Who says that Welsh rock stars are so serious? The veteran rock & rollers from across the pond, LostProphets, give Inked Magazine the details on their new album, Weapons, while gracing us with their crazy stories and infectious laughter. From getting an infection as a result of a tattoo to a drunken party on a ship, LostProphets band members, including keyboardist Jaime Oliver, lead singer Ian Watkins, drummer Luke Johnson, guitarist Mike Lewis, and bassist/producer Stuart Richardson, tell Inked how the band and their new album, Weapons, stands apart.
Inked Magazine: You guys are with a new label for Weapons. Do you feel like this is your official cross over into the US market?
Jamie: It’s more of a return. We were on Sony in the U.S. for about six or seven years. We parted ways with them on our last record. This new album on Fearless records, Weapons, is more like a return and it’s nice to be back to be honest.
Stuart: I agree.
Inked: How does this new album differ from the others?
Jaime: I think that we have just honed in a little bit more on what the band is, what
the sound of the band is.
Luke: I’m new. This is the first album that I have played on so it’s wicked for me. I came into LostProphets
on the back of the last album that was recorded, so I just really wanted to get into the studio and
put my mark on something. So that definitely makes this different from the other four albums.
Jaime: And it’s a real solid record, it’s a real rock record. It represents who we are right now, it’s fresh.
It’s exciting for us to be with a brand new team and have Luke aboard. You know there is something just really
weird about it, it feels like a second first you know a second beginning.
Inked: How do you think that you guys have grown from your first album to this one?
Ian: I think that you take life experience and you go with it, and you make mistakes but you learn from them.
You just enjoy it along the way. The goal isn’t about getting there, its but about the journey.
Jaime: we have taken some alternative routes to get here. Like on the last record, it just didn’t really work out. We finished the last record but we didn’t feel like it was the record that we wanted to make. We learned so much about our abilities and ourselves and we’ve been able to bring that into this record with so much more confidence. I think that with time comes wisdom and trust in each other’s abilities.
Stuart: We just do it because we love it, and we keep fighting the good fight. We’ve changed a lot, we were a lot
more stupid. That’s pretty much it, ya know. It’s not rocket science. You write music because you love it and that’s it.
Inked: How did you guys record weapons? What was your process?
Jaime: We initially went into a little house in the East Coast of England.
Luke: It was suppose to be a secret. Hahaha it was suppose to be on the “hush-hush.” After a week there were a bunch of kids always just hanging around outside of the house and ringing the doorbell. It was pretty funny.
Jaime: Yeah, we just wanted to really live together and actually just live the music and stuff like that. So we wrote a bunch of songs there and then we took a little bit of space after that, just to come to grips with what we have. Having Luke on board was so valuable because he was able to listen to the music that we previously written objectively and he was just like, “we should do this; we should do that.” When we went into the studio and we collaborated with producer Ken Andrews, we took in like 90 ideas. And we were like, “Can we make an album after this,” and he was like “yeah totally.” So after the Norfolk experience, we just wrote a couple more songs and recorded at NRG in L.A.
Inked: What is everyone’s role in the band?
Jaime: Mike is really great with all the managerial aspects of everything. When real tough decisions have to be made, Mike usually steps up and takes control. Stu is like the boss of music because he produces the records and he basically takes care of everything. When it comes to the studio aspect of it, Stu takes control for the most part.
Jaime: I am just the pretty face.
Ian: Yeah, Jaime is the hot one and the OCD one. He likes to arrange things on the table, equally.
Jaime: So Lee occasionally shows up, Stu is Serg, Mike is the boss, Luke is the videographer and rhythm of the band. And I talk when no one else can be bothered.
Ian: No you talk all day, you’re more eloquent.
Jaime: I am the mouthpiece.
Inked: What is something that you all think is quintessential for the public to know about LostProphets?
Ian: That we are all awesome.
Luke: This is a real honest band, we are making music, and have continued to make music through genre changes and trends and we are still here and that’s pretty much the trajectory.
Inked: Now on to tattoos boys. Which one of you guys has the most tattoos?
Ian: Luke Johnson.
Mike: He has thousands of tiny little ones all over his legs.
Luke: Yeah, I started getting tatted when I was 16.
Inked: And that’s legal in the UK?
Luke: No. You know, you get the first one with your fake ID and you’re like “yes! I’m 18.” And then, I never stopped. I dated a girl who was a tattoo artist and I have a lot of good friends who are artists. I’ve actually only paid for 1 tattoo on my body, which is probably bad. I have loads of friends who have hooked me up and tons of tour tattoos so. Some of these guys have pretty cool ones as well.
Jaime: He has a green nipple.
Inked: You have a green nipple?
Luke: I have a green nipple, yeah. It’s about as green as it gets.
Inked: Okay, who else wants to talk about their tattoos?
Jaime: Ian has loads of neck tattoos so he is second.
Ian: Yeah, I have my arms, I got my back, and I got my neck.
Jaime: What does your neck say?
Ian: “Let up the suicide doors, this is my life homie you decide yours.”
Jaime: Luke has got some crackin’ fun tattoos.
Luke: This is my comedy leg; I just throw anything I want on there. I tatted my self here, with just a straight nine needle. A few friends and me got this one, because we are always just giving each other the beak. That’s the Queen Mary, you know in Long Beach, the ship. It’s sinking, and it says “Ship Happens,” on it. I got this one in Australia on the last tour; it was the “Tour de Cock.”
Jaime: All my tattoos are serious. Mike has a really serious lip tattoo; it says, “meow.”
Stuart: I don’t know if it’s as serious as “quack.” (Shows lip tattoo that says quack.) See the thing is that we were all suppose to get it done, and Ian is like “mine is going to say woof” and he never got it done.
Ian: No one wants to be the dog.
Luke: Get moo!
Inked: Any funny tattoo stories?
Jaime: I got a tattoo behind my ear drunk; I don’t remember getting it done. That’s pretty good, it’s like I woke up with a tattoo on my head.
Luke: The sinking ship was after a tattoo convention on the Queen Mary and me and 15 other people had a drunken tattoo party. Basically there were two people there who were sober that kept setting up the equipment. So it was pretty much just booze and tattoos.
Jaime: I got Septicemia from my first tattoo, which was fun. And one of my fingers nails fell off, and I had to play a show.
Mike: I have other bands lyrics tattooed on me but nothing about our band. We’ve always seen it as a jinx. As soon as you get your band tattooed, you split up.
Stuart: It’s like people say that having your girlfriend or wife’s name tattooed on you is a bad omen. It’s the same with band.
Inked: Do you get any tattoos on tour?
Jaime: Yeah, I’m actually looking to get some more this time around. Tattoos have become really pricey though and I can’t justify spending that kind of money on it. So I’m hoping to bump into someone who will do that.
Inked: So do you all have specific tattoo ideas, or do you just let the artist work?
Jaime: I’m an artist myself, so I’m always like “ehh,” when people are like do this exactly like this. The mistake I made on my first tattoo is I went in as an artist, and got this guy to do exactly as I wanted. Going forward, I basically find people who have their own style and who are good. It’s like I’m buying their artwork from them. I do that with a guy called Bob Vessels. And he was crazy!! I mean the first two times I went to see him, the second he chased my out of the tattoo place with an empty bottle of wine because he was very eccentric. But when I went back the 3rd time he was like “I knew you would come back.” I was like cool and I sat down, so he sort of deciphers who is serious about having tattoos and who isn’t.
Stuart: I got this one about six years ago by a chick in London. My daughter was born on the day of the dead, so I got a zombified crystal skull for her.