Road rest rekindles the Stereophonics sound
a train, but at least they weren’t breaking in, which is half a bonus I suppose. Anyway, I went back to bed and got thinking about what they were doing, and why. ‘‘I understand kids are bored out of their minds. ‘‘We all want to find a way to express ourselves and leave our mark on the world, and I was lucky enough to have music.
‘‘I ended up thinking about someone who might be leaving notes for his girlfriend on the morning train.’’
As the album progresses there’s a marriage proposal, a Romeo and Juliet-style romance and, ultimately, on Violence And Tambourines, the death of the protagonist.
‘‘Lots of things started unfolding as I was writing the album,’’ says Jones.
‘‘At the same time I started writing a screenplay about these two kids who leave a small Welsh town to go across Europe to watch bands. There’s an element of autobiography in that because that’s what me, Rich and Stuart did.
‘‘The two things I was writing sort of bleed into each other. There’s the thread of a story there, it’s not a concept as such, and I was taking inspiration from one for the other and vice-versa. Plus I’ve got a ready-made soundtrack for the film if it gets made.’’
The final addition in that sentence is Jones to a tee. He often makes quips and jokes, normally selfdeprecating and almost always when the conversation has taken a more serious turn. For a man so bright and at times deep, he likes to keep conversation light.
One thing not discussed at much length today is the death of Stuart Cable. Jones sacked his old friend and bandmate in 2003 when his drink and drug abuse became problematic. The pair patched things up in just over a year and at the time of Cable’s death (he vomited in his sleep and choked) they were on good terms again.
Graffiti On The Train is the first album since then and an air of mourning runs throughout it, without ever dealing with the issue directly – although the final track, No One’s Perfect, comes close.
‘‘If he’d lived I think he’d have ended up back in the band,’’ says Jones.
‘‘What happened between us was stupid and if we’d been more patient at the time I think we could’ve ironed things out then. After all, we’re only a band.’’
They are only a band, admittedly, but one that thousands of people want to see.
‘‘We know what it’s like not living near a big venue, though. No one ever came to our town, so we were always going off somewhere to watch a band,’’ Jones says. ‘‘As old-fashioned as it sounds, we’re taking music to people. That’s how we built the fanbase in the first place, going to small towns and universities, and I think that’s why a lot of people have stuck with us because they respect us for that. We’ve got a lot to thank those people for.’’
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Stereophonics play The Hi-Fi Bar, Brisbane, on July 19. Tickets go on sale on Monday at 10am.
Stereophonics and (front) Kelly Jones