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.


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16 responses to “If Ian Watkins is guilty, will it be ‘wrong’ to listen to Lostprophets?”

  1. Will Watson (@will_nffc) says :

    it’s immoral and you are as bad as he is if you continue to listen

    • digitalnativeuk says :

      Why do you believe that? Shouldn’t his personal life, and the music his band have created, be considered separate?

    • Dan Smith says :

      No, is the short answer. Plenty of famous people have gone to jail. James Brown was chased across three states by American Police, shooting as he went, after an argument with his wife. Robert Blake (Electra Glide In Blue) went to jail after murdering his wife and who can remember the spectre of Phil Spector? Plenty of the Beach Boys got sectioned and Ringo Starr is an alcoholic. Sir Paul got done for dope smoking. Just because you are a good singer doesn’t mean you can’t be a criminal and vice versa.

  2. andrew simmons says :

    i think the problem is, there are 6 people in lostprophets, but Ian Watkins WAS lostprophets. It wouldnt matter who played bass, guitar, drums. They will always be the same, but Ians voice to me, made lostprophets. Im sat here now listening to them, and instead of singing along my minds going ‘should i really listen to them?’ because Ian watkins without the rest of the current lineup, to me anyway, would still be lostprophets. But the rest of the lineup without Ian’s voice; its not lostprophets anymore.

  3. Andrew Moore says :

    I won’t be able to listen to Lostprophets if he’s found guilty. And I’ll probably struggle to if he’s innocent as well, because as you’ve mentioned, there is a stigma and the band has been tainted. I don’t believe in ”hating the musician not the music”, because music is a direct reflection of one’s own personality and beliefs. They are almost one and the same. Whenever a LP song comes on my iTunes I have to skip over it, as the first things that pops into my head are the horrific allegations made against Ian. I wouldn’t hold it against anyone to listen to LP if they wanted to, but I’ve pretty much drawn a line beneath them in my head. I appreciate the music they’ve made and the enjoyment I’ve had out of it when I was younger, but it’s time for me to move on. Good article by the way!

    • digitalnativeuk says :

      Hmm, interesting that you’d still struggle to listen to Lostprophets even if he was found innocent. Would you not feel vindicated to be able to listen to them again, knowing that the allegations had been false all along?

      If he does turn out to be innocent, then I think the survival of the band will depend on how well he can get across the fact he was proven innocent: If he just shrinks away from the public eye, most people would probably remember his as “that paedo guy from Lostprophets” forever, but if he made a big deal out of his acquittal (and became famously known as “that guy that turned out to be innocent all along”) then perhaps the band could survive after all. Of course, time will tell; we need to know if he’s guilty or not first. I think it is very unlikely that the band will survive, but we’ll probably find out next month when he’s back in court!

      Also, thanks for the kind comment! I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  4. Hamberg says :

    I will not listen to his music, and I don’t buy for one minute that he is innocent of the charges. Baby rape? How could anyone be framed for BABY rape?! What is happening to society that people are trying to justify listening to the music of a MONSTER??? Separating a person from their job is possible, but how do you separate a person from their art?? Sick!!!

    • digitalnativeuk says :

      Hi Hamberg, thanks for the comment.

      I know you’re probably aware of this, but please note this article was written before it came to light that Watkins is alleged to have *already* raped a baby. Until this week, all we knew is that he had allegedly conspired to commit such a rape in future. Obviously if he has committed a rape already then there may be physical evidence which may prove or disprove his alleged actions, but that will soon come to light.

      Of course, the fact that one of his co-defendants has today admitted to some of the charges against her means that it “doesn’t look too good” for Watkins and the other co-defendant. But obviously a full, fair trial needs to take place.

      Interesting comment about being unable to separate someone from their art. Although I personally have not listened to much Lostprophets since the allegations first came to light, there have been a couple of occasions where their songs have popped up when my iTunes was on “Shuffle”.

      On these occasions I have sometimes listened to half the song before remembering exactly who sung it (since I have many similar bands on my playlist). I have been able to dissociate the music produced by the band from Watkins’ alleged crimes. The musical output does not necessarily reflect the vile character that may have existed beneath. The band’s music has no connotations related to child abuse (for example) as thus I am able to completely separate the art from the crimes in my mind. This isn’t through forcing myself to do so – that’s simply the way it is!

      I don’t think this makes me a bad person, it just means that my brain does not make an association between the music and the man who created it. Much in the same way that you could read a perfectly good novel by someone who was later to revealed to have committed awful crimes – a good book is a good book, irrespective of the character of the author!
      In my opinion, the same applies to Lostprophets’ music.

  5. No name says :

    So i’m not just fussy! I did the same I cant listen to them I feel sick when i do and I feel the same about BODTF I cant bring myself to buy an album of theirs no matter how much I enjoy the sound of their music I just cant. It’s a crying shame that this has happened. the rest of the band is going to suffer for these peoples selfish vile actions. I’ve grown up hearing the band and always loved 4am forever. I got their new album on deal of the day when it was released but I cant play it anymore. I hope he’s innocent but I still don’t think i’ll be able to see them the same. It’d always feel different and how could we ever know for sure he didn’t just get away with it?
    I wouldn’t condem anyone for listening to them still I mean for some people it’s going to be their absolute never live without favourite. I just cant do it anymore 😦
    I definatley wont be paying any money towards them anymore though. shame 😦
    Thanks for making me feel less crazy on a one person protest! ha!

  6. Craig G says :

    Personally, I have deleted all their albums from my I-pod. Just incase they come on at work, or loud in my car. But I still have them on my computer.
    The lost prophets album Start Something was the soundtrack to my younger days. It was released when I was 18 and everytime I hear a track from it, it reminds me of getting wasted in Amsterdam, or, playing a gig in my home town, or going out on a road trip and sleeping in a field with friends.
    In a way, those days have been ruined a little. If that makes sense??

    I do think he is guilty though. Theres obviously enough evidence to hold him. Plus he’s been on suicide watch for a few weeks now. What does that tell us?? Unless he’s being abused by other inmates….

  7. Tomu347 says :

    I have been having the same sort of dilemma in my mind as you and to be honest we should take the accusations Michael Jackson received into account, even though he was accused many times people still listened to him and he was still seen as the king of pop; so therefore i don’t see why a certain set of songs or a band should be judged by what one idiotic person has done whether it be fact or unjustified accusations.

  8. Lila says :

    I don’t listen to them much anyore anyways, but they were my all time fave band when I was a teen. I don’t see how I could just “boycott” the band even if Ian was proven guilty, as listening to their music just brings me back to my teens, good memories as well as rough times… It’s like I grew up with them, I was like 13 when Start Something came out and I was a hardcorde fan until I was around 18-19 and got into electronic music so I can’t just say I’ll never listen to them again. I remember I couldn’t believe what I was reading when I first read about it in the paper on my bus to work, still can’t. I won’t say he is guilty or innocent as i don’t know. Even though I don’t even listen to rock music anymore, I always go back to Lostprophets once in a while cause they meant so much to me when I was younger. As some have said, the band as a whole doesn’t deserve this even if Ian was proven guilty. And anyways, I’m not a teen groupie anymore, I don’t really care about band members and their lives. If I like their music, I just listen to them.

    • lee says :

      Well… its obviously a known fact that ian is guilty now.

      Great article and I’d be interested to hear your views now.

      Personally. … I’ve found myself listening to lost prophets quite a bit over the past few weeks. Firstly out of morbid curiosity to see if there anything contained within lyrics that might have been some kind of early warning sign that was perhaps missed… and then more because I realised that the music still means a great deal to me.

      I’m disgusted by Ian and his crimes, but as a collective the band produced some great music.

      I don’t buy the ian defined the band argument. I have no doubt that if ian had gone on to create solo music. .. It would have had a different sound. A much more personal approach. That’s the whole point of solo efforts after a band.

      The fact that the music is a collective effort of six people means that for me… It is still relevant in its own right – and as such I feel no guilt in listening to it.

      I’m horrified by what ian has done, and appalled At the type person he is.. and the sentence which he receives will never be enough.

      My ideal scenario would be to see the remaining band members reform with a new singer. In fact – they could use the old baking tracks and reproduce to entire back catalogue with the new lead, release the whole thing as a mega compilation and donate all back catalogue proceeds to charity. Ensuring the band can continue and Ian is almost written out is lost prophets history…… Almost.

  9. Ipsilon (@Ipsil0n1) says :

    Up until November 26, I had upheld an “innocent until proven guilty” policy — because that’s the society in which we live — and continued to listen to lostprophets. Now, though, Watkins has admitted his guilt and I find that it’s still a struggle. The band is one of my favorites — top tier — and I know that Watkins wasn’t the only member, but he’s the only singer and he wrote the lyrics, yeah (I’d have to check writing credits)? If I continue to listen, I might start to wonder if something in the material can be interpreted as an expression of his depraved activities or desires.

    What conclusions have others that have left replies here come to now that Watkins has plead guilty?

  10. Leanne says :

    Last train home just came on an old playlist I found on a flash drive and I felt so conflicted… I don’t think it should matter as there was more people in the band but it seems as if I couldn’t enjoy it as I would have before all this came out I actually felt a bit guilty as I started singing along before the memory of what he had done popped into my head and it just made me feel upset and sad… I know this is an old post but I was just wondering what other peoples views were on the situation, I mean should I feel guilty for listening to their songs? Or just see it as it is the whole bands songs and they shouldn’t have to suffer the lost of fans just because one of there members did something horrible? It’s just a confusing situation to me lol

  11. dave says :

    Well i think he should be castrated for his actions, and if he survives prison he will probably get taken out when released.
    Having said that, I will definately still listen to Lost Prophets music. And i am mentally comfortable that no matter how bad an individuals actions are, the creativity of the band when together in the studio is worth the respect. Especially as the remaining 5 members are NOT guilty.
    As i have said on another site, how do you know that another band member from a different favourite band isnt a pedo or something?
    You dont know these people, and what skeletons they posess in their massive wardrobes!
    And any fan that is deluded enough to say they know a band member because they have seen them in an interview or something needs their head checked!

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