Opinion: Disappointing heroes

Neville Hardman is a sophomore magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.  Contact her at nhardma1@kent.edu.

Neville Hardman is a sophomore magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.  Contact her at [email protected]

Neville Hardman

As fans of music, we dedicate our time to listening to the newest singles an artist puts out and hunting tour dates religiously, then skipping work just to go to the show. We spend money on merchandise and risk concussions to leap into the crowd during our favorite song in a set.

However, that is all put in jeopardy when we learn that artists that we look up to or have looked up to in the past are not the people we thought they were.

According to Alternative Press, Steve Klein, former guitarist of New Found Glory, was charged with conduct with a minor under the age of 14 and possession of child pornography in early April.

This is extremely upsetting news, considering Klein was a founding member of the band which has been producing music since 1997. They have released seven albums and shamelessly influenced many pop-punk bands that have achieved success in the underground scene. Bands such as The Story So Far and All Time Low have even named themselves after New Found Glory’s lyrics.

Klein was asked to leave New Found Glory in December for “personal reasons,” a vague explanation, given his long history with the group. But when the allegations came out, it turns out Klein was just another artist caught abusing his fame.

There’s also Ian Watkins, former front man of Lostprophets, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for committing a number of child sex offenses throughout his career. Austin Carlile, lead singer for Of Mice and Men, was also arrested for assault last year.

These stars that people look up to, especially teenagers, can take advantage of their popularity and think it entitles them to something more, such as breaking the law. Klein and Watkins were eventually hauled into court, but the unsettling part is being unaware of how long their actions were going on before they were caught. It is even more troubling to see that they were able to wear a mask, hiding behind their fame while they continued to play shows and win fans.

Sometimes, the people we consider heroes are actually the opposite.

Sometimes, artists we admire disappoint us because we realize that beyond the fame, they are real people who make choices. And those choices are able to hurt a collection of people, specifically their band mates, their fans and a countless number of families.

New Found Glory has some ground to cover ahead, especially figuring out how their sound will work as a quartet instead of a quintet and finding remedies to restore their reputation. An incident like this can shatter the way a band is viewed by its audience, even if it shouldn’t.

One man’s choices have forced negativity and destruction on people who never deserved it and now have to work to get others to see past it.  

However, letting the public know they do not condone it is a good start to recovering credibility and winning back some trust.