As artists like Aqua ("Barbie Girl") and slacker songsmith Afroman ("Because I Got High") can attest, making it in the music industry takes more than just talent. Timing and a fresh sound also play a big part.
The Lostprophets, one of only a handful of U.K. bands that more closely resemble their American rock counterparts than their British brethren's melancholy outpourings and electronic flare-ups, also know that a kiss from Lady Luck never hurt an aspiring rock star.
"We were one of the first bands of our generation doing what we're doing," frontman Ian Watkins said. He cited fellow Wales group Funeral for a Friend as another group in line with the Lostprophets' melodic, emotionally fraught rock. "Until we came along, there was a lot of old rock and metal but not many of our generation doing this.
"But luck is definitely an aspect," he added. "Even some of the coolest bands in the world never make it because they have bad luck or are in the wrong place at the wrong time. And then some totally poo-poo bands make it."
Possessing male-model good looks is rarely a detriment, either, unless it's used against you. The British music press has a longstanding reputation for hyping bands up just to take them down, and the Lostprophets have felt their share of backlash. The group has been unfairly labeled a boy band that can't write its own songs. The band's members learned to develop a thick skin against these unjust innuendos. In fact, they're entertained by some of the more far-fetched rumors, like the one about them being in rehab, despite four of the six guys being straightedge.
"I love reading rumors," Watkins said. "It happens. A band sells a certain amount of records and gets in the spotlight, and then it's time to talk crap about them. It's just the way it happens. It's the nature of the beast."
With a hit single, "Last Train Home," already under their belts, the Lostprophets aren't worried about justifying their skills or disproving rumors while on the road with pals Hoobastank and Ima Robot. Having fun is all that's on the agenda from the tour's start Friday in Chattanooga, Tennessee, through its finale a month later (see "Hoobastank, Lostprophets To Invade College Campuses").
"Touring with your friends is always cool," Watkins said. "It's going to be a laugh. It's going to be awesome because we're just going to mess around and have a lot of fun."
The Lostprophets hope "Make a Move," the next single from their sophomore album, Start Something, will share the success of "Last Train Home." On Wednesday, the band filmed a video in Los Angeles for the track, which blends fluttering drum beats with heavy guitars and a determined call-to-arms chorus. As with most things pertaining to their career, the bandmembers took an active role in the creation of the clip, which was directed by Steven Murashige (Incubus, the Ataris).
"We do our own artwork, our own merch," Watkins said. "If you want something done properly, you should do it yourself. And I don't want anybody else trying to tell us what we should be or have an image or a vision for us. We write the music and we're not going to give everything else away to other people."
"Unless it's our stylists," programmer Jamie Oliver joked.
"Or our songwriters," added guitarist Lee Gaze.
"And don't forget our choreographers," Watkins followed. "And makeup artists, personal trainers and yoga instructors."