Monday 23 October 2017

Rocker's shocking fall from grace

In a number of early interviews, the rock singer was more than happy to talk up how he regularly shunned drink and drugs.
In a number of early interviews, the rock singer was more than happy to talk up how he regularly shunned drink and drugs.

Benjamin Wright

Disgraced rock singer Ian Watkins' fall from grace has been as sudden as it has been shocking for his fans and bandmates. Lostprophets burst onto the scene in 2000 with their highly-acclaimed debut album TheFakeSoundofProgress.

Despite the LP being put together on a modest budget and issued by a small independent label, it's nu-metal stylings, catchy chorus and Watkins's poppy vocals made Lostprophets stand out among their peers.

And following rave reviews, the Welsh rockers' fanbase continued to expand.

This in turn saw them snapped up by influential management company QPrime - whose roster included rock heavyweights such as Metallica and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

A major label deal soon followed and saw the band's second album Start Something become a commercial success in 2002 both at home in the UK and the US.

Watkins' poster boy image and apparently clean-living lifestyle seemed to enhance their appeal further.

In a number of early interviews, the rock singer was more than happy to talk up how he regularly shunned drink and drugs.

And his self-crafted lothario image, which at one stage saw him date TV presenter Fearne Cotton, did no harm in helping propel Lostprophets into the mainstream.

In 2006, their third album Liberation Transmission went to number one in the UK album charts - and the first single from the LP reached number eight.

And although second single, A Town Called Hypocrisy reached the modest position of 23 - its promo video featuring Watkins as a kids TV presenter enjoyed regular airplay on music channels.

However, cracks in Watkins's life soon started to appear - with rumours emerging of him being a sex-crazed drug addict who regularly conducted seedy online sex chats with young fans.

Pictures also purporting to show Watkins engaging in a threesome with a transsexual emerged on the internet.

When a journalist from a music magazine quizzed the graphic design graduate about the images he remained coy - and suggested he had faked the photographs as well as leaked them.

Before his trial was aborted, Watkins used the same excuse of "it's been faked" when video footage of him showing him aroused and with a naked baby was found by police.

Before changing his mind at the 11th hour, the singer had stuck to a "fanciful" claim that it was not him in the video - and someone had doctored the footage.

But the prosecution said distinctive arm and neck tattoos proved the person in the video was him.

Following "expert advice" from his legal team, Watkins admitted it was him in the video - but claimed he was too high on drugs to remember exactly what happened.

His chaotic lifestyle was beginning to show on what ended up being the Lostprophets' final tour with gig goers describing the singer's behaviour as bizarre.

When news of him being charged by police broke, his bandmates spoke of their total shock.

Their website was shut down, with a brief statement saying they were "in a state of shock" and were "learning about the details of the investigation along with you" and saying all future tour dates cancelled.

And around a month before the trial was listed at Cardiff Crown Court, the remaining members of Lostprophets announced they had split up.

In a statement, the group said: "After nearly a year of coming to terms with our heartache we will no longer make or perform music as Lostprophets".

The post was signed by all members of the band except Watkins.

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