- Nick Crandle – bass (1998–2003)
- Jason “Jay” James – bass, backing vocals (2003–2015)
- Michael “Moose” Thomas – drums, percussion (1998–2016)
Bullet for My Valentine, often abbreviated as BFMV, are a Welsh heavy metal band from Bridgend formed in 1998. The band is currently composed of Matthew Tuck (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Michael Paget (lead guitar, backing vocals), Jason Bowld (drums) and Jamie Mathias (bass guitar). Former members include Michael Thomas, Jason James and Nick Crandle; the latter were on bass. They were formed under the name Jeff Killed John and started their music career by covering songs by Metallica and Nirvana. Jeff Killed John recorded six songs which were not released; two of these tracks were reworked later in their career as Bullet for My Valentine. A change of style from that of Jeff Killed John led the band to change their name. In 2002, the band secured a five-album deal with Sony BMG. The band has stated that their music is influenced by classic metal acts such as Metallica, Iron Maiden and Slayer. The band is part of the Cardiff music scene.
Jeff Killed John and record deal (1998–2005)
Jeff Killed John was the forerunner band to Bullet for My Valentine and was formed in 1998 by Matthew Tuck, Michael “Padge” Paget, Nick Crandle, and Michael “Moose” Thomas while studying music at Bridgend College. They started playing Nirvana and Metallica cover songs. In 1999, the band released their first ever EP, Better Off Alone. They released another two-track EP in 2002, You/Play with Me, which was produced by Greg Haver. The EP was financed through the Pynci scheme for new Welsh musicians and the release garnered radio airplay on BBC Radio 1‘s broadcast at Newport‘s T.J.’s. Jeff Killed John’s music followed the nu metal trend set by bands such as Korn and Limp Bizkit. Shortly after, the band released another two-track EP titled Eye Spy. In 2003, their second EP was released titled Don’t Walk Away. This was a promotional CD and was shipped to different record companies, as well as being given out locally in Bridgend. Bassist Crandle left the band on the eve of entering the recording sessions for the band’s self-titled EP and was replaced by Jason James. The band then changed their name to Bullet for My Valentine and reworked their musical strategy; they decided to play heavy metal songs with “harmony guitars and big angelic choruses,” according to frontman Tuck. In late 2003, they released their final EP before record labels actually began to notice their potential. This happened due to the sudden change in their strategy and sound, which the band claims came “directly out of their heads.” Their self-titled EP consisted of five songs; most of the songs became precursors of tracks from The Poison.
Roadrunner Records showed interest in Bullet for My Valentine and offered the band a deal. The offer was ultimately turned down, and the band signed a five-album record deal with Sony BMG and a UK licensing deal with Visible Noise. According to Tuck, they chose Sony because, “We thought that a lot more doors would be open to us.” A self-titled EP was released on 15 November 2004 in the UK. Produced by Colin Richardson, it featured five tracks and marked the band’s first official release. A second EP, Hand of Blood, was released on 22 August 2005 through Trustkill Records and was only available in the U.S.; the release contained one extra track than the self-titled EP, “4 Words (To Choke Upon).” Daniel Lukes of Decibel Magazine reviewed the EP by stating, “The worst part is that the music itself isn’t all that bad, for the genre.” He went on to comment that the band should be “embarrassed” about the release. Zero Magazine’s Josh Joyce complimented the band on “how technical they can get without confusing the kids.”
The Poison (2005–07)
Michael Paget (left) and Matthew Tuck (right) at 2006’s Roskilde Festival held in Denmark
Bullet for My Valentine’s debut album, The Poison, was released on 3 October 2005 in the UK and on Valentine’s Day 2006 in the US. It entered the Billboard 200 at number 128, and attained number 11 on the Independent Albums chart. On 30 January 2009, the album was certified gold by the RIAA after 500,000 copies were sold in the US. Four singles were released from The Poison: “4 Words (To Choke Upon)”, “Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow (What Can I Do)“, “All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)“, and “Tears Don’t Fall“. Bullet for My Valentine promoted the album by touring across the world. In 2005, with increased popularity, they played on the larger Download Festival Snickers stage; in 2006, the band were moved to near the top of the main stage bill. Other tours included opening for Metallica and Guns N’ Roses in the summer of 2006, the Vans Warped Tour and Earthday Birthday.
The band’s headline performance at Kerrang XXV, a one-off gig at Brixton Academy in London on 28 January 2006, was filmed for their first DVD, The Poison: Live at Brixton. During June 2007, Tuck suffered from laryngitis, which led to an emergency tonsillectomy in July. Bullet for My Valentine were forced to cancel several shows, including supporting Metallica for three dates on their Sick of the Studio ’07 tour on 29 June in Bilbao, 5 July in Vienna, and 8 July at the recently completed Wembley Stadium in London. Unable to speak, Tuck wrote that as soon as doctors cleared him he would be in the studio working on the band’s next album.
Scream Aim Fire (2007–08)
The band’s second studio album, Scream Aim Fire, was recorded at Sonic Ranch Studios and was produced by Colin Richardson. Tuck commented at the time, “It’s a lot more up tempo, a lot more aggressive.” The album was released in the U.S. on 29 January 2008. It sold 53,000 copies in its first week and peaked at number four on the Billboard 200. Three songs were released as singles: “Scream Aim Fire,” “Hearts Burst into Fire” and “Waking the Demon.”
In support of the new album, the band toured North America and Australia in the spring of 2008 for the Taste of Chaos tour alongside Atreyu, Blessthefall and Avenged Sevenfold. Bullet for My Valentine cut short the Canada portion of the tour and flew back home to support the daughter of James who was in hospital. The band performed in North America again in the summer of 2008 as part of the No Fear Tour with Bleeding Through, Cancer Bats and Black Tide. In late 2008, the band toured Europe, supported by Lacuna Coil, Bleeding Through, and Black Tide. In December 2008, Scream Aim Fire was re-released with four bonus tracks that were recorded during the album’s studio sessions, but with re-recorded vocal-lines.
Bullet for My Valentine performing live at Norway Rock Festival 2010
Matt Tuck spoke to Daniel Marez of Metal Hammer in March 2009 about the band’s progress on writing and recording their third album. Tuck stated that there were four or five songs that were finished and that “usually we write and record 14 tracks that I then have to write vocal lines for, but this time I’m trying to write the vocals as I write the music.” Bullet for My Valentine confirmed in August 2009 that they were aiming for an early 2010 release for the new album, while Tuck stated that the upcoming record is “a lot more mature-sounding, it’s a lot more classic. It’ll stand the test of time [more] than both the previous things we’ve done.” In a January 2010 interview with Rock Sound, Tuck stated explained details for the album: it would be titled Fever, and the 11-track record would have a sound closer to The Poison rather than Scream Aim Fire and contain no ballads.
During the summer of 2009, Bullet for My Valentine toured across the United States as part of the Mayhem Festival, alongside Killswitch Engage, Slayer and Marilyn Manson on the main stage; they also appeared on the UK leg of the Sonisphere tour at Knebworth, headlining the second stage. The band headlined the second stage at the Download Festival 2010 on the Friday night. The band was also confirmed for Nova Rock, Metaltown, Rock am Ring, Rock on the Range, The Bamboozle, Bilbao Live Festival, Fortarock and Graspop. In addition, Bullet for My Valentine also played alongside the Big Four on the Greek leg of Sonisphere. Fever was released on 27 April 2010. A free download of a new track called “Begging For Mercy” was released on the band’s website on 14 February 2010 as part of a Twitter promotion. The song “Your Betrayal” was chosen as the lead single for the album and was set to release on 9 March 2010, but, unexpectedly, was released earlier on 2 March 2010 as a digital single on iTunes Store. The second single is called “The Last Fight” and was released on 19 April. The album artwork for this studio album was released on the official website on 5 March 2010. Bullet for My Valentine announced the start their US tour in support of Fever. It began on 30 April with the bands Airbourne and Chiodos as support. On 12 March the band released the music videos for “The Last Fight” and “Your Betrayal.” The band revealed the track listing on their website on 15 March, as well as other various sources that include an email to all of their subscribers on the mailing list. On 26 April the band played a secret show in London to celebrate the release of Fever. This was their only UK headline show until the end of the year.
Temper Temper (2012–13)
On 28 January 2011, Michael Paget stated that the group had already drawn proportions for the next studio album and will sound a lot like Fever. He followed-along with stating that the band plans to have the songs for it written within 2011 and will begin recording the album by the end of the year. A couple tracks left from the Fever sessions might be re-done, re-arranged and re-recorded for the new record. The band played at Uproar Festival 2011, after which they began writing material for a fourth studio album.Bullet for My Valentine at Ursynalia 2013 Warsaw Student Festival, Poland.
On 7 October, RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding Jive Records along with Arista Records and J Records. With the shutdown, the band (and all other artists previously signed to these three labels) will release their future material (including their next studio album) on the RCA Records brand. Also in October, frontman Matt Tuck announced that he will be working on a new side project which he has described as “metal as fuck”, influenced by bands such as Pantera and Slipknot. On 1 May 2012 it was revealed that the project will be called AxeWound, and will feature Liam Cormier, Mike Kingswood, Joe Copcutt and Jason Bowld. In May 2012 it was announced that Bullet for My Valentine would be playing at the South African music festival Oppikoppi, as well as a once-off gig in Cape Town alongside Seether and Enter Shikari. They were slated to play in the country for the Coke Zero Fest of 2009, but pulled out at the last minute to record Fever. It was confirmed on 6 August that the final recording session of the band’s fourth studio record was complete, and that the album would be out sometime in late 2012. Later that month on the 17th, the second line-up for the Australian music festival Soundwave was announced, containing Bullet for My Valentine.
Bullet for My Valentine released the track “Temper Temper” on 25 November in the UK and 30 October worldwide across all digital providers. The song was debuted live by the band on Monday 22 October at BBC Radio 1’s Rock Week where they performed at Maida Vale studios. It was announced the day prior to the performance that the band’s fourth studio album would also be named Temper Temper. The release date was confirmed to be 12 February 2013.
The band began touring in support of Temper Temper on 10 February 2013, and finished the tour on 3 November 2013. The tenth show of the tour, held at Birmingham’s O2 Academy, was filmed by music video website Moshcam.com.
In an interview, Matt Tuck said that Bullet for My Valentine were going to start work on a new album before the Rule Britannia Tour, which took place between 1 and 6 December 2013 in which the band played arenas in Britain supported by Young Guns and Asking Alexandria. In the interview Matt also said that they were strongly considering working with Terry Date, who has worked with bands such as Pantera and Deftones. He also said the band would bring back the thrash metal elements from Scream Aim Fire.
In November 2013, Bullet for My Valentine revealed though their Facebook page they were working on a new song. A short snippet of the song, titled “Raising Hell,” was released on Matt Tuck’s Vine profile on the 15th. The song was first played three days later via BBC Radio 1’s Rock Show. It was made available for streaming and a music video for the song was released a week later.
In 2014, Matt announced on Twitter that the band were entering the studio to record a fifth album. On 28 August the band appeared on paranormal television show Most Haunted for an investigation at the Newton House in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire.
In an interview with Kerrang! on 21 January 2015, Matt revealed that Bullet for My Valentine will be hitting the studio next month with producer Colin Richardson who produced both The Poison and Scream Aim Fire, rather than Terry Date, who was the suggested producer initially. Tuck also said that their fifth album will be their heaviest album yet. On 9 February 2015, Bullet for My Valentine announced the departure of bassist Jason James, adding that they would announce a replacement when they felt “the time was right.” They went on to say that until the announcement, they’d be busy and focused on recording their new record.
It was announced on the band’s Facebook page in 2015 that a new song, “No Way Out,” would debut on BBC Radio 1 on 17 May 2015. The band also revealed their fifth studio album to be titled Venom and their new bassist was going to be Jamie Mathias, formerly of metal band Revoker. Venom was set for release on 14 August 2015, the same day an expansive UK tour was announced. It was also revealed that Bullet for My Valentine will headline London’s Camden Rocks festival which takes place on 30 May 2015.
Bullet for My Valentine live at Rock am Ring 2016
In 2016, Bullet for My Valentine announced that drummer Michael Thomas will sit out for a few months to be with his wife as they were expecting their first child. Jason Bowld, former drummer of Pitchshifter and Tuck’s bandmate from AxeWound, became Thomas’ replacement. In April, they signed a new worldwide deal with Spinefarm Records. Matt Tuck later tweeted “Here we go again. #BFMV6” which implied the band had started working on their sixth effort. Later in the year the band released a new single titled “Don’t Need You”. A music video was released with the video as well.
At the end of 2017, Michael Thomas was replaced by Jason Bowld full-time.
On 1 April 2018, Bullet for My Valentine debuted a new song, “Over It”, on BBC Radio 1. The song was the first single off their sixth studio album, Gravity, which was confirmed for release on 29 June 2018. On 26 April, the song “Piece of Me” was released. On 18 May, the band released another new song, “Letting You Go”, and released a music video for the song on 3 June. On 15 October, the band released a music video for the track “Not Dead Yet”.