James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers on a year of hospital horror...

(Select Jan 1995?)


Has 1994 turned out to how you expected?

It's been a drama queen year I thought this would be a mustard-cardi year, kind of relaxed. But it was more of a beer-gut year and I ended up regressing.

How have you changed?

I discovered the art of switching off. Which I do by enjoying myself. I know that's at odds with our image, the conspiracy theory that getting out of it is just a way to get you down, but ... I only go out and get blasted when I've finished work. I'm more professional now. And the band have changed. We thought we could resist record company pressures. All we wanted to do was to go under the corporate wing, but you do get affected, and we lost the plot a bit before. Now we're back to speaking in tongues.

Why did you move to London?

Because Richey bought a flat in Cardiff, Nick lives with his wife, Sean lives with his girlfriend and I started feeling like Ronnie Corbett in Sorry! I was comfortable living at home with my parents. I was 25 and I couldn't put a plug on, I couldn't change lightbulbs or sew. Now I'm educated domestically. Although I can't get rid of the bachelor smell in the flat.

Did Richey's illness surprise you?

No. He's been in health farms twice before... He's never hidden it. Lines like, "It's not that I can't find worth in anything, I can't find worth in enough" - that's the way he feels. It's obvious to us. It's just we thought all the manifestation of his feelings had come to the surface. We monitored things but we're a pretty moody band, one of us is always brooding so ... he said a couple of things to Nicky one evening that Nick thought were a bit funny, then the next day we couldn't get in touch with him and we knew.

What happened then?

He was in an NHS hospital for the first week, in a psychiatric ward. It was horrible. People have got this strangely romantic Cuckoo's Nest image. It's not even that disciplined, it's just a flotation tank for people that can't cope. They're in stasis, in limbo, kept stable with dosages. You think you're so well-informed and then when something like that happens... You can't know how it feels until it happens to you. So we put him in a private clinic - the same one as Shaun Ryder - and he did the nine-step programme. His problems all stemmed from him being an alcoholic. He had a couple of other problems but that's all I'm prepared to say.

Has it altered band relationships?

We're a but more conscientious. We don't drink or get pissed in front of Richey. It's no sacrifice.

OJ Simpson - guilty or not guilty?

Guilty. I've no interest in American footballers anyway.

Terry Venables?

Not guilty. In Brazil or Italy, even if they found out the national manager was snorting cocaine off the bottoms of young boys they wouldn't care as long as he was doing his job. And that's how we should be.

Chris Eubank?

Not guilty. We were going to put him on the cover of You Love Us. People dismiss him for demoralising his opponents, but they forget what happened to Michael Watson. No wonder Eubank holds back a bit more now. The way he just stands there posing... it's the campest thing a boxer could do. I love him.

Three words for 1994?

Bag of shit.