Award-winning rock band the Manic Street Preachers have criticised another group for recording a song claiming that their missing member, Richey Edwards, is dead.
The song, Richey's Dead, has been recorded by Cheltenham rock band Ideal and includes the line "You've got to let him rest in peace." But a spokesman for Manic Street Preachers yesterday said they were shocked at the "tasteless" recording.
Edwards has not been seen since February 1995 when his car was found abandoned near the Severn Bridge. The song claims Edwards threw himself off the Bridge, saying: "You've got to know by now that he's thrown himself over. Richey's been released. You've got to let him rest in peace. Richey is dead, Richey's dead."
Ideal singer Will Hutchinson, 23, who wrote the song, said: "It's being tasteless but that's part of the point. If you don't get the joke, you haven't got a sense of humour."
A Manic Street Preachers spokeswoman said: "It's in really bad taste."Police are no nearer to solving the riddle of the 31-year-old musician's disappearance, despite recent claims of sightings on a beach in Goa.
by Sydney Young
Pop stars Manic Street Preachers yesterday attacked a "tasteless" record claiming missing guitarist Richey Edwards is dead.
Richey vanished in 1995. His car was found near the Severn Bridge.
Cheltenham band Ideal have released Richey's Dead, with lines like: "You've got to know by now he's thrown himself over."
Writer Will Hutchinson, 23, said: "It's tasteless but that's part of the point. If you don't get the joke you haven't got a sense of humour."
The Preachers said: "Thanks for thinking of his family. We hope it never happens to Ideal or their families."
Manic Street Preachers are refusing to react to news of a song called "Richey's Dead" by an unsigned Cheltenham band.
The Manics' office issued a strict "No comment" when the Maker rang for a response.
Ideal, the band responsible for the track which so far only exists as a demo, have this week told us that their lyrics have been misinterpreted. The song, they say, describes an incident involving a girl obsessed with missing Manic Richey Edwards, whose car was found abandoned near the Severn Bridge.
Will Hutchinson, Ideal's vocalist, guitarist and lyricist, said the band had been playing the song live for ages without incident. Then last Tuesday, (April 15), a freelance journalist phoned him at 8am, asked a few questions and promptly sold the story to the Press Association. It was all over the national papers the next day.
Hutchinson said: "The song is a true story about a girl who's obsessive about Richey and won't accept he might be dead. We were at a party, really drunk, about a month after he went, and I was having a conversation with this girl. I said, 'Sod off, he's dead', like a drunk joke.
"Then she went out with this bloke who looked really normal and suddenly started to look like Richey Manic. He's our keyboard player now, and she's still going out with him. She doesn't like the song. She's still a huge Richey fan, and she still doesn't think he's dead.
"I don't necessarily think he is. I'm not a particularly huge fan of the Manics, but I don't hate them."
Asked if the single was in bad taste, Hutchinson said: "Nicky Wire going onstage with a dress on is bad taste. Wearing balaclavas on 'Top Of The Pops' is bad taste. And what about the line Richey wrote in 'Motown Junk' - 'I laughed when Lennon was shot'?
"It only becomes bad taste when people get really serious about it. There are actually only two dodgy lines in our whole song. One is 'Richey's been released/You gotta let him rest in peace/Richey's not so manic now, is he?'"
The other is: "You've got to know by now he's thrown himself over."
Ideal have been together for three years playing "Seventies and sometimes Eighties meets Nineties rock 'n' roll, Subway Army meets Sweet with a bit of Velvet Underground thrown in."
Undeterred by the hostility which has greeted their newfound notoriety, Hutchinson said: "We're coming to get you, ready or not. We're at the Bull & Gate on election night, May 1, as an alternative to Billy Bragg."
Ideal have defended their track, "Richey Is Dead" - a song about missing Manic Street Preacher guitarist, Richey Edwards - in the wake of a national outcry.
The five-piece from Cheltenham circulated the song - which includes the line, "You've got to know by now he's thrown himself over" - on a three-track demo to a number of publications and record companies. A freelance reporter who heard the track sold the story to the tabloids; leading the Mirror to report the story as: "Sick song row over lost Richey".
But Ideal have hit back. Will Hutchinson told NME: "It's not having a go at Richey. It's a conversation between a man and a woman and he's saying, "Richey is dead, you know. Get over it."
The song was never intended to be a single, although the band have apparently received offers for it to be released after the publicity it received.
A spokeswoman for the Manics made no comment about the record, although the band were quoted in the Mirror as saying: "Thanks for thinking of his family. We hope it never happens to Ideal or their families."
But Hutchinson said: "He's a public figure and it's a modern myth. It's not something that we're not going to touch and be reverential about. We played the song in Cardiff to an audience of English-eating Welsh fans and they loved it. We also had it out with a Manics fanzine and at the end of it I think they understood."
Ideal play on May 1 at London Kentish Town Bull & Gate.
Call me an earnest, humourless, sour-faced old troll with the face of a melted wellie but this is not funny. It's not even about Richey, it's about publicity (which, granted, has worked) for a band whose reed-thin mawk-punk din features a bloke mewling on about girls blubbing over pictures of the people's lost pal and sneering, Richey's not so manic now". Ho ho ho. And 897 bottles of rum. F--- off.