Less Talk, More Music: Manic Street Preachers on “Friday Night with Jonathan Ross”

The Manic Street Preachers are kinda the alt-rock version of Status Quo, given that they’re an institution in the UK but barely cause Americans to raise an eyebrow, but as a dedicated reader of Q Magazine in the ’90s, I’ve followed them since the beginning of their career, back when Richie Edwards was carving slogans into his flesh and trying to be his generation’s Sid Vicious. As it turned out, he was a bit closer to being his generation’s Amelia Earhart, given that he vanished into thin and and is presumed dead, but that’s beside the point. The band’s music is arguably more powerful now than it was when Edwards was in the band, probably because they’re a decidedly less self-destructive unit without him in their ranks, but their debut album, 1992’s Generation Terrorists, nonetheless captured lightning in a bottle, combining the best bits of The Clash and Guns ‘N’ Roses and making them into one of the classic records of the decade. This performance of the epic “Motorcycle Emptiness” is actually from the ’00s, so it’s without Edwards, but a decade on, the song itself remains just as powerful.