STEREOPHONICS Date: 01 February 1998 14:30
Richard Jones (Bass) Kelly Jones (Guitar & Vocals)
Stuart Cable (Drums)
I remembered when you guys
got signed to the V2 label there was a lot of noise about the first
band signed to Branson's new label. What were things like leading
up to this event for a young unsigned band like you?
Stuart - We had a lot of shitty
little jobs just to get the money together so we could go and play
in London 3 - 5 times a month. We played pubs and places where we
thought record deals were to be had, sometimes playing to 4 people
but we were totally fucking wrong.
Did you have good management
at the time?
Stuart - We didn't have a manager,
we tried to do it all ourselves. We never really thought about it
at the time, but now it seems like the obvious thing we should have
had. We used to do all the posters, phone calls, tape sending ourselves.
Kelly - We never trusted anyone else, and if we didn't do it nothing
would get done. The strange thing is we thought that London would
be the place to get noticed, instead we were spotted in our hometown.
Two weeks prior to this we were seen at the Borderline in London
by the two guys who produced our album, they offered to do a demo
for us. We thought it was just another con but it turned out good
and started the ball rolling. We even changed the name of the band
the same weekend.
What were you called before?
Stuart - The Tragic Love Company
- we were basically a cover band doing 70's stuff. It's ironic really,
all these years we've been doing this shit and then suddenly it
all comes together in your back yard. I was about 15 Kelly was about
12, I had a drum kit and he had a guitar and his dad had a garage.
That was about ten years ago. We new Richard from school and we
used to hang around with him. Believe it or not he didn't play bass
until a year ago. We had a break from the band for a bout six months,
then when we got back together we decided to get Richard in on the
act, mainly because he was the coolest c**t in the village. We did
have another bass player but he went on holiday for two weeks. Richard
had a go on the bass and we noticed that he hit all the strings
at the same time instead of individually making a three piece band
sound like a four piece!
Richard, can you read music?
Richard - No, just a bit of
Tab and by listening to Kelly playing guitar I pick up a few techniques.
Kelly - We were
always told by my uncle, ' If you play in your bedroom you'll never
learn, you've got to play as a band' and we never fucking played
in our bedrooms, we always practised together and played gigs. That
way you're playing to a crowd and you can gage their response. If
you're the best guitarist in the world there's no point in playin
to yourself coz no one's ever going to hear you.
I want to talk a little bit
about your current material and especially the song and video for
Traffic. Explain the video to me, and why is there a transvestite
Kelly - We weren't trying to
make the video confusing, the lyric' these are models legs, but
are they women's are they men's' occurs as the transvestite is on
the phone and I wanted people to register the line rather than let
it pass by. I mean how many times have we been abroad and seen a
woman across the street, thinking fuck that's smart and then someone
goes that's a bloke! Then you say, oh yeah I knew that.
Have you ever pulled a transvestite?
Stuart - Actually, when we were
in Paris, one of our techs saw this girl across the road and he
goes, 'I've just seen this bird and she's got a cracking pair of
tits' so he goes across to talk to her and this bird turns around
with the fucking deepest voice he ever heard, 'Ca Va' and he ran
back as fast as he could.' Kelly - Basically that's what the song's
about. When I wrote it, it was a list of one extreme to the other
because you're never really sure what's going on all the time.
Traffic has kind of launched
you into a new era of popular music, what can we expect from you
Kelly - The next record, Local
Boy in the Photograph is lyrically in the same vein and so is the
material for our next album.
What's the inspiration behind
Local Boy in the Photograph?
Kelly - It's basically a true
story, it's about a kid I new who jumped in front of a train. It's
not something that happens every day. I was about 14, and nobody
knows why or what he did but one day he came into the market where
I was working, asked what time the trains were running and went
away. Next day I see his picture on the front page of the local
Who writes the songs?
Kelly - I do the lyrics and
then it's a team effort putting the music to the words.
I've got a feeling that 1998
is going to be your year, is V2 giving you much support?
Kelly - They have spent a lot
of money this year and they've supported us, but they've also hit
a lot of brick walls. Radio One have not supported us whatsoever,
the Chart Show wouldn't play our videos. In fact TV and Radio have
been a bit of a fucking downfall really, the press we've had is
the press we've earnt. We only get written about when we've done
something, yet you get bands on front covers for doing nothing.
We get our first front cover tomorrow only because the album got
to number 6.
Well that means that Kool
will be your second front cover!
Kelly - That's brilliant, we
didn't have anything written about us for 6 months, we were trying
to build up a loyal fan base. When we did make it everybody wants
to know, but the national press is pissed off because they weren't
there when it started. They weren't with us and they didn't believe
in us at the beginning and now they want to do an article every
Stuart - We've
been prostitutes of the music industry; we've done every fucking
thing anybody asked us to do. Even John Peel's Birthday party, 'we
need another band to fill the gap, let's get the Stereophonics',
oh yeah, we'll do it, and then on the tickets it said that the show
starts at 8 o'clock and we were on stage at 7:30!
Stuart - That's an honest fucking
true story, we cancelled a gig which was sold out to do John Peel's
party 'cause we thought we'd get a lot of press and to get in with
the people from Radio One and they didn't even put us on the fucking
playlist when the record came out the following week. In fact I
think it was the gig in Norwich.
Kelly - Yeah it
was, it was sold out and we had to fucking cancel it! And there
were more people in our fucking crew than in the audience 'cause
they put 8 o'clock start. We just sat on our bus after the gig talking
to our management saying, we just cancelled a gig that was sold
out to real fans, real people who bought the fucking album in order
to play to these fucking twats down in London and they even get
the tickets wrong! Richard - We didn't want to do it, we new it
was gonna be shit but it's one of those, you scratch my back situations.
Radiohead had a similar problem
with Radio One didn't they?
Kelly - They didn't get any
airplay for their first two singles and now they're the band of
the fucking moment, and it's the least fucking commercial album
ever. So what the fuck do you have to do?
Have any of you got criminal
ALL - Yeah ABH and GBH, but
they've been wiped clean now.
What other crimes have you
Kelly - We pinched the Pentacostal
van when we were kids. It was a transit van and you could open and
start it with a lollypop stick! We used to drive it down the road
and reverse it and park it back in exactly the same position about
three times a week.
You've got to write a song
All singing - Yeah, 'It started with a stick...'
For any unsigned bands reading
this, what's your message to them?
Kelly - Keep writing, like Walt
Disney said, 'You've got to do a thousand shit drawings before you
get a good one'. The only reason anyone stays in this business is
through songwriting. It's not through image or gimmicks, they help.
Richard - Try to get a good demo together because they do throw
the shit ones in the bin no matter what they say. They don't listen
to every tape they get. Kelly - I'll give you an example of how
crap the industry can be, I signed a deal to Polygram Music and
two weeks later I received a rejection letter from Polygram Music
after I'd already signed a deal for £200,000. That's A&R
Interview by Andreas