Who is Lostprophets? The entertainment and music world knows them as a Welsh rock band from Pontypridd, formed in 1997. Founded by vocalist Ian Watkins, bassist (later guitarist) Mike Lewis, drummer Mike Chiplin and guitarist Lee Gaze, they were originally a side-project to hardcore punk band Public Disturbance. Lostprophets released five studio albums, with their final
In late 2012, vocalist Ian Watkins was charged with multiple sexual offences against children. The band cancelled all future tour dates and their future remained uncertain until the other members announced the breakup of Lostprophets in October 2013.
The band achieved two top ten hits on the UK Singles Chart ("Last Train Home" and "Rooftops"), one number one single on the Alternative Songs chart ("Last Train Home"), several Kerrang! Awards and nominations, and have sold around 3.5 million albums worldwide.
Early years (1997–2000)
Lostprophets started out as part of the fledgling South Wales scene – originally calling themselves "The bum mules" — playing gigs at venues across Wales including T.J.'s in Newport. From there, they went on to tours on the UK's circuit. The band recorded three demos during this time: Here Comes the Party, Para Todas las Putas Celosas, which translates as "For all the jealous whores", and The Fake Sound of Progress. These were produced by Stuart Richardson, who joined the band as bassist for the latter recording. Mike Lewis at this point switched to rhythm guitar. The Fake Sound of Progress also included the addition of DJ Stepzak, who would remain with the band for around a year. The first three tracks from their third demo were refined and re-recorded for the release of their debut album of the same name: the title track, "MOAC Supreme" and "Stopquote" — the latter two were renamed "A Thousand Apologies" and "Awkward", respectively. All of the EPs are out of print, and are very rare.
The band caught the attention of the two music publishers Kerrang! and Metal Hammer magazines both giving them glancing reviews. In 1999 they signed in with Independent label Visible Noise.
Thefakesoundofprogress (2000–2002)The band's debut album Thefakesoundofprogress was released through Visible Noise in November. Recorded in less than two weeks for £4000 the record drew on a wide range of influences, it would be re-released the following year through Columbia Records. Shortly after the completion of the album, DJ Stepzak decided he would not commit to the band and was replaced with Jamie Oliver, who was placed in the band simply because he got on so well and could not go on tour otherwise.
Thefakesoundofprogress featured many references to 1980s pop-culture. In addition to the Duran Duran reference in the band's name, there was an image of Vengar from the Dungeons & Dragons TV series on the album sleeve notes, as well as song titles like "Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja" and "Kobrakai". The first song's title was a reference to the video games Shinobi and Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja, while the second was an alternative spelling of Cobra Kai, the name of the karate dojo in the Karate Kid movies. Another reference is the use of the VF-1 Valkyrie in Battroid mode from the 1982 anime The Super Dimension Fortress Macross as part of the album illustration.
The band worked with renowned producer Michael Barbiero to remaster the album, and this new remastered version of the album was released in November 2001. The album appears to have divided the band's existing fan base where the first accusations of selling out were levelled at the band from the underground music scene within which they achieved their first success.
During this period, Lostprophets built up a strong live following with support slots to popular acts such as Pitchshifter, Linkin Park and Deftones, as well as several headlining stints of their own. They also took part in the successful Nu-Titans tour with Defenestration among other new UK Metal acts of the time. Co-headlining the 2002 Deconstruction Tour in London, supporting acts was Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Mad Caddies among others. Lostprophets featured on a bill consisting of more traditionally punk oriented acts. This provoked hostility from certain members of the audience, who were upset at Lostprophets inclusion on such a bill. The band subsequently toured with Ozzfest, played at Glastonbury and the Reading and Leeds Festival. They also appeared on a number of British TV shows, including Top of the Pops, CD:UK and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. They also performed as part of the 2002 NME Carling Awards tour.
Start Something (2003–2004)
After the extensive touring cycle for The Fake Sound of Progress finally ended, the band took a brief break before beginning the process of writing new material for Start Something at Frontline Studios in Caerphilly, Wales. They then entered Los Angeles's Bigfoot Studio for a recording process that lasted from March until September 2003, with producer Eric Valentine. Valentine had previously produced albums for Queens of the Stone Age and Good Charlotte.
The first single released from the album was the song "Burn Burn", the music video for which began receiving heavy rotation on satellite and cable channels like MTV2, Kerrang! TV and Scuzz in the UK. The song attracted some criticism, however, as the opening bore a striking resemblance to "Mother Mary", a song from the band Far's Water and Solutions album. The band themselves even conceded in interviews that the singing pattern bore an undeniable similarity to the Adamski song "Killer".
"Burn Burn" was released on 3 November 2003, and was originally scheduled to be closely followed by the release of the album. The release of the album was delayed several times and a headlining tour of the UK, was also postponed during this time. The band rescheduled the cancelled UK shows, with the exception of their scheduled appearance at the Reading and Leeds Festivals, stating in magazine interviews that honouring those commitments would have meant leaving the recording studio while the album was only half completed.
The album was released in the UK on 2 February 2004, and was commercially successful, achieving number four in the UK Albums Chart and selling over 415,000 copies. The album has sold over 687,000 copies in the US alone according to Nielsen Soundscan although in a 2012 interview with Gigwise Lee Gaze stated it had sold 890,000 copies in the US. Worldwide the album has sold 2.5 million copies according to BBC Wales. The critical response from mainstream magazines was mostly positive, though the response from rock publications such as Kerrang!, Metal Hammer and Rock Sound was sometimes tepid. To promote the album, they toured North America, Europe and as part of the Big Day Out festival in Australia and New Zealand. The tour for this record culminated on 21 November 2004, at a sold out show in Cardiff International Arena.
Liberation Transmission (2005–2007)On 19 June 2005, founding member Mike Chiplin left the group to pursue other musical opportunities. Since then, Chiplin joined another band called The Unsung, and played with Accident Music until their split in 2011, which also featured Chris Morgan of Midasuno and former Funeral for a Friend guitarist Darran Smith. He has also opened up his own practice studio for young people to start bands.
The band returned to their roots, playing a series of small venues across South Wales. They also headlined Give it a Name, a two-day event with My Chemical Romance. These shows featured the first live appearance of then-17-year-old Ilan Rubin on drums and the live premiere of songs "Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)", "A Town Called Hypocrisy" and "The New Transmission". The album itself was released on 26 June 2006 (27 June in the USA), and became the first Lostprophets album to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart. The album has seen the band adopt a more contemporary sound with far less emphasis on screaming than previous releases (exceptions being songs "Everyday Combat" and "For All These Times Son, for All These Times").
Lostprophets began a full-fledged UK tour on 3 July 2006. As with their warm-up gigs prior to the album's release, the band selected South Wales-based support bands for this tour. The band followed this with another UK tour in November. They followed their UK dates with a European tour in France, Germany, and several other countries. The main support for this was The Blackout. They returned to the UK for an Arena tour in April 2007, from 18 April to 22nd. The scheduled venues were: Glasgow (SECC); Manchester (MEN Arena); Birmingham (NIA) & London (Wembley Arena). Lostprophets also played at the Full Ponty festival in Wales on 26 May 2007. The support acts included Paramore and The Blackout. The album has sold over 625,000 copies worldwide.
The Betrayed (2007–2010)Writing and recording the band's fourth studio album began in early 2007. Originally the band stated that they wanted the album released in 2007, however due to both touring and being unhappy with the results of their work in the studio the band did not keep to their original release plan. Despite recording an entire album's worth of material with producer John Feldmann, this work was shelved in favour of material they later recorded and produced themselves, with recording sessions for what would later be known as The Betrayed beginning in November 2008. Consequently the album was not released until 13 January 2010, where it reached a peak of 3 on the UK Albums Chart.
Throughout the earlier part of 2008, the band performed several dates, including Download Festival which they headlined on the Sunday night, V Festival and Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, as well as a small amount of performances around the UK. They also headlined the NME/Radio 1 tent at 2009's Reading and Leeds Festival.
The band have claimed that The Betrayed is "by far the finest, darkest and most real album" of their career. Originally, Ian Watkins stated he wanted the new album to be "nastier" and "darker" than previous efforts, with more energy and vibe than before. In a blog post, guitarist Mike Lewis suggested that Ilan Rubin (who subsequently left the band to join Nine Inch Nails) was very much a large part of the writing/recording process. Following Rubin's departure, Luke Johnson of Beat Union was officially announced as the band's new drummer in August 2009. During this time, Kerrang! published a "world exclusive" article on Lostprophets, revealing the album's title, and its release date of January 2010. In a later interview with Kerrang in early 2009, Watkins stated that the record was "the most honest album" the band has ever done, and that overall the record was "a lot grittier and sleazier", while also stating that did not mean "it won't be catchy", but that it would not be done "in such a twee way". When speaking about what the record would sound like, Jamie Oliver stated that he felt it had "the bite that Start Something had, with the song-ability of Liberation Transmission but personality of The Fake Sound of Progress."
The band commenced their UK tour with support from Kids in Glass Houses, Hexes, We Are the Ocean and Sharks, in February 2010. The Doncaster date to the UK tour was cancelled and refunded, but no reason was given for the cancellation. The Port Talbot date of the tour has been postponed and moved to a different venue due to a fire at the Afan Lido Leisure Centre. The show took place on 1 May at the Cardiff International Arena. Lostprophets confirmed that they will tour Australia. The tour took place on 27 March 2010 at The Roundhouse, NSW, Sydney. The band also played at the 2010 Reading and Leeds Festival.
Weapons, Watkins' arrest, and breakup (2010–2013)In early 2011, the band rented a house in Norfolk that served as their studio while composing a demo and pre-producing for a new album. The band was also featured on British rapper/producer Labrinth's album in late 2011.
In August 2011, the band went on a short UK tour, with dates in Cardiff, Bournemouth, Oxford and Norwich, as well as the two V Festival dates, and an additional appearance at the Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary. During this short tour, the band debuted live a new song from the upcoming album, tentatively titled "Bring 'Em Down".
The band's fifth studio album, Weapons, was released through Epic Records on 2 April 2012, leaving their long-time served record Visible Noise. Supported by a subsequent tour in the UK. Weapons was produced by Ken Andrews at NRG Recording Studios in Hollywood, California. The band released a teaser track in anticipation of their new album entitled "Better Off Dead" in January 2012, though it was confirmed the song is not an official single. The band played at Australia's Soundwave festival in February 2012 before heading back to the UK for an extensive tour in support of the new album in April and May supported by Modestep. The band's first official single of the album, entitled "Bring 'Em Down" was released on 6 February 2012, after debuting on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show.
Lostprophets played select shows in Vans Warped Tour 2012. They played from 12 July through 5 August 2012. On 9 April, Lostprophets announced that they had signed to Fearless Records and will release Weapons in the United States on 19 June 2012.
Lostprophets played in the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on 28 April to promote their new album Weapons, and played their second studio album Start Something in its entirety.
The band toured the U.K extensively again in November 2012 to coincide with a headline performance at the 2012 Vans Warped U.K
On 19 December 2012, Ian Watkins was charged with multiple sexual offences against children. Watkins originally denied the charges, but in November 2013 Watkins pleaded guilty to attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13. In response to the charges, the other members of the group posted a message on their official website, stating that they were "in a state of shock" and were "learning about the details of the investigation along with you," concluding that: "It is a difficult time for us and our families, and we want to thank our fans for their support as we seek answers." Consequently, they cancelled all future tour dates in wake of Watkins' arrest.
On October 1, 2013, Lostprophets announced on their Facebook page that "after nearly a year of coming to terms with our heartache", they would "no longer make or perform music as Lostprophets". The post was signed by all members of the band except Ian Watkins.
Styles and influencesLostprophets are most commonly termed nu metal and hard rock. However, a wide variety of influences have been noted in their music, with other genre tags applied to the band including alternative metal, post-grunge and alternative rock. Their music is termed an aggressive style of rock, blending strong driving guitars, groove and bounce, and pop elements and accessibility.
The punk side to the band’s music has been noted, again specifically of the pop variety. The influence of heavy metal on their music is also noted, although this varies from song to song. Some have also described an emo side to the music. Their music has been praised as powerful, combining softer melodies with aggressive edge, with screamed vocals and catchy riffs, while some have also stated it has a derivative, formulaic or forgettable nature. They have been compared to bands such as Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Hoobastank and Incubus.
Watkins' lyrics range from sombre to aggressive, and have been described as often conveying a feeling of disillusionment with topics such as relationships or social groups, albeit frequently delivered in a rousing manner even when this is the case.
Guest appearancesThe band have also provided guest vocals for other band's songs. Ian Watkins was featured in "Secret" by Amazing Device, "It's High Tide Baby!" by The Blackout, "War" and "Julian" by Goldfinger, and both Watkins and Jamie Oliver were guests in Hoobastank's "Out of Control".
- Thefakesoundofprogress (2000)
- Start Something (2004)
- Liberation Transmission (2006)
- The Betrayed (2010)
- Weapons (2012)
AwardsLostprophets have had the most success at the Kerrang! Awards and Pop Factory Awards, winning six awards at both. Kerrang! Awards includes: Best British Newcomer (2001), Best Single (2004) for the song "Last Train Home", Best Album (2006) for the album Liberation Transmission, Best British Band (2006 and 2007) and The Classic Songwriter Award (2010). Pop Factory Awards includes: Best Live Act (2001 and 2006), Best Welsh Act (2004, 2005 and 2006) and Best Album (2006) for the album Liberation Transmission. They have also won one award at the NME Awards for Best Metal Act (2002). Lostprophets also have been nominated for seven other Kerrang! Awards.
|2001||Lostprophets||Best British Newcomer||Won|
|2004||"Last Train Home"||Best Single||Won|
|Start Something||Best Album||Nominated|
|Lostprophets||Best British Band||Nominated|
|2006||Liberation Transmission||Best Album||Won|
|Lostprophets||Best British Band||Won|
|"Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)"||Best Videoclip||Nominated|
|2007||Lostprophets||Best British Band||Won|
|2008||Lostprophets||Best British Band||Nominated|
|2010||Lostprophets||Best British Band||Nominated|
|It's Not the End of the World, But I Can See It from Here||Best Video||Nominated|
|Lostprophets||The Classic Songwriter Award||Won|
|2012||Lostprophets||Best British Band||Nominated|
|2002||Lostprophets||Best Metal Act||Won|
Pop Factory Awards
|2002||Lostprophets||Best Live Act||Won|
|2004||Best Welsh Act||Won|
|Best Live Act||Won|
|Liberation Transmission||Best Album||Won|