Brand New Band Controversy & Jesse Lacey Allegations Explained

By Klein Felt Posted:
Jesse Lacey in Brand New band

After more than half a decade, there has still not been much resolution when it comes to the controversy surrounding the band Brand New and the allegations of lead singer Jesse Lacey. 

For much of the 2000s, Brand New was a staple of the pop-punk and emo scene, coming out of Long Island, New York to great success. 

However, after five full-length albums and years of touring, the group was suddenly disbanded in 2017 following scathing headlines surrounding the band members.

Breaking Down the Brand New and Jesse Lacey Controversy

Jesse Lacey in Brand New music video
Jesse Lacey

Brand New shocked the music world back in 2017, seemingly breaking up and ending one of the most beloved runs in pop-punk history. 

This came following the release of their 2017 album Science Fiction. After the LP's release, touring band member Kevin Devine announced via Facebook he would be taking a break from Brand New. 

He explained he would "be quieting down the KD world for a while" and he was "tak[ing] stock & decid[ing] what comes next:"

"The reason for saying anything in public is to share that I’ll be quieting down the KD world for a while. There will still be a handful of odd shows here & there, and a few non-tour- or proper-record-related projects, but it feels good to do something else, take stock & decide what comes next, and “go away” a bit in some core sense.

That’s it. Thanks as always & be good to each other - these are scary, brutal, psychedelic times, but you’re not alone."

The departure of the guitarist was the first public indication that the end was coming for the fan-favorite musical act.

Then in October 2017, during the Science Fiction tour, lead singer Jesse Lacey revealed, "We’re gonna be a band for about 14 more months," officially putting a timeframe on when Brand New was going to go their separate ways (per NME):

“We’re gonna be a band for about 14 more months, so thank you so much for being here tonight.”

The group never reached that 14-month window though, as things came crashing down in late 2017. 

On November 10, 2017, news broke of allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor being levied at Brand new frontman Jesse Lacey. 

Coming by way of a public Facebook post, the accusations being made said Lacey has "solicited nudes from [the poster] starting when [she] was 15 and he was 24" (via UPROXX):

"YES. He solicited nudes from me starting when I was 15 and he was 24. Manipulated the hell out of me, demanded specific poses/settings/clothing, demeaned me, and made it clear that my sexuality was the only thing I had to offer. He knew what he was doing was sh*tty so he wouldn’t touch me until I was 19. I should’ve known better by then, but he had screwed me up so much psychologically that all I wanted was his approval. It fucked me up to the point that I STILL have nightmares and wakeup in a sweat. I still breakdown and have panic attacks when people play Brand New in a bar. JESSE LACEY IS A PIECE OF SH*T."

This prompted several other women to come forward describing that they two had allegedly been groomed by Lacey. 

Soon after the allegations came to light, Martha, the band supporting Brand New on their Science Fiction tour pulled out of the remaining European dates, with the band officially postponing the rest of the tour. 

Lacey eventually issued an apology, positing he was "selfish, narcissistic, and insensitive in [his] past" (via NPR): 

 "I was selfish, narcissistic, and insensitive in my past, and there are a number of people who have had to shoulder the burden of my failures. I apologize for the hurt I have caused, and hope to be able to take the correct actions to earn forgiveness and trust."

He continued, that he was "sorry for how [he has] hurt people, mistreated them, lied, and cheated:"

"I am sorry for how I have hurt people, mistreated them, lied, and cheated. I am sorry for ignoring the way in which my position, status, and power as a member of a band affected the way people viewed me or their approach to their interactions with me. And I am sorry for how often I have not afforded women the respect, support, or honesty that they deserved."

Since these allegations came to light, Brand New has never returned to the stage together. They continue to neither confirm nor deny an official breakup.

Will Brand New Ever Get Back Together?

As it currently stands, a Brand New reunion seems highly unlikely due to all the controversy surrounding the group. 

In the court of public opinion, Jesse Lacey is still looked poorly upon for the allegations levied against him, and a resolution surrounding that situation still has - at least publicly - not come to light. 

Since their last show in 2017, multiple attempts have been made to bring the group back together on stage in some capacity, but it has yet to happen. 

In 2021, John D'Esposito, the man behind the Bamboozle musical festival, revealed on an appearance on The Wolff Den podcast that he had reached out to members of the band about potentially coming back to the stage as a part of the 2023 festival lineup. 

However, that did not happen as the band declined D'Esposito's request. 

The band's reputation as one of the most prolific and critically acclaimed emo acts of all time continues, but it is hard to deny just how much the allegations against Lacey and how everything ended with the group have negatively impacted Brand New's legacy. 

In a world full of musical acts going on hiatus and coming back for a grand return (i.e. Paramore, Sum 41, and Blink 182), a Brand New reunion does not look like it has even a remote chance of being on the cards.

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.