Why I Will Never Listen to Lostprophets Again

Tuesday, November 26th at 2:30 pm. That moment in time marks the start of the darkest period in the lives of thousands of young fans of rock music around the globe.

Forget about other recent celebrity child abuse scandals that have rumbled through the public consciousness, by far the most shocking and vile has penetrated deep into the sub-culture that many young people help use to define themselves. This directly affects our lives. Yesterday, Ian Watkins, singer of the multi-million selling band Lostprophets, pleaded guilty in court to a dozen counts of child abuse including the attempted rape of a baby. Childhood memories around the globe collapse into a quagmire of disgust and disbelief.

I'm typing this article as a former fan of Lostprophets. I bought all their albums on CD in an age when it is easier to get what you want for free online. 

I had Ian Watkins' face up on on my wall on numerous posters. I saw the band perform live a handful of times and was blown away by their first and last headline slot at Download 2008.

Needless to say, Lostprophets and Ian Watkins, regrettably, were a huge part of my childhood and created part of the soundtrack to my adolescent years with massive anthemic songs like 'Last Train Home'. All of that is gone now. At the news that he had changed his not guilty pleas to guilty last minute, I felt numb. I knew this was coming.

Watkins has been in jail for about a year now, I had accepted that it was very possible that he had committed the hideous crimes he was accused of. This was mere confirmation for what I had expected all along. Nothing was to prepare me for the evidence unearthed by police and computer scientists working on the case. I won't go into it here, it is too graphic and you can easily find the details elsewhere. I felt physically sick. Apathy and numbness turned to anger and disgust. Police called the case the worst example of child abuse that they had ever seen.

I vowed never to listen to Lostprophets again.

The inevitable argument that will rage on is whether it is OK to listen to Lostprophets whilst knowing that their singer is a child abusing monster. I have made my stance already very clear. This is just my opinion on that matter: No, it isn't OK whatsoever.

Is it unfair on the rest of the band? Yes. But that doesn't change the fact that their lead singer is the most prominent part of every song. It is his lyrics and the songs that he helped write you are hearing and humming along to. Listening to them on Spotify? Those are his royalties you are creating. You are listening to the voice of a man who deserves to be locked up and forgotten about for the rest of eternity.

That is his ultimate punishment.

His selfishness and vices have utterly wiped out his band's legacy overnight. No one will remember his music, only his crimes. His songs will never be played on the radio again and his albums will never be reprinted. Lostprophets was the means to which he exploited celebrity to feed his evil, poisonous crimes and that is the ultimate reason why I think it is morally wrong to listen to his music. His former friends and band mates are merely collateral damage. They are just other victims of Ian Watkins. Their livelihood and reputations have been smeared and all but destroyed. They didn't deserve any of this. If you want to support them, do them a favour and let this band fade into obscurity, so that one day they may have a chance to rebuild their own careers elsewhere. Not to be known as a member of 'that band' but as successful musicians in their own right.

Perhaps the final victims of this crime to mention are the fans who supported Ian Watkins. The ones who went to court on the very day he pleaded guilty. The ones he waved at in the gallery before his fate was sealed by justice. They have been betrayed. In a way they have lost their innocence. This is the real world. Celebrities are just regular people who are well known, and regular people occasionally turn out to be monsters. I'm lucky that I am an adult, I know more about the dark natures of humanity and I'm thankful I'm not in their position. I feel sorry for the children who idolised this man and held him as a role model. The ones who used his music to support them through their own hardships in life. The ones who he would exploit in a heartbeat to fuel his sick fantasies. Rot in hell Ian Watkins.

Words by Ian Pemberton