From the words he wants inscribed on his tombstone to whether Wales should go it alone, our Tom lets it all out to Karen Price Karen Price, Western Mail COMING HOME "It's something I've wanted to do but didn't think it would be possible because where would you play? And Cardiff is so close and has always had the facilities. But I'm coming up to my 65th birthday and have been in the business for 40 years so now is a good time. Emyr (Afan, who is organising the event) from the Pop Factory in Porth looked into it and we decided on Ponty Park. The thing I've always wanted to do is sing live in Ponty." SONG LIST "We are trying to work out what songs to do. There were my last three albums - greatest hits, the Wyclef (Jean) album and the Jools Holland album. So there will be songs from them and a mixture of stuff from throughout my career." GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME "Singing the Green, Green Grass will definitely be a highlight I think. There will be a couple of other songs too and one which reflects my life and says a lot about coming from Pontypridd is Boy From Nowhere. It's about a Spanish bullfighter but it says a lot about me coming from humble beginnings." EMOTIONAL MAN "You have got to try not to get emotional when you sing. If you're too emotional, your throat closes up. But just thinking about it (the Ponty gig) I feel emotional but hopefully when I'm on stage and the people are there I'll be okay. I always feel emotional when I play in Cardiff but not so emotional as I will be doing a live show at Pontypridd for the first time since I left in 1964." ME AND MRS JONES "Linda won't be there at the Ponty gig. She doesn't like flying any more. In fact, she's not flown since 9/11. We were on a European tour when it happened and she really freaked and was nervous about going on the flights. So when we got back to America that was it." FAMILY TIES "I'm coming over for such a short time, it's only four days, but I will definitely see my family. We will get together after the show. But I won't have any time to visit any places - I will do that when I come back at a quieter time." HOPES FOR THE GIG "I hope the weather will be good - that's my biggest concern as it's an open air gig. I think it will be a great night. I'm bringing my own band over, sound people and lighting. I want to make it as great a show as I possibly can - all the ingredients will be there. It will be a great night and a first for the park - I just hope I don't get too emotional! I also hope more bands will play there (Ponty Park) as Pontypridd has been bypassed, in my opinion, so I hope this will be the start of something big. It's a great park and it's in a great location." MOVING BACK TO WALES "I have considered getting a house in Wales again but I'm just so busy. But maybe I can do it when I get a bit older and I won't be doing so many shows. I had a house in Cowbridge for a while but we were not there enough so it wasn't really being used." RETIREMENT PLANS "I haven't really got any plans to retire. I think time will tell. When I'm not feeling like performing as much, or my voice isn't working as well as it does, that will tell me to do it. It's hard to turn down engagements when you get so many coming in - there's always something that you want to do. "I hope I don't get to the bloody stage when I go past my sell-by date, when I can't sing songs like Delilah and Boy From Nowhere. But I love performing and will keep doing it for as long as I can." THE WELSH IMAGE ABROAD "I think Wales is starting to lose its image as a coal mining country. The mines have closed down but the sad part about it is nothing else has come along to take their place as far as industry is concerned. There was a lot of work in Wales and people would go there to work, especially from the south of England. Wales was known for its coal mining. But I know for a fact that people now know Wales as the Land of Song - they know people love to sing. So music is the thing people think about now when they think of Wales. And, of course there's the rugby. Anyone who knows anything about rugby knows that Wales is very passionate about it, especially now with Welsh rugby being so strong. And now we have people like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins so people are aware of Wales, although the Americans don't know where Wales is! So people think of Welsh people as being musical, poets and actors." THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY "I think it's helped Wales. I don't know about in world politics or European politics but I think it's a good thing. But I'm not a separatist. I think that united you stand and divided you fall. I think Wales should definitely be represented but I don't think it is big enough to go it alone. I think that Great Britain as a whole should stick together - that's what made Britain and the British Empire. As long as Wales is well represented, I think that's fine. You have to have a representative in Wales to know what the needs are so that's why the National Assembly is very important." TOM'S WELSH ICONS "No one's ever asked me who my Welsh icons are before. I would choose Lloyd George and Aneurin Bevan as far as politicians are concerned. Lloyd George did so much. He started the National Health Service, which was a great thing, and Aneurin Bevan carried it through. They were very important as far as a political Wales is concerned. Richard Burton was a great Welshman - he flew the flag a lot. Every time I was with him he would say, 'We are Welsh!' We were in Germany one time and I had to say, 'Take it easy Richard!' He was very patriotic. Of course, I think Dylan Thomas was a great poet who was well known worldwide. And people in America, in particular, know him and his work, which is nice. Catherine Zeta-Jones, of course, represents Wales very well today. We're friends but I don't see much of her as we are both very busy. But when we bump into each other we always have a drink or a bite to eat. We did a commercial together relatively recently for a phone company." CELEBRATING HIS 65TH BIRTHDAY "I'm actually flying back to LA from New York. I'm going there to do a charity show on June 6. I was going to have the day off so I did think about whether I should do it or not but it's for a worthy cause for young people. Mark and Donna (his son and daughter-in-law) will be with me so I suppose we will have a celebration at midnight and maybe a few bevvies on the plane. Then the plan is to have dinner with my wife and sister in LA." KEEPING FIT "I work out during the day. I use a cross trainer as you can burn more calories on that than anything else. I have a gym in my house in LA and do crunches and push-ups but I don't have a personal trainer, I'm not into that. I know what I have to do and just do it." LOOKING GOOD "Image is still important to a certain extent but I'm not a fanatic about it. I don't diet but I try not to eat too much. I think you should look presentable - you shouldn't look like a slob on stage. Maybe I should be a bit more disciplined and I could be a bit lighter than I am. As long as I'm fit, I'm fine." WHY ALWAYS BLACK OUTFITS? "It's to hide perspiration. I tried wearing colours but perspiration makes them change colour." COLLABORATING "There are a lot of people I'd like to work with. I'm thinking of maybe doing a Reload 2 album if I can get enough people interested in it. There are a lot of American bands I've never worked with so maybe we could do something here (in America). But there are so many musicians to choose from. I couldn't pick them out now because if it didn't happen it would be silly. I'd rather get the ball rolling first." NEW WORK PROJECTS "Reload 2 would be good but I have to find out who wants to do it and where the material is coming from. The hardest thing is to find the material as I'm not really a songwriter. But I'm very versatile - I like a lot of different things. During live shows I do all kinds of musical stuff." AMBITIONS "I just want longevity. I would like immortality but that's not going to happen! I just want to do more of the same. I hope I can come up with interesting albums and stuff which people like and I like. It's always an ongoing thing, finding new material and trying to figure out what to do recording wise." BECOMING A US CITIZEN "The only positive thing about American citizenship is the tax benefits you get. When you have a green card (essentially a work permit), I've been told that when a spouse dies they (the government) automatically take half of your money. But if I really wanted to become an American citizen I would have done it a long time ago. I'm British and I have a British passport and if I can remain that way, that's the way I like it." FAENOL FESTIVAL "I know Bryn (Terfel, who organises the annual festival in North Wales) - he's a lovely fella. I would love to take part in it and would be excited to do it but it's just getting the time." NEW WELSH MUSIC "I heard Goldie Lookin' Chain's album (Newport's tongue-in-cheek hip-hop band) and I absolutely cracked up laughing! I hope they can follow that album through with a great second album. I thought their first CD was really good as it has Welsh humour, an unique humour and I got it right away. The Stereophonics also have that style of humour and I realised that the first time I met them." CHARLOTTE CHURCH THE POP STAR "I've not heard her singing any pop songs. It's hard for opera singers to sing pop music but I hope Charlotte can do it. She's a lovely girl and has a great voice. I know she wants to do it." REMEMBER ME ... "As a hell of a singer!" HIS EPITAPH "Jones the Voice." WHERE DOES HE WANT TO BE BURIED? "That's a good question! All roads point to Wales for me - that's the way it is. It's just one of those things. I spent the first 24 years of my life in Wales and I loved it and have never really left. So I would want to be buried in Glyntaff Cemetery in Pontypridd - all of my forefathers are there." There are still some tickets, priced at £32.50, available for Tom's Ponty Park gig next Saturday. Get them from CIA box office: (029) 2022 4488; Ticketline UK: 08700 66779; Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd: (01443) 485934 and Ticketmaster: 0870 4000688. The gates open at 5pm and the show starts at 6pm.