On February 17th 1995 police found Richey Edwards’ Vauxhall Cavalier abandoned at the Severn View service station. They reported that there was evidence that The Manic Street Preachers’ guitarist had been living in the car.
As for the car’s owner, well nothing has been heard from him since. There have been alleged sightings in Goa and Lanzarote, while there are those believe that he took his own life and jumped off the Severn Bridge. I guess we will never know.
Edwards, however, wasn’t the first rock star who decided that they had had enough of their old life and wanted to start anew. Various members of Fleetwood Mac disappeared in the late 60s and early 70s to be discovered in the cradle of slightly iffy religious groups.
There are others too and I have rounded up five stories of musicians who, for one reason or another, completely disappeared. Some, like Richey, are missing presumed dead, others are just keeping an incredibly low profile while working on that magical next album. Then there’s the tale of Rodriguez, a singer whose life was shrouded in mystery before a film was made retelling his amazing tale.
The other thing about all five is that each of them has created some wonderful music, which in four out of the five cases, deserves to be much better known.
Simon Warner - the last great pop perfectionist
Anyone who listened to Mark Radcliffe's Radio One show in the late 90s will remember a dramatic burst of Scott Walker-esque orchestrated pop called Wake Up the Streets. Kind of like The Divine Comedy, but a tad more serious and ambitious, the song and the album from whence it came, Waiting Rooms accrued the song's writer Simon Warner a small but dedicated core of fans who still rave about his music today. For Warner though making that first album had been a long journey. His collaborators suggest that Warner was a real perfectionist never happy with his work. Predictably Warner's album, while wildly critically acclaimed, failed to set the charts alight and then... Well the fella disappeared from view completely. Fifteen years on and acquaintances have spoken in chat rooms about how the singer is working on two amazing albums, but little seems to be known of his whereabouts or his musical plans. Spotify has helped attract a new generation of fans to Waiting Rooms and one hopes that one day Warner will re-emerge with some new material.