The Manics were talking to NME about their upcoming 14th album ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’, which features a collaboration with grunge icon Lanegan on the track ‘Blank Diary Entry’. They first met the frontman when the Manics supported Oasis in the US along with his band Screaming Trees back in 1996.
Details of the tour made headlines again last year with the release of Lanegan’s memoir Sing Backwards And Weep, in which he wrote about how a fight arose after Gallagher mocked the band backstage. Following the release of the book, Gallagher later called him an “uptight junkie” on Twitter before Lanegan slammed him as “a dickhead” who was “trying to make like you’re hard”.
Lanegan later said that he didn’t think of Gallagher as a “bad dude” and described him as an “eccentric old uncle“.
Looking back on the original incident, Manics bassist and lyricist Nicky Wire told NME: “It was in catering, and Liam was calling them something like The Barking Branches and The Crazy Conkers. Mark was a very bruised individual at that point.
“It was a great tour. We just sat back and watched Oasis teetering on the edge and cancelling gigs. For once, we were the stable part of the touring party! It was the first time we’d had success on a global scale and we were enjoying it.”
Frontman James Dean Bradfield, meanwhile, fondly remembered Screaming Trees for their “bitter edge”, adding that “there was as much tension within their band as they were turning out unto the world. I like it when you see a band and it’s as if they’re almost falling apart on stage. We’ve been that band sometimes, too.”
He continued: “With ‘Blank Diary Entry’, it was quite easy. Nick gave me the lyric and said, ‘It could be a duet, I’m not sure’. I started writing the music and just had one name in mind and that was Mark Lanegan. I’ve met him a fair few times and have a little bit of a connection. I’m five foot six and he’s nearly nine foot tall. It looks a bit like R2-D2 and Chewbacca when we walk side-by-side.
“He’s one of those guys where you wish he’d been a mate at school. Some people might find it a funny pairing. If you’ve read his book, you’ll know there’s a brute force to him, but we’ve always just really got on.”
Asked if they were on the side of either Liam or Lanegan in the feud, Wire replied: “I’ve got a lot of time for Liam and Mark! Well, that’s probably the one and only time I was diplomatic!”
Read our full interview with the Manics here, where Bradfield and Wire also discuss how Abba and The Clash came to shape the “snow globe” feel of their new album, life in lockdown, railing against culture wars, working with Sunflower Bean‘s Julia Cumming, the upper class “tipping the cultural scales too heavily in their favour“, and much more.
‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’ is out on September 10 via Columbia/Sony. The band’s upcoming tour dates are below. Visit here for tickets and information.