Anybody's who's seen Channel [V]'s 'From There To Here' special on the Manic Street Preachers will know that this is a band who've done the emotional distance together. On this particular day, Saturday 23 January 1999, behind the scenes at the Big Day Out, James Dean Bradfield and Nicky Wire, talk and move and act like brothers. Jabba was interviewing them, and got quite a geography lessson out of it as well ...
Jabba: Well we've come inside here at the Big Day Out to have a bit of a chat to the Manic Street Preachers, with us are James and Nicky. Thanks for joining us
James: That's alright mate.
Jabba: Now you're in New South Wales! Does it it feel new and more southern than your home country?
Nicky: It's felt like Wales for the last three days because it's been pissing down with rain. But it's changed today, so it doesn't seem anything like it now.
Jabba: And Wales is very rainy?
Nicky: That's the way I like it.
Jabba: Do you get to spend much time back there?
Nicky: I do.
James: Yeah, 'e does.
Jabba: Why only Nicky?
James: I kind of live in London at the moment. Bit of an expatriate at the moment.
Nicky: He comes home every weekend, but I actually stayed in the same place cos I can't be bothered to move.
Jabba: Are there big cultural differences between London and Wales?
James: Yeah, everything is different really, just about everything.
Jabba: Do you enjoy living in London?
James: I reckon I've got the best of both really - it's a small country, it's an hour and a half away from Wales. So it's no big deal really.
Jabba: Oh okay, I was really bad at geography so you have a song called 'Australia' on your latest album. Is Australia a popular thing for you to think about?
Nicky: It just always seemed like Mars you know, somewhere you could escape from there were certain times in our careers where we've just wanted to escape somewhere. It's always been somewhere I'm too scared to come cos I don't like flying.
Jabba: Is this one of the longest flights is it?
James: It's the longest I think.
Jabba: What's the longest you've spent in a plane?
Nicky: 21 hours, 55 minutes.
Jabba: Where was that from?
Nicky: Coming here.
Jabba: What do you do for that long?
Nicky: Go insane.
James: Watch films.
Jabba: Which films?
James: 'Mask of Zorro', that was alright, wannit?
Nicky: 'The Truman Show', 'One True Thing', so three good ones actually.
Jabba: Who's the woman in 'Mask of Zorro' - she's (makes "phwaarr" sound)
James: Catherine Zeta-Jones - she's our Welsh queen.
Jabba: She's Welsh?!!!
Nicky: She's from Swansea.
James: She is. Why are you so disbelieving?
Jabba: She's so Spanish-looking.
Nicky: There is a lot of Spanish and Italians in Wales. Look at 'im! (points to swarthy James).
James: Not really.
Jabba: I've been trying to fill my brain with Welsh things - it's a small brain so only a few things stayed in there the flag. Do you carry the flag on stage?
Nicky: It just goes on my amp. It's been on the amp for three, four years now.
Jabba: Is that a good luck thing?
Nicky: It is actually. The only reason I've never taken it off is ever since I put it on we've just got bigger and bigger, so I'm too scared to get it off now.
Jabba: It could be the totem.
Nicky: I think it is. The day we take it off is the day we split up.
Jabba: And that's the national flag? With the lion ?
James: It's a dragon.
Jabba: Are there really dragons in Wales?
Nicky: Well I believe it, don't think James does it's just a mythical thing.
James: He believes that sort of stuff.
Nicky: It's actually the oldest flag in the world - it's the only flag that started in the previous millennium and will enter the new millennium.
Jabba: Who came up with the Welsh flag?
Nicky: Some fuckin' mad Prince. On opium. Mushrooms.
Jabba: I mean, who else is around like that at the end of this millennium?
Nicky: Rupert Murdoch.
Jabba: He's our boss. Well done Rupert, I didn't know he was into mushrooms. And opium? Is that confirmed?
Nicky: You tell me.
Jabba: Howard Marks - he's Welsh isn't he?
Nicky: No, he's big with the Super Furry Animals, another Welsh band. They're kinda best mates. We're the alcohol side of it, the Richard Burton/Annie 'opkins side, whereas they're the drug side.
Jabba: Do you think that will hold Super Furry Animals back?
James: No, they like a touch of alcohol as well, so they temper the mellow side of drugs with alcohol. Nothing will hold them back.
Nicky: They're our favourite band anyway so, not just because they're Welsh, just think they're an amazing band. They're coming here in four weeks actually.
Jabba: They are, yeah, in February.
Nicky: Doin' the Metro.
Jabba: I wonder whether Howard will come with them do you think the Euro [dollar] will have good effects?
Nicky: Just depends, because the European Parliament is so corrupt, I mean everybody agrees with a united Europe, but the actual institutions that run it are completely false, and unelectable, and you can't get rid of them and then it's a very difficult thing. I believe in a united Europe, but not in the institutions that run 'em.
Jabba: The Olympics are being held here next year
Nicky: Nice bit of bribery but that's just the way it all works, isn't it. It's only cos Melbourne didn't get it in '96 that they're getting bitter about it.
Jabba: What do you do in time out?
Nicky: I just stay home and watch telly.
Jabba: What do you watch?
Nicky: Anything and everything - mainly sport, but
Jabba: What sport?
Nicky: Everything. Union, League, football.
Jabba: Oh League! (pulls disgusted face.)
Nicky: I still watch it yeah, I don't like it as much anything boxing. Athletics.
Jabba: Do you go to the boxing?
Nicky: No, I just watch everything on the telly. We're always invited to these things. There's a lot of bands that go there that know fuck all about boxing .. and they're all there going "rah, rah, rah". And it just makes me really angry cos they know nothing about it.
Jabba: Do you ever go to things and pretend you know what it's about?
Nicky: I never go out. James is the social animal in this club.
James: I do the dirty stuff.
Jabba: What's the best party you've ever been to?
James: I think it would have to be the Brit Awards, that was pretty good quite opulent in every sense.
Nicky: Hangin' out with the Spice Girls.
James: That was alright, that was cool.
Jabba: You were hanging out with the Spice Girls?
James: I did. Only one of 'em.
Jabba: Which one? We must get into this
James: It was about 10 minutes
Jabba: Which one, Posh?
James: No, Geri the lairy.
(Jabba is very excited for a while.)
Jabba: Scoop!! Scoop it up!! The Manic Street Spice Preachers!!
Nicky: Synchronisity it was. She saw the light. She knows how to read after talking to us.
Jabba: Has the band gotten more serious in recent times?
Nicky: No, you should've met us 10 years ago mate. This is us bein' happy and playful.
James: Thanks for talking to us James and Nicky.