music is life, music is breath, music is us

When the music stops and the musician creates chaos

It is always a shock to hear when a musician you love is involved in despicable acts. It is nothing new for groups/individuals in music to create scandal (remember Michael Jackson? Tommy Lee? Phil Spector?), but when it happens, and it is someone you care about, how do you react? Such a concept poses an interesting question currently to fan of bands like As I Lay Dying (see here http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/christian-metalcore-band-as-i-lay-dying-singer-tim-lambesis-arrested-for-hiring-expoliceman-to-murder-his-wife-8607002.html ) and the lostprophets (see here http://news.sky.com/story/1063085/lostprophets-ian-watkins-faces-summer-trial ).

The lostprophets have been a band that have accompanied me throughout the years, and were always there for me whenever my teen years dealt me a massive blow. Not too long ago, I Googled the band to see how my old Welsh comrades (I am Welsh descent btw) were doing. Instead of the usual affair of new singles, band lineup changes etc.,  I was met with something far worse. The lead singer Ian Watkins, a man I had sung the line “wake up wake up it’s time to make a move” with over and over, had been charged with heinous acts that included intention to commit pedophilic acts and other things I quite frankly do not want to repeat here. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. “No” I said, “that can’t be THE Ian Watkins.” Sure enough it was. My world went crashing down. You have to understand, the music of the lostprophets was present at some very pivotal times in my teenage years, and now at age 22 I can still use their music to take me into a moment of emotional clarity. Was everything I felt throughout the years a lie? Of course not. There are numerous other band members who had nothing to do with this.

The internet seems divided over this, with the media either reporting or crucifying Watkins, and fans giving a huge vocalization of support. I take a neutral view, even with my emotional ties to the band. While the trial has yet to commence, I doubt even if he is proven innocent Watkins will return to the lostprophets. If he is guilty, then he deserves the strong hand of the law.

 I don’t care if I am a fan.

I don’t care if I have history and memories tied into his song writing.

If Ian Watkins in fact is guilty of these despicable acts, he deserves everything that comes to him.

If convicted, fans will have to wrestle with the moral question of, “should I listen to this music anymore?” Here are my two-cents. As I have stated before, Ian Watkins is one person, lostprophets is made up of tons more individuals than that. More than anything else, we didn’t know what was going on in Ian’s head while listening to “Last Train Home,” but we knew that the song mended our broken hearts, and gave us the courage to love again. I will always listen to the lostprophets, perhaps out of selfishness, but I can’t be asked to give away my memories if there is a guilty verdict. Individuals such as Phil Spector are still lauded for their contributions to music (Spector created the “wall of sound“ recording technique), and yet they were convicted of heinous crimes. My memories will not be tainted, even though the music may have gone sour for a while. I think about all involved in this, all hurt by this, and I wish for the best outcome, whatever that may be.

What do I know; I’m just a listener of music.

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6 responses

  1. Peter Murphy. ‘Nuff said. 😦

    May 9, 2013 at 10:01 am

  2. This is a great topic.
    It’s weird how we react when we find out they’ve done something awful, we get into this denial, as if we knew them personally.

    As you said the music goes sour for a while. In the end though, great music is still great music even if the composer sucks as a person, I think. Plus, what matters in the end is what a good piece of music means to listeners individually.

    May 10, 2013 at 11:06 pm

  3. mikeslayen

    Great Topic Derek! I go through this to a way lesser degree with Van Halen…where you never really hear anything good about Eddie Van Halen personally. Then there is the Pete Townshend thing, although I was never a huge Who fan…I never listened to the music different but looked at him different…even though I think he has allegedly made a case for this. MJ talented as heck but definitely suspicious I still listen. I guess it would be case by case decision. If it made me uncomfortable to listen that would be the bottom line….but like you said there are so many other factors/band members/etc. Now that I think of it…the Naked Gun movies with OJ..his Nordberg character was never funny again to me after his exploits…

    May 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    • Yeah man I hear you with EVH. He was a hero for me as a younger teen, but broke my heart when I found out all the nasty bits. It is something every music fan has to deal with I think.

      May 13, 2013 at 7:37 pm

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