The Manic Street Preachers album The Holy Bible is the focus of a new documentary, with a Kickstarter campaign being launched to fund the film.
The film The Holy Bible: My Testament will feature contributions from award-winning journalist Simon Price, who authored the book ‘Everything – A Book About Manic Street Preachers’. Also contributing is Velvet Coalmine blogger and author Rhian E Jones.
According to their Kickstarter page: The Holy Bible: My Testament “will explore the huge significance of the third studio album by Manic Street Preachers on its 20th Anniversary in a way never done before.
On the eve of a sell out tour, and with the award winning music journalist and Manics biographer Simon Price, we’ll be talking with some of The Holy Bible’s biggest fans about the importance of the album and why it means so much to them.”
The Holy Bible celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, with the remaining members of the band playing the album live next month to celebrate. Acclaimed for its bleak insights into the atrocities of modern human society, it also proved to be a mirror into the deeply troubled mental health issues of lyricist Richey Edwards, who disappeared in February 1995 as the band were due to promote the album in the United States.
We spoke to Journalist and contributor Simon Price about the documentary to find out more.
HTF: So let’s paint the scene here, it’s 1994 and Britpop is hitting its peak. Parklife and Definitely Maybe have revolutionised the British music scene (for better or worse depending on your opinion). Where did the Manic Street Preachers and The Holy Bible fit into all this?
Simon Price: They didn’t and it didn’t. Blur were singing about “following the herd down to Greece”, the Manics were visiting Auschwitz. Oasis were boasting about never reading books, and the Manics were making records packed with literary allusions and socio-political references. They couldn’t have been more out of place and out of time, and I treasured that.
HTF: Why do you think The Holy Bible has the legacy it does among Manics fans?
Price: It’s the album which compromises the least, which refuses to meet the world halfway, which makes zero concessions to mainstream acceptance, and which therefore is directed at the people who most thoroughly ‘get’ Manic Street Preachers. Therefore, people who do understand The Holy Bible hold it closer to their hearts and value it more highly than the band’s more radio-friendly, commercially-viable releases.
HTF: What is the scale of your involvement in this project, and how did you get involved?
Price: So far, my involvement has been minimal. It’s not my film – it’s Barefoot Rascals’ production and I’ve been brought in as a professional journalist with specialist knowledge on the subject matter. I was initially approached to take part as an interviewee, and was filmed answering a few questions, but subsequently I was asked to step up to more of a presenting role, which I’m happy to do, assuming that all goes well and they can secure the Kickstarter funding.
HTF: Is there any ambition to secure involvement with any of the members of the group?
Price: I’m not sure that there is – you’d need to ask the producers. But in my opinion, input from the band wouldn’t be necessary. Nor, perhaps, would their input even be appropriate. They’ve already been interviewed to death, and this film isn’t about them. It’s about the fan culture.
HTF: What’s the most exciting part of the whole documentary for you?
Price: Hearing other people’s stories. I’ve told my own countless times, and I’m almost sick of the sound of my own voice. I know what the Manics and The Holy Bible mean to me. I want other people to give “their truth”, to paraphrase another Manics album.
HTF: What has the process of making this documentary taught you about the album you maybe didn’t know and what does the album mean to you?
Price: Not so much this documentary, because I haven’t really done anything towards it yet, but the whole general flurry of activity around the anniversary of The Holy Bible this year, from talking on BBC Radio Wales to speaking at the Velvet Coalmine festival in Blackwood to attending the Mastertapes session at Maida Vale to giving interviews like this one, has got me thinking about the album again and listening to it more often, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that it’s an endlessly fascinating record which still stands up, and hasn’t dated at all, precisely because it was never of-its-time in the first place.
HTF: To people who have yet to hear the The Holy Bible, why should they listen to it?
Price: Because it’s good for the soul to listen to music which challenges you, morally, musically and intellectually. The Holy Bible does that. And because it captures the genius of Richey Edwards at its fullest expression, with the other three members of the band doing an exceptional job of rising to the task of matching his words with a suitably harsh, abrasive, intense and dark sonic texture. It’s the sound of a band who feel unbeatable and unbreakable, even though life was beating and breaking them behind the scenes. It’s one of the greatest rock albums ever made. Arguably the greatest.
Don’t forget, you can contribute to the Kickstarter campaign by clicking this link.