Described as "classic UK rock delivered with whiskey vocals," the band have been summarised as possessing a sound akin to the genres of alternative rock and "British trad[itional] rock." Stereophonics' debut album, Word Gets Around, was released in August 1997 and instantly charted at number six in the UK, aided by the singles "Local Boy in the Photograph", "More Life in a Tramps Vest" and "A Thousand Trees", all of which failed to affect the top 20. The band reached mainstream success with the release of Performance and Cocktails (and its promotional singles "The Bartender and the Thief", "Just Looking" and "Pick a Part That's New") in 1999 and have achieved a total of ten top-ten singles as well as one number-one: 2005's "Dakota". The band have also been praised for their live performances, which have landed them headlining slots at many of the UK's most high-profile music festivals, including Reading and Leeds in 2000, Glastonbury in 2002, V festival in 2002 and the Isle of Wight in 2004 and 2009.
Kelly and Richard grew up together in the village of Cwmaman, near Aberdare, Wales. Along with original drummer Stuart Cable, they began writing and performing music in working men's clubs together in 1992 as a teenage cover band known as 'Tragic Love Company', a name inspired by their favourite bands (The Tragically Hip, Mother Love Bone and Bad Company). The band later changed their name to "Stereophonics", named after the manufacturer of a record player belonging to Stuart Cable's father.
In March 1996, the band played a gig at their local Coliseum Theatre with Catatonia and Pocket Devils. They played as Tragic Love Company and so impressed band manager John Brand that he signed a management deal with them after the concert.
In May 1996, they were the first artists to be signed to newly formed record label V2, created by Richard Branson. Upon signing, they dropped "The" from their name and simply became "Stereophonics".
Debut album and ascent to fame (1997–2000)
In August 1997, the band released their first studio album, Word Gets Around, which reached #6 in the UK charts and 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 position 14 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 3 on the UK charts. "Just Looking" was released next and reached number 4 in March 1999. In that same month, the album was released, entering at number 1 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.
Mainstream success (2001–04)
The band released their third album, Just Enough Education to Perform (JEEP), in April 2001. The album included the track "Mr. Writer", which includes lyrics that criticize a critic whom the band believe gave them an unfairly negative review. The album also contained one of the band's most famous tracks, "Have a Nice Day", which reached #5 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 Proud Mary. 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. Drummer Stuart Cable was sacked, according to reports, because of a 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 present drummer Javier Weyler. Steve Gorman, from The Black Crowes, stood in for Cable during the band's live performances until Javier Weyler was appointed.
Towards the end of the year, Stereophonics did a sold-out tour of the UK, ending with a Christmas show at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, supported by Feeder and Ocean Colour Scene. The group took a break after their 2003–2004 world tour, which included a set at the Manchester Move Festival in July 2004.
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 1 hit in the UK singles charts with the album's first single – the punky, upbeat "Dakota". The second single from the album was "Superman". However, that song did not repeat the success of "Dakota", peaking at number 13. After "Superman" came "Devil", featuring a controversial video and reaching number 11 in the charts. The album was nominated for a Pop Factory award at the end of the year, losing out to Feeder's Pushing the Senses.
The band played in Vancouver, Canada in April 2005 with opening band The Manvils. Following the concert, Kelly Jones invited The Manvils' lead guitarist, fellow Welshman Mark Parry, to join Stereophonics on the road as second guitarist in the band for their world tour. On 2 July 2005, the group appeared at the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park, London, playing to their biggest audience yet.
The band were scheduled to support Oasis for a number of dates across Europe, in early 2006, but pulled out due to family commitments. 2006 also saw the release of Stereophonics' first live album, Live from Dakota. The album is a two-disc compilation, featuring twenty tracks spanning all five of the band's albums and capturing the best of their 2005 world tour. Rather than being a recording of a single show, the tour was recorded every night and the band picked out the best version of each song individually. The album also features a track titled "Jayne", later released as part of Kelly Jones' solo album, "Only the Names Have Been Changed".
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. It Means Nothing was the first single of the album, released in September before the LP was released a week later on October 15. The album contains twelve songs and reached number 1 in the UK's official album chart. The next single, "My Friends", reached #32 in the UK charts, their poorest chart performance since "More Life in a Tramps Vest" from their debut album.
On 20 May 2007, at Radio 1's Big Weekend in Preston, the band were joined on stage by Casino frontman Adam Zindani. Zindani continued to tour with the band for the remainder of the Pull the Pin tour, playing lead guitar and backing vocals. He has been credited for writing and performing on two of the band's new tracks, "You're My Star" and "My Own Worst Enemy". On "You're My Star", he sings backing vocals and plays lead guitar. Whereas, on "My Own Worst Enemy", he only plays lead guitar.
In November 2008, Stereophonics released a greatest hits compilation, Decade in the Sun: The Best of Stereophonics.
On 24 February 2009, the band announced that they would be headlining the Isle of Wight Festival for the second time since headlining the festival in 2004. As announced by their website, the festival was the band's "exclusive" festival appearance of the summer.
The band's seventh album is titled Keep Calm and Carry On and was released on 16 November 2009. They decided on this name after seeing a poster in The White Horse pub in Richmond where they spent a lot of time whilst recording the album. The album's debut single will be Innocent. A seven-date tour has been scheduled in support of the album, beginning in March 2010.
On December 8, 2009, the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) announced the line up for performers for the nightly Victory Ceremonies (http://www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-spectator-guide/celebrations-and-ceremonies/ceremonies). These ceremonies will include 30 mins of entertainment from the evening's host province/territory, 30 mins of medal presentation, and a one hour performance by a musical talent. Stereophonics will perform at this event on February 20th-Yukon night.