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Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones: I don't see any reason to stop

Stereophonics have been at it for nearly three decades. However, while frontman Kelly Jones admits he almost thought about quitting last year after becoming jaded, the Welsh rockers are back with their 11th album, Kind. Jones talks to Lucy Mapstone

Rocking on: Stereophonics
Rocking on: Stereophonics

By 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, you 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 and Jones reckons the Rolling Stones are partly responsible for bands having to continue rocking out well into old age.

"They are to blame for all of us continuing to 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 until we get there.

"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.

"To be honest with you, that guy's got more energy now than he had when he was 30!"

But in all seriousness, Jones and fellow founding member Richard Jones, as well as bandmates Adam Zindani and Jamie Morrison, have no desire to slow down at all, despite never having taken a hiatus like many of their contemporaries.

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"If you've still got the desire and the fire to do something, I don't see any reason to stop doing it if your fans are still getting excited by whatever message you're putting out there," says Jones.

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 is set to release an 11th album, Kind.

It's another classic Stereophonics record which 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, where the songs "came very thick and very fast" to Jones, the band got into the studio and recorded the full album in just 11 days.

"I didn't want to over-produce the record," he explains.

"It was very honest and a real 'band in a room' kind of record."

Jones - who formed the band in the Welsh village of Cwmaman in 1992 along with bassist Richard and drummer Stuart Cable, who died in 2010 - admits he has been described as a "workaholic" for never having taken a big chunk of time out from work in his entire career.

"For me, being creative actually makes me feel relaxed and when I'm not doing something creative I kind of then become more restless in my mind," he says.

Lead singer Kelly Jones
Lead singer Kelly Jones

"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.

"For me it's always going to be about growth and expanding what I can do, and on paper it looks like every 15 to 18 months there's a new album and a tour and stuff going on.

"And many times I've been labelled a workaholic or this, that and the other. But to me it's kind of, well, I take the kids to school, I go to the studio, I like writing, and I feel more at peace doing that.

"Yes, it can wear you out when you're travelling around, don't get me wrong," he adds.

"That's the hardest part of the whole thing. But the actual process of the creating is the bit that I need to do."

It may be one of the toughest parts of the job, but the band is set to head out on another major arena tour next year to support the album, which Jones admits he wants to be as successful as their previous releases.

Since their big breakthrough in the late 1990s, Stereophonics - who have released a string of popular anthemic alt-rock singles over the decades including Dakota, Have A Nice Day, Maybe Tomorrow and The Bartender And The Thief - 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 going to 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 - 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.

"And then for everybody that's involved in the record they want it to be successful, so it does become a heightened goal, chart success."

"I mean, what will be will be," he adds.

"The band has done well and we've never really been that far out of the area of the charts anyway, so if we get a number one that'd be amazing.

"But it's not the ultimate goal for me. My ultimate goal is that the music lasts 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

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