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GALLERY: Kevin Cummins' Manics Shots
Danny Riley , November 13th, 2014 15:45

Before tQ editor John Doran interviews him at Manchester's Louder Than Words festival this weekend, Kevin Cummins talks us through some of his best shots of the Manic Street Preachers from his upcoming book, Assassinated Beauty


Richey live in Bangkok
He'd been sent a set of ceremonial swords by a fan, with a note saying, "Would you slash yourself onstage with it?" But he just thought that was terrible exhibitionism and didn't want anything to do with it. During that period James would sing 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' and the band would go off for a few minutes. I went backstage looking for a shot of them standing round, and Richey had just cut himself with the swords. They're only surface cuts - he didn't gouge anything out - but it's still quite shocking when you see somebody bleeding like that. It wasn't a case of calling a medic, but it looked like a music stave, with the notes bleeding down his chest.

I think he just liked the feel of it, and I don't think he did it for anyone's benefit, particularly. I'm not a psychiatrist, I don't know why people self-harm, cut themselves or commit suicide. Of course if he'd been lying on the floor I would have called an ambulance, but it was just a surface cut, so I didn't feel it was an exploitative thing to take some pictures backstage. Then he went onstage like that and went to the dressing room like that. From shooting him I'd seen his arms, and there were quite a lot of cigarette burns. But I'm not his mother.