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Interview with Stereophonics drummer Javier Weyler

Interview with Stereophonics drummer Javier Weyler

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Published by: enganol on Dec 03, 2008
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12/20/2009

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would have liked to have made the cut that didn’t? “No, not really. With the second disc (there is a deluxe edition with a second CD), we could put on another 20 songs that include B-sides.” Depending on how you interpret it, the title Decade In The Sun may sound a little misleading as a summary of the Stereophonics’ experience since their rise to fame with their first album in 1997. That first collection of songs, Word Gets Around, shot them to stardom, number six in the UK album chart and a Brit Award for Best New Group. Their five subsequent studio albums have all hit number one in the UK, they are undoubtedly the most successful Welsh band of their generation and also one of the biggest acts in the UK. It’s true that the sun has shone on them over the last decade, but a little black cloud has been walking around with them, too. Stereophonics’ relationship with the British music press was uneasy from the start. Had they appeared two years earlier, they might well have had a much easier ride from journalists, but they didn’t. The medium that had spent the mid-nineties overdosing on Britpop could no longer stomach bands, like Stereophonics, who sang about working-class culture. Music writers, like other sections of UK society at that moment, wanted to escape or ‘trade up’ for a while and Stereophonics suffered for their realism. They received labels such as ‘bland’ and ‘meat and potatoes’. Outright war was declared when lead singer Kelly Jones penned the song Mr Writer on the band’s third album, Just Enough Education to Perform, as a retort to the dishonesty and easy criticism of music journalists. Lines like, “Why don’t you tell it like it is?” “What do you really know?” and, “I’d like to shoot you all”, seemed to deeply upset ‘Messrs Writers’ across the UK. Kelly Jones’s ‘Whiskey’ vocals became ‘sandpaper’ vocals, a ‘sexy, 40 honeyfiltered cigarettes a day voice’ was now described as ‘whingeing’ or ‘wrenching Ford Cortina’. While they continued to sell out concerts and make number one records, fans weren’t overly bothered by this, but the public sacking of drummer Stuart Cable had many expecting an end for the band. But this was where Javier came in and the fifth album, Language Sex Violence Other?, became another UK number one and got begrudgingly better reviews. People were talking of a new energy around the band. I asked Javier about this and the effect his arrival had. “I think it was a combination of things. They had lost Stuart (Cable). Losing a band member and friend, it was a difficult time. They would be the best to talk about that. Really only they can talk about that. Then, they had just made a more soulful record (You Gotta Go There To Come Back). And, I mean, the band has always changed styles. And it was my job, to be like that. I was really hungry because I’d just joined.” Last year’s Pull the Pin received further begrudgingly good reviews and was yet another commercial success. Guitarist Adam Zindani joined and the band have completed their decade in the sun with a healthy glow in their cheeks. Javier, who describes having to learn five albums’ worth of material when he joined the band as, “More challenging than difficult”, said his favourite songs from before he joined the band were, “Local Boy in the Photograph, Bartender and the Thief, and Mr Writer. When I joined, I went through the catalogue album by album, so I got to think about that a bit”. Admitting he didn’t know the band right from the start, I asked Javier what song he first remembered hearing from Stereophonics. “Mr Writer. I saw them perform it on Jools Holland and I thought, ‘Fuck, these guys can play.’” A few years later on, he’s releasing a ‘best of ’ with them and gives no indication of stopping. “The ‘best of ’ is great, too, because it’s a way for new fans and people in territories where we’re not known so well to discover the songs.”

Javier Weyler: Keeping up with the Joneses
Drummer Javier Weyler speaks to Luc Ciotkowski (despite some technical problems) about being in Stereophonics and the release of their ‘best of’ album, Decade In The Sun, this month.

Stereophonics

“F

WORDS & INTERVIEW by Luc cIOTkOWSkI

fffffffffffffffffffhh……” I hissed at my telephone, shook my head and contemplated throwing the thing at the tiles of the office floor. A resigned sigh is the last thing you can hear on that track on my digital voice recorder before it clicks off, and at that actual time I was left to curse a well-known Spanish telephone service provider (my chief suspect for the technical fault). It’s not every day that you get the chance of a telephone interview with a member of one of your favourite bands, so when I talked to Welsh rock band Stereophonics’ Argentinean drummer, Javier Weyler, and the phone line got cut off not once but twice, I was obviously disappointed, well, gutted. Still, I got a few questions in with Javier, and he and the Universal Music people were kind enough to call me back when we were cut off the first time. So, yes, the Welsh band’s drummer was born in Argentina and raised in Venezuela. The story of how he joined the band is quite well known. Stereophonics members Kelly Jones and Richard Jones met Javier in a London recording studio in 2003. Over a couple of chance meetings, in Argentina towards the end of that year and again in a recording studio in April 2004, where he played on some demos for their next album, they made friends and a few months later they invited him to join the band permanently.

Me being used to hearing stories of how people have ended up in Madrid, I was curious to know Javier’s trajectory from Venezuela to that recording studio in London. “I started playing when I was 13 years old and I had a band in Venezuela. Did a couple of records and I wanted to take it to the next level. London is one of the best places for music. I’d liked The Rolling Stones and The Beatles and that kind of music. London’s associated with that. Originally, I went for one year to study engineering and production. Then, I started working in different studios in London, and Stereophonics were at one of the studios I was working in. We became mates, we got on great.” The band are currently promoting their first best of album, Decade In the Sun: The Best Of Stereophonics, which comes out on 10 November before a UK tour in December. I asked Javier how they decided the track list from over 10 years of songs: “The difficult thing was to select songs that went well together. Kelly sat down and went through the catalogue. Then we had to get the running order right. But we’ve been cooking it up for many years- the guys have been for four or five years anyway. There are so many good songs to choose from, six records’ worth of songs. There are lots of bands that do a ‘best of’ after two albums!” So, were there any songs that he

Decade In The Sun: The Best of Stereophonics Stereophonics Release: 10 November Considering the readiness of most bands to bring out ‘best of’ albums at regular intervals, it’s a rarity to find such a compilation that spreads across six albums. If you know the group, I need say nothing. If you don’t, this the perfect chance to discover them.
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nov 08

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