Manic Street Preachers are an alternative rock band from Blackwood, Wales, formed in 1986. Often referred to as "the Manics", they are James Dean Bradfield (vocals, guitars), Nicky Wire (bass, occasional vocals) and Sean Moore (drums, backing vocals, occasional trumpet). The band were originally a quartet: lyricist and rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards mysteriously vanished on 1 February 1995. He was declared presumed deceased in November 2008.
The Manics released their debut album Generation Terrorists in 1992. Their combination of androgynous glam punk imagery, outspoken invective and songs about "culture, alienation, boredom and despair" soon gained them a loyal following and cult status. The band's later albums retained a politicized and intellectual lyrical style, while adopting a broader alternative rock sound. Enigmatic lyricist Richey Edwards gained early notoriety by carving the words "4 REAL" into his arm with a razor blade (narrowly missing an artery and requiring seventeen stitches) in response to the suggestion that the band were less than authentic. The dark nature of 1994's The Holy Bible reflected the culmination of Edwards' instability.