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They’re the favourite band of many people on here. One thing I’ve noticed is that this band takes people in a way unlike anything else seems to. Why is it exactly that fans of this band tend to be completely and utterly manic about them? (Pardon the pun)
They’re childhood friends. Look at Nicky Wire, James Dean Bradfield & Sean Moore (and Richey Edwards when he was around). Three (originally four) people who seem to be an odd combination to have in a band together - the masculine Bradfield, the apathetic Moore and the ridiculous Wire…look at them together. You’d think “how did these people end up in a band together?” You only have to look at their history - they’ve known each other since they were ickle babbies (well, James & Nicky have known each other since the age of 5, and James & Sean are related so have known each other their whole lives). They grew up together, the four of them, having political and literary discussions in each others’ bedrooms (often sitting on the famous Bradfield/Moore bunk bed), in James and Sean’s case lived together (due to Sean’s mother’s divorce). Surprisingly, it was Nicky that taught James his first chords on the guitar. They felt alienated and this was radiated in their early work, which was probably why they attracted so many bored teenagers. They’ve since said that they were “too close” for four young boys, but it’s that close relationship that allows them to be the band that they are. They know each other inside out. And over 30 years on, they’re still friends, despite everything.
They’ve been through so much yet they still exist. And it’s not like they just exist. They’re still passionate about what they do, even more so now than they have been for a while. Not many bands could survive losing a member like that and go on to make music that was often even better than the music made with that member (although admittedly The Holy Bible will always be arguably their masterpiece). And they’ve not tried to cash-in on that, like some bands might have done. They’ve always retained their dignity (well, nearly always…Wire almost loses his whenever he wears a skirt on stage). 16 years on from the disappearance of Richey Edwards, the band are stronger than ever even if they aren’t as popular as they were in the late 90s.
They’re human. Well, obviously they are members of the human species, but they seem human. I believe that even if they’d not had this level of fame, they’d still be the people that they are today. They’re like us with a little bit more money (well, a lot more money but you know what I mean). You won’t see them in the tabloids (apart from when Nicky was “outed” as living in a terraced house), falling out of clubs at ridiculous times in the morning, parading their children in front of the press - they keep their private lives private and that’s admirable and respected by the fans.
Even when two of the members were self-declared “musical incompetents”, it didn’t matter because they had something to say for themselves. And Nicky’s too self-deprecating on this one - he says he never learned to play the bass properly, but I don’t believe him.
James Dean Bradfield’s voice. Listen to it. Isn’t that one of the best voices you’ve ever heard? I’m not exaggerating when I say that. And he sounds that fantastic live. And this is after however many years of smoking and drinking. Actually, I wish I’d put James Dean Bradfield’s musical talent in general here. For years it was him and Sean who composed all of the music. Nicky now chips in with the occasional composition. And the guy himself. JDB arguably talks the most sense out of the three of them.
Sean Moore. A fantastic drummer and generally badass guy. This is shown by his tendency to hardly ever speak in interviews, yet when he does speak he’s usually hilarious and says something insightful. And he owns three foot spas (as he joked on Radcliffe and Maconie, “one for each of my children”). He’s a shopaholic. He knows more about technology than Nicky & James do put together.
They’re literate and well-informed. This band have introduced countless young people to authors such as Camus and Orwell, and literature in general. They’ve always got something to say about what’s going on in the world, particularly in politics (Nicky’s got a politics degree, y’know, he’s required to give a commentary on it in every interview), which is more than can be said for a lot of famous people.
Nicky Wire. As many of you know, he’s my hero, so more about him later.
When their lyrics are good, they’re fantastic. Thankfully, that’s more often than not. Both Nicky & Richey have written some fantastic lyrics. I can listen to some of them and find that they describe exactly how I’m feeling (more so Nicky’s than Richey’s).
Every one of their albums has a different sound. Some bands (cough cough Oasis) don’t vary their musical styles an awful lot, yet with every album the Manics tried something different. You’ve got the political soft punk of Generation Terrorists; the big power rock of Gold Against the Soul; the anger and disgust of The Holy Bible; the emotional string-laden pop-rock of Everything Must Go; the downbeat gorgeous folksy (apparently) sounds of This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours; the gritty mish-mash of Know Your Enemy; the cold, cleanly produced and wintry Lifeblood; the upbeat cheesy pop of Send Away the Tigers; the beautiful varied but generally rock-y sounds of Journal For Plague Lovers; and the radio-friendly anthemic sounds of Postcards From a Young Man. Yet at the same time all of their music is very much recognisable as theirs.
They often come out to meet the fans after gigs. And if you run into them in the street, they’ll happily sign something or pose for a photo. This is a lot more than can be said for many celebrities and bands.
They give a hell of a live performance. They’re always full of energy, as many live performances demonstrate - they don’t stand still on stage, even now, in their early forties. It knackers Nicky’s knees and back but he’ll carry on scissor-kicking and leaping around the stage for a whole gig anyway (apart from when he was forced to stop doing that by a more serious back problem). They try to interact with the fans. And the songs sound fantastic.
There’s never been a band quite like the Manics and there probably never will be one. They’re truly unique and it’s probably this that draws so many people in. Regardless of what others may think, they’ll always be remembered as one of the greatest bands of their generation. I’m proud to say that they’re my favourite band.