The Manic Street Preachers and Nirvana share a common heritage in many ways. Their politics, their influence and their emergence in the early 1990’s made them contemporaries. Their stories of small town bands with similar ideas on what, how and when things should be challenged has many parallels.
Chances were if you were an alternative music fan in the UK in 1991-2 and you owned Nevermind, you probably owned a copy of Generation Terrorists too. Manic Street Preachers were indisputably hot property in the landscape Nirvana were reforming.
By 1993 both bands also had a swirling media circus around their behaviour, their sensationalist soundbites in interviews and around their vulnerable figures who seemed over whelmed by all this hoopla and success. The Manic’s guitar player Richie James Edwards was in many ways their Kurt. He had a gift for lyrics, for performance and he seemed affected by the bright lights and the copious opinions on his art.
There are many thousands of words on the internet about how these two troubled souls departed their bands, their fans, their families and their lives. I’m not really going to add to that. Only to say I liked them both. I enjoyed seeing them, I still enjoy listening to them.
The paths of Manic Street Preachers and Nirvana did not go the same after their tragic losses. While Nirvana ceased to be the Manics were still here. They had their greatest successes still to come.
The parallels can be heard loud and clear in this mid 90’s radio session. Kurt is gone. Richie is MIA. The song is a sticking plaster on a band in pain. It’s also really good.