The band formed in the late-'80s as Betty Blue and consisted of Bradfield, Wire and Moore. The band was re-named Manic Street Preachers when roadie Richey Edwards James was involved as musician.
All 4 members were childhood friends from Wales and spent practically all spare moments with each other while growing up.
The band became famous for controversial quotes about other bands, angry and controversial letters to the music press, and by their glam/shock appearances during early gigs. This stirred up some trouble, but also a die-hard fanbase. The band promised fans that they would make a debut album, sell millions of copies, headline a major festival and then break-up. The debut album (a double CD even!) came, but the band never sold that many copies of it (even though it definitely was a hit) and never broke up.
The band are notorious for their intellectual lyrics, often containing quotations from philosophers, historically important persons, artists and politicians. In some songs, there's a hidden reference behind half of the lines. The band also is very left-wing political and quite socialist, a consequence of the socialism during the massive unemployment in Wales when they grew up during the Thatcher Regime. Fidel Castro himself invited the band to perform in Cuba and was in the audience when they became the first UK band to perform in Havana.
Richey disappeared on February 1, 1995. The band was ready to leave for the US for a tour when Richey checked out of their London hotel and was never seen again. Research showed that all his important documents were removed from his Cardiff home, and his empty car was found near the Severn Bridge which is a famous suicide spot. However, no body or appearance was ever seen, so his whereabouts have been unclear ever since. A major search has lead to no results, and Richey is still classified as missing. His parents could have had him declared legally dead after 7 years of being missed, as per UK law; however, they refused this and preferred to keep the search going. The band was on hiatus for 6 months but continued to record as a three-piece with explicit permission from Richey's family. The band used several of Richey's lyrics on "Everything Must Go" but this was the last album where Richey's contributions could be heard. The band continues to donate 25% of all royalties to a special account which will be given to Richey should he ever re-appear.
Richey Edwards James rarely played the guitar for real, but co-wrote many lyrics on the first 3 albums. Since his disappearance, Nicky Wire takes care of the lyrics on his own.
Richey Edwards has a long history of mental problems. He suffered from severe depressions, anorexia, alcoholism and self-mutilation. He often spoke very openly about it in the press.
During an interview with journalist Steve Lamacq, the interviewer doubted the seriousness of the Manics' political statements. As a response, Richey carved the words "4 Real" in his left arm with a razor blade. Lamacq stated that Richey did this apparently without pain. Richey was taken to hospital for stitches and disinfecting the wound. It was seen as the first major public outing of his psychological problems. Richey also once performed a gig after having self-mutilated his chest, and a few gigs were played as a three-piece while Richey was in a clinic recovering from anorexia.
Several people claimed to have seen Richey. One included a taxi driver who drove a very introverted young man to Cardiff. When they approached the Severn Bridge the man asked to take a different road because "This is not a good place." A different spotting was reported in Goa, India. Although both were taken very seriously by the police, none of these spottings have been confirmed to be the real Richey. Other spottings have been reported as well, though only a minority of them have been taken seriously.
The band went on a two year hiatus in 2005, with the members working on side-projects. James Dean Bradfield released his first solo record The Great Western, where almost all lyrics were self-written.
After Freddie Mercury's death, Wire stated, "Let's hope the same happens to Michael Stipe." Because of the cruel statement and the hidden message that mainly homosexuals would be victims of AIDS, Wire received lots of negative criticism. He later stated that his quote was not to be taken seriously. (thanks, Gerrit - Belfast, Northern Ireland, for all above)
James Dean Bradfield is a technophobe; he doesn't use computers and has never sent an email.
Sean Moore and James Dean Bradfield are cousins.
Sean Moore is a classically trained musician – he was the youngest trumpeter with the South Wales Jazz orchestra. It's him playing the trumpet on 1996 single "Kevin Carter