Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Bassist, lyricist, and occasional lead singer with the long-running U.K. rock band Manic Street Preachers, Nicky Wire has long been known for his willingness to provoke an audience with the turn of a phrase, and after years of displaying this talent with the Manics, he's launched a solo career to give him a more direct line to both his listeners and his muse. Wire was born Nicholas Allen Jones in the Welsh community of Blackwood on January 20, 1969. Wire was a talented soccer player as a teenager and received a degree in law and political science from the University of Wales, Swansea, but he ended up following a different career path when he joined the band Betty Blue in 1986, while still a student. Betty Blue evolved into Manic Street Preachers in 1989 when roadie Richey James signed on as rhythm guitarist. Fueled by James' fierce vision and uncompromising stance as well as the band's mix of glam, punk, and prescient Britpop, MSP's 1991 debut, Generation Terrorists, made a splash on the British charts and they became one of the most talked-about bands in the U.K. However, James' emotional instability became increasingly evident, and in 1995, shortly before the group's harrowing third album, The Holy Bible, was to be released in America, James disappeared; while he was presumed to have committed suicide, his body was never found. Wire shared lyric writing with James from band's debut, but when James vanished, Wire became their sole wordsmith, and his new responsibilities coincided with the band's most successful period. The fourth Manic Street Preachers album, Everything Must Go, was a critical and commercial smash, and the band became a major international draw, with the United States being one of the few countries not to succumb to the band's allure. Wire developed a reputation as a man with a sharp tongue -- during a December 1992 concert, he told the audience "In this season of goodwill, let's pray that Michael Stipe goes the same way as Freddie Mercury" -- but offstage Wire earned a reputation as a quiet, intelligent man who preferred home life to clubbing. In 2005, Wire began toying with the idea of a solo career, and on Christmas Day that year, he posted a song on the Internet that he'd written and recorded, "I Killed the Zeitgeist." While the song was posted for only 24 hours, it would later re-emerge as the title track of Wire's first solo album, released the fall of 2006, which presented a leaner and more uncompromised version of the musical vision Wire pursued with his band.