About The Band
Click on a band member to view profile or scroll down for Stereophonics biography. To read about former member Stuart Cable click here.
Stereophonics are a rock band from Wales (…and Birmingham and Argentina!) with original members Kelly Jones, Richard Jones (no relation to Kelly), Adam Zindani & Javier Weyler. The original line up consisted of the two Jones’ and drummer Stuart Cable.
Kelly lived in the former pit village of Cwmaman, near Aberdare, where he became friends with neighbours, Stuart Cable and Richard Jones and they formed a covers band together. He is a perceptive lyricist, and considered being a scriptwriter before being a musician. The BBC showed an interest in some of his early work but, as the band progressed from a covers band to writing their original material, Kelly decided to use his narrative side more towards writing lyrics.
Kelly also flirted with the idea of boxing, and was a successful boxer at youth level, but his creative lyric writing talent proved more fruitful. Much of his early life is documented in the Stereophonics debut album, including his account of his teen years on a market stall. These are wryly documented in More Life In A Tramps Vest from the Stereophonics first album, Word Gets Around.
The trio grew up together in Cwmaman in the South Wales valleys. The days of the Stereophonics began when Kelly decided to call to Stuart’s house, Kelly armed with only a guitar knew Cable had a drumkit and went there with the desire to jam. Richard was Kelly’s best friend and had decided to try out music along with Kelly.
The trio began writing and performing in working men’s clubs together in 1992 as a teenage cover band known as Tragic Love Company, a name inspired by their favourite bands Tragically Hip, Mother Love Bone and Bad Company. They later changed their name to Stereophonics, named after the maker of Cable’s grandmother’s gramophone. The name evidently, has stuck with them since.
They finally made a big splash in 1996 as the first band to be signed to Richard Branson’s new Virgin Records label V2. Their distinctive sound offered a blend of Oasis-inspired Britpop and ’70s-influenced rock & roll earning them a series of big UK hits. However, this didn’t come at once their debut EP Looks Like Chaplin didn’t even have enough copies made to enter the charts, their next single Local Boy In The Photograph was one place shy of making the UK Top 50. Although constant gigging and countless support slots earned them much appraise and a growing fanbase.
Their debut LP Word Gets Around did however make it to #6 in the UK Album chart, something that in those days was unheard of for a small Welsh trio who were basically unheard of.
In February 1998 they received a Brit Award for Best New Group the same week as a re-issue of Local Boy in the Photograph made number 14 in the charts and their first album went gold in the UK, selling over 100,000 copies. During that year Stereophonics had successful tours in Europe, Australia and the USA.
In 1999 after infamous gigs at Cardiff Castle & Morfa Stadium (Both were later released on VHS & DVD) they released the “difficult second album” which was entitled Performance & Cocktails, the album gave them their first #1 and set the trend for their albums which at time of writing all went straight in at the top spot. Performance & Cocktails showed how three boys from a small town in Wales grew into rockstars with stories to tell, Kelly no longer sang of small town matters but instead roared out anthems like Bartender & The Thief & Just Looking. During this time they also collaborated with Tom Jones on a cover of the Randy Newman song Mama Told Me Not To Come for his album Reload.
In 2000, rumours that the band were splitting up ran wild when Kelly announced a solo tour, however on the opening night of the tour in Vicar Street in Dublin, Kelly came onto the stage and said “Hows it going? This about the band splitting up… its bollocks” and that was the end of that.
After another successful tour, they re-entered the studios and came out with Just Enough Education To Perform, the first single Mr. Writer, Kelly talked about how journalists had turned on him, how they would play an act up to artists face and then write untrue things about them once their back was turned. This to many was Kelly at his songwriting best, with Mr. Writer he hit a nerve, he told people what they already knew in a way they’d never heard. More single success for songs like Have A Nice Day, Step On My Old Size Nines and a cover of Rod Stewart’s Handbags & Gladrags established Stereophonics as one of Britains top bands. They also recorded their biggest audience to date when they played to 80,000 in Slane Castle in Ireland & ending with a Christmas show at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, supported by Feeder and Ocean Colour Scene – who they had supported years before.
Everybody expected another album like J.E.E.P. but once they released their fourth studio album You Gotta Go There To Come Back everybody knew the Stereophonics were here to stay, unlike their first 3, they were trying to “make it” in the music business, or cement their place. They just wrote rock ‘n’ roll songs and didn’t care who liked it. But everyone liked it. Songs like Maybe Tomorrow and Madame Helga came out of that album, and also they re-worked a song they hadn’t finished in time – Moviestar and re-issued the album with the track present.
In 2003 whilst on tour in Germany drummer Stuart Cable was sacked from the band by Kelly Jones because of problems over “commitment”, and was replaced on the remainder of the tour by Dead 60′s drummer Steve Gorman.
Their fifth studio album Language. Sex. Violence. Other? was released in March 2005, it marked their first recordings with their new drummer, Javier Weyler the bands former studio engineer who they had made permanent in the band after asking him to fill in on the drums for some early LSVO recordings. The band grabbed their first number 1 hit in the UK singles charts with the album’s first single, the punky, upbeat Dakota. The second single from the album, Superman was a growling, Black Sabbath-inspired rocker. This song however did not repeat the success of Dakota, peaking at number 13 in the charts, partly due to limited radio airplay. After this came Devil, which featured a controversial video and reached number 11 in the charts.
On July 2nd 2005, the group took a break from their sold old world tour and appeared at the Live 8 concert, in Hyde Park, London, in front of 240,000 people – their biggest audience yet.
The band were scheduled to support Oasis for a number of dates across Europe in early 2006, but pulled out due to family commitments. After taking a break, they are currently working on their next album. In a diary entry on the bands official website, made on the 15 May 2006, Jones talked about how he felt that the new album was their best yet, and those who had heard the demos gave similar sentiments.
2006 also saw the release of Stereophonics first live album Live from Dakota. The album is a 2-disc compilation featuring 20 tracks spanning all five of the band’s albums and capturing the best of their 2005 world tour. Rather than being a recording of single show, every night of the tour was recorded and the band picked out the best version of each song individually. The album also features a previously unreleased track Jayne.
In April, 2007 the band saw the release of their retrospective DVD entitled Rewind : the First 10 Years. A double disc with a runtime of nearly four hours, it traces the entire band history with live and behind-the-scenes footage dating from their earliest gigs to sold-out arena tours.
In 2007 Lead singer Kelly Jones released a solo album titled Only The Names Have Been Changed while recording the band’s sixth studio album, Pull the Pin. The album contains 10 tracks all named after a woman and features a simple arrangement of guitar, piano and subtle strings. The album also includes the song Jayne, a previously unreleased Stereophonics track featured on the live album Live from Dakota, and the Rewind DVD.
Drummer Javier Weyler also released a solo album titled Lagrima in 2007 under the persona Capitan Melao. The name Capitan means captain in Spanish and Melao is a Latin American slang word for swing, rhythm or soul. The album has been described as being a mix of Bossanova, Bolero and Rock and being the consequence of someone born in Buenos Aires Argentina, growing up in Caracas Venezuela and living in UK that integrates his cultural influences and experiences.
After Kelly performed a number of intimate small gigs alone, the band released a download-only album taster: Bank Holiday Monday. Kelly rejoined the band and played together for the first time in 17 months, boasting tracks from their new album, the band played on BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend and a new song It Means Nothing debuted, wowing fans at that very first performance, written in the wake of the 7/7 bombings about how we take loved ones for granted and only realise after a time of tradegy, the song was picked as the frontier single from their sixth studio album Pull The Pin.
Pull The Pin was released in October 2007 and like the previous 4 albums it debuted in the charts at #1. Following a UK & European tour the band embarked on a festival run throughout the summer of 2008 including slots at Oxegen, V & T in the Park.
Towards the end of the year the band announced they would be releasing a 20-track greatest hits entitled ‘Decade In The Sun’. Within the album with two new songs, My Own Worst Enemy & You’re My Star, the latter being released as a single. The band went on a UK tour in December showcasing songs from the bands 10 year catalogue, following this they went back into the studio to begin work on their seventh studio album.
Keep Calm & Carry On was released in November 2009 with lead single Innocent being released a week earlier. However promotion for this album was quite poor in the media and the album was their first studio record since their debut not to reach the #1 spot, it peaked at #13 in the UK albums chart. Following a National tour the band played the first ever concert at the brand new Cardiff City Stadium in June 2010. In 2011, after a year of touring – including a return to South America the band returned to the studio to record their next album, which has an expected release date of May 2012.