Quieten down! Manic neighbours refuse to tolerate noisy rehearsals

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The Independent Online

Noise pollution officers have warned the rock band Manic Street Preachers to go softly-softly after complaints over their rehearsals in a converted church in Cardiff.

The Manics, originally from Blackwood in the Gwent Valley, have become one of the biggest bands in Britain and sold millions of records worldwide. But despite their success and huge earnings, they have been keen to retain their Welsh roots and are still regularly seen drinking at their Blackwood local.

They have been practising since last week for a forthcoming tour, which includes a bill-topping performance at the Reading Festival in August. But the stained glass windows of The Point in the heart of the city's business district offer little sound-proofing and neighbours have complained to environmental health staff.

The news might come as a surprise to President Fidel Castro, who recently attended a Manic Street Preachers concert in Havana. When warned of the band's volume, the Cuban leader replied: "You cannot be louder than war."

A council spokesman said: "An environmental health noise pollution team was called out because of complaints from the neighbouring offices. By the time our officers arrived the rehearsal was coming to an end and the Manics were advised to keep the noise down during future sessions."

The Point is a listed building used by many bands performing in Cardiff. The Manics, whose first No 1 single was "If You Tolerate This..." often rehearse there and, according to their spokesman, Iestyn George, office workers had always been appreciative listeners until the change of heart. He said: "The Manics have used The Point regularly and it is one of their favourite spaces. They were working there before they released their last album and the office workers would slip messages under the door, saying how good they thought the new material sounded."

He added that the band would now be seeking an alternative space in which to practise. "They are not particularly traumatised by the experience," he said.

Last week Channel 4 broadcast a tribute night to the band, ranking them alongside the Beatles, Abba and Madonna, who have been honoured in the same way by the broadcaster.

The documentary featured interviews with the group and footage of their biggest hits, as well as a re-run of the historic Cuban gig, which they used to release a single called "Masses Against the Classes" that castigated capitalist globalisation.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: "We only dedicate evenings to groups who have made a difference in the pop world. The Manics have grown into a phenomenon, releasing great music and having something to say about the world we live in."

The band hit the headlines in 1995 when guitarist and lyricist Richey Edwards disappeared. Mystery still surrounds the incident. But they went on to greater success with their 1996 album Everything Must Go, widely regarded as their finest musical achievement.

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