I used to be a massive lostprophets fan. In high school, I would blare Start Something in my Camry most mornings, along with Switchfoot's The Beautiful Letdown and Finch's What It Is To Burn. When Liberation Transmission came out, I'm pretty sure I didn't take it out of my CD player for at least 3 months. I still catch myself singing "Can't Stop, Got a Date with Hate" at random times til this very day. Truth be told, they've influenced a lot of my heavier songwriting.
So, when the news broke about Watkins, I was stunned. Then I got sick. This is a guy who sung some of my all-time favorite songs. And now he's tarnished forever. I'm trying to decide of all their music is worthy of the same contempt. I tried watching the video for "Rooftops" last night and I just could not fucking do it.
As a few days have went by, that sickness as turned into terror. Not for Watkins or his victims (though there are plenty of emotions there, I assure you), but for the rest of lostprophets. Honestly, we have no clue at this point if they knew what he was up to. I genuinely doubt that they were entirely oblivious, but I'm sure we'll find out in time how culpable they are. Apparently he'd distanced himself from the rest of the band years ago, and there were many instances throughout his career where fans, girlfriends, etc., warned authorities about his tendencies. It's not like this came as a complete shock to anyone involved. How could it?
The reason this scares me is this: one man's actions has potentially ruined the careers of a number of highly talented individuals. As a musician, this scares the living piss out of me. You join a band with your friends, sometimes people you've just met, and you set out to play kick-ass music and take over the world. If you're good, you can do it for a living. These guys, their livelihood depended on lostprophets. And now that name is forever trashed. How do you come back from that? They'll always be known as "those guys from lostprophets". Even if they really had no clue Watkins was a sick bastard, they're always gonna carry around that stigma. Is that fair? Hell no.
We often see cases where individuals with significant power step down from organizations in response to scandals & other jacked up situations, regardless of whether or not they had anything to do with it. They might move on to other things, but they'll always wear that scarlet letter. Same with lostprophets. They'll go out, start other projects, may even be successful. But in the back of everyones' minds, they're gonna be a bit weary.
I hope, beyond all hope, that I never place a similar plight. It sucks majorly that one of my favorite childhood bands is, for all intents and purposes, dead. And my heart goes out to anyone who has been hurt by Watkins. But I can't help but feel like his bandmates are entirely overlooked victims of his crimes. They'll suffer in silent, and hopefully keep on doing what they're good at. What else can they do?
Oh well. At least we still have one badass band from the U.K. that can do no wrong.
This makes me wanna throw out my back attempting a spinkick.