Nicky Wire has revealed how the Manic Street Preachers “blanked out” the pain of guitarist and lyricist Richey Edwards who went missing almost 20 years ago.
The admission comes as bassist Wire, frontman James Dean Bradfield and drummer Sean Moore steel themselves to once more play all of the tracks from their hugely acclaimed album The Holy Bible, which was released in August 1994, just six months before Edwards disappeared.
“I probably blanked it out,” said Wire, speaking to BBC’s John Wilson for Radio 4’s Mastertapes programme, which will be broadcast tomorrow.
“We told ourselves he was writing about these dark things in a journalistic kind of way, writing from the point of view of an anorexic, and so much of our stuff was loaded in that way.”
Landmark album The Holy Bible tackles issues like self-harm, anorexia, prostitution and the Holocaust, all subjects which haunted Edwards.
But Bradfield agreed it had been easier to assume that Edwards was simply imagining the pain of others in his songs.
“I thought he was being a bit more vicarious about it all than he was,” he said.
“I didn’t assume it was all about him. It is a very nihilistic album, infused with intent and ideas and observations. We did see a lot of dark introspection there, but he was looking outwards as well.”
In fact, they felt that as they wrote the album – the tracks of which will be played during a series of UK gigs in December – Edwards was on a creative high.
Wire added in an interview with The Observer: “He was reaching some sort of peak of intelligence. He was reading so much that we couldn’t keep up with him.”
Edwards, who disappeared on February 1, 1995, is thought to have taken his own life and was legally presumed dead by court order in 2008.
The Mastertapes session is on BBC Radio 4 on Monday, November 17 at 11pm