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The new Millennium began with Welsh rockers Stereophonics standing astride the UK music scene like they'd invented it.
Proclaimed from all sides as the biggest band in the UK, that grasp may have loosened with the return of Oasis and the continuing rise of Travis, but their reputation continues to flourish, abroad particularly.
Currently in the US on a joint headlining tour with the Charlatans, dotmusic caught-up with frontman Kelly Jones and drummer Stuart Cable in Chicago.

dotmusic: How have you been getting on in the US?
Kelly: "We've been coming back and forth for three or four years; we're currently on tour with The Charlatans and it's all gone very well so far. We went to Vancouver, San Francisco and now we're here in Chicago. Well, all the gigs have been sold out and tonight's going to be good."

dotmusic: Do US fans seem to like your music?
Stuart: "In some shape!"
Kelly: "Some of them."
Stuart: "No, I don't know, you get people coming up to you after the show saying they really enjoyed the gig so you get the overall feeling that everybody liked what we do."

dotmusic: Is it lonely being so far away from home?
Stuart: "No, we've got a bunch of..."
Kelly: "idiots..."
Stuart: "Mates. ..idiots!…so we spend late nights drinking and watching films and listening to music and arguing. We have lots of fun on the road. "

dotmusic: Are you hopeful or ambitious of breaking America - a feat not achieved by a UK act for sometime – and why do you think it is so difficult?
Kelly: "It's difficult because it's so big and because all your radio stations play shit music and yes we are ambitious and yes we would like to do it as much as we'd like to get established in any country really. But as soon as radio stations start playing songs again and stop taking back handers from shit record companies and bands then maybe we'll get there."

dotmusic: What do you think of the US music scene in bands like Slipknot and Limp Bizkit?
Kelly: "I think answered that in the last question!"

dotmusic: What do the US fans make of the fact that you're Welsh or don't they even realise it?
Both: "Some do."
Stuart: "Some haven't got a clue where Wales is, but never mind, that's one of those things. But a lot of people come with Welsh flags and they've got relatives in Wales or they've been to Wales or they know all about Wales in some shape."

dotmusic: How strong is your US fan base?
Stuart: "Oh, we've got about 14, haven't we?"
Kelly: "Yeah, 45 after tonight! I dunno really."
Stuart: "We haven't got a clue. I don't even know how the record is selling over here. I haven't got a clue.
Kelly: "The gigs have been good, you know. You get a good response from the gigs, but it's nice doing the gigs with The Charlatans and I think they feel it's nice going the gigs with us so you get a good mixture of fans from both types of bands.
"The record hasn't done amazing but the gigs have been good. They're not massive gigs but they but they're probably about the same size gigs we done after touring for two or three years in Britain to be honest."

dotmusic: In the UK your nationality has been the subject of some debate like at the Morfa Stadium shows, with some music magazines going on about nationalism. How do you feel about that?"
Kelly: "It was blown out of context. It was one complaint by a girl because she'd never seen so much patriotism and a lot of American people and Japanese people were there and they were quite astounded about how proud the country was and she felt that it was more racist than pride."
'Why I don't know, because all it was was people, the concert was in Wales, Welsh flags were being flown, we're a Welsh band, it was in a Welsh stadium celebrating Welsh music. It's not at all prejudiced you know. Half the people who work for us are English or foreign in some way, so that's all it was a pride thing really.
'It wasn't anything to do with us it was to do with the fans, we didn't fly flags on stage, if there was any flags there on stage they were thrown there by the audience. I think one magazine took it completely out of context because that's what the NME like to do."

dotmusic: The Welsh scene is very popular at the moment with Catatonia, Super Furry Animals, Manic Street Preachers etc. How different is that to when you were a kid and why do think it happened?
Stuart: "There was no Welsh bands when we were kids, no-one at all. Why it happened, I don't know, I think it's just circumstance. It's just one of those things."
Kelly: "It's all to do with that, drinking, screwing and smoking. That's all it's about."
Stuart: "The point is we all come from different parts of Wales as well. Ourselves and Manic Street Preachers come from South Wales, Cerys is from West Wales and some of the boys from Super Furries are from North Wales so it's a different part of the country really and er I just think it's all total coincidence that the four bands got signed at different times but became popular at the same time.
"But it's good for Wales and it's good for the kids - you know, makes them get up and play guitars and drums and get out of their bedrooms and they can get real jobs."
Kelly: "Gives them ambition."

dotmusic: How did it feel to work with Tom Jones and were your mothers really jealous and want his autograph? And any other collaborations in the pipeline?
Kelly: "It was amazing working with Tom Jones. Big learning thing really. To meet a legend who's met the likes of Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Mohammed Ali and all the people that everyone looks up to really and he's come out the other side and he still talks to people like a proper person.
'He's not some guy that talks down to anybody, he's got time and he's got respect for people and to see someone who's actually a proper legend who's been the business 35 years and he's still a proper human being rather than some cynical flash rock star then it's refreshing really. He was a lovely fella. He's a great singer and he taught us how to drink better than we do now. And our mothers didn't want his autograph they wanted his knob."

dotmusic: What other bands do you listen to on the tour bus?
Kelly: "We listened to AC:DC last night – AC:DC and Thin Lizzy last night . It varies from day to day – Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Grant Lee Buffalo, Sex Pistols, Tony Bennett, whatever. Anybody who writes decent stuff. We all buy about three CDs a week really because there's nothing else to do."

dotmusic: How are things going for your new record?
Stuart: "Good, yeah, yeah. Slowly but surely, it'll get there in the end."
Kelly: "We're going to start recording."
Stuart: " It's one of those things, it's like building a house isn't it? You never see the end of it. But that's the same thing with writing songs really. Kelly comes up with ideas and you never think what it's going to sound like at the end of it really. But we'll get there and have some fun doing it "
Kelly: "We're going to start doing it…we finish this tour in April, the end of April, and we take May off and do a bit of writing and start recording in June so we'll probably be out early next year. There's 10 or 11 songs ready at the moment and, yeah, looking forward to it, very much so. It'll be nice to do some new songs."

dotmusic: The UK music press have sometimes been a little unfair about your sound because it thinks it's too predictable. What's your response to that?
Stuart: "Meat and two potatoes is it, meat and veg or whatever it's f***ing called."
Kelly: "Predictable"
Stuart: "Ay, predictable. We do what we do and we like what we do and if other people get a kick out of it, great. The day journalists, um, they're not the most intelligent people, musicwise, on this planet. You know, some of them have only got record collections that go as far as Suede and whatever else really."
Kelly: "A critic, as Brian Johns once said, is just one ticket and one record and if you put one of them on a stage with a microphone they wouldn't know what the fuck to do."
Stuart: "Exactly."
Kelly: "So let them carry on. I don't give a f***."

dotmusic: What are your plans for the rest of the year, festivals, touring etc?
Stuart: "Just one festival, we're doing Reeding, no Reading, Reading festival and we start off in Glasgow."
Kelly: "We're doing Leads (sic) and Glasgow."
Stuart: "We're doing Leeds and Glasgow and we start off on the Friday, bank holiday weekend in August and Saturday we go to Leeds and Sunday we go to Reading. We're headlining those three nights so we're looking forward to that, probably the fans will get to hear some new stuff as well by then, because we should of hopefully have finished the album so they'll get to hear it first."

dotmusic: What does the group make of the internet and do you see it as being the future in terms of MP3s or a possible evil problem for bands?"
Stuart: "We're the worst two people to ask, we are."
Kelly: "I can just about switch it on."
Stuart: "I go on the internet to look for furniture for my house and that's about it."
Kelly: "I don't think records should be bought on the internet to be honest. I think it spoils your thing about going out and I don't like all this downloading stuff because I think the packaging of the record is just as important as the sound of the record. So it would be a bit of a shame if they all just get downloaded on to a CDR one day with you know with photocopies of the packaging. I think that's a bit of a shame."
Stuart: "It's just going to turn everyone into a couch potato isn't it. You can order your food and you can even order your clothes from Gap now on the internet like."
Kelly: "Everybody's just going to turn in to one fat bastard."
Stuart: "Yep. Why leave home?"
Kelly: "Handy if you're housebound."
Stuart: "If you like that kind of thing. But if you like going out and getting fresh air, don't buy a computer."
Kelly: "You can't buy fresh air on the internet."
Stuart: "You can't buy a big steaming turd either can you? Well I don't know"
Kelly: "You probably could."
Stuart: "There probably is someone who could sell you a big f***ing turd on the internet."

you can watch the video interview here