Former Lostprophets members—guitarists Lee Gaze and Mike Lewis—have given their first interview regarding ex-bandmate Ian Watkins, who is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence for a plethora of disturbing child sex offenses. A former acquaintance of Watkins, Karen Ruttner, was also interviewed along with the band members.
On Watkin's drug abuse:
“At first he was sort of humble and assured us it wasn’t a problem. But later, I got the impression that he came away from that first intervention thinking, ‘Fuck those guys, they’re judging me, I can do whatever I want.’ At that point, the rest of us were all married, or very stable in our lives. I think part of the whole midlife crisis was a rebellion against the rest of us, in terms of, ‘You guys are all settling down with your wives and 2.4 children; well, I’m going to go the other way.’”
“His priority was no longer the band being successful, but more being in a band to sustain another life he had, which he seemed to enjoy more, which was sleeping around with girls and taking drugs. He was in his own world, doing his own thing. You wouldn’t really want to hang out with him unless you had to.”
On the nature of Watkins’ crimes:
“Never, within all the years of touring with Ian and knowing Ian, have I ever seen him with an underage girl, ever. It was always women over the age of 18.”
“I tried reading the judge’s report. I couldn’t even finish it. To think that somebody I grew up with, who I had been friends with my entire life, whose mother I knew, and how close our families were — to even imagine him… I find it utterly unbelievable that he was capable of doing those things. Obviously he did, but how somebody can… I don’t understand it, I’m afraid.”
“There was absolutely nothing that led us to suspect what he’d done. I think he created such a smokescreen. I hate to rely on clichés, but when you see the profile of a paedophile, he couldn’t be any further from it. He was always surrounded by all these women, so it just seemed impossible.”
On their contact with Watkins' since his sentencing:
“For the first two months he was in prison [before the guilty plea], I worried about how he was, knowing that he’s quite a weak character. He’s a bit of a coward, not a tough guy by any means. To be in prison, where he’s going to be the guy from the rock band with those charges, I was worried. But then I reached a point where real resentment set in.”
“I’ve thought about it long and hard and, no, I have no interest in ever speaking to him again. I feel incredibly bad for his mother and his whole family and the stigma they have to endure now because of what he’s done and what his actions have done to hurt many people. But I have no interest in questioning him about it. Never.”
Read the full six-page story at the Sunday Times.