The singing in the valleys has never sounded so good - and Richard Branson knows it. All rise for THE STEREOPHONICS.

Words: Jonathan Trew

SOME PEOPLE ARE born great, some have greatness thrust upon them, The Stereophonics have opted to work bloody hard for it. A three- piece guitar band from the tiny Welsh village of Cwmaman, they‘ve been gigging constantly since last August, breaking from touring only to record their debut album Word Gets A round.

The first group to sign to Richard Branson’s new V2 record label, they have been together in various bands since they were snotty-nosed schoolboys. but only in the last couple of years have they begun to take their music seriously. Word of their fiery live shows spread until the A & R pack got wind of them and moved in for the usual feeding frenzy. Branson tipped the scales in V2’s favour by personally phoning vocalist and guitarist Kelly Jones from his private island and convincing Jones that The Stereophonics would become the label’s priority act.

Branson should not be disappointed. Every time The Stereophonics play. their audiences are getting bigger and their performances more passionate. Ask Kelly about the time band-mate Stuart Cable hit the drums so hard he started spraying the wall behind him with blood and bone and Kelly will cheerfully dismiss it as media exaggeration. Then he’ll continue: ‘Stuart sometimes gets a bit much and he has been known to cut his hand. There

'There was one time Stuart hit himself in the face with his drum stick and the next morning his face was black and blue. It’s just the way

he plays.’ Kelly Jones

was one time he hit himself in the face with his drum stick and the next morning his face was black and blue. lt’sjust the way he plays.’

That intensity is carried over into the band’s lyrics which range from the bleakest despair to the most dctcrminedly delirious. Whether The Stereophonics are singing about good times or grim times. you know they mean it.

‘I try to do both sides of the coin. make you laugh and make you cry.’ says Kelly. ’There’s songs like “Local Boy In The Photograph".



The Stereophonics: blood. sweat and tears

about a guy who jumped in front of a train, and then there’s “Too Many Sandwiches” which is a really sarcastic story about an engagement party where the groom always ends up shagging someone he’s not meant to be shagging.’

Most of The Stereophonics’ material is in some way based on their lives in meaman, a place Kelly describes as ‘a very small village where everybody knows everybody and everybody knows every- body else’s business.’ A fact which makes their album’s title, Word Gets Around. especially apt.

~ ‘When this album comes out, a lot of people at home are going to know what I’m singing about.‘ explains Kelly. ‘The songs were writ- ten before we were signed and you never think so many people are going to hear them. I’ve used real names, so fuck knows what’s going to happen.’

It’s a fair bet that one particular errant

groom will be praying for forgiveness.

Word Gets Around is out now on V2. V'L f

29 Aug—11 Sept 1997 TIIEIJST?