Darren Milby column: Manics Rewinding back to glory days

The Manic Street Preachers, vocalist James Dean Bradfield. Picture: AP/Jonathan Short
The Manic Street Preachers, vocalist James Dean Bradfield. Picture: AP/Jonathan Short

I’ve excitedly discussed the new Manic Street Preachers album several times in this column. You can tell I’m a fan.

I’ve often thought how amazing it would be to have lead singer James Dean Bradfield as a guest on my radio show. So with nothing to lose I asked the record company and to my jaw-dropping delight James agreed to come on!

He is such a lovely chap. He is also incredibly articulate, intelligent and passionate about his music.

I was keen to know how the new album came about particularly after that mammoth gig they did in London in 2011 that seemed like it could be the end of the band.

James told me: “We knew that the lyrics that were coming out were much more reflective and brushed with a sense of perhaps mortality and there’s a lot of self-analysis on there, and something that was much more gentle.

“We just knew that those lyrics were going to lead the music in a different direction because my guitar isn’t the subtlest thing, and I can’t be doing the Motorcycle Emptiness riff over these kinds of lyrics because they just wouldn’t work.

“It did feel like the end of an era, that 02 show where we played 38 singles in one night. I can’t deny it, we are known for having an anthemic nature to us with A Design For Life and If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next.

“That feels as if it’s gone for now, and this is what’s replaced it for now.”

The new album ‘Rewind The Film’ isn’t the end of the story. The band actually made two records during the recording sessions with the second one coming out next spring. I was keen to find out if this was a definite plan or did it just occur organically. James told me “I’m confused about this really.

There might have been a faint notion of it, and then it got dropped. And then about six months into the process of being in the studio - the Bunker in Cardiff, we just realised that without actually trying we’d started on the path of making two albums.

“Once we tried to put some of these songs together on the same record it all fell apart. I almost had a sigh of fear when I realised that we were on the road towards making two separate records, which is kind of typical of Manic Street Preachers. It was kind of folly... a silly thing to do. But once it happens, you’ve just got to go with it.”

Well if the second album is even half as good as ‘Rewind The Film’ we are in for a treat.