Traci Lords is just one of the artists who has expressed concern about Manic Street Preachers' guitarist Richey Edwards - aka Richey James - now missing for almost four months. Lords, the former porn star who duetted with the Manics on their 1992 single 'Little Baby Nothing', told VOX: "Richey seems to be the one with the strongest opinions, but also quite insecure as well, so I do identify with him. I don't know about all his problems but I just hope he's OK".
The police have now given up actively searching for Richey - a standard procedure in missing person cases - and speculation about his fate is rife. Suicide is a clearly a possibility, given the guitarist's history of depression, but many believe Richey could have staged his disappearance - a theory denied by the band's management and PR agent. Meanwhile, messages of sympathy from friends, fans and fellow musicians have flooded the music press.
Martin Carr of the Boo Radleys describes the Manics as his favourite band, and doesn't believe the suicide theory. "He hasn't thrown a seven, he's just not the kind of person", says Carr. "He doesn't feel dead."
Louise Wener of Sleeper toured with the Manics last year, and says: "Richey's really extreme, and sadly that seems to be very appealing to a lot of people - especially women, apparently. It would be great if he was just hiding away from the whole thing, getting himself together. But I think it's more likely that he's dead."
Anyone with clues to Richey's whereabouts should call Cardiff police on 0222 222 111.
[Originally published: Vox, May/June 1995]