As they wanted to be original they changed their name to Tragic Love Company. This came from a mixture of three of their favourite bands. The Tragically Hip, Mother Love Bone and Bad Company.
They rehearsed every Thursday and Sunday afternoon at the Cwmaman Youth Club. They shared their practice space on a Sunday with the band ‘Imodium’
Tragic Love Company gigged up and down the country. With a growing fanbase and Gill Goldberg as their manager things started to look promising.
In the early nineties music was going through a strange phase, the industry just wasn’t interested in bands from remote Welsh villages. This made it difficult to secure regular London gigs. The venues were reluctant in booking them unless they could bring their own crowd. So they organised bus trips from their local area and took their audience with them. Kelly worked very hard in gaining the interest from record companies. He would send 12 demo tapes every Thursday, but received nothing but rejections. He even tried sending demos inside Chinese takeaway boxes and shoes, this didn’t work either.
After various 4th member guitarists, they decided to stick to being a 3 piece band. The various 4th member guitarists were Simon Collier, Richard Jones and Glen Hyde. Simon seemed to have been more interested in the bar during gigs, this is where Kelly would sometimes find him instead of playing. Simon also wasn’t sure he wanted any fame. There was also another Richard Jones aka Rock n Roll Rich. He moved regularly between bands, he even played for The Wildflowers for a time. He left mainly due to other commitments. He gave an interview to the local newspaper after the Stereophonics got signed about life 'back in the day' and how they were still friends. Also some incorrect stories were going around at the time and Richard wanted to put them right. Unfortunately the newspaper made their own conclusions about how lucky he was. Richard would also like to state he was never paid for these stories. The other 4th member was Glen Hyde.
The Starfish Club gig on 21st March 1996 was a very important gig in the history of the Stereophonics. After the show producers Marshal Bird and Steve Bush approached Richard and gave him their card telling him they were interested in working with them. At the time Richard didn’t believe who they were and thought nothing about it until mentioning it to the guys on the way back from the gig. They ended up working with Bird and Bush and they produced some professional quality demos.
In 1996 John Brand took over as manager and he brought with him important contacts, and the result of this was a very busy gig schedule! With the combination of John Brand, Bird and Bush the fight between record labels exploded and interest grew.
There was one big problem though… the bands name. The name Tragic Love Company wasn’t liked within the industry. It even got misheard as ‘Chad Oil Company’. Many new names were thought up including The Applejacks and Mable Cable (after Stuarts mum). Stuart noticed the word ‘Stereophonic’ on his fathers radiogram. This was liked all round, so they renamed as The Stereophonics, although the ‘The’ was shortly dropped just to be known as Stereophonics.
Stereophonics started supporting some massive names, including Catatonia, Manic Street Preachers, Skunk Anansie and even The Who.
Offers from labels came flooding in. On August 1st 1996 at the Pied a Terre Restaurant, the Stereophonics signed to v2, Richard Branson's new record label.
And the rest as they say…..is history!!