Stereophonics Start Fresh, Embark On North American Tour

Welsh band weathers lineup changes, gets on with the show.

Finally over British media hassles about the controversial departure of drummer Stuart Cable, Stereophonics are back strong with their fifth album, Language. Sex. Violence. Other? and are bringing the punk-infused release on the road.

Change doesn't seem to have hurt the South Wales band, who scored its first U.K. #1 single in March of this year with the release of "Dakota." Even with the success of that song, people are still talking about the group's difficult lineup changes, and frontman Kelly Jones is tired of it.

"An ideal story isn't it?" the singer/guitarist asked. "You come from the middle of nowhere, become this big band, and the press goes, 'Then the moody lead singer sacks everybody, and it all gets sh--.' And you are like, 'Well, OK. You can pick that angle if you want, but there's a lot of other stuff [that] went on.' I've dealt with my sh--. I don't really need to keep on talking about it. I was on the bus for 10 years — I know what's gone on."

The fracture with Cable didn't come as a surprise to Jones. He said it was actually in the cards for a while — though he does admit that it's a shame, like the end of any good relationship. For him, picking up and moving on was the only option.

Former Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman initially filled in for Cable (who was fired from the band in September 2003) for several tour dates. Javier Weyler became Cable's permanent replacement late last year, though they met the Argentinean in 2003.

New guy Weyler says he was pleasantly surprised by the support he was met with. "It's quite difficult when you think about it. Obviously Stu was a massive part of [their history]. And Steve was filling in for a long time, and people become attached to that as well. It's quite difficult to live up to that expectation, [but] it has been great because everyone has been really supportive and open about it. Obviously, I'm just trying to do my job as good as possible."

The changes made have given Kelly Jones a sense of newness to the group, which he formed in 1992 with schoolmates Cable and Richard Jones (bass). "There's an element of how we felt in the first record because of the freshness," Kelly Jones explained. "It was all brand-new to Javier, so we're seeing it all brand new through him again — and that's quite refreshing." The frontman added that though the band had traveled to Japan more than a dozen times, the new drummer (who had never been there) made going back exciting.

No need to grab these guys some Mentos, because Weyler is feeling the freshness as well — both onstage and in the studio. "It has been really fresh," Weyler confirmed. "And the other thing is, I don't feel like I have only played [a few] shows at all. It feels like I've been playing for longer, which is a really odd thing that I still don't understand. I just prefer to go along with it."

The newbie and his group will have plenty of time to vibe on the road as they head out on a North American tour that runs through early June. "We've always been touring and traveling," Kelly Jones explained. "We play loads of shows, come home about 18 months later, go back into [the] studio, make a record, go out and play some shows. We're not away for the full 18 months. It's not like an Iron Maiden tour — you do go back and forth in between. We'd like to be away for 18 months in one go, but we can't afford it!"

Stereophonics North American tour dates, according to V2 Records:

  • 5/4 - Dallas, TX @ Gypsy Tea Room
  • 5/5 - Austin, TX @ The Parish
  • 5/7 - Atlanta, GA @ Coca-Cola Roxy Theater
  • 5/9 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
  • 5/10 - Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
  • 5/11 - Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
  • 5/12 - Ottawa, ON @ Zaphod Beeblebrox
  • 5/14 - Baltimore, MD @ M&T Bank Stadium (HFS Festival)
  • 5/15 - Montreal, QC @ Cabaret Music Hall
  • 5/16 - Providence, RI @ The Call
  • 5/17 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
  • 5/19 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
  • 5/20 - Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of the Living Arts
  • 5/21 - Brooklyn, NY @ Southpaw
  • 5/23 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
  • 5/24 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
  • 6/4 - Seattle, WA @ White River Amphitheatre (KNDD Endfest)