Brand New has been one of the emo/alternative music scene’s biggest powerhouses since the release of their emotionally driven pop punk debut Your Favorite Weapon. The band had been on a dry spell of releases since the release of their fourth full-length Daisy, and fans were highly anticipating the long-awaited release of their fifth and possibly final album Science Fiction.
Science Fiction dropped unexpectedly on August 17, coming out just a day after the announcement of Brand New’s massive world tour to accompany the release of the record. Science Fiction proved to be an eclectic collection of alternative rock jams, emotional anthems, and softer ballads. The album’s accessibility garnered it a #1 spot on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums list, the highest of any Brand New record to date.
Brand New had ended their career as a band, which lead vocalist/guitarist Jesse Lacey stated would come in 2018, with a bang. They were at their highest peak as musicians and it seemed like nothing except their inevitable break-up could stop them. But that narrative failed to remain true, as Lacey has been caught up in some very serious sexual assault allegations.
Amidst the allegations of public icons in Louis C.K. and Kevin Spacey, it seemed as though some of peoples’ biggest heroes actually turned out to be villains. They used their positions of power as public figures to manipulate and violate innocent admirers who simply wanted to meet their most prominent inspirations.
Brand New fans were riding high on the band’s success and had pretty much no inclination that something like this could have ensued. Rumors began to spread that a victim had come out with sexual assault accusations towards Lacey. He had been accused of soliciting nude photos from a minor when he was 24.
Fans came together all over social media to either side with the alleged victim or with Lacey, in hopes that their biggest hero couldn’t possibly do such a heinous act. But these rumors turned out to be true, when Jesse Lacey himself came forward with a statement apologizing for his actions. Brand New subsequently cancelled the entirety of their Europe/UK tour.
This is just one incident out of many that are coming up in the scene. A mindset of rape culture has been plaguing fans and bands for years now and it needs to come to end. It is absolutely unacceptable for a musician to use his or her position as a public figure to make advancements on fans and other musicians.
The alternative music scene has been known as a safe space for musicians and fans to share their art in a community that is mindful of the ideas of inclusion, boundaries, and respect. These positive aspects of the scene are largely becoming lost in translation and people who consider themselves part of this greater community, especially women, are beginning to feel unsafe.
Let’s return to form; remember what type of people we are. We are better than rapists, and we are better than anyone who tries to take away security from this scene. We can never tolerate this behavior, no matter how much you love your favorite band.
Read Lacey’s statement below: