After ten years of playing pubs and bars the Stereophonics broke into the 1997 UK Top 30 with the hard urban poetry of ‘A Thousand Trees’ – ‘it takes one tree to make a thousand matches, only takes one match to burn a thousand trees’ (from debut album ‘Word Gets Around’), then scored as high as no.3 the following year with ‘The Bartender And The Thief’ with a video that recreates the ‘Apocalypse Now’ movie (from second album ‘Performance And Cocktails’).

Kelly Jones recorded twelve studio albums with the Stereophonics, up to ‘Oochya!’ (2022) – which is exactly the same number of albums as the Beatles. So, if the Stereophonics were Kelly’s Beatles, Far From Saints must be his Wings – right? Wrong. Far From Saints is very much an equal-opportunities band made up of Kelly allied with Patricia ‘Patty’ Lynn and Dwight A Baker, from The Wind & The Wave, a band who have their own impressive history. 

From Austin USA, The Wind and The Wave made an RCA Records debut album ‘From The Wreckage’ (2014). Their cover of Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’ was used in a ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ TV-episode, before they switched to Island for album ‘Happiness Is Not A Place’ (2016). Prior to that, Patty sang and played violin with Indie-band The Soldier Thread.

Now Kelly Jones, darkly intense and serious, sits in a studio up against a wall of speakers and microphones. Dwight Baker has two pieces of explosive art on the wall behind him, one on each side of his head. While Patty Lynn is talking from her home in Austin, Texas:

Andrew Darlington: It’s wonderful to get this opportunity of talking to you. Are you well?

Kelly Jones: I’m very good thank you. I’m in a little studio in London where we do odds and sods. Bits of recording here and there.

Andrew Darlington: Odds and sods are always useful.

Kelly: Odds and sods usually end up becoming records.

Patty Lynn: I’m in Austin. I’m in my home.

Andy: Isn’t transatlantic technology wonderful.

Patty: Yes. Mostly.

Dwight: Hello, I’m in Denver. So we’re all over the place.

Andy: Dwight, were you aware of the Stereophonics before meeting Kelly? Are they known in the States?

Dwight: Yeah, I loved the ‘Mr Writer’ single. I didn’t go deep into the Stereophonics catalogue but that song was always on… after making Mix-tapes you would make Mix-CDs, remember? And so my Mix-CDs would always have that on there, ‘cos I thought Kelly’s voice sounded like someone was razing razorblades across his throat, and I just thought it was dope. And I love that keyboard part. So that song was actually a really early inspiration to me, writing-wise. Yes – so I was very aware. Patty had no idea who he was, or who they were. But I did!

Andy: So there is a kind of long-term loop there. (‘Mr Writer’ was a 2001 UK no.5 single by the ‘Phonics, which attacks an unnamed critic, performed in a snowglobe in the video, it asks ‘are you lonely? You don’t even know me, but you’d like to stone me.’ I feel suitably warned!)

Dwight: Yeah. For sure.

Andy: Is the sequencing of tracks on an album still important in the age of streaming?

Kelly: To some, but probably to most, no. I dunno – I’ve always been an album-listener as opposed to a single-track listened. Or maybe I was, maybe I’m less so now. But I’ve always thought of albums as two sides, and I’ve always thought of them as a beginning and a middle and an end, a bit like a live show. Probably that dates back to how I used to listen to records when I was a kid.

Dwight: I’ve been thinking about that question lately, because I just had to sequence an album that I produced, and the whole AI (Artificial Intelligence) discussion and all that stuff, and for me it’s like I make music and records and art, and I know Kelly and Patty do too, for a certain kind of person. I like people that still go buy records, and still go record-diving, and appreciate that side of it. If the greater broader listen-to-Spotify-only fan gets it, I’m also cool with that, but I think I actually make records for the people that go deeper than that. So it does matter to me.

Andy: Stereophonics have issued twelve studio albums – which is as many as the Beatles did. But whereas the Beatles started out making 45rpm singles and ended up making 45rpm singles, the Stereophonics have worked through a period of great technological change, through CDs to MP3s into streaming and back to vinyl (with a cassette revival ongoing too).

Kelly (smiles): There you go. It’s been… I think there was a wobbly period in the early 2000s where people were getting music for free, illegally and all that, and everybody was kinda panicking. I think now it’s got back to that situation where at least most people have got a subscription and music is being streamed in a way where it’s controlled, and the artists eventually are seeing some sort of trickle-down. But it is a different way of accessing music, I think Spotify upload more than 4000 songs a day, y’know? and to be discovered in and amongst all that – as opposed to getting a cool song on the radio and then getting a cool article in a magazine, it’s a lot harder to be found, even if you come from an established band, or something, like Far From Saints, you still have to be found in and amongst all those thousands of songs. You still need to do quite a lot of work to even make a wave in that. So it’s great to have the access to all that music, but a bit like NetFlix or TV stuff, I think there’s also the dilemma of people spending an hour to find something to watch, and by the time they find it they can’t be fucking bothered to watch it anymore. It’s a bit like that with your music. But before, with albums, when you were younger, you’d listen to the same albums over and over, that’s why you knew them and fell in love with them and that’s why they mean so much to you now. They take you back to that point. They transport you. But if something becomes too transient and too easy to access, I think you lose something as well. But it’s still incredible, it’s incredible right now how many people are listening to music. I mean, everybody’s listening to music, every day now.

Andy: I love the line on the Far From Saints album ‘it’s a terrible life, but a hell of a ride.’ Is that one of Patty’s lyrics?

Kelly: Yes. Patty and Dwight, actually.

Patty: So really, with that line, it wasn’t meant to be like that. We were literally singing the vocals (Patty and Kelly). Recording the vocals in the studio, and I believe the line was ‘it’s a terrible life, it’s a terrible life’ – right? And we were singing it, and Dwight – you just walked into the room, ‘cos we were singing our vocals at the same time – which was cool. Dwight, you walked into the room and you were like ‘there’s something about this that isn’t working for me,’ And that’s the only reason why it changed. But – like, it was the perfect change.

Dwight: Yes – I mean, I guess – y’know, I look at the sad things in life a lot, I’ve had some tough tough tough times in my life, but I try to see things hopefully, and that just felt too negative – and, I don’t know if I had originally written that line or whatever, but it was just too dark for me, and I always want to find some bit of hope at the end of that, and I actually think it might have been you – Kelly, who did the ‘but a hell of a ride’ or something. But it needed hope.

Kelly: Yeah, I felt like it was lacking, a light at the end of the tunnel. To finalise on a section just saying ‘it’s a terrible life’ felt like – OK, it’s a terrible life…

Patty: Yes – and, yes, it’s a terrible life, but also it’s an amazing beautiful wonderful life, it’s all of the things (she twists her lip Elvis-wise). And I think that’s what that song needed. And it was just right.

Andy: It’s a metaphor for being in a Rock band as well.

Dwight: Very much so for being in a band.

Patty: It’s a metaphor for everything.

Andy: Kelly, you say you’ve not previously written collaboratively, but isn’t working in a band always something of a joint project?

Kelly: For me? Well – it changes over the years. The first Stereophonics records were written, I guess, in a Youth Club at the end of the street, just me, Stuart (Cable) and Richard (Jones, no relation) jamming out songs. Chord-progressions would happen, and the sound of the band would happen, and then I’d go home and write the lyrics and the melody to go on top. And that kind of happened for the first two records – or the first three records, and then you get sent around the world playing shows pretty much every day, so you can’t get in a room together anymore, so the songwriting has to happen in a Hotel room, on a tour bus, or on a plane – so to deliver the songs, somebody has to have the role of writing the songs. It becomes a lot more of an independent situation, then you bring the songs to the band and then you play them live together in the studio…

Andy: And the other members add basslines, arrangement, drum-patterns?

Kelly: …yes. It just changes, and evolves as it goes, y’know? Bands are funny though. Some people in bands want to keep things going forward, some people in bands just want to stay where they are and drive the BMW. It depends what you want really.

Andy: Patty, how does your writing work? Have you collaborated previously?

Patty: When it comes to songwriting specifically, it’s almost always a collaborative process for me. Dwight and I have been writing together for – like, over ten years. And there’s a real sense of comfortability there. That being said, I write all the time, like, I’m always jotting notes down, things that are coming into my head, and I’ll come up with verses or just… poetry almost (she gives a quizzical expression), and just kinda jot it down, like, while I’m at the grocery store, while I’m running behind my kid on his bike, or just anytime it comes into my head and I try to write it down. Those ideas and sometimes the specific lines that I write in those random moments turn into lyrics, in a more collaborative process with Dwight.

Andy: Is working with Kelly a different process?

Patty: Yeah – well, I think adding a third person to any – like, comfortable tight-knit situation, is totally different. But it’s also really cool, ‘cos there are some really unique things about the way that he writes that are very different from the way that I write. He’s so, like, off the cuff, he doesn’t think about anything too much. And he just kind-of like BLUUUUURRRRGH (she mimes words pouring from her mouth). And he just fits it into the melody, and also the way he sings certain words, the way he says certain words, opens up a different set of words for the rhyme-scheme because if he says a word differently then it has different rhyming words, and so it opens up different things that otherwise wouldn’t have been available to me. So – it was just cool different things like that. Even though we are so different, we meld together really well.

Andy: The three of you first got together by jamming Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’ and a spirited cover of Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty’s ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’. Is Tom Petty a touchstone for you all?

Kelly (smiles): I guess.

Patty: Maybe.

Dwight: I think Tom Petty should be a touchstone for any band.

Andy: Dwight, you say about the album track ‘Take It Through The Night’ that it is ‘straight out of 1976’. What do you mean by that?

Dwight: Well, it’s like you take elements of my entire childhood record collection, and shove them all together, and it became that song. It’s a little bit of Stevie Nicks, and a little bit of Allman Brothers, and a little bit of Zeppelin… just, all sorts of things in there…

Kelly: Eagles.

Dwight: Eagles – yes. It’s just like a perfect amalgamation of everything I grew up on. So much so that the solo section almost feels like a left-turn, in almost a Prog way, ‘cos it goes into a Blues song – but I love so much that it does that. It’s one of my favourite moments to hear live each night is to hear him (Kelly) and Justin (guitarist Justin Beynon) play that part together ‘cos it’s just so like – ‘I can’t believe we did a minute-long guitar solo in today’s world.’

Andy: Kelly, you appeared on the BBC Radio-2 Gary Davies ‘Tracks Of My Years’, and you opened with Phil Collins ‘In The Air Tonight’, which seems a strange choice.

Kelly: Yes, that song was reminiscent of when my oldest brother first went into the army, ‘cos it was the early eighties and he went away, and that was a cassette that he’d had in his bedroom and in his van, and so I think it was connected to my brother leaving home, and the black-&-white video, and the atmosphere, and the production of that song to this day still stands out to me. I’ve tried to steal that song I don’t know how many times in the studio. I don’t know, there’s just something about that track… obviously it’s been parodied quite a few times in recent years, with lots of different things, but the actual atmosphere of that vocal and that backing track to me, to this day I still find very powerful, yes.

Andy: I don’t see the continuity – the other names that you reference in the ‘Spin: Five Albums I Can’t Live Without’ column – Tom Waits (‘Nighthawks At The Diner’), Tom Petty (‘Damn The Torpedoes’),  AC/DC (‘Back In Black’), Bob Dylan (‘Oh Mercy’) and The War On Drugs 2017 album ‘A Deeper Understanding’, I can see the relevance.

Kelly: Well – there’s also Neil Sedaka (‘The Hungry Years’) and Otis Redding in there as well, there’s a lot of things…

Andy: And the two Elvis’s – Costello (‘Watching The Detectives’) and Presley (‘If I Can Dream’)…

Kelly: I’ve grown up with lots of… two older brothers and my Dad, and my Uncle. There was a lot of music coming my way at a very young age. I was playing my first shows when I was twelve years old in a Working Men’s Club, so we were doing cover versions of songs by the Eagles, Van Halen, Free – and all of these kinds of bands that I probably shouldn’t even have been exposed to at that point. But my Dad was listening to all that kind of other stuff as well. So yeah – it was good. As Dwight said earlier about the Mix-Tapes, when I grew up everybody just had one of those kind-of silver ghetto-blasters playing Mix-Tapes in the Park, so I was listening to all sorts of music all the time.

Andy: Kelly, you performed the old Who hit-song ‘Substitute’ with Roger Daltrey as part of the 2023 Teenage Cancer Trust concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Did you know the words, or did you have to revise?

Kelly: Ah – well, I thought I was going to have to revise them, ‘cos I’d played it with him the first time twenty years ago on the first Teenage Cancer Trust, and I ballsed-up one of the verses on it! Pete Townshend had to take the mic and correct me. But this time, as I said to Dwight, when I was in the rehearsal, I had the email – he’d asked me literally the night before ‘do you want to do this thing?’ and I fucking knew it was going to come up, but he let me have about eight hours to get there. Then, on the night it kinda came out and I did actually remember it probably better than learning my own songs, which was quite funny.

Andy: Have you ever forgotten your own lyrics while you’ve been on stage?

Kelly: Yes.

Patty: I think we just call that ‘pulling a Patty’! That’s what that’s called.

Kelly: The first time it happened to me was in Amsterdam, and – you know what happens in Amsterdam? Everybody was in the dressing room getting… y’know, quite merry – and we walked out onto the stage, I remember the guitar-tone sounding fucking amazing, but when I went up to the mic I couldn’t remember one single fucking lyric!

Andy: The Far From Saints album track ‘We Won’t Get Out Alive’ forms an intriguing male-female dialogue. Is the line ‘he’s a pretty face, but they’re dime a dozen’ a Patty lyric?

Patty: Yeah, um, I mean, I don’t know, it just kinda popped into my head. It’s relevant. There’s a lot of very handsome men in my life. I actually saw something the other day that describes this perfectly, like, you can have a great face, but you’re not beautiful unless you’re like – kind? (she screws her mouth sideways in a quizzical fashion) – I think that’s maybe what it said. If you’re not kind it’s just ‘congratulations on your face’. Basically.

Kelly: That’s a T-shirt slogan.

Dwight: I was going to say, that’s a record title, ‘Congratulations On Your Face’.

Andy: Patty, will The Wind & The Wave continue, or are you just taking time out?

Patty: I think we’ll definitely continue, but in what capacity? It may shift. I have a two-year-old now, and that’s – so hard. But yes, we’re just kind-of taking a pause at the moment. We’re doing some acoustic shows, more locally, and having a lot of fun with those, because we’re always writing, and it gives us a casual safe place to just try out new things as they evolve, as they’re kind-of being born, and that’s fun.

Andy: Patty, is it true that you record sitting down?

Kelly: We did with this record, yeah.

Patty: Yes, often-times, sitting down is the best way for me to sing. I think it just allows me to relax the rest of my body, so I can just focus my energies where it needs to be. Yes – does that make sense?

Andy: That makes perfect sense. Dwight, Kelly had a hit single duet with Tom Jones with Randy Newman’s song ‘Mama Told Me Not To Come’, the record reached no.4 on the UK chart during March 2000. Who would be your perfect duet partner?

Kelly: I did, yes. I made that record with Tom Jones (no relation)! Singing live next to Tom Jones in a room, that was a fucking experience. Yes, there was a glass pane between us, we sang it twice, and he said ‘that’s it, let’s go for a Chinese meal!’ And that’s what we did.

Andy: Who would you like to duet with, Patty?

Patty: I would do it with… have you heard of Kelly Jones? I would duet with Kelly Jones.

Dwight: Good choice. Good choice.

Andy: Winding up, is there anything you wish to say about the Far From Saints album that we’ve not already talked about?

Kelly: This was a record that was very kind-of authentic, very organically made really, in a very very short space of time, and as I said yesterday – or the day before when we were doing an interview, I think the thing that really struck me is – we made the record in nine days (with Nashville overdubs), and we waited four years to bring it out. And – a lot of projects, if you’d waited that long, you’d probably hate it by now. Some albums you hate within six months after you finish making them, or whatever. But I think this record, in some ways, has already stood the test of time. It’s a classic song-written record, and it comes from all the right places within each individual person. I think it’s very honest, and quite vulnerable in parts, and it’s got a lot of hope off it. If it could stand the test of time for the band members over the four years, then I think it’s a record that people will really take with them somewhere. There’s lots to interpret on the record, and I think it could stay around for quite a while if people get a chance to hear it. I’m proud to have been part of it, and I’m looking forward to seeing what live audiences get to see, and think about the music when they’re in front of us.

Andy: The album is very distinct and different from what you’ve done previously.

Kelly: I don’t think it sounds like what I’ve done, I don’t think it sounds particularly like what The Wind & The Wave have done. I do think that it’s merged and formed something new in between.

Patty: Yeah, I’m glad we have a snapshot of that moment in time ‘cos it was cool, it was special, it was right before the pandemic. Just so many things changed between then and now, and it’s just cool to have that.

Kelly: It’s very hard, I don’t think it’s something we could contrive, you know? It’s something that happened very naturally over a period with a lot of cool people being on the tour together, it was a very liberating road to run, lots of different musicians on there, and it just felt like a proper bunch of musicians travelling around writing songs, like people used to do in the old days in a way. It was very cool.

Andy: Kelly, the Stereophonics started out with a Prince’s Trust grant, so you have Royal approval.

Kelly: I did write a letter to the Prince’s Trust when I was about sixteen, to get some money for some speakers, and they gave me… it was a gentleman called Angus McGaughey that wrote me a letter back, and he gave me £300, and I bought some speakers. And that meant we could go out and do some more live shows, and I put the speakers in the Youth Centre, and then when we went to pick them up the following couple of weeks, there’d been some workmen on the roof, and we picked up the speaker cabinets and they felt really light, so we looked in behind the grilles, and the speakers had been stolen! So we wrote another letter and they gave us a cheque for £500. So we bought some more speakers and went on the road and that’s when the band started cutting its teeth, in the form of what the Stereophonics was – that line-up. So yeah – it was kind-of strange really. I never really thought a great deal about that period in time for a long while… until I got a letter from the king (he laughs), saying you’ve gotta come to join the coronation – because of that. ‘Cos obviously he was the guy that came down to Wales (as Prince of Wales) to meet us all and all that sort of stuff – so, it was quite surreal really, it’s quite surreal to think about it in that context. So I’m not quite sure I’ve got my head around it yet. They do a lot of good work, obviously, for a lot of creative people, but it was not that I’d forgotten about it, but it was something I haven’t thought about for quite a long time.

Andy: Aren’t Rock stars supposed to be rebels and anti-establishment? Isn’t that part of the job-description?

Kelly: Well, they can be. But like I just said, I’m not there for the establishment. I’m there because somebody helped me get up the ladder, and I got a letter through the door inviting me to see his day.

Andy: I’m just teasing.

Kelly: I’m glad. You don’t need to tease me. I know where all the questions are leading with this, that’s what I’m trying to say to you. I haven’t even got my own head around the whole fucking thing myself. But all I know is that the arc to my story is that I got a grant from a guy, and now that guy is the king! The rest is… what the rest is.

Andy: That’s a great note to close on. Thank you for your time.

Kelly: Thank you.

Patty: Yeah, thanks,

Dwight: Thank you for having us.




FAR FROM SAINTS’ (Ignition Records, 16 June 2023, CD, vinyl and digital)

Album tracklist:

(1) ‘Screaming Hallelujah’ 4:56

(2) ‘Faded Black Tattoo’ 4:22

(3) ‘Take It Through The Night’ 4:39

(4) ‘Let’s Turn This Back Around’ 5:28

(5) ‘Gonna Find What’s Killing Me’ 3:38

(6) ‘The Ride’ 4:40

(7) ‘We Won’t Get Out Alive’ 3:32

(8) ‘No Fool Like An Old Fool’ 4:14

(9) ‘Let The Light Shine Over You’ 4:06

(10) ‘Own It’ 4:04


On Gary Davies ‘Tracks Of My Years’ on Radio Two, Kelly Jones chose:
Phil Colling ‘In The Air Tonight’
Elvis Presley ‘If A Can Dream’
Neil Sedaka ‘The Hungry Years’
Foreigner ‘Urgent’
AC/DC ‘Back In Black’
Led Zeppelin ‘Whole Lotta Love’
Bob Dylan ‘Positively Fourth Street’
Elvis Costello ‘Watching The Detectives’
Kelly Jones choses ‘Spin’ Five Albums I Can’t Live Without:
Tom Waits ‘Nighthawks At The Diner’
Tom Petty ‘Damn The Torpedoes’
AC/DC ‘Back In Black’ – ‘a cassette of this album at around age eight changed everything’
The War On Drugs ‘A Deeper Understanding’
Bob Dylan ‘Oh Mercy’



This entry was posted on in homepage and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.