The final part of our Stereophonics fannish inquisition...

You recently described weekly music journalists as public schoolboy scum. I’m a massive Stereophonics fan, and also attend a public school. Does that mean you hate me too? (Jon Halway, Winchester)

Stuart: “Oh, here we fucking go. Is he a journalist? I don’t hate him then, do I? What I meant was, I don’t think a lot of journalists know their arse from their elbow when they talk about music. You could sit down with about 90 per cent of journalists and ask them to tell you an Aretha Franklin song and they couldn’t. And they’re supposed to be music journalists! They’re supposed to know about music! But, there you are. Our producer went to public school, and he’s one of the nicest blokes I’ve ever met. And our press officer, and our manager. It’s not the public school part that bothers me. A lot of music journalists think that music begins and ends with Suede. It goes to Suede, and that’s fucking it.”

Kelly: “But there’s leather, and PVC… next question, please.”

Richard, why did you get your neck tattooed? Do you regret any of them? (Kelly Playfoot, Chiswick, London)

Stuart: “Because his mother forgot his name… It says ‘Richard‘, you know. When he was born it went all the way round his neck. But now he’s grown, it’s smaller.”

Richard: “I was skint one day, walking through town, and a bloke told me he’d do it for ‘1.”

Stuart: “He said, ‘What do you have for ‘1?’ and the bloke said, ‘You can have a condom, or a tattoo’. He said, ‘I’ll take the tattoo’.”

Richard: “It’s a pain in the arse when I get stopped by the police and they say, ‘What’s your name?’ Uh (covering his neck) – ‘Dave?'”

When I’ve seen you play live recently, you introduce ‘The Bartender And The Thief’ as ‘The Bartender And The Lesbian’. Why? (John Mooney, Retford, Nottinghamshire)

Kelly: “Just because that’s what it’s about. It’s about a bartender and a lesbian. The lesbian’s the thief. And when you say ‘lesbian’ everybody goes, ‘Ooooh!’ for some reason, which is ridiculous, really, because there’s lesbians everywhere these days.”

Have you considered paying Terry Venables to coach Wales like the Manics? (David Gudjonsson)

Stuart: “Fuck off! He’s got enough money as it is! Fucking fat twat. It would be nice to have a Welshman coaching the team, though.”

What’s the strangest thing that’s happened to you since you’ve been in the Stereophonics? (Janice Houghton, Halifax)

Kelly: “Meeting people we used to do cover versions of. Like, in a two-week span we met Steven Tyler, Jimmy Page, Black Crowes and Michael Stipe. That’s really weird. Having conversations with people you used to read about, like people are reading about us now. You never think of yourself as being famous or different from anybody, because where we come from everyone treats us the same, but then you meet someone like that and it’s just surreal. Michael Stipe offering you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich… that’s strange.”

Stuart: “Peanut butter and fucking jelly. They just don’t go together.”

Is it true that Nazism and the KKK are on the rise in Wales? (Gordon Cairns, Leeds)

Kelly: “Don’t know anything about it.”

Stuart: “My drum tech is black, so we’re not really KKK fans. I don’t think stuff like that will ever take off in Wales. I can’t ever see it being a popular thing. You always get these little minority groups, everywhere, they’re all fucking fruitcakes.”

Kelly: “I love that story Tom Jones tells about the first time he met Elvis. Elvis said, ‘You sing like a black man. Are there any black men where you come from?’ And Tom said, ‘No!’ The chances of finding any black people in that part of Wales in the ’60s was pretty slim.”

Stuart: “All those fucking neo-Nazis should read their history books, maybe if they understood what Hitler did, they wouldn’t support him. Maybe we should just chuck ’em all in the gas chamber!”

Are you now ashamed that you were ever called Tender Loving Care? (Rachel Jeffcoat, Surrey)

Stuart: “Tender Loving Care? We were called Tragic Love Company, so that’s wrong. It was a terrible name, though.”

If you were to make a T-shirt saying a band were shite, which band would it be? (Sam Denison, Loughborough)

Kelly: “Abba.”

Stuart: “I don’t think anybody’s deserving…”

Kelly: “Kajagoogoo. ‘Kajagoogoo: were shite’. They fucking were.”

You are called meat and potatoes, but I find meat and potatoes quite nice, good, honest and wholesome. Do these qualities apply to you? And what is your favourite meat to go with your potatoes? (Aseem Rahman, Manchester)

Kelly: “We didn’t call ourselves meat and potatoes.”

Stuart: “One of those journalists did. I think it was NME.”

Kelly: “My favourite meat is chicken.”

Richard: “With mashed potatoes.”

Stuart: “And a nice bit of Cumberland sausage. Top banana!”

If the three of you were in a hot-air balloon and it was sinking, who would you chuck out? (Richard Baretto, Digbeth)

Stuart: “Delia Smith.”

Kelly: “It has to be one of us. And I don’t think we could chuck anybody out.”

Stuart: “We’d just hold on together and hope for the best.”

Richard: “Light up a couple more fags and just ride it out.”

Are any of you bisexual? (Erica, Plymouth)

Kelly: “Yeah. All of us. We all sleep with each other on our nights off from our girlfriends. It’s fucking fantastic.”

Is there a song that makes you cry? (Claire Hope, London)

Kelly: “I think situations bring you to tears, and the songs just happen to be on in the background.”

Stuart: “I remember a song that brought me to tears, once. I came home drunk and put it on, and my wife punched me because I woke her up.”

Kelly, are you man enough to be as female as Nicky Wire? (Ivan D’Enfer, London)

Stuart: “What, like wear dresses? Richard wears dresses.”

Kelly: “I’m not tall enough to do that.”

Stuart: “A mini-skirt might be nice.”

Kelly: “I just like being a man, and sleeping with a woman. I don’t really want to be a woman. I’ve got a woman’s name. I was called a woman until I was about 15. I was put in all-girl classes, because everyone thought I was a girl. I’ve been a woman! In fact, I’ve been more of a woman than Nicky Wire will ever be!”

So there it is. Nipper is a woman. Dicky’s a rock’n’roll Buddha who digs economy tattoos. And The Duke, whom they all agree resembles a surprised mongoose, hates journalists, but loves answering questions. In fact, they all love it. So much so we can’t get them to stop. They’ve started reading the questions themselves.

Kelly‘s scanning a page. “‘Are you going to come to America?’ Yes, hopefully we’ll be coming over in October to do some shows with Live and The Black Crowes. ‘Kelly, do you pluck your eyebrows?’ Sometimes.”

Meanwhile, Stuart is plucking out some of his favourites: “Kelly might be interested to know that Chris Slade, the old drummer from AC/DC, drinks in my local and he reckons that the Stereophonics are pretty good.’ Cracking! ‘Is there any truth behind the claim that you are as boring as shit?’ Why yes, there is. ‘Did you ever try to bottle any members of The Crocketts?’ Yes, we have…” And on, and on. We could be here all day, but we’ve got to wrestle the letters from the Stereophonics‘ tiny fingers and get going. Sorry. If they didn’t answer your question, trust us, it’s not for lack of trying.

Interview by April Long

Part 1 Part 2