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STEREOPHONICS

They’ve Got All The Time In The World

(Taken from Issue 14 - Nov 97)

By Shari Black Velvet

OK, drummer Stuart Cable of the STEREOPHONICS hates me. I turn up at Wolverhampton Varsity to interview the band and I ruin his credibility forever. It’s Thursday July 31st 1997-2009 and I have with me one King Katwalk promo photo. You’ll know the one I mean if you read last issue’s Black Velvet. Stuart used to be a member of King Katwalk, the Welsh glam band that had more than a passing resemblance to Tigertailz crossed with Faster Pussycat... or something. The photo is passed around, from bandmembers to roadies to record company folk. Everyone laughs. Stuart dies of embarrassment. And hates me!

 

 

 

Above: Stereophonics

 

 
 

Personally I think it’s a great pic! He looks cool with longer wavy hair and make-up. I don’t see why the embarrassment. Mind you, that’s coming from someone who walks around Coventry shopping centre with bright pink glittery ankle boots on much to everyone else’s amusement!

Richard Jones, bassist with the band tells me Stuart used to be in another couple of bands years ago although Stuart actually started Stereophonics with lead singer Kelly Jones about ten years ago. "Stuart had a drumkit for Christmas and Kelly had a guitar. They formed the band in Kelly’s garage, and about five years ago I joined." The band have virtually known each other all their lives. Richard was born at the same hospital as Kelly, and they went to the same schools.

Before plumping for the name Stereophonics, the band were known as Tragic Love Company and were likened to the Black Crowes. "Yeah, we did a few Black Crowes covers" Richard admits "And Lynnard Skynnard". Rockers they were, with lovely long hair! "It was only about December last year that I cut mine off" he says of his locks.

Tragic Love Company became Stereophonics after a big gig in Aberdare in 1996, when they were support to Catatonia.

The three-piece have been gigging for an eternity, or so it seems. Whether they are supporting better known acts, or headlining their own shows, the Stereophonics have been up and down the country more times than they probably care to remember. Today we’re in the midst - or to be more precise, coming to the end, of a smallish headline tour of pubs and clubs. Monday they played Bristol, Tuesday it was Manchester, tonight it’s Wolverhampton of course, and the final date is tomorrow in Liverpool. I ask how the tour has been.

Richard tells me "Really well, except for Manchester. Our van got broken into and all our clothes got pinched. It was a nightmare up there. Our sound engineer and the roadies got their stuff pinched as well. But apart from that it’s been great. We did two sold out shows in Wales first, and most of the shows in pubs have been sold out".

As support to other bands they’ve picked up quite a few new fans. Your darling editor is one prime example! Besides Skunk Anansie, the band have supported the Manics, Ocean Colour Scene and The Who as well as partaking in numerous festivals and other big events such as the Hillsborough concert and The Big Noise in Cardiff. "When we did the Manics there was a German girl who used to follow the Manics around. She saw us support the Manics and she follows us around now. She’s from Germany. It took her two days for her to drive to see us over here on our last tour. It’s really good ‘cause we’ve supported Skunk Anansie, The Who and the Manics and we can appeal to all of their audiences. Not just one type of crowd"

"We don’t really have a particular type of fan because you get all the teenagers from 12 - 16 right down the front; the teenyboppers. The further back you get the more serious they are. There are couples in their forties watching us as well."

Richard names Skunk Anansie as the best band to tour with "’cause they were such nice people". He tells of their first night in Scotland when Skunk Anansie left two bottles of champagne in their dressing room as a thank you for coming on tour with them. "The Manics were really nice as well" he adds. "The Who was good, but I think Skunk Anansie must have been the best. They came to see us in London; Mark and Ace. They really liked us and they asked us to do the tour."

So, any amusing tales to tell from the road?

Richard ponders and then comes up with the one about when they went on a sight seeing tour, courtesy of their van driver, around the red light district in Hamburg, Germany. "As we were driving out of the red light district there was a big bridge, and we were going underneath the bridge. There was the cameraman and we all had our heads out of the sun roof, and this bridge was coming towards us. Missed our heads by about two inches! We broke the camera lens!

"We’ve also had a £1000 bar bill in Scotland. It was a wild night!"

Following this gig the band were to play a couple more big festivals including V97 and Reading. Richard says he’s looking forward to them. Hopefully they won’t only be doing three songs like they did at the Brighton Essential Music Festival. Of that he says "We did a gig up in Sheffield the day before and had to travel through the night to our hotel just outside Brighton. We only had about 4-5 hours sleep that night, and from the gig the night before, Kelly’s voice didn’t have a lot of rest. We went on, sang two songs and at the end of the second song his voice just cracked up and nothing was coming out. So rather than give a bad show we said "Terribly sorry" and cut it short. In Kerrang! they said it was ‘the most unessential start to an essential festival’! But these things happen. We’ve only ever cancelled two gigs. I think they were all within two weeks of each other ‘cause we weren’t getting any rest at all. We were just driving to the next gig. We had to tell our manager to slow down with the promotional work and everything. I think we had a week off then."

Any rest after these gigs?

"I think we’re going to America to do some promo stuff. It’s not too bad if you’re doing promotional work. It’s just doing interviews and getting your face everywhere. We’ve gotta do the same as in Britain, and do that in every country."

Stereophonics were the opening band on the main stage at Reading, and at most of the other festivals were the second band on, so they’d play early on and would have the whole of the day free. Did they ever stick around to watch some of the other band’s sets?

"In Glastonbury we watched Radiohead, Dodgy and Ocean Colour Scene. We enjoyed the three of them but Radiohead were kind of a downer for a festival because they just played all of the new album and threw in The Bends at the end. If they’d mixed and mashed them it would have been a really good show. We played with them in Belfort as well and we got into them and The Smashing Pumpkins. We tend to try and watch a few bands if we like them. If we don’t, we’ll just go and get drunk" he jokes.

The night before the Wolverhampton gig the band were already in Wolverhampton for their album playback party, also at the Varsity. Richard says it was really good. "We did one up in Manchester as well the night before. I’m trying to think which one was which! There were quite a few people there. We just went and mingled."

The album is entitled Word gets Around. So what words does Richard think will get around about it?

"Ooh. Hopefully the right ones. There are twelve songs on there and they are all individual songs. One song doesn’t sound like another one. It’s kind of a ‘best of’ album for us ‘cause they are the best songs that we’ve got. We recorded about 22 songs for the album and the other songs will be used as B sides of singles."

Is there any one message that you are hoping to get across with the album?

"Not a message in so many words. The album’s all about how rumours start and how they change when one person hears it and tells somebody else, and how it changes from that. Like if you win a pound in a bandit, by the time you tell someone in the next pub, you’ve won ten pounds or twenty pounds.

Visit www.stereophonics.com for more info.

 

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