I know I’m about 20 days too late on this…but better later than never, right?
As I’m sure you all know by now, Lostprophets, (or Wales’ finest as I used to call them many moons ago), announced on their Facebook page on October 1, 2013, that they decided to part ways and no longer be a band together, anymore.
Let’s just take a moment to let that sink in.
I’ve been a large supporter of the group since around 2004. I had known of them about a year ago before, and maybe even had seen snippets of Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja on MTV once, but I honestly cannot recall 100%. I remember being into Chevelle (band, not car :), bee tea dubs, Wonder What’s Next is a good album), and seeing a picture of Lostprophets from Ozzfest. My initial reaction, as my reaction had been to many bands in that time period, was, “who is this nu-metal crap band? They’re just trying to be like Incubus.” I don’t even know still what ‘nu-metal,’ is…I just knew the term as that was this new genre back in the hey day of the early 2000s.
(Funny thing was, I also did not like Icubus originally either, but then I heard Pardon Me randomly on the radio and it just grew on me, but that’s another story for another day…)
Ha, that’s what has happened with a lot of music I listen to — I either love the song immediately or hate it. Then, as fate always has it, I decide to listen to it again, and maybe after 1-5 spins (approximately) of repeat listening, I really start to enjoy it. (The same thing has happened with Black Veil Brides, Escape the Fate (specifically There’s No Sympathy For the Dead and anything pre-jail time for Ronnie Radke.)
Anyway, flash forward to 2004, and I kept seeing the end of this music video on Fuse.TV (remember when they used to play all rock and metal and had that show IMX? Good times…that music stock exchange was a genius concept - I never understood it, but it seemed genius.) I remember watching a video and thinking "okay, this chorus has really trite lyrics… ‘still tomorrow/forget the sorrow’…what?" …and, of course, after deciding one day to not flip channels, as I was curious to know who this band actually was, it turned out to be Lostprophets.
You can imagine my surprise as I thought to myself, “Wait, this is not nu-metal crap, at all! This is rock…I think I like this song!”
After learning more about that song (Last Train Home - a song that still means a lot to me, to this day), and researching a bit more about Lostprophets, I realized this band was not just your typical rock band… They were from a small mining town (Pontypridd, Wales), had intelligent responses in their interviews, had a sense of humor, and, what honestly impressed me the most, was that, along with getting higher education, I eventually found out, a few of them, (at least at that time), were something called ‘straight-edge.’
I remember reading an article about Last Train Home - I always felt I connected with the band in some way from that moment on. Perhaps it was how the interviewer had typed something along the lines of that song sounding like the lead singer had his heart ripped out and had it thrown in the trash can, (which, coincidentally enough, had also been my same reaction when I first heard it) - or perhaps it was their sense of humor and, as I said, intelligence, integrity, and honesty as artists - but the band, as a whole, really meant and still does mean something special to me. They were just ‘cool’, I guess, my far away ‘friends,’ even though I never have met them.
They were also one of the first bands I got into that, well, screamed a bit in their work. It was a bit surprising for me - as they sounded a bit different than some of the music I had been listening to (Blink 182, Incubus, Linkin Park, and, of course, long-time favorites, Matthew Good (formerly of Matthew Good Band) and Butch Walker (formerly of Marvelous 3). Maybe, upon looking back, they were not all that different, but to me, at that time, they were.
…What really sealed the deal, though, was, I remember, once doing my intermediate statistics (STAT 350) homework on the computer before I went to class, and I managed to find a copy of To Hell We Ride to listen to.
I remember hearing it as I did my homework.
The song played.
And…believe it, or not, immediately after it ended, I hit ‘play,’ again.
At that time, and perhaps, even now, it is very rare for me to like something immediately - first time, no questions asked and/or arguments in my head (e.g. ‘really, Maria, you like that?!).
So…that are some of my first memories of
I’ve followed their work ever since - when they were on MySpace (hey, Tom), I eventually joined. I also was on the band’s web message boards for a while. I loved their bold way of writing to their fans, in particular. Later on, I was really impressed with the design work on their albums (that Pheonix still is pretty awesome), their clever song titles, and their honest and down-to-earth interviews minus the arrogance, or the ‘we want to be the best band ever,’ kind of vibe.
I think at the end of the day, given the current circumstances, a choice had to be made…while situations like these can go one out of three ways, (e.g. either the band breaks up, they wait, and/or the band gets a new lead singer), I think as long as the band is collectively satisfied and in agreement with the choice they made as a band, then, at this time, that’s the right choice. Sometimes you have to do, what you have to do.
Life is full of obstacles, challenges, moments of despair, loss, and confusion - the important thing is to be able to rise above all of these things and do what is best for you.
In this case, the band had to do what is best for them - individually, collectively, and perhaps, most importantly, artistically and for the sake of their own artistic integrity.
Despite all the hulabaloo, and chit chatter, the most important thing, here is, if the band can continue going on not just as artists, but people in whatever career paths they choose to go in and be there for their families, (as anyone else would do) - that’s the most important thing.
I wish Lee Gaze, Stu Richardson, Mike Lewis, Jamie Oliver, and Luke ‘Jocko’ Johnson and their families the best with their future endeavors. Thanks for being my far away friends in the rock world and also inspiring me creatively - along with Matthew Good and Butch Walker, this band really taught me that concept of artistic integrity and helped me realize that musical artists are just that - they are artists creating music - however, they are people, too. They are not ‘celebrities,’ or monkeys to sing and clap on command on stage - they have feelings, dreams, aspirations, morals, values, beliefs, and ideas just like the rest of us.
Now, if only the rest of the world realized this about any musical artist, actor, actress, and/or any ‘entertainer,’ think of how much nicer the rest of the world would be.
Really — think about it.
As for me, I have to go now - otherwise, I’m going to miss the last train home.
xXx (I also learned this ‘x’ thing from Lostprophets - I think it means ‘straight-edge,’ but I just do it, because maybe I think it cool - it’s the Maria way of showing just a little bit of affection - or, maybe, it means x marks the spot…? Hmmm…I’m still not sure :)
Thank you and until next time…(or as Lostprophets sang, “even through your doubts, we will still be here…”),
PS - To read the band’s departing statement, please go to www.facebook.com/lostprophets