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Lostprophets ( ) are a Welsh rock band from Pontypriddmarker, 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. Since their formation, Lostprophets have released three studio albums and three EPs, and will release their fourth studio album, entitled The Betrayed, in January 2010.

The band have 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"), and several Kerrang! Award and nominations.

History

Early years (1997–2000)

The band formed in 1997 in the Welshmarker town of Pontypriddmarker, 12 miles north of Cardiffmarker. Lostprophets formed with two members of Public Disturbance, which featured singer Ian Watkins and guitarist Mike Lewis. Neither member initially left Public Disturbance, although Watkins quit as soon as 1998. With Watkins on vocal duties and Lewis (who did not leave Public Disturbance until 2000) playing bass, the band also included guitarist Lee Gaze and Mike Chiplin on drums.

Lostprophets started out as part of the fledgling South Walesmarker scene — under the original spelling of the name "Lozt Prophetz" — playing gigs at venues across Wales including T.J.'s in Newportmarker. 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 (A Thousand Apologies)" and "Stopquote (awkward)". All the EPs are out of print, and are very rare.

The band caught the attention of the two music publisher 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 first album Thefakesoundofprogress was released through Visible Noise in November. Recorded in less than two weeks for a mere £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 with Ian Watkins and could not go on tour with them 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.

Q Prime management, who represent such acts as Metallica, assisted the band in courting Americamarker's top major labels. The band chose to sign with Columbia, a division of Sony Records, though in Europe their records continue to be released through Visible Noise. 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 Londonmarker , 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 Glastonburymarker 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)

Stuart Richardson performing with Lostprophets at Leeds Festival 2007
After the extensive touring cycle for Thefakesoundofprogress finally ended, the band took a brief break before beginning the process of writing new material for Start Something at Frontline Studios in Caerphillymarker, Walesmarker. They then entered Los Angelesmarker'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. The album has sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide 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 Arenamarker.

Liberation Transmission (2005–2007)

On 19 June 2005, founding member Mike Chiplin left the group to pursue other musical opportunities. Since then, Mike Chiplin has joined another band called The Unsung. He has also opened up his own practice studio for young people to start bands.

The remaining members began working on material for the next album. Due to the lengthy gap between Thefakesoundofprogress and Start Something, and the backlash that grew against the band because of it, the remaining band members stated in various interviews that they wanted to release their third album in early 2006. As with Start Something, the band wrote and recorded demo tracks for the album (with Ian Watkins playing the drums) in a UK recording studio before completing the album in America. Liberation Transmission was recorded in Hawaiimarker, and saw the band work with Bob Rock. Drummer Josh Freese (of The Vandals and A Perfect Circle) recorded ten out of the twelve drum tracks for this album (Ilan Rubin recorded "Everybody's Screaming!!!" and "For All These Times Son, for All These Times").

The band returned to their roots, playing a series of small venues across South Walesmarker. 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 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 (with one exception being opening track "Everyday Combat").

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 Walesmarker-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: Glasgowmarker (SECCmarker); Manchestermarker (MEN Arenamarker); Birminghammarker (NIAmarker) & Londonmarker (Wembley Arenamarker). Lostprophets also played at the Full Ponty festival in Wales on 26 May 2007. The support acts included Paramore and The Blackout.

The Betrayed (2007–present)

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. Throughout the earlier part of 2008, the band performed several dates, including Download Festival, V Festival and Rock am Ring and Rock im Parkmarker, as well as a small amount of performances around the UK.

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. In a latter 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 Thefakesoundofprogress."



On 7 April 2009, it was confirmed that Lostprophets will be headlining the NME/Radio 1 Tent at this year's Reading and Leeds Festival. Vocalist Ian Watkins commented, “We’ve been dying to come back to the UK and play and when we realised the timing meant we could make it Reading & Leeds we jumped at the chance as it’s got the most amazing memories for us. We also thought, rather than playing on the main stage we could get in the tent and see the whites of the eyes of the fans down the front, and get their first hand reaction to the new songs. It’ll be amazing.”

On 25 July 2009, the band shot two videos for upcoming singles in Los Angelesmarker, and the following month, Rock Sound magazine's website revealed the first single as "It's Not the End of the World But I Can See It from Here", due to be released in October. Luke Johnson from Beat Union was also officially announced as the band's new drummer, as a permanent member providing "it all works out". During this time, Kerrang! magazine published a "world exclusive" article on Lostprophets, revealing the album's title, and its release date of January 2010.

The first single from the new album, "It's Not the End of the World But I Can See It from Here," was aired for the first time on BBC Radio 1 on August 19th. The song was then released on the 12th October 2009, coming with both versions of the song. On the 11th October, the song was made available on iTunes (UK store only), and was released with both versions of the song and a previously unheard song 'AC Ricochet', which is exclusive to download on iTunes. Watkins believes that the album will be released on January 18th 2010. The single reached #16 on the Official UK chart.

On the 11th November 2009, whilst on the radio with Zane Lowe, Lostprophets played their cover of The Prodigy's "Omen", as well as their 1st single from their forthcoming album. It has been confirmed that "Where We Belong" will be the second single from the album The Betrayed, and will be released on the 4th January 2010.

Styles and influences

Lostprophets 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-hardcore, 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, and screamed vocals with catchy riffs, while some have also stated it has a derivative, formulaic or forgettable nature. They have been compared to bands such as Simple Plan, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Hoobastank and Incubus.

Lyrically the music is aggressive, with a strong feeling of disillusionment, often delivered in an uplifting manner, and with an anti-militaristic stance at times.

Band members

Current members


Former members
  • DJ Stepzak – turntables, samples (1999–2000)
  • Mike Chiplin – drums, percussion (1997–2005)
  • Ilan Rubin – drums, percussion (2006–2009)


Line-up history

1997–1998 (as Lozt Prophetz)
1998–1999 (as Lozt Prophetz)
  • Ian Watkins – vocals
  • Lee Gaze – lead guitar
  • Mike Lewis – rhythm guitar
  • Stuart Richardson – bass
  • Mike Chiplin – drums, percussion
1999–2000
  • Ian Watkins – vocals
  • Lee Gaze – lead guitar
  • Mike Lewis – rhythm guitar
  • Stuart Richardson – bass
  • DJ Stepzak – turntables, samples
  • Mike Chiplin – drums, percussion
2000–2005
  • Ian Watkins – vocals
  • Lee Gaze – lead guitar
  • Mike Lewis – rhythm guitar
  • Stuart Richardson – bass
  • Jamie Oliver – synth, turntables, samples, backing vocals
  • Mike Chiplin – drums, percussion
2006–2009
  • Ian Watkins – vocals
  • Lee Gaze – lead guitar
  • Mike Lewis – rhythm guitar
  • Stuart Richardson – bass
  • Jamie Oliver – synth, turntables, samples, backing vocals
  • Ilan Rubin – drums, percussion
2009–present
  • Ian Watkins – vocals
  • Lee Gaze – lead guitar
  • Mike Lewis – rhythm guitar
  • Stuart Richardson – bass
  • Jamie Oliver – synth, turntables, samples, backing vocals
  • Luke Johnson – drums, percussion


Discography



Awards

Kerrang! awards



NME Awards



Pop Factory Awards



References

  1. Inner liner notes, Thefakesoundofprogress, UK release from Visible Noise
  2. http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=9108149&blogID=480185400
  3. http://twitter.com/JayLostprophets/status/1664692383
  4. http://twitter.com/JayLostprophets/status/1664703557
  5. http://twitter.com/JayLostprophets/status/1664729240
  6. http://twitter.com/JayLostprophets/status/1664752259
  7. http://www.readingfestival.com/news/index.aspx?aid=b092f8b9-2b03-4fe6-bbbd-ba9ff4e82b89
  8. http://www.rocksound.tv/features/article/lostprophets-announce-new-drummer-and-look-forward-to-reading-and-leeds
  9. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/music/sites/lostprophets/pages/its-not-the-end-of-the-world.shtml
  10. Lostprophets at NME
  11. Start Something review at IGN Music
  12. Liberation Transmission review at IGN Music
  13. Fake Sound of Progress review at Allmusic
  14. LOSTPROPHETS - headstockdistribution.com


External links



2004 '"Last Train Home" Best Single
Start Something Best Album
Lostprophets Best British Band
2006 Liberation Transmission Best Album
Lostprophets Best British Band
"Rooftops " Best Videoclip
2007 Lostprophets Best British Band
2008 Lostprophets Best British Band
2002 Lostprophets Best Metal Act
2002 Lostprophets Best Live Act
2004 Best Welsh Act
2005
2006
Best Live Act
Liberation Transmission Best Album

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