Stereophonics have been releasing popular rock this for three decades. Ahead of their latest album and UK tour, frontman Kelly Jones speaks to Lucy Mapstone.
Kelly Jones is adamant there are no plans for Stereophonics to hang up their mics for good.
For a band with nearly 30 years behind them and a wealth of number ones under their belt, one might assume the Welsh rockers would be ready for a long rest or even call it a day, especially as Jones said earlier this year that he considered quitting at the end of their tour in 2018.
But there is no end in sight for the group, who are heading back out on tour in February, starting their run of dates across the UK in Sheffield. And Jones reckons the Rolling Stones are partly responsible for bands having to continue rocking out well into old age.
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“They are to blame for all of us continuing to go and go and go and go - they’re the ones that set the benchmark and we’ve got to follow it,” he laughs. “We’ve all gotta crack on ‘til we get there.”
He adds: “I’m quite good friends with Ronnie Wood and I don’t think Ronnie imagined when he was 30 that he’d still be doing it now.”
The 45-year-old does admit he was keen to take a break last year following the Stereophonics’ latest tour, because “a big part of me was ready to - not quit the music - but I was ready to quit the repetitive cycle of what I was doing”.
However, his own creativity foiled his plot, and now the band, made up of fellow founding member Richard Jones and bandmates Adam Zindani and Jamie Morrison, are set to release their 11th album, Kind.
It draws on real-life experiences and emotions and escapism, although with a more stripped-back, raw sound. An “honest” album, as Jones calls it. “I wasn’t really in any way looking to make a new album that quickly,” he says.
“I was going to stop for a while and do nothing for a bit, but around about November some songs started happening, and they were kind of informing how I was feeling or whatever I was going through or whatever I was trying to get out.
“That’s kind of what happens with songs - they channel through you.” Following a speedy writing process, the band got into the studio and recorded the full album in just 11 days. “I didn’t want to over-produce the record,” Jones explains. “It was very honest and a real ‘band in a room’ kind of record.”
Jones admits he has been described as a “workaholic” for never having taken a big chunk of time out from his career. “For me, being creative actually makes me feel relaxed, and when I’m not doing something creative I kind of become more restless in my mind,” he says.
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When I have something to focus my energy on, I’ve got a very big desire and energy to make albums and create things and mainly to learn things.
“That’s why I guess ... when I was getting a bit jaded last year, maybe I was going through a period of time that I wasn’t learning anymore, I wasn’t growing anymore. I wasn’t fed up with actually being on stage, I wasn’t fed up with making records. What I was starting to tire of was the 16, 17 hours a day, waking up in hotels or travelling and wasting time, really.”
Since their big breakthrough in the late 1990s, Stereophonics have sold 8.5 million albums in the UK alone, with six number one records and another three in the top 10. “At the time you make the record you couldn’t care less if anybody likes it,” says Jones.
“But then, stage by stage, more people hear it and it gets to the point where you think ‘Are they gonna play it on the radio and in the shops?’ And on it goes and before you know it you’re in that marketing campaign, and if you ignore that then you’re just a bit stupid and ignorant really - that’s part of it.
You didn’t make something for people not to then experience it, so you have to be part of that.” “My ultimate goal is that the music lasts,” he adds, “and that people get to hear it and people are still listening to it 10 years from now.”
Kind by Stereophonics is out on October 25.