There couldn’t be a more fitting title for Stereophonics’ new album.
It’s called Keep The Village Alive, a nod to a saying frontman Kelly Jones and bass player Richard Jones (they’re not related) used to hear while growing up, in the small Welsh mining town of Cwmaman.
“We scavenged in the gravel to find this title,” says Kelly. “It was a phrase I heard when I was a kid which kind of means, you know, ‘Keep the spirit up, work hard, play hard’.
Away from that small tribute, keeping the spirit up, working hard and playing hard is essentially what Stereophonics have been doing since they formed in 1992.
After becoming the first band to sign to Richard Branson’s new V2 label in 1996, the trio - Jones, Jones and their other best friend, the late Stuart Cable - became the most talked-about in the country, cutting through the peak of Britpop with their short, sharp bar room rock’n’roll, topped off with Jones’ unique way with a story.
“We’ve been up, we’ve been down, and up and down again. The band’s brand, if you want to use that horrible word, is established, and we do what we do,” says Jones, now 41. “After 20 years of doing it, there’s no complacency, but we’re more familiar with all of that being out of our control.”
But Stereophonics are up at the moment.
Graffiti On The Train, their last album, went platinum in the UK, certifying sales of 300,000.
Many of the songs on the forthcoming Keep The Village Alive were written and recorded around the same time as its predecessor
“It’s a very nice way to work, and it means we don’t spend six months making an album, we just record a bank of songs and I’m always working. I prefer that.”
After the new album’s release on September 11, there are European dates, and a UK tour in December, followed by American and Australian tours.