Lostprophets: have paedophilia allegations destroyed their legacy?

As Ian Watkins awaits trial at Cardiff Magistrates Court, the Lostprophets' future might already be written

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Posted 23rd December 2012 in Features & Reviews, Lostprophets
Lostprophets: have paedophilia allegations destroyed their legacy?

The Lostprophets and their fans were rocked this week when Ian Watkins was arrested and charged by police on child sex offences.

What was once the sound of chart-friendly metal for the masses had been tainted – in one moment – by terrible allegations. And given the band's more commercial rock sound, radio stations were quick to remove the band’s songs from their playlists until more information was known.

The Lostprophets had always been quietly successful, selling 3.5 million albums worldwide and achieving successes most Welsh bands could only dream of. From 'Start Something' to 'The Betrayed' onwards, the boys earned top 10 albums through to this year’s 'Weapons'. The band’s image of cocky rebellion was never offensive and never outrageous; Ian, Lee, Mike, Stuart, Jamie and Luke were as mainstream as rock musicians could be. Which is why these allegations are so necrotising to the band’s image.

Where could the band go from this point if the charges are true? Fans and critics would pore over every lyric, every note trying to find clues in the music; songs like 'Last Train Home,' 'Where We Belong' and 'Last Summer' could become as toxic as Ian’s public image. Radio and television stations would never put them back into circulation, even with a new lead singer at the helm of the band.

And if the charges Ian are false, we’ve seen before that it can be hard to shake such a monstrous image. Teacher Chris Jeffries is still plagued by the effects of his own demonization in the tabloids long after he was proven innocent of Joanna Yeates' murder. If exonerated, Ian could face public scorn purely on the stigma of child and animal pornography alone.

For the five 'prophets' learning about this with the rest of the world, it’s a sad destruction of everything they worked hard to achieve. Everything the Lostprophets were might be lost forever.