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Everything (A Book about Manic Street Preachers) Paperback – 20 May 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (20 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753501392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753501399
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.7 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 203,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Aside from the non-eponymous title (the band's name is relegated between parentheses), the striking thing about Everything is the cover, which strangely lacks a photograph of its subject, almost unheard of in the field of popular music biography. Instead displayed are four shirts, which although they personify the Manic Street Preachers' early punk philosophy and ferocious energy, the image is perhaps ironic for a group that has been anything but faceless or nameless throughout its history. Simon Price's debut biography is a well-researched, detailed chronicle of the Manics' smalltown Welsh roots and their rise to fame and easily excels the glossy biography-by-photograph books previously published on the group. Price, a music journalist and self-confessed nail-painter, follows the Manics' early career at the turn of the decade through to the release of their fifth album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours at the end of the 90s. Vividly portraying their struggle for success on their own terms, he takes us through the downbeat period of The Holy Bible (an album featuring such cheery themes as prostitution, self-mutilation and Holocaust death camps) and goes some way to clarifying the mystery surrounding the sudden disappearance of band member Richey Edwards in 1995. He then describes the Manics' difficult decision to continue life as a three-piece and highlights their magnificent 1996 Everything Must Go revival which saw them take their rightful and of course contradictory place among the rock establishment, typified by the acceptance of two Brit Awards in 1997. Written with a perfect blend of fan enthusiasm and journalistic objectivity, Price eloquently explains the Manics' appeal but is also quick to point out the band's faults and hypocrisies such as deriding "corporate rock" while at times wholeheartedly embracing it (albeit with Nicky Wire's audacious disclaimer "we reserve the right to contradict ourselves"). The biography also contains 10 analytical essays, a comprehensive discography, a list of fan Web sites and some classic photos (including the infamous shot of Richey's mutilated arm). The Manic Street Preachers may not be the spark that ignites the revolution but compared to the mediocre debris that fills much of the pop world, they blaze with dignity. Everything is a very real account of their life and achievements. --Robert Brookes

From the Author

How and why I wrote "Everything"
A brief history of "Everything". Back in 1993, Patrick Jones - Nicky Wire's poet/playwright brother (and inspiration) - and I planned to write a book not so much about the Manics as with the Manics, a kind of Manic-festo for the band's beliefs. It probably would have been epically pretentious and great fun, but unfortunately events overtook us - Richey's illness and subsequent vanishing - and the idea was put on ice (there was no was I was going to cash in on the Richey situation back in 94/95: I may be a journalist, but I'm not completely insensitive). Of course, when the band returned to huge success in 1996, a steady trickle of MSP books began to appear. Whilst not wishing to slag off my fellow authors, I found them, in rough chronological order, a) enthusiastic but ill-informed, b) enjoyable, readable but too pocket-sized to be definitive, absolutely, crimnally appalling, and d) a solid, decent enough work, but lacking personal insight. I believed that the band (and the fans) deserved one definitive, authoritative, in-depth book, which didn't just say what they did, but why they did it. Also, now that the band appeared happy to discuss Richey in interviews, I felt happier about doing so myself. In fact, it was Nicky Wire - dismissively tossing another MSP biog aside - who said "C'mon Simes, when are you going to write YOUR book?" The morning after the 1997 Brit Awards, every MD of every book publishing company in London woke up and said "Who are these Manic Street Preachers, and why haven't we got a book on them? Find me the expert!" Luckily, most people seemed to think this meant me (I'd been following the band at close quarters, some might say obsessively, since 1991). A bidding war ensued, which was quite flattering. However, when I signed with Virgin, it quickly became apparent that they had different ideas about what sort of book it should be. I was given just three months to complete it, but I soon realised that only yet another superficial, picture-led cash-in could be written in that timescale. I wanted to write a book that was, literally, "Everything" (as in "everything you ever wanted to know about a bunch of Welsh Marxist transvestite punks turned stadium rock superstars, but were afraid to ask"). I was inspired as much by Greil Marcus (who, in Lipstick Traces, ostensibly a book about The Sex Pistols, drew references ranging from 12th century heretics to Dr Strangelove) as more sensible, "proper" biographers like Johnny Rogan and Nelson George. To cut a long story short, the subsequent two years - which is how long it eventually took - involved, in no particular order, the following: bankruptcy, death of journalistic career, threats of legal action, threats of eviction, breakdowns of personal relationships and of mental state (the mind of Richey Edwards is no place to be a tourist). It was worth it - well, sort of. Universal good reviews, staggering sales figures, and, above all, people coming up to me in the street and telling me how much they've enjoyed it. Apparently, Nicky Wire likes it as well. Hope you enjoy it too... Be Pure, Be Vigilant, Behave, Simon Price May 1999

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 July 1999
Format: Paperback
A great book in itself from a pure history point of view, i have been a fan of the maincs since the holy bible era and have always been keen to pick up info about their early life as a band. Price gives a good account of the early days and betrays - to me at least - a love of those days as opposed to what the band have subsequently become. He appears to gloss over the more recent events of the band which to my mind suggests that he is not as keen on the three piece manics as he was on the full set. This possibly related to his severe crush on richey, who he feels is an extremely beautiful person. This detracts from the book to a certain degree but not so great that it effects it's enjoyment, as long as you take it as the views of someone who was there rather than an objective narrative of the band. the chapters follow well and the insights into the individual memebers of the band are extremely interesting - to me at least more so than the history chapters, as to a certain degree most people are aware of these anyway. Price gives the impression that he is very close to the manics, it would be interesting to see how close to them they thought he was? The irony of the book is that the content suggests that the author could never be as close as he implies because they are a very closed group, however if he was not as close to them as implied how could there be so much insight unless it was invented hmmmm
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rebeca Thorvund on 13 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
My dear friend Fiona from Newcastle turned me on to the Manics in 1992 and their first San Francisco show that year (in the wake of the L.A. riots) remains one of the most powerful I've seen. How fitting, then, that Fiona should send me this book in my Christmas package. Simon Price makes a compelling story even more so with his riveting writing style, lust for detail, insightful analysis, and insider's view. He whisks the reader from Blackwood bedrooms to the world stage and misses nothing along the way, thank God. Who better to even attempt to take on such a task than Price, a gifted writer whose love for the band imbues the story but who can also provide objectivity and constructive criticism?
Buy this book if you're mad on the Manics and just try to put it down. Buy this book if you're a casual fan or have never heard of them and see what you've been missing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "thurston_whore" on 27 Dec. 2003
Format: Paperback
I love this book,if you wanna know anything about the manics this book more or less tell's you,from where they hung around as kid's 'peny fan pond' to the dissapearence of one of the worlds best unknown poets mr 'richard edwards'
It mad me cry,it made me laugh,and got me thinking alot,The manics have to have one of the best told stories in rock music,Its just so intresting to know what these 4 inteligent lad's done as boys here in blackwood,and how the managed to survive here,and grow up to become one of the most meaningful bands to grace this earth.
Some good interview's in this book also,and many fact's about the band that i didnt know,It's also good how the writer 'SIMON PRICE' has actually seen the band many times,and remembers his experience's with the band and seeing them live.
A must buy for manics fans! and people who wanna know more about them,i'd say this is deffinatly the book to buy first!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
i'm a huge manics fan, and have been for about 10 years. i was really eager to read this book as Price is fairly close to the band. it had lots of interesting (funny) little anecdotes in it, as well as a detailed version of the band's somewhat rocky history. there were a few factual mistakes in the book, which were even pointed out (although not specifically) by Nicky Wire, but as he said "this is your (price's) truth and that's cool", which just about sums it up. the thing about the manics is that no one can have cast iron views of them, they are complex and contradictory, and therefore you can never be entirely accurate of them. it's good to read a book about them which is just the author's personal views - the way he sees them and their history, rather than just a barrage of facts. i really enjoyed reading it, although if you're not a fan, it may be a bit much!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
I thought I'd left rock biogs behind me with my teens, so it is a testament to the impact the Manics have made on my life that I could barely wait to read this. Price has achieved a fine balance between the avid zeal of a long-time fan and the fastidious reportage of a committed biographer, using his personal conversations/interviews and nostalgic throw-backs to excellent, and often humourous, effect.
Price is fairly even-handed with his handling of the four Manics, quite a task considering the near-mythological status of Richey Edwards (his complex persona, on/over-the-edge lyrics, and tragic disappearance). I think he could have balanced the insight into the Wire/Edwards lyrics with more about the evolution of Moore/Bradfield's music (they have worked through most of the rock genre, after all). Also, although I felt that Price was conscious not to go over-board with his idolisation of Richey (and he clearly does idloise him - he recounts how he was virtually a nervous wreck when interviewing him in 1994), he can't help knocking Nicky's inclination to "domestic terrorism" and less aggressive lyrical style (in the years since Richey's disappearance). Nicky's confronting his demons (My Little Empire, Born A Girl) is not so very far away from Richey's (Yes, 4st 7lb), it's just that the subject matter is less harrowing. He still often deals with controversial subjects, and if he isn't always explicit enough for some people in his outrage - Price utterly slates the closing track of This Is My Truth..., S.Y.M.M. (about the Hillsborough tragedy) - I would argue that sometimes less is more. (Simon, remember: "Do not listen to what I say/Just listen to what I can keep silent".) At the end of the day, we are all older (and wiser ?
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