated. And apologies for the cod psychoanalysis but most people with brains realise that the world can be a rotten place, but our instinct for survival overrides this. But Richey didn't have that trip-switch, he simply wasn't capable of blocking out the horror he saw all around him. The pointers had been there from the start. "It's not that I can't find worth in anything" went 'So Dead' from 'Generation Terrorists'. "It's just that I can't find worth in enough..."

* * * * * * * * * *

At the safe, fans' end of things, this struggle was played out through some incredible music. On the human side, of course, it got worse and worse until eventually he went away and now his family are suffering. You can't romanticise somebody's nervous breakdown, and 'The Holy Bible' makes for unpleasant listening because of it, just as we shouldn't romanticise Pete's illness nowadays. The drugs aren't the point now exactly as the depression wasn't then. "I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer", wrote Richey on 'Faster', before giving his own damning verdict on indulgent intellectual depressives: "I spat out Plath and Pinter".


"Nothing's Ever Going To Replace Richey"

But are the Manic Street Preachers still '4 real'? Nicky Wire answers his critics...

Will you, James and Sean do anything to mark the anniversary of Richey's disappearance?

"No, I don't think we're that kind of people. We'll talk to each other on the day and we'll remember something funny or stupid or sad. That's the impossibility of the situation anyway, there's no centred thing to fix yourself on. It's a personal thing between the three of us, and his mum, dad and sister."

You've added a second guitarist to your live shows for the first time since Richey - why?

"It was a difficult decision but we just needed one, desperately. We always have done. Guy (Massey) has engineered a lot of our records. We've known him since '96 maybe. It's not like he's replacing Richey, good God no. Nothing's ever gonna replace Richey. It's just a musical thing."

Who would Richey have liked of today's bands?

"I think he would have really admired The Libertines and Franz Ferdinand because they're so art school, they're so skinny and so witty, and he did have that intelligent camp side to him. And I think he'd have liked Bright Eyes, he had a soft, soulful kind of 'sweet music' thing. Which I guess we've all got."

What do make of the Manics/Libertines comparisons?

"No one likes The Libertines more than me, the first album is a brilliant synthesis of what British music can be. But the second album is so badly produced that I can't really listen to it. But I still love 'em. I like Pete and I like Carlos and I think they're great. But the first album... God if we should have split up, then they should have fucking split up!"

Why did you choose Razorlight and Hope Of The States to support you on your tour?

"I just love the fucking deluded arrogance of Razorlight, it's just like we had. I was reading Johnny from Razorlight saying, 'I'm better than Bob Dylan already.' Good on you! Fuck it, the '60s were shit! Well done! Same with Hope Of The States."

Why do you think everybody hates the Manics '05?

"I think people forget that we're just completely aware. We don't expect to be on the cover of NME, we don't expect to be the band that we were ten years ago, we're really comfortable with that. I spent months putting 'The Holy Bible' reissue together, and there it is, a tribute to Richey, it's a tribute to the band at the time. 'Life blood' is 'The Holy Bible' for 35-year-olds. But we're content right now. Everything is where it should be. I don't see why people get so agitated by us."

It's like people never forgave you for surviving...

"Well, you couldn't have put it a better way - surviving has become a curse. But we're still making brilliant records, I still look like a bit of a twat onstage, I still make the effort. We just wanna be an amazing live band which I think we are, and the rest will follow."

There are still teenage girls on the front rows of your gigs.

"There's some sort of warped moralistic view of Manic Street Preachers. I think basically it's because it's not drug influenced. I don't care if people do drugs but we never did. We were the last of the intellectuals. Much as I love modern music, the lyrics don't grab me as Ian McCulloch or Morrissey. The Killers write good lyrics, and I think Pete Doherty does too."

Tell us something funny about Richey that we might not know.

"It took people a while to break into our sense of humour, but it was pretty much all there to see. Richey did this Michael Jackson moonwalk on a pub table in London to celebrate getting a Top 20 hit. Once we did two gigs in a day and he peaked too early and fell asleep onstage. He woke up during the guitar solo and stagedived straight off. Luckily it was onto grass - I've got this image of him getting up from the grass with bits of mud in his hair and his eyeliner, and his nose all brown. Just enjoying each other's company, playing football. There's many more good memories than bad."


"I Think We Might Be One Of The Last Marxist Bands In England"

by Eduardo Sardinha in Portugal

In this world exclusive, never seen before 1994 interview, Richey Edwards sheds some light on his mental state just before the release of his doomed masterpiece 'The Holy Bible'

I'll never forget the day I interviewed Richey Manic. It was May 10, 1994, and the band were visiting Portugal for the first time. Not that it was a big deal for most Portuguese rock fans: the Manics' latest LP, 1993's 'Gold Against The Soul', had just completely flopped and 'The Holy Bible' wasn't out yet.

I hopped on a train to Braga (Portugal's third-largest city, where they were playing a gig) to have a chat with Richey, an interview I'd pre-arranged to run in the Portuguese newspaper I was freelancing for at the time. For reasons I never found out, the paper decided not to run the interview. Hence, mine and Richey's conversation only sees the light of day more than a decade on.

I arrived in the lobby of a small hotel on time for my 10am interview with Richey, but he was still asleep. When I was eventually taken up to his hotel room an hour later, an eerie sight greeted me.

The door opened and the sound of Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger's solo on 'The End' escaped to the hallway. When I walked in Richey was lying in bed, smoking, covered only by a white blanket. The sole light came from a lamp on the bedside table, next to the tape recorder where Jim Morrison had started to sing, along with a bottle of Jack Daniel's.

Richey answered every one of my questions calmly into the small recorder placed in the middle of the blanket. He even managed to summon one or two shy smiles. The interview lasted about 20 minutes. I left him lying in bed, shutters closed, removing the Doors tape that had finished during our interview. When I heard 'The Holy Bible' a few months later, it was like a punch in the stomach. Only then, and listening back to the tape now, did I truly comprehend the meaning his answers.

Tell me about the new album 'The Holy Bible'.

Richey: "We've written 12, 13 songs. It was done very very quickly. Our manager (Philip Hall) died in December (1993) and we went into the studio in January. A small, tiny little room, near where live, away from the music business, just on our own. We started playing and the songs came very quickly... there's a lot of words on the album. Nobody saw it being made; it was just us on our own."

You made the album in Wales. Was that a deliberate move away from the influence of the music industry?

"Yeah. We made it very near where we live: six, seven miles away from where we were born. We've all known each other since we were four or five; we're quite close as a band. And we just got really tired with the way a major label works. You get the songs and then they go and look for studios and you spend months before you even do anything. And we just thought, 'We'll just do it like we did when we started', and went into a small recording studio."

Will it sound different?

"It will be very different from the last record ('Gold Against The Soul)', completely. 'Cos I think that in a big studio you get sucked into that antiseptic sound because the equipment is so good it irons out every flaw. And that's not necessarily a good thing."

'Generation Terrorists' had a much rougher sound than 'Gold Against The Soul'. Is this record a return to that?

"It's a lot more dense and rougher, more edges. It's not so smooth. I think 'Gold Against The Soul' was just (pauses) smooth, everything had clean surfaces, everything was antiseptic. That's the way our lives were at that time, you know. We had signed to a major label and we were travelling everywhere, staying in nice hotels and being babied and that had to stop, I think. And it did stop."

Will there be a return to tougher lyrics, centred on political and social issues?

"Yes, I think that with ('Gold Against The Soul) it was more individual. A lot was about one person's feelings and that's quite egocentric. I don't know if we're going to do that again. I just think that in this new record... the human condition in general is quite sad. Last year we went to Hiroshima, and the most shocking event in world history was barely 50 years ago and there are already people writing books saying that the Holocaust was a myth, a fraud, a lie. Well, there are people alive now that survived the Holocaust. And yet there are people already saying that it was all a fake or a lie. That's obscene.

"I know it sounds very pretentious when a band says, 'We're writing a song about the Holocaust.' I mean, we're no U2; we don't go around telling people what to do or which party to vote for, we're very apolitical in that sense. Rock bands can't solve anything, they've never been able to, but we try."

Do you see yourselves as the last political band in Britain?

"I think we might be one of the last Marxist rock bands in England but I don't think we have that much in common with people like Billy Bragg because they tend to go onstage and tell people what to do. When I was a teenager Billy Bragg was obviously quite popular, but when you saw him or read about him he was just another old man telling me what to think. A thing that had a big impact on us when we were young was when Billy Bragg and a few other musicians did the Red Wedge tour, but they were onstage and saying, 'You must vote for this particular party, you must think this certain way.' Well, that's something I'm not prepared to do. I don't want to force my opinions down people's throats. We write our lyrics and you take whatever you want from them, or maybe you take nothing from them at all, but that's your decision. If there's any worth in democracy it's that you're allowed to make up your own mind. And when a musician goes onstage and says, 'You must do this', that's very bad."

What inspires your lyrics?

"Myself and Nick write the words. We both went though the entire education system in Britain. I believe in education, although I don't necessarily believe that what they teach you is good. We were constantly at school and had access to libraries; we could read a lot of books that weren't on the course."

Which books?

"I like everything (Yukio) Mishima did. Under The Volcano by Malcolm Lowry. When you're 15, you go through that stage of reading Jack Kerouac..."

Manchester and Seattle are where things are happening right now. Do you feel redundant?

"We've always existed on our terms. We were always very different and always existed outside that because we came from a small town. We moved to London and it was as if we should dress differently and put a funky drum beat behind us, 'cos that's the way the English club culture was going. But we wouldn't be happy doing that. With us, all our ideas about music and lyrics and literature and history were all formed on our own terms."


Archives Of Pain

Dan Martin revisits five key Richey-inspired Manics moments

Little Baby Nothing (1991)

Gender-exploitation pomp-rock moment sees a dialogue between a call-girl and her punter. Richey and Nicky had wanted Kylie Minogue to sing the female part, but were rejected and so went with porn icon Traci Lords. Kylie later claimed that if the request had ever made it past her people, she would have jumped at it. She later recorded a single, 'Some Kind Of Bliss', with James and Nicky.

Roses In The Hospital (1993)

Nature imagery collides with Richey explaining his self-harm on 'Gold Against The Soul' - "Stub cigarettes out on my arm... want to feel something of value" - before concluding that "heroin is just too trendy".

Faster (1994)

Their greatest single (and a contender for the greatest single) was Richey's mission statement set to a industrial-goth apocalypse and was 1994's biggest musical rocket up the arse. "I am an architect/They call me a butcher/I am purity/They call me perverted". Provoked tons of complaints when performed on TOTP in terrorist balaclavas.

4st 7lb (1994)

The most obvious of sign on 'The Holy Bible' that something just wasn't right; Richey casts James as an anorexic teenage girl who reckons that this form of suicide is the ultimate act of control: "I want to walk in the snow and not leave a footprint".

Kevin Carter (1996)

One of the lyrics Richey left behind that the band used on 'Everything Must Go', it tells the story of Carter, a photographer who killed himself after winning a Pulitzer Prize for photographs of children dying of starvation.

[Originally published: New Musical Express, 29 January 2005]

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