Stereophonics are a rock band who were formed in 1992 in Cwmaman, Wales, United Kingdom by friends Kelly Jones (Guitar/Vocals), Stuart Cable (Drums) and Richard Jones (Bass) but no relation to Kelly. Colloquially known to their fans as the 'Phonics or the Stereos, in the years preceding their popularity, they went through shifting line-ups and were known by a variety of names including "KDR", "Zephyr", "Silent Runner", "Blind Faith" and their most widely known pre-Phonics moniker "Tragic Love Company," taking one word from each member's favourite band (The Tragically Hip, Mother Love Bone, and Bad Company). The band's official current line-up is Kelly Jones, Richard Jones, Javier Weyler and Adam Zindani.
Tragic Love Company had started out as a 4-piece band playing covers and original songs that had a blues vibe. After various fourth members, including childhood friend Simon Collier, left, the band decided to stick to being a 3-piece, ditching the blues for an edgier, punk sound which would translate better when played live. The band played up and down the country playing shows which ranged from less than 10 people to packing hundreds into small venues the length of the M4. It wasn't until John Brand took over as their manager in 1996 that the music industry started to take interest in the band. The name Tragic Love Company was decidely dropped for being too long-winded, and after Stuart saw the lettering on his father's radiogram, they adopted the name 'The Stereophonics', before quickly dropping the 'The' to simply Stereophonics. On August 1st, 1996 they became the first band to be signed to Richard Branson's new label V2.
Kelly, Stuart and Richard grew up in Cwmaman, a former coal mining pit village near Aberdare, South Wales, noted only for having some of the steepest hills in the United Kingdom; a fact eluded to in the BBC Wales documentary 'The Road Up is the Worst' aired as part of BBC Wales' St. David's day celebrations. Kelly worked locally in a variety of jobs including on a fruit and veg stall where he would observe people as they wandered by or stopped to talk. It was this acute attention to detail that provided the inspiration for all of the early Stereophonics material. Inspired by a modern approach to storytelling a la Paul Weller, the only natural way of songwriting for Kelly, who was and remains the principal lyricist for the band, was to write about what you know. At the time, the young Kelly felt that having as many words in the songs as he had written would mean that they'd be harder to remember and even harder for fans to regurgitate at gigs, but they pursued with writing material that meant something to them on such a personal level. These songs formed the majority of material submitted to tape for their first studio album and also in a wealth of B-sides that accompanied their subsequent singles.
As part of the rising Britpop movement in the late 1990s, and also what would eventually be coined as the 'cool Cymru' phase of a dominance of welsh bands charting well on a national level.
Word Gets Around
'Word Gets Around' was released on the 25th of August, 1997, with equal credit being given to all three members of the band for writing the songs Jones/Jones/Cable) with credit for the words given to Kelly Jones. It was preceded by singles Local Boy in the Photograph (#51), More Life in a Tramps Vest (#33) and A Thousand Trees (#22) and it charted well at #6 in the UK album charts. Following the success of the album, Traffic (#20) was released in October 1997 and the band capped off an exceptional year by winning the 1998 BRIT award for 'British Breakthrough Act'. They also re-released Local Boy in the Photograph and it gained a more respectable chart positioning at #14 and played to their biggest crowd in their career to that point by receiving a heroes welcome at their homecoming gig in Cardiff Castle on June 12th, where they played to a 10,000 strong crowd during a 19-song set which included 5 new songs. By this stage, the live setup of the band had grown to include Tony Kirkham as the touring pianist and keyboard player.
The song Local Boy in the Photograph has since become a cult classic and was given a Q Classic Song Award at the Q Awards in 2007. A video was also shot for the song Not Up to You but the track remained unreleased by V2.
Performance and Cocktails
In November 1998, the band moved quickly to start the wheels turning on the release of their second album, 'Performance and Cocktails', releasing the song The Bartender and the Thief to wide commercial success. Despite it's heavier, archaic sound it charted at #3 - the band's highest charting up until that point - which would remain the highest ranked single chart position for 7 years along with other songs they would subsequently release. In February, just prior to the album release, another single Just Looking (#4) was released, again to massive commercial and critial acclaim and on March 8th, 1999 V2 released Performance and Cocktails. The songs were variously recorded at Real World Studios in Bath, Parkgate in Sussex and Rockfield in Monmouth, and the album was a major success, hitting the UK album chart #1 instantly. It's success was only heightened by the following successful single Pick a Part That's New (#4) with it's promotional video which included the band sending up the film 'The Italian Job'.
Buoyed by their first #1 album and recent chart success, the band announced they would be playing their biggest ever show at the soon to be demolished Morfa Stadium, Swansea. On July 31, 1999, the band took to the stage in front of 50,000 adoring people. The show, which was one of the largest ever outdoor gatherings to take place in Wales at the time, and was a triumphant success. Two weeks after playing to their mammouth audience in Swansea, the band took home the Kerrang! award for 'Best British Band' and 'Best Album' for 'Performance and Cocktails'. On the back of the Morfa Stadium show, they released two more singles. I Wouldn't Believe Your Radio and Hurry Up and Wait, both songs which were a departure for the normally consistant, rockier sound that had come to be expected, but still charted well, both hitting the #11 spot.
The videos for the songs on this album also became more elaborate than that of the singles from 'Word Gets Around' and leant heavily on the medium of cinema. The inspiration for four of the singles came directly from the films the band liked and they played out their fantasy roles in their individual promos. By subtely tweaking the narrative to suit the look of the band or feel of the song, the videos for The Bartender and the Thief, Pick a Part That's New (a track the band performed before the 1999 IRB Rugby World Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff), I Wouldn't Believe Your Radio and Hurry Up and Wait all took their direct inspiration, or as some would say, parodying out of films such as Apocalypse Now, The Italian Job, Easy Rider and M*A*S*H* respectively with Just Looking, though not a direct tribute to any particular film as such, still had a very filmic quality to it. These videos, along with the videos from 'Word Gets Around' were released on a compilation DVD in 2000 called 'Call Us What You Want But Don't Call Us in the Morning'.
In 2000, Stereophonics featured on the Tom Jones comeback album called 'Reload', contributing a duet performance of the Three Dog Night cover, Mama Told Me Not To Come, and Kelly was a guest artist on the Jools Holland Hootenanny New Year's Eve show, where Kelly would accompany Jools and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra in a performance of the Mike d'Abo penned classic Handbags and Gladrags. This song would eventually go on to become a Stereophonics favourite in it's own right.
Just Enough Education to Perform
Once again teaming up with Bird and Bush to produce their album, the Stereophonics set about recording an album that was a sonic departure for what they had previously amassed as a band. In the years that had taken them away from small town Cwmaman and around the world as the new darlings of the Britpop machine, they had come to experience a lot more of the good and bad sides the music industry had to offer. Preceded by the track Mr. Writer, it was a downbeat, acoustic drawl that saw their comeback on the UK chart scene. It charted well at #5, and had an infectious melancholy hook, but the song was a direct response to a journalist that had toured with the band on an American tour. The band claim that he had "lived amongst them, ate their food and drank their drink" (citation needed) but when he left the band to write about them, the review was very negative. This lead to a steely attitude being taken by the band after this. However, this had a knock on effect to the band in general, as the media regarded Jones with a growing discomfort and unease that neither he, or the band have ever really been able to shake.
The second single, the polar opposite of Mr. Writer, was Have a Nice Day (also UK#5), a poppy, joyful song about taking a taxi ride in California. The subjects of Jones' writings have for a long time been put under the microscope, but consistently, you can get a feel for the experience he was having at the time by taking the lyrics as read. Have a Nice Day itself is a clear dividing point for many Stereophonics fan. The success of this song and the album that followed gained the band a wealth of new fans, but older fans felt that the band were moving too far into a new, pop-orientated direction. The album, the appropriately titled 'Just Enough Education to Perform' went straight in at #1 in the UK. The band had originally wanted to name the album 'JEEP', a shortened word which stood for the phrase that apparently Kelly got from his brother after he came home from a stint in the army and wrote the word on his bedroom wall. However, Daimler-Chrysler copyrighted the word this name so it was changed to its current, elongated title. It is commonly referred to by it's acronym, 'J.E.E.P.', with the album itself seeing a departure from the normal 3-piece rock sound, and straying more into dreamy acoustic and indie rock territory.
The album spawned three further other singles, one of which was the country-tinged Step on My Old Size Nines (UK#4). On July 21st, the Stereophonics followed in the footsteps of the Manic Street Preachers and played a full concert at the newly built Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Then in November 2001, the band announced it would release Handbags and Gladrags (UK#4) as an official studio track, though it wasn't on the current album tracklisting. 'Just Enough Education to Perform' got a re-release with the song included, and also a hidden bonus track called Surprise, which was originally a b-side on the Have a Nice Day single .
The band performed as part of the lineup for the follow up to the Secret Policeman's Ball for Amnesty International's 'We Know Where You Live' 2001 at Wembley Arena, where they played an acoustic version of Have a Nice Day and also teamed up with Tom Jones to perform Mama Told Me Not To Come.
2002, saw the release of the DVD, 'A Day at the Races', which was a live DVD documenting the gig at the Millennium Stadium the previous July, and to raise the profile of the DVD, the fifth and final single from 'J.E.E.P.' was released. Vegas Two Times, the album opener was released on DVD single, and live footage from 'A Day at the Races' was overdubbed with the studio track for the video. 'Just Enough Education to Perform', and Vegas Two Times (UK#23) as a prime example was also the first time the band moved away from having just one prolific singer or harmoniser. Vegas Two Times opens the album with a minute of female harmonies before the track kicks in. This extended intro was completely cut for the single version, and also when being played live, but by this point in their career, the live 4-piece had once again grown to included second touring guitarist Scott James, and backing singers Aileen McLaughlin and Anna Ross.
The album itself divided fans and critics alike. Most opinions were and still are very cold towards the record, citing the dramatic departure from the band's signature sound as main reason behind it's poor critial reception. It is also worth noting the effect that 'Mr. Writer' had on the relationship between the media and the increasingly outspoken Jones. Most reviewers refute this claim however, citing a lacklustre performance in songwriting as the principal downfall of the LP. Fans are also split, for some of them were not fans until the release of the album and use of such tracks as Have a Nice Day on TV commercials. Others see the departure in signature sound as a fall from grace the band has yet to recover, whilst the more pragmatic approaches seem to suggest that the giddy days at the time of 'WGA' and 'Performance' were dizzy heights that will probably never be reached again, if only for the luck of timing and social chords that were struck within the era of these intial albums.
The band themselves were quick to defend the sound of the album, without making any apology for the songs that made the cut, suggesting that the rigours of touring the world as a rock band mean that they were constantly in an environment surrounded by loud music, and when they got back on their tour bus, they wanted to distance themselves from that sound, so they turned to a different type of music. In turn, this music feeds the inspiration for the upcoming songwriting process.
You Gotta Go There to Come Back
In June 2002, the band headlined the Pyramid stage of the prestigious Glastonbury festival, displaying a confident reportoire of songs new and old alike, and for the first time played unreleased songs, the most significant and electrifiying of these performances being that of future lead single Madame Helga. After a summer of festival appearances the band settled in back at their homes to write songs for the album. In the coming months, both Kelly and Richard both decided it would be better if they moved to London, to ease their label pressures and commitments. Stuart declined to do the same. Instead, Cable was given his own TV chat show, Cable TV, by BBC Wales, where he would host lively chat and music, which included an acoustic set by Stereophonics, although curiously without Stuart, obviously wanting to draw clear definitions between his band and his TV persona. They played acoustic versions of songs that would go on to become Getaway and Climbing the Wall.
When it came to the new album, it is widely assumed that Kelly wrote the songs without any input from anyone, except live recording engineer and personal friend Jim Lowe. In the liner notes of the new album, Kelly wrote: "We got together as a band and rehearsed the demos at Stuart's garage a week before going into the studio..." But demanding schedulings had already begun to put a strain on the working relationship of the band. The studio process also changed for this album. Relying heavily on live engineer Lowe to capture the tracks in as few takes as nessessary added to the very live and raw sound on the album. Kelly also took over the role of producer, and outsourced the mixing of the album to experienced, Grammy Award-winning music engineer and producer Jack Joseph Puig (Weezer, Green Day, The Black Crowes, Goo Goo Dolls).
Preceded by the released of lead single Madame Helga (UK#4), the new album, titled 'You Gotta Go There to Come Back' again went straight in at the UK#1 spot. The album had more of a bluesy feeling, and with it, a confident swagger of sleazy Rock 'n' Roll (showcased on songs such as Jealousy and Help Me (She's Out of Her Mind)) juxtaposed with the subtle frailties of lost love and innocence (I Miss You Now, Since I Told You It's Over). The song were on a more personal level, rather than on a narrative, and faced issues like alcohol and drug abuse, sex and procarious living more than had reviously been addressed by the band.
On July 21st, 2003 the band released their biggest international smash song to date, the gorgeous and aching Maybe Tomorrow which charted in the UK at #3, but went on to transcend the band's status as a restricted UK act. The melotron and rhodes piano sound that gave the song its melancholy charm found it's way onto quite a few American TV and film soundtracks including 'Wicker Park' and later on the 2005 Academy Award-winning film 'Crash'. The band lined up on last single to be released in the UK prior to finishing their world tour in 2003, the aforementioned Since I Told You It's Over was scheduled for released in November. However, in September whilst in America touring the album, Stuart Cable was sacked by the two founding members of the band, Kelly and Richard, citing commitment issues as the sole reason for the departure. Reported by the BBC in September 2003, Kelly said on the band's website: "Me and Stuart started a band when I was 12. Emotionally to me this is heartbreaking, I love him like a brother, but commitment-wise there have been issues since Just Enough Education To Perform."
Cable had pulled out of imminent and ongoing US tour dates citing ill health and had suspended his own touring regime at the advise of doctors, though the band were set to continue toruing without him, leaving him to return to the UK to recuperate. Cable has always claimed that he knew nothing of his sacking until being confronted with it by the media. The band replaced him on the road with friend and former drummer for The Black Crowes, Steve Gorman. Gorman remained on tour with the band until they had completed every date, and even appeared in the video for bonus single Moviestar, a track that didn't make the original cut of the album, but was to be released as a single in it's own right. Stuart Cable provided the drums tracks for the song in studio before his departure, but had already been sacked before the video had been shot. Similarly, Cable had completed the shoot for the previous single Since I Told You It's Over just before his abrupt exit.
On the 20th December, Cardiff's Millennium Stadium would once again play host as the final gig of the world tour, and end a successful year on the road in which they had played in excess of over 60 gigs and festivals in no less than 14 different countries. They ended a turbulent year on a high.
Language. Sex. Violence. Other?
Work began on the follow up record in January 2004, almost as soon as the 'YGGTTCB' tour was completed. A settlement was reached between the remaining members of the band and Cable as compensation for his axing, but the bitterness between the band, both current and former, was apparant, with Cable brandishing Jones a 'dictator'. The recording process for new record was to take up the entirety of 2004. Writing for the album had taken place on the road between 2003-2004, and the band quickly put the disappointments of the previous year behind them and focused on recapturing the imaginations of their listeners. After writing the bulk of the songs for the new record, which was set to throw back to the days of old, the band went into the studio to record the album demos. In April 2004, Kelly and Richard were assisted in the studio by Javier Weyler, an audio engineer, and former member of Vitriol I.D., who had worked with the band on 'You Gotta Go There to Come Back' and provided percussion on a number of songs that made the eventual cut of the finished album. The band felt at this point that this process required a committed drummer. Steve Gorman was not considered as a full time replacement for Stuart Cable and Gorman later rejoined the reformed Black Crowes in 2005.
As Weyler had assisted in recording demos for Stereophonics' new studio album, later on that year Kelly Jones and Richard Jones wrote to Javier inviting him to drum permanently within the band. Javier accepted the offer and met up with the rest of the band to finish Stereophonics' fifth studio album 'Language. Sex. Violence. Other?'. Apart from Weyler, there were no other additions to the Stereophonics line up, but the band decided that the big band sound which had seen their live stage set up rise to a 7-piece band was now a thing of the past. Aileen McLaughlin, Anna Ross and Scott James ceased to be part of both long or short terms plans the band had. Tony Kirkham remains the a part of the live set up, but Kelly Jones played piano parts on the new album, rather than Kirkham.
After a decade of recording studio albums (the last 3 all #1's) the band scored its first UK#1 single with their seminal track Dakota, the first single of the new album. Released on February 28th 2005, the midweek charts had put the track in the favourable situation of being the top selling track at the midway point of the week. The track's popularity continued throughtout the week, and was eventually crowned the UK's #1 single on BBC Radio 1 the following Sunday. The track itself heralded a new era for the band, drawing on elements of the rock history that had brought the band to the heights it had achieved, but also pulsed with a new, modern enthusiasm, and also contained an electronic vibe, thanks to it's intro and outro samples. This single, for a band that had always been more concerned with album sales, rather than single sales, meant a new found sense of acceptance and justification.
Two weeks later, on March 14th, 'Language. Sex. Violence. Other?' was released and also went to #1 in the UK charts. The band's fourth consecutive #1 album, and a new sound to confound the critics that had so easily written them off. The album received critical acclaim in the British music press, including most notably the NME, who had been one of the band's harshest critics in the past, who called the album "...angry, edgy, dense and intelligent... an excellent modern rock record..." The album was a journey through the rock Americana sounds similar in concept to that of bands like U2, it had a harder, edgier and angrier than we'd seen from the band in a long time. Riding high on the success of their first chart-topping single and another chart-topping album, Stereophonics became the first band to play at Apple's Regent Street store in London, showcasing 5 tracks from the new album and releasing the first in what eventually became a long line of exclusive EPs put out by Apple iTunes titled 'Live in London'.
The album also delivered a further three singles, album opener Superman, Devil, the controversial video for which was banned from television circulation due to it's content, and Rewind.
All the tracks on the album had one word titles, and videos for all the singles, including the banned 'Devil' were dirtected by Charles Mehling. The music video for this song shows Kelly Jones in an apartment, tied to a chair. A woman arrives and appears to be the kidnapper. Soon after, he is taken outside and forced into the trunk of a car that she drives to an unknown place. There are shots of the band performing this song occasionally. At the end of the video, the title card "To Be Continued..." appears. The video for 'Rewind' subsequently deals with the content in the video for 'Devil' and the other videos for the singles taken from this album, by piecing together a common narrative through the four promos. The 'Rewind' video picks up where the video for 'Devil' left off, with singer Kelly being let out of the trunk of his kidnappers' car. It is revealed to be a set, and the car is simply driving along in front of a moving screen. Kelly then walks on a treadmill in a studio made up of sets from the previous videos of 'Dakota', 'Superman' and 'Devil'.
On Saturday, 2nd July 2005, the world's focus turned to various events around the world as LIVE8 took place. 20 years after the groundbreaking Live Aid events captured the imagination of the developed world, an estimated 3 billion people watched LIVE 8, called the greatest show on Earth, as artists around the world came together with one message - make poverty history. Stereophonics played a 4 song set at the Hyde Park venue in front of 200,000 people. Around the same time, 'Dakota' became the first Stereophonics single to achieve success on alternative rock radio stations in the United States - where it was promoted as "Dakota (You Made Me Feel Like The One)". Before "Dakota", no Stereophonics single had charted on any rock charts in the U.S, including the worldwide hit 'Maybe Tomorrow. After its release in February, the single steadily gained ground on U.S. alternative rock radio, notably on stations such as WFNX, WBCN and KROQ.
'Dakota' continued to gain support across the U.S. and eventually become the first Stereophonics song to chart on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. It first charted on July 9, 2005, almost half a year after its original release. The song peaked at #34 on the chart and remained on the chart for six weeks. It was their first and so-far only single to make the chart.
The band once again took off on an extended UK, European and World tour, which ended in 2006. After which, the DVD entitled 'Language. Sex. Violence. Other?' was released including tour footage, live shots and the videos for the singles from the album of the same name.
Live From Dakota
In terms of commercial success, the Stereophonics had never had it so good. But weary of the success that had gone before them, they had become a resiliant unit, determined and hardworking to maintain the success they had once again earned, and also displayed a certain amount of level-headedness, keeping their feet firmly on the ground as a forward thinking rock band. In April 2006, they released their first live album, called 'Live From Dakota', which despite it's name was recorded in and around the UK on the 'L.S.V.O.' tour.
It included 20 tracks across a double CD, and included the previously unreleased track Jayne (Live). The album contained no overdubs, and was inteded to show the real side of the band live, mistakes and all. Though, rather than being a recording of single show, every night of the tour was recorded and the band picked out the best version of each song individually. It charted well for a live album, reaching the #13 spot in the UK album chart. For the American release it was released on the band's own imprint label, Vox Populi Records.
Pull the Pin
'Pull the Pin' became the sixth studio album by Stereophonics, which was released in the UK on 15 October 2007. A Stereophonics newsletter released the "Pull the Pin" album artwork to suscribers. The cover was also shown to MySpace users that had added the band in a bulletin. In 2006, there was speculation that the next Stereophonics album was originally going to be called 'Cries on Hope Street'. In 2006, Kelly had taken part in 'The Cool Cymru Collection' by Terry Morris, which was a collection of photographs designed to make up the first ever Welsh hall of fame. Kelly had his photo taken on the fictional 'Cries on Hope St', an anagram of the word 'Stereophonics' and when asked about the shot, Kelly quipped that they were going to use the photo as the image for the next album, fueling rumours of the new album title.
In early 2007, Kelly Jones brought out his first solo album, 'Only The Names Have Been Changed', as a limited edition release, which managed to reach number 1 on the iTunes download chart, but was made ineligable by Jones to chart so as not to detract attention from the band onto him solely. He explained that; "We were recording the sixth Stereophonics album last year and in-between takes I started doing these songs off the cuff. Three or four tracks in I realised that this could actually be something… strange how it's always little things that makes big things happen." This created speculation that Jones would leave Stereophonics to pursue his solo career, however he denied these rumours and the band pushed on with work on the new album. Due to the success and warm reception of the album however, Jones did a small solo tour around the UK playing songs from the album, before returning swiftly to the band, and refocusing on the new album.
During the time Kelly was out on his solo tour, Javier, who had recorded a solo album in his native latin, 'Lágrima' (meaning 'Tear'), under the persona of Capitan Melao, which was released on April 2, 2007. The project includes contributions from Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music and Natalia Lafourcade, with Weyler describing it as having "dreamy and poetic" lyrics and Latin rhythms. Weyler's alter-ego translates as 'Capitan' being the Spanish for 'Captain' and 'Melao' Latin American slang for 'swing', 'rhythm' or 'soul'. After the band had reunited, work began on promotion of the sixth studio album.
Also during the period between solo albums and the release of the new studio album, the DVD 'Rewind' was released. It was a 2-disc celebration of an entire decade of Stereophonics material. It contains over three hours of live and documentary footage spanning their entire career; from pre-Stereophonics years to their signing to V2 Records in 1996, up until 2006. A booklet was also included with the DVD, featuring several previously unseen photographs of the band, from Kelly Jones' own personal photo album. The band also reportedly patched up their relationship with estranged drummer, Stuart Cable, although events from the supposed meetings between the childhood friends, Kelly and Stuart did not match up, and the relationship is still reported to be frosty even today. Cable released his autobiography of his time during the Stereophonics in 2009, entitled 'Demons and Cocktails', and is a 'tell all' book which undoubtably did nothing to ease the strain on his friendship with Kelly.
The taster track Bank Holiday Monday had its world premier on Radio 1's Chris Moyles Show on Tuesday 1 May 2007 and was made available for digital download on Monday 28 May 2007 from online retailers. The band wanted to released the track as the first proper single off the album, but record company executives declined this, stressing that a different song was more likely to do well in the chart climate they were set to release in. The band's newsletter on 24 July 2007 confirmed details and artwork of the first 'proper' single to be released from the album. It Means Nothing (UK#12) was released in the UK on 24 September 2007. They previews the track at Radio 1's Big Weekend in Preston, which they headlined. It has also appeared on the soundtrack to US drama, 'Bones'.
A second proper single was also released in December 2007. The track My Friends was given an official release but charted at UK#32, making it the lowest charting single by the band since "More Life in a Tramps Vest" reached #33 back in 1997.
Decade In The Sun
For the 'Pull the Pin' tour, the guitarist and singer Adam Zindani of SpiderSimpson, who later with Zindani reverted back to their old name of Casino joined the band as a touring guitarist, to give the band a fuller sound and to help the band recreate the music that had been displayed on 'Pull the Pin'. In a Q&A session on the band's website in 2008, Zindani confirmed that whilst still a full time committed member of Casino, he had officially become a proper member of Stereophonics. This story was corroborated by the band, and Zindani's own skills as a songwriter were to be utilised by the band on forthcoming songs.
In 2008, with the appointment of Zindani in toe, the band surprised fans by announcing the release of a greatest hits album to be called 'Decade In The Sun'. In addition to the 18 tracks considered hits for the band, the album also included two new songs, You're My Star and My Own Worst Enemy which was penned by Jones and Zindani. You're My Star was released in a limited number of 7" vinyl, but did sell every copy, meaning that the track charted officially in the UK at #170. To mark the release of the single and also the release of the compilation album, the band held a competition for fans to win tickets to a full-circle gig at the Camden Roundhouse, the venue that the band frequently played gigs "with no f*cker watching us.." quipped Kelly, before they were a signed act a full decade previously. They had originally wanted to do the gig in Cardiff Castle, but the castle heritage committee decided against the idea, explaining that the fragile state of the castle was no longer able to stand up to the vigorous demands that a rock concert would put upon it.
The special edition of 'Decade In The Sun' contained another 20 songs from the extended collection of the Stereophonics' back catelogue, and even included some demo tracks and b-sides, which were previously unreleased. A DVD edition of 'Decade In The Sun' was also released. The band toured the album and the standard version of the CD charted extremely well, peaking at #2 in the UK charts, a great position for a greatest hits album. Up to and including the point of the release of 'Decade', the band had released 6 studio albums, 1 live album, 1 compilation album and had amassed 27 hit singles, including 10 UK top-10 songs, with one UK#1.
Kelly appeared as a guest on Jools Holland's Hootenanny 2008, once again performing Handbags and Gladrags and a cover of 'My Girl' across the New Year's Eve celebration show. They also headlined the V Festival and Isle of Wight Festivals during that summer.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Aside from finishing the tour triumphantly, selling out venues over the country, 2009 remained a quiet year for the band until August, when via e-mailing list newsletter, the band announced the release date for a new album that was to be called 'Keep Calm and Carry On', their first album as an official 4-piece.
In addition to the album, they also announced that they would be playing a special, one-off home-coming show in Cardiff Castle on October 3rd, 2009. The castle committee seemingly overturning their decision less than one year previous, and letting the band play there once again. Tickets for the show were available through the band's website on September 9th at 9am and had sold out in 40 minutes, crashing the band's website in the process. Meanwhile, tickets exchanged hands on internet auction site eBay for hundreds of pounds.
New track Innocent was aired on Radio 1 by DJ Chris Moyles a week later, and will be the principal single from the album, due to be released on 9th November 2009. It is going to be included on their 7th studio album, 'Keep Calm and Carry On', which is due for release a week later on 16th November 2009.
The second single from the album, Could You Be The One? was released on February 15, 2010. The band embarked on a seven-date tour to support the new album in March 2010 playing at Newcastle, Glasgow, Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and London. with support from Glasgow band Hip Parade
On December 8, 2009, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games announced the line up for performers for the nightly Victory Ceremonies . These ceremonies will include 30 minutes of entertainment from the evening's host province/territory, 30 minutes of medal presentations, and a one hour performance by a musical talent. Stereophonics performed their song "I Got Your Number" at this event on February 20 - Yukon Night.
Sadly, Stuart Cable passed away early on the 7th of June 2010 - RIP.
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