If Ian Watkins is guilty, will it be ‘wrong’ to listen to Lostprophets?
I’ll be honest; when Gary Glitter was convicted of child abuse in early 2006, my initial reaction (in regards to his music and his legacy) was: “nobody should want to buy or listen to his music again. It will forever tainted by the crimes committed by the musician”. Of course, being only fifteen years old at the time of his conviction, I didn’t have much idea about him or his music. He was popular before my time, and I’ve never owned one of his records.
But now, there is a very real chance that the lead singer from a band that I like – and of which I already own three albums – may be convicted of horrific child abuse. And I now find myself reviewing my initial reaction, and wondering: if Watkins is guilty, should myself and other Lostprophets fans consider their music to be forever tainted? Throw their albums in the bin? Refuse to listen to them? Or should the good music produced by the band, as a whole, not be affected by the terrible actions of one band member?
Many fans may choose not to listen to the band in future out of personal choice, and that’s okay. But for those who choose to keep listening, there should be no stigma. Lostprophets are a six-piece band, and only one member has been accused. The other five members, as far as we can see, are completely innocent and are just as shocked as we are by the allegations. It would be awful if the hard work that the band have put in over the last fifteen years were to be completely ruined for the other five members.
And for those who want to buy their albums because they like the music, go ahead – if Watkins is guilty of the crimes he’s been accused of, he’ll be going to prison for a very long time, and surely will not make any financial gain. Although, as things stand, it looks like the band’s success and profits are bound to decline from now on, whether Watkins is guilty or not, or even if the band were to hire a totally new lead vocalist and carry on without him. The reputation of the band will have been irreparably damaged by the accusations against Ian Watkins, and they will never achieve their former success again.
I honestly don’t know whether my opinion has altered since the Gary Glitter conviction simply because I like the Lostprophets, or whether the differences between the two artists (solo vs six member band; out of prison and free to make financial gain vs potentially about to go to prison, etc) justifies my altering views. Or maybe – and perhaps most likely – I consider issues such as these with a more open mind, and with less reluctance to adopt a contrarian position, than I did back when I was fifteen years old!
But now, as far as I’m concerned, fans of Lostprophets’ music can enjoy the music for music’s sake – it’s down to personal choice, and as long as the individual can put aside any personal moral dilemma, then they should be able to go ahead and listen to the music just as they did before the accusations arose. You can love the music and hate the musician. In my mind, the moral dilemma is diluted when you consider the many other members in the band, who are innocent of any wrongdoing. As long as Ian Watkins – if found guilty – does not make any financial gains from the public continuing to buy their albums, then that’s okay with me too.
We’ll find out more about Ian Watkins after he appears in court again on 31st December. As for the rest of the Lostprophets band members, I wish them well and hope that they can move on, both personally and musically – whatever the outcome of Watkins’ trial may be.
What are your views on this topic? Are you a fan of the band?
If so, will you continue listening to them if Watkins is found guilty?
As always, all comments are welcome.