Stereophonics to release Pull The Pin
Over the last decade, Welsh Britpop outfit Stereophonics have churned out reliably stomping rockers with big-hearted choruses to the delight of their fervent U.K. fanbase. With the U.S. release of Stereophonics' sixth outing, Pull the Pin (out for nearly a year already abroad), frontman Kelly Jones and crew could change their foreign fortunes: Pull the Pin is jam-packed with the group's trademark grunge-y guitars, whiskey-soaked vocals, and arena-ready melodies sure to please soft-hearted Snow Patrol fans and pub-brawlin' Oasis obsessives alike.
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Kelly Jones and bassist Richard Jones (no relation) began writing music together in 1992 under the alias Tragic Love Company -- a combo-homage to influences Tragically Hip, Mother Love Bone, and Bad Company -- before changing their name to Stereophonics. The group signed to Richard Branson's now-defunct V2 Records in 1996, releasing their debut, Word Gets Around, the following year. Stereophonics released six commercially successful full-lengths through V2 before the label's collapse; currently, the band is comprised of Kelly and Richard Jones, Javier Weyler (drums/percussion), and touring member Adam Zindani (lead guitar).
Title: Pull The Pin
Release date: 10/8/07
Buy at: Amazon
Stereophonics originally considered calling themselves Blind Faith, until they learned that a little-known guitarist named Eric Clapton had previously been in a band with the same name.
'Decade In The Sun: The Best Of Stereophonics' release date November 10th, (Vox Populi/Fontana International) is a timely collection that brings together all the band's most memorable tracks. Available as single CD, deluxe double CD (set in hardback book) and DVD, 'Decade In The Sun' spans all six of the band's studio albums, five of which reached number one in the UK charts.
In addition to the twenty tracks featured on the single CD version, the deluxe double CD set includes additional Stereophonics singles, fan favourites and rarities, while the DVD version includes all Stereophonics videos and exclusive bonus footage!
The single, "My Own Worst Enemy" impacts Alternative on October 28th.
Kelly Jones is a changed man. And it shows in his personal demeanour, and in the music he has been making with Stereophonics. “Part of me doesn’t really give a shit anymore,” he confesses. “The stage I am at now is very close to how I was at 21. I’ve learned how to deal with the ups and downs of being in a band, people liking you, people not liking you, how you look on a magazine cover, how everyone else thinks you should behave, all that is not in my head anymore, it’s gone.”
In eight tumultuous years between 1997 and 2005, the Welsh three piece released five albums, scored twenty Top 20 hits, racked up multi-million sales, and toured relentlessly on an exhausting schedule. Something had to give. “I took time out in 2006 to deal with an illness in the family,” says Kelly. “I was at the point in my life where I needed to break the cycle of album-tour-album-tour, ‘cause it wasn’t creative, it wasn’t refreshing, it wasn’t anything. When you’re constantly moving, you don’t have time to look down, so you don’t know what you’re doing really. Focussing on something other than yourself for a bit naturally makes you think about what is really important. And time is precious.”
The Stereophonics come back single, ‘It Means Nothing’, was inspired by terrorist attacks in London but clearly taps into Kelly’s own feelings of reconnecting with core values. “You take people for granted every day until something goes wrong. Funerals might be the only time you talk to your family all year. You give a shit about what trainers you wear to work, all the material shit, but you don’t really pay much attention to the person you love who walks out the door, and it means fuck all really without that one person.”
After the enforced hiatus, Stereophonics reunion was an explosive affair. “I’d been twiddling my thumbs, and just picking up my guitar with my mates, it felt like going back to the beginning,” according to bassist Richard Jones (no relation, although a lifelong friend of Kelly’s). “There was a lot of energy, it was a real knockabout.” Jamming sessions in London led to such a torrent of material they immediately booked time in a studio in Ireland, ostensibly to record demos. They returned with the guts of an album.
“There was no pressure, so we were basically going in and having fun,” according to Richard. “It helped that we are at the most confident and comfortable we’ve been in a long time. When you’ve been in a band so long, you tend to know what the next step is going to be before it happens. We trust each other. Even though Javier is South American, he really has the same background as us, the same sense of music. We all just went in and played, and it was like going with the flow.”
“We did ten songs in ten days,” explains Kelly. “In the past I’d be trying so hard to make something right, hone in on every detail, but this time I didn’t feel precious, didn’t force anything, it just came out naturally.”
The songs were pouring out of Jones, so much so that he simultaneously knocked out his first solo album, the stripped back ‘Only The Names Have Been Changed’. “Take away the pressure of a commercial single, take away expectancy, take away a press angle, take away everything and actually write the way I did when I was eighteen, then it’s surprisingly easy. It was a great little experiment, to write it, record it and release it within two weeks, and then within 36 hours it was number one on iTunes.”
Meanwhile, ‘Pull The Pin’ was shaping up dramatically. “I wanted to say something on the record, to start doing story songs again, but with everything I’ve learned in the past ten years, big choruses, big sound. It was not to make political comment, but just to observe what was going on around me in working class situations, real environments.”
Amidst the minutely observed mini-dramas of the times we live in (‘Soldiers Make Good Targets’, ‘Daisy Lane’, ‘Bank Holiday Monday’) there are songs of loss and longing (‘Stone’, ‘Bright Red Star’, ‘Lady Luck’, ‘Crush’). “There are the undercurrents of a doomed romance,” is all Kelly will reveal, “something that’s never gonna go anywhere, but maybe it can go everywhere, the kind of emotions that make writing great cause you don’t know your arse from your elbow.” And it concludes with ‘Drowning’, one of the most brutally raw expressions of emotional turmoil ever committed to record. “Sometimes I wonder where the words come from myself. If you just open your mouth and sing, it is the truest form of expression, because it has just come out of your soul.”
“When you can capture emotion like that, it takes the songs to a whole other level,” according to Richard. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a big rock song to build up to a crescendo. There’s a feeling when it comes together, like hairs standing up on the back of your neck.”
Musically, ‘Pull The Pin’ brings together the rockiest and most melodic aspects of Stereophonics in a collection of songs that comes out fighting on all fronts. “In these times, when you can download a track before its even released, if one song’s weaker than the other then its fucking done, you have to kind of make ‘em all stand their own ground,” enthuses Kelly. “I think we’ve achieved the best parts of the band over the last ten years on one record. The energy captured reminds me of when we started. It is the sound of a band happy to be back together.”
Pull The Pin Tracklisting
1. Soldiers Make Good Targets
2. Pass the Buck
3. It Means Nothing
4. Bank Holiday Monday
5. Daisy Lane
7. My Friends
8. I Could Lose Ya
9. Bright Red Star
"Pull The Pin" by Stereophonics - release date: 10/8/07..