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After 13 years, Richey Edwards of Manic Street Preachers Declared Dead

Published: Fri November 28, 2008  News Feed

According to a spokesperson for Manic Street Preachers, guitarist Richey Edwards' legal status has been changed from "missing" to "presumed dead". Edwards went missing from a hotel in central London on February 1, 1995 aged 27. His car was found near the Severn Bridge, and it is believed Edwards took his own life.

After 13 years...finally declared "presumed dead"

Those who argue that Richey Edwards may still be alive point to the fact that, in the two weeks leading up to his disappearance on February 1, 1995 the guitarist had been withdrawing £200 a day in cash. Since then he has purportedly been spotted in a hippie market in Goa, India and on the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, although none of the sightings have been confirmed.

Many people who knew Richey Edwards still refuse to believe he committed suicide in 1995. Edwards himself said in 1994 that he would never consider killing himself: "In terms of the 'S' word, that does not enter my mind. And it never has done, in terms of an attempt. Because I am stronger than that. I might be a weak person, but I can take pain."

A lawyer representing Richey Edwards' (second left) family has stressed that changing the guitarist's status to "presumed dead" was "not the same as an acceptance that he is dead". Should Edwards ever return he would be a very wealthy man, since Manic Street Preachers have been paying 25% of all royalties into a special fund ever since his disappearance in 1995.

It has been speculated that, had Richey Edwards not disappeared in 1995, Manic Street Preachers' commercial breakthrough album 'Everything Must Go' would have sounded dramatically different, Edwards having expressed a desire to create a concept album described as "Pantera meets Nine Inch Nails meets Screamadelica".

Richey and his favorite Telecaster...and a fan.

Richey Edwards, Manic Street Preachers' co-lyricist with Nicky Wire, always maintained that attitude and charisma were more important than musical ability. He was an anti- guitar hero, and often his guitar couldn't be heard when the band played live. "Why is everyone hung up on an ugly piece of wood and metal and strings?" he once asked. "I can't play guitar very well, but I wanna make the guitar look lethal."

Manic Street Preachers dedicated a song to missing guitarist Richey Edwards during their Reading Festival set on August 23, 2008. "So, Reading Festival number five for us," said bassist Nicky Wire before playing 'La Tristessa Durera (Scream To A Sigh)'. "Richey only played one of those with us. But it feels like he's been there for a lot longer than that."

Last month, the Manic Street Preachers have announced that their next album, due to be released early 2009, will be a follow up to the acclaimed The Holy Bible, and will feature Richey lyrics exclusively and is produced by Steve Albini, the same producer of Nirvana's In Utero.

The band explained:

"Musically, in many ways it feels like a follow up to the Holy Bible but there is also an acoustic side – tender, romantic, nihilism, Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky esque. It's a record that celebrates the genius of his words, full of love, anger, intelligence and respect. We have to make this great. Wish us luck.

"We hope to release the record next April or May. The working titles are Journal for Plague Lovers or I Know I Believe In Nothing But It Is My Nothing. "

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