WALES is no stranger to great musical acts, however it would be hard to argue against Stereophonics being the greatest of them all.

Dominating the charts for decades, and playing for hundreds of thousands around the world, the band has stood the test of time and has a huge army of fans.

So who are the Stereophonics?

The band consists of Kelly Jones (lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards), Richard Jones (bass guitar, harmonica, backing vocals), Adam Zindani (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Jamie Morrison (drums, percussion) and touring member Tony Kirkham (keyboards). 

The group previously included Stuart Cable (1992–2003) and then Javier Weyler (2004–2012) on drums.

Kelly Jones and Stuart Cable lived on the same street in the village of Cwmaman. Jones heard Cable played drums so asked if he wanted to jam together. After some time practicing in Jones’ dad’s garage, Nicholas Geake joined in on guitar.

Later, Jones invited Paul Rosser and Chris Davies to play on bass guitar and keyboards, respectively.

Cable recalls he was the one who suggested that Jones be the singer, as his dad was a singer back in the sixties who supported Roy Orbison. In 1986 the band recorded a demo under the name “Zephyr”.

When Jones went on holiday the band played a gig without him, which resulted in Jones leaving the band and Jones and Cable going their separate ways. Jones, Rosser and Davies formed their own R&B band called “Silent Runner” while Cable joined a glam-rock band named “King Catwalk” on drums.

A few years later, Cable got sacked from the band and after a few weeks after that when on a bus, he waved to Jones who was standing at a bus stop and waved back.

Fresh-faced: an earlier picture of the Stereophonics

It was the first contact they had since Zephyr had broken up. 

Two weeks later, Jones and Cable started speaking again in the Ivy Bush. They agreed to give the band another go but Cable only wanted to play their own songs, to which Jones agreed.

The duo invited Mark Everett to play for them on bass guitar and Jones then started writing his own songs.

Everett went on holiday for two weeks but Jones and Cable wanted to continue rehearsing, so Jones invited long-time friend Richard Jones to fill in for Everett.

Stunned by Richard’s appearance and bass playing, Cable convinced Kelly to keep him instead of Everett.

The band decided they needed another member to play lead guitar. Simon Collier was the first guitarist brought in, but didn’t stay in the band; he did, however, become Kelly’s guitar technician.

The band tried hiring two other guitarists, another Richard Jones and Glenn Hyde.

Neither stayed for long. Hyde did however play harmonica on “Rooftop” for the band’s 2001 album Just Enough Education to Perform. After Hyde left, the band stuck as a three-piece act.

Kelly, Richard and Cable began writing and performing music in working men’s clubs together in 1992 as a band known as “Tragic Love Company”, a name inspired by their favourite bands (the Tragically Hip, Mother Love Bone and Bad Company).

After Tragic Love Company supported Smalltown Heroes in the Borderline Club, London, they met Marshall Bird and Steve Bush who were interested in producing for the band. The band agreed and recorded a demo for “A Thousand Trees”.

After Cable read the manufacturer name of a gramophone, “Falcon Stereophonic”, he told Kelly and the band agreed to change their name to “The Stereophonics”.

Upon signing, they dropped “the” from their name and simply became “Stereophonics”.

In August 1997, the band released their first studio album, Word Gets Around, which reached number six in the UK charts, from which five singles were released. 

Afterwards, the band embarked on a successful world tour.

In February 1998, the band received a BRIT Award for Best New Group. In the same week, the band re-released the single “Local Boy in the Photograph”, which in turn reached number fourteen in the UK Singles Chart. 

The band’s debut album, Word Gets Around, also went gold in the UK.

In November 1998, “The Bartender and the Thief” (the first single from the album Performance and Cocktails) was released, eventually reaching number three on the UK charts. “Just Looking” was released next and reached number four in March 1999. In that same month, the album was released, entering at number one and going platinum within three weeks.

Later that year, the band played in front of 50,000 people at Morfa Stadium in Swansea. The concert was filmed and released on DVD the following year. They also collaborated with Tom Jones on a cover of the Randy Newman song “Mama Told Me Not To Come”, for the Tom Jones album Reload.

Throughout 1998 and 1999, the band toured in Europe, Australia and the US. On 12 June 1998, Stereophonics played to over 10,000 spectators in the grounds of Cardiff Castle in Wales. Footage of the concert was released on VHS and DVD, titled Live at Cardiff Castle.

The band released their third album, Just Enough Education to Perform, in April 2001. The album included the track “Mr. Writer”, which includes lyrics that criticise a critic who the band believe gave them a negative review. 

Cover art for Just Enough Education to Perform

The album also contained one of the band’s most famous tracks, “Have a Nice Day”, which reached number five in the UK charts. 

To promote the new album, Just Enough Education to Perform, the Stereophonics played a two-day festival, which was called A Day at the Races. This event was held in Donington Park on the first day and at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on the second. 

The concerts were supported by Ash, Black Crowes and the Crocketts, with Proud Mary playing Donington only. Over 200,000 separate tickets were sold for the weekend festival. The performance was released on a DVD in 2002.

2003 saw the release of their fourth album, titled You Gotta Go There to Come Back. In September 2003, drummer Stuart Cable was sacked. According to reports, it was because of his lack of commitment to the band. Cable, at the time, presented a TV show called “Cable TV” and felt that the band would never improve. Because of this, he missed several rehearsals and live concerts. He was eventually replaced by Javier Weyler.

Their fifth studio album, Language. Sex. Violence. Other? was released in March 2005. It marked their first recording with new drummer Javier Weyler. 

The band achieved their first number one hit in the UK singles charts with the album’s first single, “Dakota”. The second single from the album was “Superman”. 

However, that song did not repeat the success of “Dakota”, peaking at number thirteen. 

After “Superman” came “Devil”, featuring a controversial video and reaching number eleven in the charts.

Pull the Pin was released in the UK on 15 October 2007, along with a download-only taster; “Bank Holiday Monday”. The track was also available for free to people who pre-ordered tickets for the band’s concerts in 2007. The album was written and recorded by November 2006 but held back for release until late 2007.

Graffiti on the Train was released on 4 March 2013.

A single preceding the album, “Indian Summer” was released in January 2013; by 10 March it had peaked at number 30 in the UK, making it their group’s first UK top-40 single since 2007. The album’s title track was released on 13 May.

Stereophonics continue to tour and write to this day, cementing their legacy as one of Wales’ greatest musical acts ever.