In 1988, having just self-financed and produced their debut single, Suicide Alley, the Manic Street Preachers began to send copies to numerous music publications in an effort to spread the word. The following impassioned letter — in which James Dean Bradfield sells the band’s vision and disassociates them from those other acts who had “become a stagnant, caricatured voice of grey doggrel and easy piss takes and outrage” — accompanied the copy sent to the NME, and was eventually quoted in part by journalist Steven Wells in his review:
White Rock Rebelboy Single Of The Week! Check the letter this band sent to me – “We are the suicide of the Non-Generation. We are as far away from anything in the ‘80s as possible (eg ‘80s pop automation, the long running saga of the whimsical pop essay and the intrinsic musical sculptures of post modernism)”.
This records positively fizzes with Clash Mk I Juice. Eeeee! (pulls muffler tighter and clutches ferret feverishly) I remember a time – long before Crass ruined everything – when fresh faced little boys in gaudy T-shirts made exciting rock ‘n’ roll which they were convinced would shame the world into improvement. Retrogressive, exciting and inspired. You’ll probably hate it.
Transcript follows. Image courtesy of Eil.
MANIC STREET PREACHERS,
20 BLACKWOOD ROAD,
Yes we know that the record has a distinct mono feel to it, we know the songs flounder unless you turn the volume up to ten, but at least it is a total mindfuck with a sound that can only be attributed to burning youth rather than the comfortable protest of cardigans and John Lennon spectacles. We are not part of any eighties institutionalized protest, the likes of fanzines and certain bands have all become a stagnant, caricatured voice of grey doggrel and easy piss takes and outrage, all the while pretending to care and indulge in a certain altruistic belief when all they are actually doing is helping upkeep the status quo by offering an unacessible alternate that inspires apathy in people.
We are as far away from anything in the eighties as possible (eg 80′ pop automisation, the long running saga of the whimsical pop essay & the intrinsic musical sculptures of post modernism). We are the suicide beat of the NON-GENERATION. Our suicide reality will strip down everything before it (given the chance) because we know where our anger comes from, and are not afriad to write about our generation directly. Whereas the likes of the pixies and Birdland talk about the nihilism of the mind on “pops shrink couch” and describe the source of any anger as being “external forces.” All easy excuses and cowardice as to address wide issues involving the masses instead of personal “wank off” bullshit it takes much more thought and intelligence as the first hurdle is to avoid ranting dogma.
We are in a band together because we cannot accept the culture of money forcing us into the 80′ satisfaction of XR3′ and fuel injected fucks. Suicide Alley is the [?] vision fuelling our inevitable NEW ART RIOT. The song embodies our attitude. All of the other songs we have aim themselves at specific targets. We should be lining up some nationwide gigs soon so come along if you like the single. If you want to give us a small article I’ve included our phone number and address, and if you can could you review the single when it’s your turn.
THE MANIC STREET PREACHERS