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Stereophonics' raspy-voiced frontman Kelly Jones is a songwriter in the tradition of the Kinks' Ray Davies — a storyteller who empathizes with the day-to-day existence of blue-collar people. Born and raised in Cwmaman, South Wales, Jones formed Stereophonics while still in his teens with two childhood pals, Richard Jones (bass) and Stuart Cable (drums). At the time, the band was called the Tragic Love Company, inspired by three of the group's favorite artists: the Tragically Hip, Mother Love Bone, and Bad Company. The band rehearsed in Cable's bedroom, and they traveled frequently to London for pub gigs initially as a cover band. But when Jones studied screenwriting in college, his observations about small-town life began to unreel in original compositions. The group switched its name to Stereophonics in July 1996 and a month later signed to V2. Stereophonics' raw yet melodic guitar rock attracted both critics and mainstream audiences in the U.K. Jones' honest, straightforward lyrics are stripped of glamour and pretentiousness and instead reflect the modest perspectives of the common man. Stereophonics' 1997 debut album earned them a BRIT award for Best New Group; it was also a Top Ten hit in England. In 2001, Stereophonics released Just Enough Education to Perform.
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