Jesse Lacey

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Jesse Lacey
Jesse Lacey, 2008, Metropolis Fremantle.jpg
Jesse Lacey performing at the Metropolis Fremantle in February 2008
Background information
Birth nameJesse Thomas Lacey
Born (1978-07-10) July 10, 1978 (age 41)
OriginNassau County, New York, U.S.
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • bass
  • trombone
Years active1999–present
Associated acts

Jesse Thomas Lacey (born July 10, 1978, Nassau County, New York)[1] is an American musician, singer, songwriter and record producer who is best known as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the American alternative rock band Brand New.[2]

As well as fronting Brand New, Lacey has performed as a solo artist since 2004, although has not yet released any solo material, and instead performs material by Brand New, as well as covering other bands.[3] Lacey has produced and coproduced a number of records, including those by his band, Brand New, as well as Kevin Devine's "Bubblegum" and a track by Cymbals Eat Guitars. Lacey was the original bassist of Taking Back Sunday, but left the band in 2001, before any of their recorded material had been released.[4]

Early life[edit]

Lacey was raised in a Christian family in Long Island and regularly attended church, although Lacey has said Christianity was never forced upon him.[5] His parents listened to bands such as The Beatles, Steely Dan, Simon and Garfunkel and Bruce Springsteen, which Lacey has stated contributed towards both his interest and taste in music, commenting that "there was always a record playing, and good music, too".[6] Albums by Billy Joel, Weird Al and The Big Picture by Michael W. Smith were amongst some of the first that Lacey owned.[7]

Lacey attended South Shore Christian High School along with John Nolan. After Nolan convinced Lacey to learn the bass guitar, the two friends would go on to form a number of bands during their high school years, one of which was named Gudmunder Bjornsen.[8] He also learned how to play the trombone while participating in the church choir.[9] In 1998, Lacey, along with Garrett Tierney, Brian Lane and Brandon Reilly formed The Rookie Lot, who would self-release a split EP as well as a demo tape.[10]

In November 1999, Lacey formed Taking Back Sunday with guitarist Eddie Reyes; after adding Nolan to the band, Lacey moved to bass guitar. He contributed bass guitar and backing vocals to their first EP in 2001, but left the band during the recording sessions after Nolan slept with Lacey's girlfriend.[4][11] Prior to becoming a full-time musician, Lacey had a number of different jobs, including working for the clothing retailer Gap Inc., a skate and bike shop, and also spending two days working at McDonald's, before quitting after being told "sexual harassment is going to happen, so get used to it".[9]

Musical career[edit]

Brand New (2000–2018)[edit]

After The Rookie Lot split, its former members, with the exception of Reilly (who formed The Movielife), would form Brand New, recruiting Vincent Accardi as an additional guitarist.[10] After recording and releasing a number of demos, the band released their debut album Your Favorite Weapon in 2001. Lacey provided lead vocals and guitar for the album, as well as writing lyrics for all of the songs.[12]

The band toured heavily up until work began on their second album in February 2003. Influenced by his time on the road, Lacey wrote much of the album on acoustic guitar in his bedroom.[13] Seven weeks after its release, Deja Entendu had outsold Your Favorite Weapon. The album's success led the band to be engulfed in a bidding war between labels.[14]

After finishing the extensive touring and promotional cycle for their album Deja Entendu, Lacey had become unsure as to whether he even wanted to release another record. In an interview, Lacey stated that he had the realization that he no longer wished to be associated with many of the people and bands he'd met over the past years with Brand New, and he also felt as though he had no friends.[3] After writing and recording sessions in late 2004, the band became inactive. In spring 2005, Lacey became sick and subsequently underwent surgery for a number of problems.[15]

After the loss of a number of his friends and family members, Lacey and his bandmates purposely immersed themselves in it, channeling it into the songwriting with the hope of expelling it.[16] Having previously become disillusioned and uninterested in the bands and people they were previously around, Lacey found friendship in bands such as Thrice, mewithoutYou, Manchester Orchestra and Kevin Devine, remarking that they had "created a small community".[3] In later interviews, Lacey stated that the writing and recording of their third album, the critically acclaimed The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, saved the band.[17] In 2008, Lacey along with his Brand New bandmates cofounded the record label Procrastinate! Music Traitors.[18]


One of Lacey's first solo shows was on April 27, 2004 at The Downtown in Farmingdale, New York, performing a mixture of covers and songs by his band, Brand New.[19] In July 2007, Lacey and Devine would tour in the United States, with Lacey once again performing material from Brand New, as well as performing various tracks with Devine.[20]

In 2008 he once again toured with Devine, and in an interview discussed how at this point he wished only to occasionally tour and perform Brand New material solo, believing that "the songs lack meaning" without his band beside him.[3] After performing solo with Devine on December 12, 2015, Lacey was soon-after revealed to be the sixth release as part of Devine's Devinyl splits series, with his single, a cover of R.E.M.'s "Bad Day", seeing release early in 2016.[21]

Other projects[edit]

Outside of Brand New, Lacey has frequently collaborated with Kevin Devine, both in the studio and live. In 2005, Lacey was featured Kevin Devine's album Split the Country, Split the Street, providing vocals on the songs "Cotton Crush", "Afterparty", and "No One Else's Problem".[22] In 2009, he would again contribute to the album Brother's Blood, singing on "Tomorrow's Just Too Late".[citation needed]

In 2013, Lacey produced the album Bubblegum. Lacey was initially nervous, as it was the first album he had produced outside of Brand New.[23] Along with Kevin Devine, Lacey frequently appeared onstage and on tour with Manchester Orchestra.[24]

Other appearances by Lacey include contributing bass guitar to the track "Rocket" on the Intramural 2007 album This Is a Landslide, as well as providing bass and guitar on Grace Read's song "Cloak and Dagger", from her EP Young Guns.[25][26] At various Brand New shows in 2014 and 2015, Lacey joined support band Dinosaur Pile-Up on stage, performing their track "Nature Nurture".[27]

Lacey and his wife Andrea released a cover of "In Spite of Ourselves", originally by John Prine in February 2015.[28] In 2015, Lacey, along with Mike Sapone, co-produced the track "Aerobed" for the band Cymbals Eat Guitars, as part of the Devinyl Splits series, curated by Kevin Devine.[29]


Early on in his career as a musician Lacey cited bands such as Lifetime, Foo Fighters, The Cars and Pearl Jam as influences for himself and Brand New.[10] He later taped the words "Hi Moz", a reference to The Smiths frontman Morrissey, to his guitar during their performance of "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2003.[30]

Religious imagery and themes such as faith, the afterlife, the supernatural as well as moral issues are often explored in Lacey's songwriting. Lacey, however, has made it clear his songs are not, and never will be about Christianity, remarking that the band Brand New do not share the same beliefs, so to try to label the band with any one religion would be "absolutely ridiculous".[31] Film, television and literature have also influenced his songwriting.[32]

In Brand New, Lacey and his bandmates compose material separately from one another, rarely rehearsing or practicing together. Instead Lacey will often write material on an acoustic guitar, before bringing it to the rest of the band.[31][33]

During the writing and recording of the 2006 album The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, Lacey was particularly influenced by bands such as U2 and Radiohead to try writing using instruments other than the guitar.[34] During the sessions, Lacey and Devine's friendship would play a major influence on his songwriting, with him looking to write more about current events.[35]

Personal life[edit]

I’ve been a real difficult person to be around most of my life. I kinda feel real hypocritical being up here sometimes and pretending I know about stuff when the stuff I might know about, I don’t really apply to my life or nothing. I’ve had to learn a lot in the last couple of years. A lot of that has been about finding the person that meant a lot to me and getting married. Realizing what commitment is about and loving people and i’ve realized how difficult i’ve been to people, my wife and my band and my friends and probably my family. It’s hard being 37 and learning a lot of hard lessons that you should’ve learned when you were 17. But i’m learning them I guess.[36]

Lacey has been described by the media as being both enigmatic and reserved.[37] He has no public social media accounts and only occasionally gives interviews, stating in one interview that although he enjoys talking to people, he and his Brand New bandmates feel more comfortable not having to worry about interviews, photo shoots and music videos, and that "those peripheral things had nothing to do with the project we were working on".[17][38]

Lacey is the second oldest of seven siblings, one of whom is a teacher. Another one of his siblings, Cody Lacey, is in the United States Navy. His brother, Jamey Lacey plays in the band Coasta.[39] His father is a nurse.[40]

Prior to forming Brand New, Lacey attended Nassau Community College on Long Island for three years, studying Child Psychology and Elementary Education.[32][41][42] Attending school with fellow musician John Nolan, the two friends had a brief, highly publicized falling out.[43]

This would lead Lacey to write "Seventy Times 7", which appeared on Brand New's 2001 album Your Favorite Weapon, while Nolan would later write about the dispute from his perspective in the Taking Back Sunday track "There's No I in Team". Later, Lacey and his Brand New bandmates stated that the "situation cleaned itself up a lot sooner than most people thought it did", and that the situation had been blown out of proportion by fans and the media.[5][44][45] Lacey has described fellow musician Kevin Devine as one of his best friends, as well as citing him as a musical influence.[46]

Lacey has an interest in photography and graphic design, and has had a part in designing and composing artwork for a number of releases by Brand New.[47][48][49]

Lacey is married to Andrea King. They have one child, Bowie Charles Lacey.[50][51]

In late 2017, Lacey was accused of sexual misconduct by two women, who alleged the events occurred 15 years prior when they were underage and Lacey was in his mid-20s.[52][53] Lacey apologized publicly on Brand New's Facebook page and admitted to having a sex addiction in his past, which he had sought treatment for over a decade before the allegations were brought public.[54][55]


With Brand New

With The Rookie Lot

  • Five track demo tape (1998)
  • The Rookie Lot/Yearly split 7" (1999)


Year Song(s) Artist Album
2005 "Cotton Crush", "Afterparty", and "No One Else's Problem" Kevin Devine Split the Country, Split the Streets
2007 "Rocket" Intramural This Is a Landslide
2009 "Tomorrow's Just Too Late" Kevin Devine Brother's Blood
2012 "Cloak and Dagger" Grace Read Young Guns

Production discography

Year Album Artist Credits
2006 The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me Brand New Co-produced with Mike Sapone and Brand New
2009 Daisy Brand New Co-produced with Mike Sapone and Brand New
2012 Bubblegum Kevin Devine Production, bass guitar, percussion, feedback and backing vocals on "Private First Class"
2015 Devinyl Splits No. 4 Cymbals Eat Guitars Co-produced the track "Aerobed" with Mike Sapone


  1. ^ "Jesse Lacey | SecondHandSongs". Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  2. ^ Eliscue, Jenny (September 10, 2003). "Hot Band: Brand New". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Ableson, Jon (November 25, 2008). "EXCLUSIVE: KEVIN DEVINE AND JESSE LACEY" (Interview). Alter the Press. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Taking Back Sunday/Brand New Beef Is Still Hot After 15 Years". Stereogum. 2015-02-28. Retrieved 2018-01-28.
  5. ^ a b "INTERVIEW MIT BRAND NEW" (Interview). All Schools (in German). June 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  6. ^ Gaston, Peter (August 12, 2009). "Q&A: Brand New's Jesse Lacey" (Interview). Spin Magazine. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  7. ^ Tate, Jason (September 19, 2006). "Street Team Exclusive Interview". Absolute Punk. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  8. ^ Crane, Matt (May 6, 2015). "John Nolan releases high school demos with Brand New's Jesse Lacey". Alternative Press. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Lukes, Daniel (January 24, 2004). "He's a Clean Cut Boy on the Brink of Emo Superstardom, But Brand New Singer Jesse Lacey Insists He's Not Boring" (Interview)|format= requires |url= (help) (989). Kerrang!. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ a b c Tate, Jason. "Brand New". Absolute Punk. Archived from the original (Interview) on March 2, 2002. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  11. ^ "DIY". DIY. Retrieved 2018-01-28.
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  14. ^ "Billboard Bits: Brand New, Vida Blue, Kristofferson". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  15. ^ Laey, Jesse (June 27, 2005). "Hello. Or welcome back". Archived from the original on April 9, 2006. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  16. ^ "Brand New interview". Melkweg, Amsterdam: March 22, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  17. ^ a b Cummins, Luke (August 3, 2012). "AN INTERVIEW WITH JESSE LACEY OF BRAND NEW (GUELPH AUG 2012)" (Interview). Tumblr. Extreme Nonchalance. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  18. ^ Heisel, Scott (March 21, 2008). "BRAND NEW START RECORD LABEL, SIGN KEVIN DEVINE". Alternative Press. Archived from the original on September 15, 2008. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  19. ^ "WATCH: Rare 2004 Solo Set from Brand New's Jesse Lacey Surfaces". WRFF. October 3, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  20. ^ Heisel, Scott (May 31, 2007). "JESSE LACEY ANNOUNCES SOLO TOUR WITH KEVIN DEVINE". Alternative Press. Archived from the original on June 10, 2008. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  21. ^ "BRAND NEW'S JESSE LACEY IS RELEASING NEW MATERIAL WITH KEVIN DEVINE". DIY magazine. Archived from the original on December 14, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  22. ^ Kevin DevineSplit the Country, Split the Street (Media notes). Triple Crown Records. 2005. TPC 0343.
  23. ^ "Kevin Devine: A Goddamn Band Conversation with Jesse Lacey Part 1". Youtube. DIY magazine. October 14, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  24. ^ Morris, Hugh (October 7, 2012). "BAD BOOKS: 'IF IT DOESN'T WORK YOU CAN'T REALLY GET YOUR FEELINGS HURT'". DIY Magazine. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  25. ^ IntramuralThis Is A Landslide (Media notes). Slowdance Records. 2007. SLOW 030.
  26. ^ Grace Read – Young Guns (Media notes). Brookvale Records. 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  27. ^ Marshman, Chris (June 16, 2015). "LIVE: BRAND NEW/DINOSAUR PILE UP @ BROOKLYN BOWL, LONDON". Punktastic. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  28. ^ Sharp, Tyler (February 16, 2015). "Brand New's Jesse Lacey shares cover song featuring his wife". Alternative Press. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  29. ^ Joyce, Colin (October 29, 2015). "Cymbals Eat Guitars' New Single Is as Quietly Comforting as an 'Aerobed'". Spin Magazine. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  30. ^ "Jimmy Kimmel Live!". 2003. October 24, 2003. American Broadcasting Company.
  31. ^ a b "Brand New interview". Milan, Italy: Under Theory. January 27, 2007. Archived from the original (Video interview) on January 12, 2016. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  32. ^ a b "From the Long Island scene, Brand New has released two records within the last 2 years". Emotional Punk. Archived from the original (Interview) on July 29, 2003. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  33. ^ Gormely, Ian (November 20, 2009). "Brand New explain the noise". Chart Attack. Archived from the original (Interview) on November 25, 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  34. ^ Carman, Keith (January 15, 2004). "Are Brand New Becoming A Prog-Rock Band?". Chart Attack. Archived from the original on August 6, 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  35. ^ Jesse Lacey (August 5, 2007). Jesse Lacey & Kevin Devine Live, "Brothers" (Audio). Swell-O-Venue, Jackson, Mississippi. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  36. ^
  37. ^ Sharp, Tyler (October 5, 2015). "Brand New's Jesse Lacey opens "Play Crack The Sky" with heartfelt dialogue on band's past". Alternative Press. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  38. ^ Fiona McKinlay (2009-09-17). "Brand New's Jesse Lacey chats to DiS". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
  39. ^ "Brand New – Brothers LIVE at The Observatory (B-Side)" (Live performance). The Observatory, Santa Ana, California. December 10, 2013. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  40. ^ Harding, Cortney (December 11, 2006). "Is Brand New's Jesse Lacey full of it?". The Virginian-Pilot. Archived from the original (Interview) on July 22, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  41. ^ Mclaughlin, David (2010). "I've Missed Out" (Interview)|format= requires |url= (help). Kerrang! Magazine. pp. 46–47. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  42. ^ "Marvel One on One: Jesse Lacey of Brand New" (Video). Youtube. Marvel Entertainment. 14 September 2009.
  43. ^ French, Chris (August 31, 2007). "Straylight Run: Existentialist Pop". Alternative Press. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  44. ^ Dill, Kevin (June 18, 2003). "Interview with Brian of Brand New – 6.18.03". Soul In Eyes. Archived from the original on July 21, 2003. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  45. ^ Jacobson, Mark (December 13, 2004). "L.I.R.R. (Long Island Rock 'n' Roll)". New York. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  46. ^ Robson, Emma (February 12, 2007). "Raging without the bull". BBC Music. Archived from the original (Interview) on October 26, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  47. ^ Your Favorite Weapon (Media notes). Triple Crown Records, Razor & Tie, Procrastinate Music Traitors. 2011. 03152-1.
  48. ^ Daisy (Media notes). Interscope Records, Procrastinate Music Traitors. 2009. BOO13381-01.
  49. ^ "Kerrang! interviews Jesse Lacey". Give it a Name, London: Kerrang!. April 28, 2007. Archived from the original on September 15, 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  50. ^ Campbell, Rachel (February 10, 2016). "The 10 best collaborations from couples in music". Alternative Press. Archived from the original on June 7, 2017. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  51. ^ Chatterjee, Kika (January 16, 2016). "Brand New's Jesse Lacey and wife welcome newborn daughter Bowie". Alternative Press. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  52. ^ "Two Alleged Victims of Brand New's Jesse Lacey Detail Years of Sexual Exploitation of Minors - Pitchfork".
  53. ^ "Brand New Leader Jesse Lacey Accused Of Sexual Misconduct With A Minor". November 10, 2017.
  54. ^ "Brand new's Jesse Lacey releases statement on sexual misconduct allegations". Alternative Press. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  55. ^ Kreps, Daniel (November 12, 2017). "Brand New's Jesse Lacey Apologizes After Sexual Misconduct Allegations Surface". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 13, 2017.

External links[edit]