Life lessons from the Stereophonics frontman…

The guide to surviving a life in music, by those who know best

Kelly Jones: frontman and restless mind.

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PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

I used to follow my dad around the working mens clubs as a kid. When I was growing up he had his record on the jukebox in the local pubs. He told me to make sure to practice at least 20 minutes every day.

With just 20 minutes a day, by the end of that week, you’d be a lot further along. He’d come home from working at the factory and he’d shout up the stairs and ask me if I’d done any practicing. I’d pretend that I had, but I hadn’t.

I think it’s all about the discipline of preparation and doing your thing, so when you actually do go out and do a show, you’re prepared for what you’ll be doing. 

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE

It’s about having people around you who can cope as well as you can, and just try to remain grounded in that environment, because sometimes you can lose your way or get caught up in the moment, or caught up in what the job is offering you.

I think remembering that when you come off stage, you’re still the same person as you were that went on it, and save all the drama for the performance. And I think having people around you that you trust really helps.

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TEST THE LIMITS

“Every man,” as Clint Eastwood once said, “needs to know his limits,” and I think you only realise what your limits are when you’ve pushed it to the very edge of it and almost lose everything that you have.

I think all of us in the band have been to that point, then you have to kinda rein that back and find some sanity and peace within that for yourself, and move forward in a way where you can deal with it, because it’s a very odd job.

HAVE A VISION

Every label we’ve been on has allowed us to use our vision of how we want our record to be perceived.

I think it’s the difference between an artist and a musician, really: an artist is somebody who actually knows that whole picture and their whole imagery and what they’re trying to get out there.

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PROGRESS TO STAY FRESH

We’ve always understood what our strengths are, and I think we’ve always tried to abolish whatever our strengths were on the last record and find new ones for the next one and challenge ourselves.

It doesn’t have to be massive changes, but as long as you keep trying to do something different on each record, I think you can at least strive to move forward in a new way. Some people won’t like it, and some people will love it, but you have to try to do that. 

BE TRUE TO YOURSELF

I think you go through different stages in life where you’re trying to do things what you’re expected to do by other people’s perceptions, whether that’s magazine, TV, or radio people.

You struggle and go through all these different versions of yourself. But the time I felt most comfortable in the last few years was when I was just being what the fuck I wanted to be for myself.

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Stereophonics’ new album ‘Kind is released on 25th October on Parlophone Records.

Interview: Simon Harper

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