Can you Still Love a Song by a Monster?

Am I the only one who sometimes gets a seriously guilty-conscience urge to listen to the band Lostprophets?

For those who don’t know, they were a Welsh rock band who had a breakthrough in popularity, only to be destroyed when the lead singer turned out to be a degenerate pedophile.  Seriously, a monster. 

 

 

I give people a lot of benefit of the doubt when it comes to falling short of moral purity … but the guy pressured single-mother groupies into letting him have sex with their small children.  Repeatedly.  Bragged about it via texts.  He accepted a plea deal that got him a sentence of ONLY 29 YEARS.  How damning must the evidence have been for his lawyer to be like, “Yes, 29 years is the best we can get.  You better take it, or you will die in prison.”

I feel like it’s hard to morally justify listening to or covering Lostprophets’ creative output, in the same way that bad-boy art collectors get a rise out of society for buying paintings by Hitler.

I mean, there’s a whole band there.  And I’m not kidding when I say the band had to have been destroyed by finding out their singer was a predator, having threaded the needle of rock stardom only to have it blow up in the most ignominious way.

I wonder if, as part of his conviction or maybe breach of his record contract, the singer’s publishing rights were seized.  Or if he has an outstanding debt of reparations to his victims and their families.  In the latter case, listening to Lostprophets might actually be a blessing, if it sends money towards making right the kind of crimes that can never be made right.

Music does good in peoples’ lives.  Music saves peoples’ lives.  Can a song transcend the actions of its maker, to have an ethical weight separate from the cesspool of its origins?

Anyway, about twice a year I’m like “Damn … I really want to listen to ‘Last Train Home.’”  Dat chorus …

What works of art do you love, despite misgivings about the character of the creator?

First published July 20, 2016

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