The former drummer of the Stereophonics has been found dead at his home near Aberdare. The circumstances surrounding his untimely death have not yet been confirmed by the police or his family but it is expected to be the result of a drinking binge.

This is a very sad day today for all in Wales and the news of his death has not yet sunk in for the people of Wales and fans alike and this is a very personal tribute to Stuart.

I was lucky enough to work with Stuart and the Stereophonics back in 1992 when I was a 19 year old sound engineer in Winchester Studios in Hirwaun when they were called Tragic Love Company.

I remember meeting the band for the first time and Stuart was a larger than life character with a great sense of humour and a magnetic personality who we used to liken to Animal from the Muppets because of the way he would thrash away at the skins of his drum kit but with a great sense of time and finesse when the song demanded.

Like Keith Moon but with control he was a very underrated drummer.

The band had something special and you knew the boys from Cwmaman near Aberdare would go far at a time when Wales was pretty much closed to the rest of the British music scene. Many great bands came and went from the studio but only one found their way to the attention of Richard Branson and became the first signing to his new label V2.

Then we had a wave of Welsh bands like The Sterophonics, Ether (Fronted by songwriter and producer Rory Meredith), The Super Fury Animals, Catatonia and the mighty Manic Street Preachers. But there was one personality that stood out amongst all the bands and that was Cable's.

Stuart was an instantly likeable bloke who had an enthusiasm for what he did and brought a zest and energy to the Sterophonics that was one of the major reasons the band went on to become one of the world's greatest rock bands.

Stuart shined in interviews right from the start, which is why he went on to have a successful career as a television presenter.

I will always remember being given a lift home in the back of an old yellow BT Van to Pontsticill (couldn't afford the taxi fare) by Stuart with the rest of the band rolling from side to side because he kept talking into to the rest of us in the rear view mirror whilst not keeping his eyes on the road.

Years later I sat down to my dinner in front of the television and watched the video to 'Just Looking', in which Stuart drives a car into a lake and I thought how plausible that scenario was with his driving.

The last time I spoke to Stuart was many years ago in Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff where they were playing for a host of A&R men who were fighting it out to sign The Sterophonics. Even within the mayhem of attention the band were getting that night, he still had the time of day for all those that had supported the band over the years because he was a decent down to earth bloke.

He was one of us.

Sometimes in small South Wales Valleys towns there is jealousy when someone becomes successful but that did not apply to the Sterophonics and the members of the band. They were an inspiration to the rest of the our generation growing up in the decay from the closure of the coal mines, unemployment and high drug use, their songs became the anthems for our lives and the drudgery of Valleys existence was transformed into a triumphant celebration.

There is much more I could write on Stuart and the way three lads from Cwmaman gave pride back to the people of the Valleys but our thoughts must now be with Stuart's family and friends (to whom I must pay my condolences) who must now come to terms with this tragedy.

Stuart Cable is a hero to many in Wales and his loss will be felt in every home in Wales tonight.

Rest in peace Stuart and thank you for enriching our lives with your time on this earth.

Love

Richard….and everyone else in Wales…

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