Kelly Jones was born 3 June 1974. He 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. Showing a talent for writing in his youth, he 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, he decided to use his narrative side more towards writing lyrics.
Jones also flirted with the idea of boxing, and was a successful boxer at youth level. 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 released in 1997, Word Gets Around.
In 2000, rumours that the band were splitting up ran wild when Jones announced a solo tour, however on the opening night of the tour in Vicar Street in Dublin, he came onto the stage and said “Hows it going? This is about the band splitting up… it’s bollocks”.
In 2003, whilst on tour in Germany, drummer Stuart Cable who by this time had had his own chat show was sacked from the band by Jones because of problems over “commitment”.
In January 2005 he performed a solo set at the Tsunami Relief Cardiff charity concert at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, the biggest live music charity concert since 1985′s Live Aid which featured other artists such as Eric Clapton.
Jones is well known for his love of British style amps, and is never seen without his Matchless’, Badcat’s and Vox AC30′s, whether playing solo or with Stereophonics. He loves the “clean British sound” of the AC30′s and the “dirty crunch” of the Badcat’s and Matchless’.
He does not use many pedals, but in solos is well known for his use of his Dunlop CryBaby wah, and his crunchy, wah-driven solos are instantly recognisable. He also uses Boss effects pedals, including a chorus, delay, flange, phaser and various distortion pedals, although he is gradually getting rid of the distortion pedals and just using amp switching pedals using the built in crunch and clean settings, mainy using his AC30 for clean work and his other 2 amps for distortion.
His main guitar is a cherry red Gibson SG, possibly an original 60′s but given its remarkable condition, maybe a reissue. His use of a Gibson ES335 is becoming more and more common along with his Fender Stratocaster, and his Fender Telecaster is also making more and more appearances, but his Fender Jaguar, used extensively on ‘Language Sex Violence Other’ seems to have been made redundant on the latest ‘Pull the Pin’ tour. He is also known to use Gibson Les Paul Goldtops, especially on heavier tracks such as ‘Bartender and the Thief’ and ‘Vegas 2 Times’. His acoustic guitar of choice is an original 60′s Gibson J200, and rarely uses anything else, but owns various other Gibson’s and Takamine’s
Jones has always had a troubled relationship with the media and they have often criticised him and his contribution to music. This relationship was not helped when he wrote “Mr. Writer”, a song about a journalist who had traveled with Stereophonics on tour – and then subsequently slighted Jones in an article by repeatedly referring to him as “monkey-boy” and likening him to a chimpanzee.
He has generated headlines several times by criticising other musical artists such as Radiohead and the album Kid A, Most famously however, Jones is widely known for his cynical view of manufactured pop and has also criticised pop reality shows such as Popstars and X Factor and manufactured pop bands such as Hear’Say, as he believes they make no contribution to music, and regards them as a joke.
Jones is known for his preference of wearing vintage clothing, and owns at least 20 leather jackets including several variations of his trademark tan leather jacket. In recent years he is frequently seen wearing sunglasses even at night time concerts and indoors. Jones is said to be a fan of the famous football club, Leeds United as he pledged to Wayne Rooney, at Rooney’s wedding, to sign for Leeds United. Kelly has a young daughter called Lolita Bootsy.