Two interviews that were done with Stuart from the Lostprophets. The first at Deconstruction 2002, in Finsbury Park, the second when the band headlined Brixton Academy in October. Though the second comes first, and the first second (so as to confuse!)
RN: So how did the Ozzfest go?
S: Awesome…awesome just it was a good laugh all the time…we had a laugh you know. All the bands were cool and we were playing to between a hundred kids a day and a ten thousands a day…it was fun, you know?
RN: So good playing America then?
S: Oh yeah always. Playing with Glassjaw and the Used.
RN: To ask a question you’ve probably been asked alot recently – were you around when Dave Williams died?
S: Yeah that was fucked up, we were in Virginia or something – I can’t remember where we were now! And we were all outside in the pool, because it was like the first day off we’d had in two weeks, so we were all down the pool having a laugh, doing all the usual macho shit – you know? And then we saw Drowning Pool over at the hotel, and we were like well ‘what are they doing here?’ cause we were in the hotel with all the shit bands and they’re one of the “cool” bands or whatever, and they’re all walking around with their heads in their hands, and we knew something bad had happened, and then we heard the news, and it really bummed us out cause we were all just messing around joking in the pool, whilst he was lying dead like 50 metres away in his bus. We all went to our rooms and just sat there for a while thinking, ’shit’. I mean I’m not too surprised he was drinking beer every day – you know what I mean…actually have they said what killed him yet?
Yeah they said it was from a heart condition not from drug or drink abuse
because the amount of jaggermister he was drinking everyday would have killed any one you know! (laughs)
RN: How come you didn’t release the EP that you planned to do?
S: We wanted to but we just didn’t have the time to do it. We wanted to go to a recording studio, with a producer and do a decent job of it, but our managers and label were like ‘ahh no you’ll have to do it in the back of your bus on the tour’. So they wanted us to record on this 15 track on the bus, and we were like ‘well how are we going to record the drums onto that’, and they said ‘well you could just use a drum machine for that’! You know what I mean? We just didn’t want to record something shit…
RN: Is it weird now being the size that you are playing Brixton?
S: It’s been weird coming back, because we’ve been away so long, we’ve been away now for like 5 months basically, and the last time that we played a headline show was last December. I mean it’s freaky reallly. Everyone says we’re huge over here now, I mean we left being a small band, and came back and headlined the Kerrang! weekender and there were 3,000 people in the crowd, and we just did the last couple of shows and we’re like, ‘christ people actually like us!’ you know? Because the only window that we’ve been able to see this country through over the past couple of months is through our website, and there are about 20 or 30 people on there who hate us and we thought that was the whole world – I mean fair play to them because they do hate us with a passion, but we still take it personally we don’t have thick skins at all!
RN: Do you think your fanbase has changed since the release of FakeSound… in december 2000 to now?
S: Yeah it’s weird when we first came out we were the cool underground band who were kind of like Glassjaw who all the cool kids discovered, and then we got signed to the big major and we did the re-release and so all those people labelled us as a wannabe boy band. But now we’ve been away a couple of months, and everyone seems to like us again! It seems that everyone that was slagging us off now likes us again.
RN: Do you think that magazine’s put your image before your music?
S: Yeah generally most of the time I think that they do. It’s an easy target you know what I mean? But yeah they often seem to attack us beacause of the clothes we wear or how we look. I mean after tonight I’ll probably get slagged off because I’m wearing Diesel jeans, but the only reason I’m wearing them is because they cost like $25 from a store in LA, normally I wouldn’t wear something like this, you know. I think it’s just an easy thing for them to talk about. The weird thing is though the fans that slag us off about it, the kids into the underground scene all seem to be fucking minted, you know. They seem much better off than me. I mean I come from a shitty little town in Wales.
RN: Is it weird going back to wales then, since you are perceived as this huge band?
S: It’s cool actually everyones really proud. I mean yesturday we did a TV show and people who we went to school with were there, who we hadn’t seen for like ten years, and they were all like (exaggerating accent) ‘fucking hell – well done’ – you know? And I was like ‘cool!’… you know what I mean.
RN: Do you think it’s fair when people say that the only reason you took Glassjaw and the Movielife out on tour with you was to regain some integrity?
random friend in the background…: Can I answer this one?
S: go on then!
RF: Public Disturbance (HC band half of lostprophets used to be in – ed), you know that’s more fucking….(I have absolutley no idea what he says beyond this point – what with stewart and myself laughing and him speaking in the broadest welsh accent I’ve ever heard!)
S: I mean we’ve been into the DIY scene since we were kids. Everyone keeps going ‘oh your so lucky’ but I mean, yeah there’s an element of that, but we made our own breaks. I mean we did all our own demos put on all our own shows to begin with, we toured in a shitty red van for like for like five years. I mean we’ve got more in common with the Movielife and Glassjaw – and Douglas – than pretty much any other band. I mean Audiovent are a cool band but we have jackshit in common with them, and it sucks that Glassjaw couldn’t make it – you know. But we’ve still got Douglas on the show, and they’re a fucking awesome welsh band…
RN: So what do you think of the welsh scene then – people like Kennedy Soundtrack, Skindred and the rest?
S: I haven’t heard Kennedy Soundtrack yet and I don’t really wanna having heard what they sound like from friends. I don’t know you know…I didn’t really like Dub War but they’re all really nice guys in the band, and it’s the same with Skindred. Funeral for a Friend are a great band, we were going to ask them to do the whole tour but we thought it’d be a bit unfair on them to that cause it would kind of be highjacking their growth as a band and putting them in a position that they may not want to have been in. So we just gave them the one show in Cardiff to help them out. But in general everything seems to be good, but I just can’t think of anyone else.
RN: Are you bored of playing the album, shiobiVsdragonninja, and it’s not actually called that is it – the album, FakeSoundOfProgress?
S: Yeah some songs are cool but I mean some of the songs we’ve been playing for like five years.
RN: So your ready to start a new album
S: (smiling) yeah absolutely. I mean yeah the songs were good at the time, but some of them were beginning to show there age in 2000, so now two years down the line they just feel really old. So yeah we’re looking forward to doing some new stuff!
RN: First thing – when are you going to be recording the next record?
Stuart: Right – we finish touring in the middle of october this year so we’re going to begin writing in November. So as soon as we finish writing songs we’ll start recording them. We should hopefully have a new record in January of next year.
RN: Was it weird having the record come out in December (2000) and then everything being silent for two months until suddenly in Febuary or March Kerrang! jumped on you and everyone wanted to know you and love you?
S: Yeah it was weird. The album came out and for two months there was nothing in the magazines. I mean we’d got good reviews – you know? And then there was nothing. Actually I think we got most press after Reading last year (2000) because we had so many fans and had played so many shows…
RN: Yet you were still in the tent
S: Yeah we were in the tent. The NME. Noone knew who we were and they thought that there’d just be twenty kids down at the front, and then wooooah, so then all the magazines wanted to know because they’d been made to look so foolish because all these kids knew who we were and had come to see us and they didn’t have a clue. It pissed everyone off. But ever since then we’ve been the cool band, actually we’re probably not the cool band anymore. No we were the cool band then – briefly – but we’re not anymore!
RN: What celebrity would you most like to have a fight with?
S: A fight with?
S: I nearly got in a fight with the guitarist from Andrew W.K. He said he was going to punch my lights out so I went up to him and said ‘I hear you want to punch my lights out’, and he was like (meek voice) ‘no dude, no dude’. But I was ready for it, I was ready to kill him.
RN: So you didn’t get along with Andrew W.k then?
S: We famously didn’t get along with them!…but no I hate talking shit about people…you know what I mean? It’s always going to get someone in trouble. I’ve learnt cause when we first came out we’d just slag everybody off. ‘You’re shit, you’re shit’, you know? And then we’d actually meet the band and they’d be really nice guys. And we were always like uhhh… (pause) actually no let me just think of one – have you seen the new adema video?
RN: Is that ‘Giving In’?
S: No ‘Lightyear’ or something but you know the lead singer. I don’t know whether he’s cool or not but he looks like…
RN: An idiot?
S: Yeah an idiot
RN: He’s also the half brother of Jon Davies…
S: Actually we just met him and he was really nice to us and we were like – (laughs)
RN: Which is cooler the Thundercats or the Transformers
S: The Transformers anytime.
RN: Was it intentional to use such 80’s iconography?
S: No it just kind of came out from messing around. Yeah like a lot of people think we’re packaged and marketed or whatever but nobody knows any history of ours. I mean we did the first record on £3000 you know? We did it in a week recorded it cheap, you know, and released it – and it sounded shit!
RN: Actually I really liked it
S: No the songs were cool it was just the sound.
RN: Why did you shorten FakeSoundOfProgress…
S: The song?
RN: Yeah the song…for the radio?
S: We didn’t shorten it for the radio the radio shortened it for us. Like Radio 1 we gave them the single and they shortened it…
RN: So it wasn’t the label trying to get more commercial success?
S: Nah, nah…we did the remix album and we shortened it on that because the original version was like six and a half minutes long. and we never played it live that length. When we did play it live properly we were always like ‘jesus this thing is long’. So we thought lets get rid of this bit after the chorus and then we got rid of some of the breadks after the chorus.
RN: Yeah but that was alwyas why it was my favourite song on the record
S: Yeah I liked it too but when it was on our demo it was really fast. But on the album we must have been on drugs or something because it just became really slow. And we were pissed off we hated it and so we told the guy we wanted to rerecord it so when we did have the time to rerecord it we did. I’m happier with the new version.
RN: I guess that’s fair enough
S: Actually are we still being played on the radio because I haven’t been in the country since it came out?
RN: On the FakeSoundOfProgress – the album – there was no mention of your names or anything like that, or anything like that on the website. S: Yeah RN: Was that deliberate?
S: Pretty much yeah. Yeah we just didn’t want anyone to judge us on anything. You know what I mean? It was like this is the band, this is the album and that’s the way we wanted it to be, we were just having a laugh! One day we’d dress up like idiots or whatever…we just wanted to stay anonymous.
RN: Do you think the internet helped you guys with things like theprp.com giving you exposure?
S: Yeah the internet got us signed, to Columbia records to be honest. If it wasn’t for theprp and people, we wouldn’t be signed. Just thinking another reason we remixed the record, and I’ll explain it again cause I can, was because whenever we were in a club we’d here Machine Head or whatever and it’d be ‘rrrrrrr’ huge but then when our album came on it’d be like ‘meeeeeep’, barely hear it, so we just tried to change a couple of things around and make a bigger sound and everyone was like you suck and it’s like we didn’t tell anyone to buy the new one. The only reason we released it over here in the UK was because otherwise there would have been no record to buy in the country.
RN: Why does Jaime now do the screaming live?
S: I used to all the screaming live for a while. It’s just it saves Ian’s voice because he’s singing every night and I just didn’t want to do it anymore, I just wanted to concentrate on playing. So I was like to Jamie you’re not scratching all the time, you’re not on the keyboards all the time, why don’t you do the backing vocals?
RN: Do you think that being on TOTP and thing, in the long run, will help or hinder the band?
S: It’s kind of weird because the Mighty Mighty Bosstones have been on TOPT, 100 Reasons went on TOTP, “A” have been on, it’s kind of weird. If you were in a band would you not go on TOTP if you were asked? I think everyone would. I think they would anyway. I mean it’s just cool for people to say no I wouldn’t do that I won’t bow down to anything!
RN: Were you upset when E9 split?
S: Yeah. They were really cool guys, really cool guys, really good friends and when we played Ozzfest Karl came up on stage with us and sang with us.
RN: What did you think of this year’s Ozzfest?
S: I hated it! It was such uh…I’ve been into metal since I was eight, I’ve been into Metallica, Iron Maiden and the rest since I was this big. I’ve known about the Ozzfest since the start, and Monsters of Rock and the rest so when they said you’re playing Donnington we were like ‘oh my god’, we couldn’t wait. But when we got there it was such an anticlimax. We walked onstage and there was just this huge horrible space in front of us and it was raining and we were totally jetlagged because we had just landed in the coutry. It was like “—” and I woke up and it was like ’shit am I on stage?’ That’s how shit it was!
RN: It felt like you were going through the motions – and ian’s voice was all over the place.
S: Yeah Yeah. It was horrible, horrible. We were just exhausted. Then again I got to see Slayer, and I’d never seen them before. But no I wanted to shoot myself after Ozzfest because we had played so badly. And then I read Kerrang! and we got a good fucking review
RN: I didn’t understand that…
S: Yeah we sucked that day. I’d like to apologise to everyone for playing so badly. We were just really tired. Even worse was the Ozzfest in general was shit…the next day in Dublin was just as bad, but we played better in Dublin because we knew how shit we had been the day before. We should have had a couple of days off before.
RN: What’s the weirdest thing a fan has ever given you?
S: I’ve had some weird shit! We’ve had like Devil Dolls and wrist bands with my name on them. I don’t know I have had some weird stuff I just can’t remember, nothing’s freaked me out, just some slightly strange things. Actually it’s quite weird that someone wants to be something – why’d you wanna give me something? I don’t know!
RN: What bands did you listen to as a kid?
S: I love Anthrax, i love Iron Maiden, metallica, pantera, slayer all that kind of stuff…then I gradually got into different stuff like Snapcase and other post hardcore type things, and now I’m open to anything.
RN: Do you think the Faith No More comparisons are unfair?
S: Yeah I mean as far as Ian singing like Mike Patton in that kind of voice I think everyone sings like that. It’s like a language. In the 90s everyone sung like Mike Patton unless you were doing that silly shouty-rappy type thing. And now emo’s going to be the next big thing.
RN: What do you think of everyone saynig this is going to be the record that’ll break America?
S: It dosen’t bother me really. We didn’t come out saying we’re going to break america you know? It’s…if you worry about it it’ll bog you down.
RN: How are things in the US though?
S: Yeah it’s cool. There’s not a big rock scene over here so we get compared to Faith No More, Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit and I don’t really think we sound like any of those bands. But in the US everyone’s like you sound like Glassjaw, you sound like Thursday, Snapcase etc RN: You do sound a lot like Glassjaw…
RN: What was it like supporting Linkin Park?
S: Yeah actually it was really cool they actually let us play our biggest tour.
RN: You recorded a video for ShiboVS at the Underworld ages ago, is that ever going to see the light of day?
S: No it was shit, it was awful, I mean our label’s really samll so we didn’t have enough cash to record a decent viddeo, we shot the video for like £1000 and it looked so cheap, it was just terrible. Awful. We’d never done a video before as well so we just looked really green. It was good to be there on the day though.
RN: Will you be releasing any other singles off the FakeSoundOfProgress?
S: No I don’t think so. we were going to release ForSure as a single but then we decided that would just involve us fucking about even more. We’re considering putting out an EP in October with some new songs (which is no longer happening – ed) but I don’t know. For a matter of fact the one song we have written so far is the most single type song we’ve written. It’s just really catchy and stuff.
RN: How long did you spend writing the last record because listening to your demos you were playing a completly different style to what you play on the album.
S: Basically what happened was whilst at university I worked at a recording studio and I think we recorded about 50 songs in a year uhh we got most of the album down though between November of 1999 and March of 2000, but we did have some stuff written earlier than that like 1000 Apologies started life in 1997. I think Shinobi was one of the last one’s we wrote.
RN: Was it weird being a tiny band from 1997 – 2000 and then suddenly from 2001 or 20002 becoming this…
S: The mad thing right is I know what it must look from the outside but it’s weird it doesn’t feel like anythings changed.
RN: But you must see that you went from supporting Kill II This to coheadlining with Andrew W.K and Boyhitscar and supporting the deftones in a matter of a year?
S: Yeah it’s weird. We started off in the back of Mike’s van and we didn’t really have equitment like we’re using today. I was using my friends bass. Even when we recorded the album we were using friends stuff. I don’t know it’s weird I mean we had alot of help but we did have people holding us back. But I’m not gonna talk shit it’s bad Karma…
RN: If you’re into karma are you into other eastern philosophies?
S: Ahhh I just think Karma…not in a deep philisophical way…but I think if you talk shit about someone it’s going to come back and get you.
RN: I just remembered Ian used to always have an X on his hand but he no longer does it.
S: I think it’s because as we got bigger it would kind of have been tacky. I think if a big mainstream band was doing it it would take away from the other bands doing it and kids will start putting X’s on their hands not really realising what it means. We don’t want to take away from it.
RN: So does that mean you’ve stopped talking about it?
S: No we still talk about it, we just don’t want to flash our X’s about…I was straightedge for a while purely because you can’t drink on tour. Besides I did all my drinking before I was 19, you know?
RN: Are you worried about playing today (Deconstruction – a punk festival)?
S: Well that’s the thing you know? Today I like probably half the bands that are playing, whilst at the Ozzfest I like one band. I’m not interested in the other bands. I don’t really like SOAD or anything.
RN: (increduously) Do you not like tool?
S: No they bore me – you know? But today it’ll be weird.