Suede were doing particularly well on the Continent where the music press had less influence. Many Suede fans didn't even know Bernard had left until they turned up at the gigs. Some didn't even notice then. Support on the first European leg of the tour came from Manic Street Preachers who, as well as covering "The Drowners", had previously demonstrated their appreciation of Suede by making "Metal Mickey" single of the week in Smash Hits and complimenting Brett and Co on looking like rent boys.
The Manics had also just released a brilliant but difficult album, The Holy Bible, and were suffering personal problems of their own due to the increasingly wayward behavior of troubled rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards. With a history of depression, drinking, eating disorders and self-mutilation, Richey had been in and out of hospitals and rehab clinics and had missed several of the band's gigs that year, including the T In The Park and Reading festivals.
"I remember Richey being very withdrawn," says Brett. "He was the only one of the band who wasn't very sociable. I think I spoke to him once. My memory of him is just being withdrawn."
Richard Oakes remembers making an effort to speak to Richey after a gig in Oslo. "Richey obviously had all his problems and he was always quiet so nobody ever went near him," remembers Richard. "We were on our bus waiting to go and the Manics' bus was parked next to us and it was bitterly cold. And somebody from our crew came on and said, 'That guy from the Manics is sitting outside in his pants!' And everyone was like, 'Pffff, what a weirdo!' and I thought to myself, 'I'm going to go and talk to him!'"
Sure enough, Richard found the Manics' guitarist sitting outside in the Scandinavian winter dressed only in his pants and socks and a very thin cardigan. "I went down and said to him, 'Aren't you absolutely bloody freezing?' and he said, 'Yes, but I want to be.' So I was like, 'Okay... are you enjoying the tour?' And he had this laminate 'round his neck with a list of dates and he pointed to the ones he'd enjoyed, this one, this one and this one. And he said, 'This must be amazing for you, you're so young, you've come straight from school, you've got your whole life ahead of you.' And I was aware the whole time that I'm having a great time on my first tour with Suede, this lot are on the point of breaking up, I'm speaking to the reason that they're breaking up. It was a strange juxtaposition."
Despite Richey's problems, Brett maintains the tour was an enjoyable one with the other band members getting on well with each other. "The rest of them were always very friendly," he confirms. "I got on very well with James, I know James quite well still, I bump into him in Marks & Spencer's quite a bit! I felt quite a kinship with the Manics at that time because I felt as though we were going through similar periods of our career. The whole cartoon Britpop world was just starting to happen and it felt like we were exiles. It was appropriate that we were touring Belgium and Holland and places like that, like weird deposed kings."
[Originally published: David Barnett, Suede: Love and Poison: The Authorised Biography (Andre Deutsch, 2003) pg 172-173]