Stereophonics have discussed the origins of their classic single ‘A Thousand Trees’ – with frontman Kelly Jones revealing that he’s come to find the subject matter ‘too personal’ for a song. Watch our ‘Song Stories’ interview with the band above.
As this year marks the 20th anniversary of their acclaimed 1997 debut album ‘Word Gets Around‘, we asked that band about what went into the lyrics and video for the fan favourite and album opener ‘A Thousand Trees’.
“I was in animation college and I had this saying that ‘it only takes one tree to make a thousand matches, but one match to burn a thousand trees’,” Jones told NME. “I had to do a flip book in animation college and I used this thing and I just had a tree burning into a match and vice versa. A lot of the stuff I was doing in art college was turning into songs – like ‘She Takes Her Clothes Off’, ‘Local Boy In The Photograph’. There was a lot of dialogue being written and I was turning them into lyrics. The film-making course was coming to an end and I was in the band at the same time.
“‘A Thousand Trees’ – that phrase to me was about rumours spreading around a very small town and somebody’s reputation being basically burned to the ground. It was a football coach who did some very untowards stuff with younger kids. He had his name celebrated in wrought iron outside the football pitch. I remember coming past that and it had been ripped down in anger.”
He continued: “At the time, there were a lot of Jimmy McGovern dramas on the TV – all very real, working class stories. It was very shocking because this guy taught us to play football. It was a very weird incident, when I look back at it now as a 43-year-old man, to put it into a song – if you want the truth. It’s obviously very personal to a lot of people. But it was basically about rumours in a very small environment crushing someone’s reputation.”
Watch above as the band also tell us about their early struggles to get noticed and signed, and the story behind the video that saw Jones fall off a ladder and nearly put his back out.
The band also spoke to NME about their desire to headline Reading & Leeds and Glastonbury festival again.
‘Scream Above The Sounds’ by Stereophonics is out now.