|I Killed the Prom Queen is an Australian metalcore band which formed in 2000 with mainstays JJ Peters on drums and Jona Weinhofen on guitar. The band featured prominently on the Australian live music scene and toured the USA, Japan and parts of Europe several times. They issued two studio albums, When Goodbye Means Forever... (2003) and Music for the Recently Deceased (2006) - the latter reached the top 30 on the ARIA Albums Chart. The group split up in April 2007 when Weinhofen joined United States band Bleeding Through and Peters joined Australian hardcore punk group Deez Nuts. I Killed the Prom Queen reformed to play a farewell tour in mid-2008 and released a live album and DVD, Sleepless Nights and City Lights, which peaked in the top 50. In May 2011, the band reformed for the Destroy Music Tour and indicated plans to work on a third studio album.
Formation and Choose to Love, Live or Die (2000-2002)
I Killed the Prom Queen was formed in Adelaide, South Australia in late 2000, with the original line-up of Ben Engel on bass guitar, Simon O'Gorman on guitar, JJ Peters (Josef John W Peters) on drums, Lee Stacy on vocals, and Jona Weinhofen on guitar. Peters, Weinhofen and bass guitarist Leaton Rose had previously been members of local band Cur. Early in 2000, Weinhofen left Cur to form The Fall of Troy with vocalist Michael Crafter and then he formed I Killed the Prom Queen. Briefly known as Child Left Burning, the band's first performances were at the Adelaide Community Centre. The following year, Crafter joined to share lead vocals and soon after Rose replaced Engel on bass guitar.
The band are influenced by late 1990s hardcore bands Poison the Well, Converge, Hatebreed and Earth Crisis and Swedish melodic death metal groups like At the Gates, Soilwork and In Flames. In late 2001 and early 2002, the group recorded a four-track extended play titled Choose to Love, Live or Die, which was produced by Paul Degasperi and the band; with additional guitar supplied by Cain Kapetanakis. Originally slated to contain five songs, a computer glitch caused the fifth to be erased. In 2002, it was issued as an EP by 618 Recordings and re-released by Final Prayer Records label distributed by Missing Link Records. Following this, O'Gorman left to join Day of Contempt and Kevin Cameron joined on guitar late in the year. Choose to Love, Live or Die, was their only release to include both Lee Stacey's vocals and the higher-pitched Crafter vocals. The tracks were later re-recorded for their third EP, Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You (2005).
Split CD with Parkway Drive and When Goodbye Means Forever (2003-2005)
In 2003, I Killed the Prom Queen's bass guitarist, Rose departed (he later joined The Hot Lies) and Sean Kennedy took his place. They provided the track, "Homicide" for the punk rock compilation, Harder Core than You released by Blunt Magazine. Crafter was in Byron Bay and saw the first performance by local metalcore band, Parkway Drive - he was so impressed that he invited the group to record a split CD with his band. In May, Final Prayer Records issued I Killed the Prom Queen / Parkway Drive: Split CD with two tracks by I Killed the Prom Queen ("Homicide Documentaries" and "Death Certificate for a Beauty Queen") and two by Parkway Drive.
In September, the line-up of Cameron, Crafter, Kennedy, Peters and Weinhofen, recorded their debut studio album When Goodbye Means Forever... for Sydney hardcore label Resist Records, which was released in December. It was produced by Dan Jones, Anj and the group. Early in 2004, they toured Australia supporting United States bands Evergreen Terrace, Give Up the Ghost, and Boysetsfire. The album was released in the US by Eulogy Recordings in March, leading to extensive touring there. According to Carver, when entering Hawaii, "Three of us got questioned. They were asking us what jails we had been in, what our parents did and what our parents thought of our tattoos".
The band have supported Caliban, Evergreen Terrace, It Dies Today, Lamb of God, Silverstein, Bleeding Through, The Red Chord, Fear Before the March of Flames, Until the End, The Warriors, Between the Buried and Me, and On Broken Wings over four months. The group's next release was their third EP, Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You, on 7 March 2005. The recording included reworked older songs and a track, "To Be Sleeping While Still Standing", performed by The Fall of Troy (not to be confused with the US band of the same name), an earlier band including Crafter and Weinhofen, which only played two shows then broke up.
Music for the Recently Deceased (2005-2007)
In August 2005, I Killed the Prom Queen flew to Sweden to record their follow-up album, Music for the Recently Deceased. By late 2005, they had completed recording the album but in January 2006 Crafter was fired. Instead of releasing the album as it was, they decided to hire a new vocalist and replace Crafter's tracks. Ed Butcher, from United Kingdom band The Hunt for Ida Wave was recruited. New lyrics were written by Cameron and Butcher, while some lyrics that the whole band had contributed during the Crafter sessions were retained. Music for the Recently Deceased was produced by Fredrik Nordström, whose other credits included Dimmu Borgir, Darkest Hour, At the Gates and In Flames, and by Patrik J Sten.
The album was released on 31 July 2006 by Stomp Entertainment and peaked in the top 30 on the ARIA Albums Chart. The Australian tour in support of the album had over 50 concert dates in three months, from north Western Australia to the southern states and then along the east coast to Cairns. They followed with a support tour for US groups Killswitch Engage and Lamb of God,The Sydney show had 3,500 patrons at Luna Park, where I Killed the Prom Queen also played at the annual Come Together Music Festival. Shortly afterward Metal Blade released the album in the US, co-inciding with the group's appearance at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. Returning to Australia after their third tour of the US in three years, the group toured with The Haunted and Exodus and in December featured as the headlining act at the Metal for the Brain festival.
Break-up and Say Goodbye Tour (2007-2008)
In January 2007, I Killed the Prom Queen's vocalist, Butcher, flew back to the UK. The band announced that he had departed due to homesickness, Butcher later joined UK metalcore band Eternal Lord. Tyrone Ross from Mourning Tide, an Australian metalcore and hair metal group, temporarily filled the vocalist position during Japanese tour dates. Colin Jeffs of Bendigo-based band Heavens Lost, provided vocals on the European tour with Bleeding Through, All Shall Perish, Caliban.
In April, I Killed the Prom Queen announced their breakup, citing both an inability to find a permanent vocalist and Weinhofen's joining tour mates Bleeding Through. Shortly after a final Australian tour with Crafter returning on vocals was arranged for the following year. In May 2008, Stomp re-issued Music For The Recently Deceased in a limited tour edition - of 5,000 hand-numbered copies - for the Say Goodbye Tour. The release included a cardboard slipcase, two live tracks and four tracks with Crafter's vocals taken from the original album recording. The group toured in May and June, with most of the 18 shows selling out. The support groups were Bring Me the Horizon, The Red Shore, The Ghost Inside (band) and local acts from each city. A live album and DVD, Sleepless Nights and City Lights, was recorded at their Adelaide performance; it was released on 22 November 2008 and peaked in the top 50. I Killed the Prom Queen played their final show in Brisbane on 8 June 2008.
After the Say Goodbye tour, Michael Crafter fronted Melbourne hardcore band Confession while also managing his own clothing label Mistake Clothing. Crafter also had short stints with Bury Your Dead and Carpathian as lead vocalist for both, at about the time of the Say Goodbye Tour. He appeared as a contestant on reality TV show Big Brother in 2008. Jona Weinhofen joined Bring Me the Horizon in 2009 and is their rhythm guitarist, keyboardist, programer and backing vocalist. He was a gutiarist of US metalcore band Bleeding Through and the former manager for Australian death metal band The Red Shore.
Kevin Cameron formed the progressive metalcore band In Trenches with frontman Ben Coyte. He was a touring musician for a number of other groups. JJ Peters is vocalist for his own hardcore project Deez Nuts and one half of the hip-hop duo Grips & Tonic - the other half is New Zealander Louie Knuxx. Sean Kennedy reduced his musical performances and lived with his girlfriend in Perth Julia Sassella-Otley until 2009, although he occasionally played bass for Deez Nuts on Australian and International tours, then moved back to Adelaide and became engaged to Lisa McMannus of Adelaide and he toured on Deez Nuts on their This One's for You Tour in 2010 and got kicked out of Deez Nuts.
Reformation and third studio album (2011-present)
In March 2011, I Killed the Prom Queen announced an Australian reunion tour with The Amity Affliction, Deez Nuts, and Of Mice & Men as part of the Destroy Music Tour in May. Replacing Butcher and Crafter on lead vocals was Jamie Hope (ex-The Red Shore). On the band's official Facebook page this re-formation was said to be ongoing - not just for one tour. Weinhofen is not planning to leave his other band Bring Me the Horizon but will remain in both groups. Likewise Peters will continue his work with Deez Nuts. In early January 2012 Jona Weinhofen confirmed that writing sessions for the new album has begun and aimed to release the album by later in 2012.