Getting ready to rock the ramparts

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The Stereophonics have a huge summer ahead of them.

The Welsh rockers have a handful of dates planned here in the UK over the next few weeks, including a gig in Aberdeen ahead of two shows at Edinburgh Castle.

I caught up with bassist Rich Jones for a chat ahead of the band’s headline slot at the Isle of Wight Festival earlier this month and he explained how the band still gets satisfaction from being up on stage.

“It’s the best part of the job for us,” he said.

“We love getting up there in front of our fans and doing what we do best.

“We’ve been on the road in support of our latest album (Keep The Village Alive, the band’s ninth studio album which was released last year) for a while now, and it’s still great to see the fans react to our new stuff and it allows us to see first hand how it is coming across, and so far it has all been positive.”

The band played one of their first major gigs in Edinburgh back in 1996, when they rocked Princes Street on New Year’s Eve and Rich is keen to get the same reaction from the crowd.

“We weren’t very well known back then – and looking back, I can’t believe that that was 20 years ago!” he laughed.

“The audience had a great time as did we and hopefully when we return next month, the atmosphere will be just as electric.

“I can’t wait to play Edinburgh Castle, we had to add an extra date as it was so popular and tickets were selling really fast.

“It’s such a great and unusual venue, and we’re sure to have a cracking night.

“I’m also looking forward to doing the show up in Aberdeen as we always have a brilliant time when we do a show there.

“The crowd up there are mad and always up for a party, which is great.

“We will always play our big hits at gigs and we’ll be doing tracks from Keep The Village Alive as well, but people come to hear the songs that they know and love.

“We have a greater volume of material now and everyone – fans and band members alike – has their favourites.

“We do roughly about 25 songs each night and we swap and change what goes on the set list so it’s a bit different, and it helps keep it fresh.”

After the Scottish dates the band still show no signs of stopping for a breather with a number of support slots lined up for Bruce Springsteen as part of the European leg of the Boss’s River tour and a stint in the Far East.

“It’s such a great opportunity for us to support someone as big as Springsteen,” Rich said.

“We’ve supported U2, the Rolling Stones and Bowie before and we always take something away from them – learning from the masters as the saying goes!

“Sharing a stage with your idols is such an incredible feeling, it’s a real honour to be able to do that.”

With those influences, you know you’re going to be in for a good night with the Stereophonics.

“Absolutely!” Rich agreed. “We want to give the crowd a night to remember.

“Always expect the unexpected with us and we’ll see you out there!”

Stereophonics play Aberdeen Exhibition Centre (July 14) and Edinburgh Castle (July 15 and 16).

For tickets, click here: stereophonics.com.