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Baker's Dozen

Reinventions Of The Near Future: James Dean Bradfield's Favourite LPs
Emily Mackay , September 23rd, 2014 08:25

With their Holy Bible shows just announced, the Manic Street Preachers frontman talks Emily Mackay through his all-time favourite albums


The Blue Aeroplanes - Tolerance
It's not quite finished, and that's why it's a classic example of what they were becoming, and that's why I love it. I love coming across a record when you can hear what the band could become. Unfortunately with them, I don't think they really ever got there. For me, they could have been the British R.E.M.. I remember myself and Nick saw the band at WOMAD fest in 1986. We decided we had to go to one festival to see what everything was about - it was either '85 or '86 - and we saw James, when they'd just come out with 'Hymn From A Village', when they were a completely different band, and they were brilliant to be honest. We saw Siouxsie And The Banshees and Arrow, and I think The Housemartins were there, and we also saw The Blue Aeroplanes. They were fucking amazing; one of the best live bands I've ever seen. It was pre-Bez and they had a dancer with them onstage; he was called Wojtek [Dmochowski] and the singer was just scatting poetry over the music. For a band that made quite delicate music they were full-on, they were moving lots, it was just pure fully formed erudite freneticism. It was just lovely. We came away thinking, "Wow, we'd love to be in a fucking band who connect onstage like that, with what's in their music and really physically trying to impose yourself on an audience." I love this record because it's got a song on it called 'Arriving', which has the line: "I saw the sun shimmering on a broken breeze." Nick was obsessed with that line when he was young. There's another song called 'When The Wave Comes' which is beautiful, the actual song 'Tolerance' is just brilliant. It's not a perfect album but you can hear this promise of what this band could have been. Me and Nick went to this festival and we fucking hated the experience of going to this festival, we hated people were trying to sell us drugs, but we loved seeing The Blue Aeroplanes. It was a little Damascene moment which made us really, truly believe about how physical a gig could be. We were determined to not be a band that stood still and just looked at our feet or guitar fretboards after that; we were determined that we would move round shitloads. We walked away quite loftily saying, "We're never coming back to a festival unless we play one," which just shows how snotty and fucking deluded we were.