Rock & Roll has been riddled with odd, peculiar, and disturbing stories in its 60 year lifespan. I can think of a few that deserve mentioning, especially the story of Iron Butterfly’s bassist, Philip Taylor Kramer, whom after departing the band had obtained a degree in aerospace engineering, and was working under the United States department of defense as well as computer engineering until he disappeared under very mysterious and suspicious circumstances. However, that shall be saved for another article. One of my favorite stories of the past 20 years is the creation of the album The Holy Bible.
Initially a quartet, Richey Edwards was the face of The Manic Street Preachers, and their Clash-esque brand of Punk. After two albums, the onslaught of attention went to Richey's head and drove him over a cliff; spiraling downward into a pit of self-destruction, despair, and nihilistic delusion. It was in his very unstable state of mind that he commenced upon his dark magnum opus in the form of diary entries made song. Richey held nothing back in his lyrics—this was his confessional to the world. He had lost all hope and so therefore, he had nothing to fear, and could not be bothered to exude anything but his pent-up angst and forlorn fury. The album was completed and released to critical acclaim, but their performance on Top of the Pops—Richey in particular, clad in a 'terrorist-style' balaclava—garnered the show their most complaints ever. Manic Street Preachers disappeared from the charts very quickly.
Two months after the release of the album, Richey simply vanished. Oddball sightings were noted but nobody could say where in the world he had gone to. Furthermore, for a solid two weeks the exact amount of $200 dollars was withdrawn from his bank account every single day. It eerily correlated with the lyrics of his song "Yes" regarding prostitution; "for $200 anyone can conceive a God on video." Finally his car was found abandoned without any clues. The band had set aside a percentage of royalties since his disappearance, but it wasn't until 2008 that his family had him declared dead. Richey was eccentric and mentally frayed enough that a disappearance would not entirely discount a miraculously unexplained reappearance, but sadly, suicide is the most likely explanation considering his mental state. Anonymous tips regarding his whereabouts still roll in to this day.
All in all, The Holy Bible is a masterwork of bleakness and a destitute look at the state of our society. It serves as a lesson to those who step into the darker realm of humanity; one must possess a wholesome spirit to avoid the path toward corruption when investigating these borders. It is, regardless, a very fine work in raw Punk musicianship, even with its morbidly frank, hopeless and stoic nature.
Review made by Hunter Gatherer/2013
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