Ex-Lostprophets Bassist Recalls Fist Fight With Ian Watkins at Warped Tour
The Lostprophets run concluded when singer Ian Watkins was brought up on child sex crimes and later charged to serve 35 years in prison. During a recent appearance on the 'Sappenin' Podcast With Sean Smith, ex-Lostprophets bassist Stuart Richardson offered one of the most open and telling accounts of the experience of their split.
During the chat, Richardson details the growing divide between the band and their singer and reiterates that the rest of the group did not know of his criminal behavior beyond that he had a drug problem. The bassist also recounts his own physical altercation with Watkins after a missed Warped Tour show following the singer's drug relapse.
“I don’t think many people know this, but before the band broke up. There was a show on Warped Tour … towards the end of 2009 to 2011 we realized Ian had a depressingly sad drug addiction," recalled Richardson (as transcribed by ThePrp). "It just snuck up on us. Because unfortunately we were living in L.A. and he was living back home [in Wales.] We didn’t see him fucking nine months of the year. And we realized how bad it was and we had an intervention with him. And we said ‘Look, if you don’t clean up your act, you’re fucking out. This band is done.’ So [in] 2012, finally he got his shit together, and we went on Warped Tour and he was sober and he was singing better than he’d ever sung in his life.”
While Watkins had gone to rehab and was doing well, he slipped away one day while out on the road, forcing the group to ask for a later set time so that he could make it back for the show. But Watkins was unable to return in time, leaving bandmate Jamie Oliver to step up and lead the group through their set.
Richardson recalled, "I come off the stage, fucking livid. Go on the bus, Ian's on the bus. And I’m like ‘nice one.’ And he gives me some shit. And I black the fuck out and I’m laying punches into his face. I’m not fucking proud of it. But I’m laying punches into his face for 10 seconds or 10 minutes. I don’t know. And I’m a big boy compared to him, so I’m not proud of this. And then he gives me this fucking look after I hit him."
He continued, "I had this can of Monster Energy in my hand and I smashed this fucking can into his head. And I’m like ‘fuck,' I go outside and puke. And for the next three weeks he’s like black eyes, cut on his face and I’m like feeling fucking horrible about the whole thing. And that’s what I did when he missed a show.”
As for learning about Watkins' far more serious issues, Richardson says, “We didn’t know. Some people were telling us, they were giving us tweets [about Ian's behavior,] telling us." He went on to add, “It’s like look, we don’t know what’s going on right now either. We’re literally figuring this out with you.”
The bassist says upon the news becoming public, there were death threats online and press started showing up to his house. He added that he eventually had to go to his children's school to explain that he had no knowledge of what Watkins had been doing.
“I think we felt at the time, considering what was happening, fuck our feelings. Because we’re not really the victims in this right now. Even if we are victims… because you gotta remember that was our livelihoods. That was our pension. That was everything for us. That was our income, our only source of income. It was our nest egg. It was everything. We worked 20 years in bands doing that thing, this was the thing which you worked towards to build something so you can have better lives in the future," said Richardson.
He added, "Imagine you had a job and then someone immediately stopped your job, stopped all your payments and then took away all your money you had for your future. And everyone’s like ‘Fuck ’em, they knew [about Ian.] You’re like ‘oh my god.’ You have no idea what we lost. We would never like… I’m still dealing with that today. I’m trying to figure out what to do next…”
The bassist says that the experience taught him who his true friends were, as some distanced themselves after Watkins' actions. Meanwhile, musically, he and his bandmates wanted to move on as quickly as possible, forming No Devotion with Thursday's Geoff Rickley singing.
“We didn’t catch our breath after the whole thing went down with Ian. So I was like, well ‘fuck if that’s gonna be the thing [Ian‘s crimes] that’s on my fucking gravestone.’ Like ‘oh that guy was in that band with that fucking prick.’ You know what I mean? It’s like fuck that. I’m gonna do my own band immediately.”
These days, Richardson says he's primarily involved in studio work, while also serving as the touring bassist for Thursday. No Devotion are still active, with a new album in the works and about eight songs done with release plans still being worked out.
To hear more of Richardson's interview, check out the 'Sappenin' Podcast With Sean Smith below.