Manic Street Preachers to tour classic 1994 album
Manic Street Preachers have announced they are to tour their 1994 album The Holy Bible, playing it live in full for the first time.
Six dates have been confirmed, starting at the Barrowland in Glasgow on Monday 8 December 2014, followed by two nights at Manchester's Albert Hall and then three nights at the Roundhouse in London.
The band's third album has long been the fans' favourite and was the final work completed with guitarist and lyricist Richey Edwards before he went missing in 1995.
The band said it was not an easy choice to embark on this 20th anniversary tour though, with a final decision only being made four days ago.
Singer-songwriter James Dean Bradfield said they were "a bit scared about doing it really" despite having "more respect for it now" than he did before, while lyricist Nicky Wire had concerns that doing a Holy Bible tour would make them "slightly redundant".
It has been a good 12 months for the Manics however, releasing two albums (Rewind the Film and Futurology) in the space of one year, and both making the top five in the album chart.
Wire said the reaction to Futurology "has been so great - that's the one thing that makes us want to do it".
"If we'd been coming off the back of a bit of a dud album then we probably would've thought people might think we're doing this because we've had a bad year or something."
"But because we've had such a good year, it feels like the right time."
Wire conceded that "it's a lot on James" though "because we do it as a three piece".
"We obviously use extra musicians when we're touring normally - but this would just be the three of us [Wire, Bradfield and drummer Sean Moore]."
Both Wire and Bradfield clearly enjoyed revisiting the material in practice sessions.
"There's a lot of noise, a lot of words, a lot of everything to do consecutively.
"I suppose James gets a breather when we're doing Intense Humming of Evil," said Wire. The Holy Bible's penultimate track does allow Bradfield to rest his vocal chords for a full one minute 43 seconds introduction before the singing starts up again.
Plus there's the small matter that some of the songs from The Holy Bible have only been performed live a couple of times.
"A couple of times for Mausoleum I think, yes," recalled singer James.
"Nick found some footage where we played it in the Ritzy in Cardiff - and just let alone the physical reality of it, where there literally is no concession to the human organ called the lungs.
"There's also this thing of - it sounds like me being a drama student - but actually just trying to find the person that sang some of those lyrics.
"I can connect with some of them because we've never stopped playing the songs but you mustn't feel like you're acting it out or just feel like it's a misplaced attempt at trying to be a version of yourself."
Much of the intensity of The Holy Bible came from Richey Edwards who wrote 70% of the lyrics, and covers themes such as anorexia, suicide and the Holocaust.
Edwards went missing aged 27 in 1995 and was declared presumed dead in 2008.
"The lyrics are stunning," said Wire, adding that Richey remains his "personal favourite lyricist".
"I still think they're really relevant and I still think as a kind of physical and internalised hatred and dissection of humanity, it's pretty untouchable."
As for the cumulative effect of playing The Holy Bible songs live, all at once, and any emotions about Richey Edwards that may bring up, Nicky Wire remains mostly calm.
"I don't think there's any kind of tumultuous difference, you just kind of live with that every day really.
"But then again your subconscious is always ready to erupt."
Details of how the tour will sound still have to be worked out. But once the Holy Bible shows are done in the UK, the band may consider taking the tour to America - a territory they've tried to conquer many times.
"Sometimes you think you've got another chance and then just every time something would happen," said Wire.
"The show would be cancelled, James would lose his voice, I'd break my knee, the record company wouldn't put the record out, every time we went there it was just a calamity really.
Twenty years on from The Holy Bible, the Manic Street Preachers still "believe in the ragged glory of a rock'n'roll moment".
The band has not mellowed though, despite both Wire and Bradfield enjoying watching House of Cards when at home or the Art of China series on BBC Four.
Neither are fans of streaming sites, with Wire calling the early theory that people would pay for an album if they liked it after first listening online "one of the biggest corporate lies in history, up there with selling terrible mortgages".
And he has a 12-year-old daughter who keeps his ego in check.
"My daughter just delights in telling me that Ed Sheeran beats me all the time.
"She just keeps saying that if I was as good as Ed Sheeran I'd be happier.
"She's got a good sense of humour, my son is more supportive but he's seven."
Tickets for Manic Street Preachers The Holy Bible tour go on sale on Friday 26 September at 9am BST.