Vice vs. Voice


watkins

The views expressed within this article are not that of the paper or the author, merely something to think about.

Lost Prophets were by no means a world changing band but their fan base was huge and they were at the forefront in a shift of popularity for the ‘nu-metal’ genre in the late 90’s early 00’s. ‘Thefakesoundofprogess’ was an album that provided a franticly energetic, intrinsically UK twist on nu-metals ever growing sound. Songs like ‘Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja’ and ‘Fake Sound Of Progress’ serving up riffs that are hard to forget.

The later years saw the band like many others associated with the nu-metal label inch away from that cringe inducing title, their progression was met with critical acclaim and plaudit when they settled into a poppier sound with songs like ‘Last Train Home’ and ‘Rooftops’.

Ian Watkins, his name was recently the latest hot topic of discussion when his heinous private life was made public knowledge. His crimes are unthinkable and disgusting and have left many shocked and numb due to their extreme nature. Understandably many now believe that his past body of work should be boycotted, that in continuing to listen to his music would in some way be supporting his actions, or that hidden in the lyrics may be messages that would encourage others to follow in his footsteps. Lost Prophets’ fan base were faced with a choice, do they give up a possibly quite large portion of their musical heritage, songs and albums spanning a decade, shaping their formative years and possibly an introduction to their current taste in music? Or do they accept it for what it is and be ever fearful that someone will notice that Lost Prophets still have a place on their iPod?

We have had many rock and pop icons before whose actions have been condemnable, it is not particularly surprising that these people are in fact human and just as vile and disgusting as the rest of us, maybe more so due to their easy access to excess. But Michael Jackson’s status as the king of pop was never questioned, Kurt Cobain never stopped being the poster boy for grunge and Jimi Hendrix is still the most revolutionary man to pick up a guitar. So Jackson’s alleged paedophilia and proven lunacy, Cobain’s suicide and heroin addiction and Hendrix’s substance abuse and drunken rages are not crimes worthy of a boycott? Obviously they are not as perverse or deranged but nor are they role models.

At what point does an artist’s behaviour cancel out their creative merit? There is very little argument to back up the point that Lost Prophets contribution is in any way comparable, but a boycott on their music altogether seems a little harsh, based on the back of the argument ‘that they just weren’t that good anyway’. For most never listening to Lost Prophets again will not be much of a stretch, in fact it will be exactly the same as before. For others saying goodbye to these songs and albums could be a much harder parting, just how harsh should we be in our judgement of those individuals if they fail to make that cull? What precisely are we saying if we do make that judgement? It’s an inflammatory subject and with Watkins’ case at least it is very hard to separate the sins of that sick piece of shit from the music. But separating art from artist has been done in the past, it will be done again in the future, personally I will be judging anyone who chooses to still listen to Lost Prophets exactly as I did before, as someone with a poor taste in music.

Words by Matt Miles

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