Bragg wrote to NME after reading of Wire‘s comments, inviting the band to a “proper debate” about differences of opinion which occurred when Bragg criticised the band for having their own backstage toilets at the Glastonbury Festival. Signs on the toilets read: “These facilities are reserved exclusively for the Manic Street Preachers: Please respect that.” The Manics declined his invitation.
Before launching into ‘Tsunami’ at T in the Park, Wire railed: “This is for Billy Bragg. I wouldn’t let his dick piss in my toilet for all the money in the fucking world. Get back into the Army you fucking dickhead and stop stealing Woody Guthrie‘s songs, you big-nosed twat.”
Wire also went on to berate The Beta Band, who he called a “shit-head bunch of c–s”.
Bragg contacted NME last week, claiming that Wire‘s rant further revealed how far the Manics have moved from their famously left-wing political ideals and accused them of no longer being able to “walk it like they talk it”.
In a letter sent to the Manics via NME, he said: “Where is Nicky Wire‘s sense of humour? It was mischief rather than indignation that led me to reveal that the Manics had installed their own private toilets backstage at Glastonbury. When I read the little handwritten sign on the door, I couldn’t resist the wind-up.
“Having to use the festival ‘facilities’ is an essential part of the Glastonbury experience. Everyone from Michael Stipe on down has to use the Portaloo and legend has it that Farmer Eavis makes an egalitarian point of ensuring that the backstage toilets are the last call on the daily emptying round. Frankly, if you haven’t sat on the old thundermug at Glastonbury, then you haven’t really been to the festival.
“Maybe that was the thing that bugged me – that what the Manics were doing was against the spirit of Glastonbury. That it was also contrary to the band’s professed ideals didn’t surprise me as it seems like it has been a while since they thought about what their politics are now. If Nicky Wire has anything to say about that aspect of their current behaviour, rather than just shooting his mouth off about how hurt his pride is, then I would be happy to have a discussion with him about the importance of walking it like you talk it.
“It’s ironic that he should make a reference to my time in the Armoured Corps. There is an old Army saying that the Manics might do well to take note of: if you can’t take a joke guys, you shouldn’t have asked for this job in the first place.”
He signed his letter Trooper B Bragg 24600765.
Bragg called NME to add: “If he would like to discuss the politics of all of this with me, then I’ll be very happy to do that. Let’s have a debate. Usually, he (Wire) says the daftest things and no-one takes him up on them. I’m not interested in slagging the Manics, I just want to talk to them about their politics.”
When NME contacted the band for their reaction, a spokesperson said they were not interested in commenting.
Meanwhile, the Manics have postponed a series of US dates because James Dean Bradfield‘s mother is seriously ill. It is understood the Manics‘ appearance at next month’s V99 Festivals will not be affected. The US dates, which were due to start on July 15, will be rescheduled for later in the year.
Tickets for V99 are available from nme.com‘s 24-hour ticketline on 0870 121 0125 or click here to go to our online gig guide and ticket service.