South East Wales

Manic Street Preachers break to 'reinvent' themselves

James Dean Bradfield and Nicky Wire
The band will play all their singles in a special gig at the 02 in London on 17 December

The Manic Street Preachers say they are aiming to "reinvent" themselves after issuing a new singles collection.

National Treasures, released on Monday, will comprise all 38 A-sides from the south Wales band's 20-year career.

Nicky Wire told BBC Radio Wales: "This panorama of our past does say there's nowhere else to go now, but to really try something and reinvent ourselves."

The band also plan to perform their singles at a one-off concert in London on 17 December.

Bassist Wire and vocalist James Dean Bradfield told presenter Bethan Elfyn they had not run out of creative steam but wanted to take a break after another "momentous" year.

Staying power

"We came from another age and we're just about hanging on in this age too," said Wire.

"It's a really good feeling for a band nearing their forties - it just feels like we've been really creative and really dedicated.

"It's just harder as you get older."

But Bradfield said the band, who formed in their home town of Blackwood, were not planning to go their separate ways.

"A lot of bands split up because they can't be bothered to turn up at the same time and do interviews, try and write new songs, go abroad and play concerts," he said.

"That's really strange to me."

Wire admitted the album title National Treasures was intended to be ironic, but was a reference to their staying power over 20 years despite a mixed reaction when they first hit the big time.

"It's the idea that we were hated - we liked being hated but I think we've stuck in for such a long time there is a sense that 'they're not bad, they're OK, they stuck at their trade," he said.

"We've been lucky enough to experience massive highs and massive lows … that's the idea of a national treasure, the idea you have to come through hardship to earn it."

Outsider status

Bradfield added: "Coming from Wales at the start had anointed us as natural underdogs because at that point people weren't coming over the (Severn) bridge to even try and find bands from Wales.

Richey Edwards (Photo: Rex Features)
The first 16 singles feature guitarist Richey Edwards, who is missing presumed dead

"That gave us a natural chip on our shoulder and it gave us an energy, and it gave us an anger which is what helped us and undoubtedly pushed us through."

Following the one-off National Treasures gig at London's O2 on 17 December, the band plan to take a break before returning with new material.

Although 2012 is the 20th anniversary of their debut album Generation Terrorists, Wire said the Manics had no plans to follow the vogue for bands performing classic albums in their entirety.

"I think we're really scared of doing something like that because you're kind of admitting that as a relevant act, it's all over.

"It's almost like admitting 'that's it now, we're just a museum'.

"I don't think we're ready to believe that yet."

Hear Bethan Elfyn with the Manic Street Preachers on BBC Radio Wales on Saturday 29 October at 18:30 BST

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