Manic Street Preachers bassist Nicky Wire was born Nicholas Allen Jones in January 1969 but chose the name Wire because of his wirey stature. Wire was always destined for great things having been a talented footballer, captaining the Welsh national schoolboys team and being the brother of poet and author Patrick Jones. Words are obviously in the Jones family genes as Nicky Wire was to become the lyricist of the Manics.
In addition to his sporting prowess Wire was also successful academically. He completed his A levels and then achieved an honours degree in Political History having had to give up a promising football career due to injury. He had been offered trials at both Tottenham and Arsenal but his future was to be in a collaboration with former school friends James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore and Richey Edwards who collectively became the Manic Street Preachers. Wire was originally the band’s rhythm guitarist and joint lyricist with Edwards but changed to Bass (Rickenbacker, Gibson and Fender) when the band’s original bassist Flicker (Miles Woodward) left the group.
In 1995 Richey Edwards mysteriously disappeared on the day he was due to fly to the US with James Dean Bradfield. Edwards’ fate has never been confirmed but he is suspected to have committed suicide by jumping off the Severn Bridge. Following his disappearance Nicky Wire became the band’s sole lyricist although some of Edwards’ work has been used since his departure. The 1998 album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours was the Manic’s first album with lyrics written by Wire alone.
Wire is known for his eccentric and flamboyant personality. He is highly outspoken and known for wearing dresses and skirts on stage. Wire says he is not a transvestite but did used to visit pubs in his teens wearing dresses. He has a fascination with women’s clothes and make-up and is not averse to a few glittery accessories either. He attributes his interest in female attire to his admiration for his mother and he is commendable for adopting an I am what I am attitude and just being himself on and off the stage. His outspoken ways and have landed him in the mire. He once got in deep water for proclaiming that he hoped Michael Stipe (REM) would go the same way as Freddie Mercury but has since said that the comment “didn’t come out the way I wanted it to.”
In addition to enjoying great success with the Manic Street Preachers Wire has received acclaim for his work as a solo artist. He released a solo album I Killed the Zeitgeist in 2006 following a solo gig at the Hay Festival. He has also released four solo singles. He has released 10 albums with the Manics including the critically Acclaimed The Holy Bible and Everything Must Go the latter featuring what is probably the group’s best known song A Design For Life for which Wire wrote the lyrics.
Nicky Wire is a unique individual. Lyrically talented, opinionated, outspoken and colourful, he is always interesting. After all how many talented footballers wearing dresses are there in rock bands these days? Especially playing such a wicked bass guitar!