by Paul Rowland
Manics icon Nicky Wire has revealed he regrets not achieving mainstream success earlier in the band's career - in order to give missing guitarist Richey Edwards a bigger platform.
The troubled musician, who notoriously carved "4REAL" into his arm with a razor blade during an interview, has not been seen since going missing in 1995.
His car was later found near the Severn Bridge.
Wire said he still missed his former bandmate, and spoke of his heartache at not giving him access to a wider audience.
"When you talk about Richey as a friend, someone's son, someone's brother, all those human things are really depressing," he said. "But in a kind of mythical way, he was just a brilliant rock 'n' roll star.
"My only regret is that the platform he could have had, from us being so big, would have just been amazing."
Wire said the firm grounding the band had developed through growing up in the Valleys town of Blackwood had stopped them getting too big for their boots.
"Pre-band is crucial," he added.
"That I was in school with James since the age of five, James and Sean are cousins, Richey and I went to university together - I knew Richey anyway, we used to play football together - all that stuff has meant it's been really hard for any of us to develop a massive ego.
"There are so many intimate details we know about each other; so much failure and awkwardness and shyness growing up."
But Wire said the band's thirst for success had still not diminished, after 10 albums.
"We are raging against the dying of the light, as Dylan Thomas would say," he said.
"We wanted to try to transfer the enthusiasm and love we still feel for that silly thing called being in a rock 'n' roll band. We still believe in the power of it because it changed our lives. Not many bands, apart from the Beatles, still have a chance of relevance and selling records on their tenth album. Most bands have become a museum by then. We still want it, and we're not ashamed to say that."
[Originally published: walesonline.co.uk, 5 September 2010]