Back with Stereo­phon­ics stars

Cynon Valley - - YOUR NEWS - DAVID OWENS david.owens@waleson­line.co.uk

HE’S the gui­tarist who was in an early ver­sion of Stereo­phon­ics and re­mained friends with singer Kelly Jones as his band be­came one of the coun­try’s big­gest rock groups.

But now Richard Jones – who was in pro­toStereo­phon­ics’ out­fit Tragic Love Com­pany with Kelly, the late Stu­art Ca­ble and his bass-play­ing name­sake in the early ’90s – has been given a sec­ond shot at suc­cess, cour­tesy of his for­mer Cw­ma­man band­mates.

In­deed, ’Phon­ics front­man Kelly has per­son­ally in­vited Fireroad, the Aber­dare rocker’s four-piece, to sup­port them at two sold-out shows this week.

The gigs at Ply­mouth Pavil­ion on Tues­day and Swin­don Oa­sis on Wed­nes­day are warmup shows which pre­cede Stereo­phon­ics’ head­line fes­ti­val ap­pear­ances this sum­mer.

The shows mark the be­gin­ning of the 20-year cel­e­bra­tions for the Welsh rock le­gends and it also marks an an­niver­sary for Richard’s own band.

“July 2017 is Fireroad’s fifth birth­day. These shows could not have come at a bet­ter time,” he said.

“It’s nice to think that af­ter 20 years in the in­dus­try Stereo­phon­ics still have their feet on the ground and are pre­pared to give us a boost.

“I was at the Cold­play show at the Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium and I heard (Cold­play singer) Chris Martin say he was giv­ing (sup­port band) Em­brace an op­por­tu­nity to sup­port as they were giv­ing some­thing back to the band.”

He added: “We have been work­ing hard be­hind the scenes pre­par­ing for the re­lease of our sec­ond al­bum and de­spite sev­eral hur­dles since the ini­tial re­lease date the al­bum is out in Au­gust.

“We have played live con­tin­u­ously all over the coun­try and our fan base is in­creas­ing. I hope the of­fer of the shows is Kelly’s way of say­ing ‘fair play you’re still hav­ing a go’.”

The sec­ond al­bum is ti­tled Flesh, Blood & Bone and is in­spired by the life of late Merthyr box­ing leg­end Johnny Owen.

It fea­tures un­seen images of the boxer, nick­named the Match­stick Man, who died in 1980 aged just 24 – two months af­ter laps­ing into a coma af­ter fighting Mex­ico’s Lupe Pin­tor for the ban­tamweight world ti­tle in Los An­ge­les.

These pre­cious images have been do­nated by Johnny Owen’s fam­ily.

“Our fo­cus on the pos­i­tive as­pects of his life and work re­ally cap­tured the hearts of his fam­ily and we have tried to do jus­tice to his legacy,” said Richard.

“The im­agery fits per­fectly with the lyrics and the ra­tio­nale be­hind the ti­tle. The anal­ogy of a small man work­ing hard and giv­ing all he had to achieve his dream fits per­fectly with what it means to live and work in Wales.

“There’s a lyric in one of the songs All We Have which tells of ‘Men of bronze chas­ing dreams of gold’. It is not only a di­rect ref­er­ence to the statue of Johnny Owen in Merthyr but also to the men of Wales who, whether in the pits or oth­er­wise, have given ev­ery­thing to achieve their dream.

“It’s a ded­i­ca­tion to tenac­ity and hard work.”

Richard added: “We have worked re­lent­lessly over the last five years and we are com­pletely self-suf­fi­cient, fund ev­ery­thing our­selves and the mo­men­tum with­out a la­bel has been down to long nights and busy week­ends.”

CRAIG THOMAS

Cynon Val­ley rock­ers Fireroad with singer Richard Jones, sec­ond left

Tragic Love Com­pany – the band that be­came Stereo­phon­ics – fea­tur­ing Fireroad front­man Richard Jones, sec­ond left

ADAM GER­RARD

Stereo­phon­ics stars Kelly Jones, Richard Jones, Adam Zin­dani and Jamie Morrison

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