Jesse Lacey performing at the Metropolis Fremantle in February 2008
|Birth name||Jesse Thomas Lacey|
|Born||July 10, 1978|
|Origin||Nassau County, New York, U.S.|
Jesse Thomas Lacey (born July 10, 1978, Nassau County, New York) 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.
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. 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.
Lacey was raised in a Christian family in Long Island and regularly attended church, although Lacey has said Christianity was never forced upon him. 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". Albums by Billy Joel, Weird Al and The Big Picture by Michael W. Smith were amongst some of the first that Lacey owned.
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. He also learned how to play the trombone while participating in the church choir. 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.
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. 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".
Brand New (2000–2018)
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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". 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. In 2008, Lacey along with his Brand New bandmates cofounded the record label Procrastinate! Music Traitors.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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". In 2009, he would again contribute to the album Brother's Blood, singing on "Tomorrow's Just Too Late".
In 2013, Lacey produced the album Bubblegum. Lacey was initially nervous, as it was the first album he had produced outside of Brand New. Along with Kevin Devine, Lacey frequently appeared onstage and on tour with Manchester Orchestra.
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. At various Brand New shows in 2014 and 2015, Lacey joined support band Dinosaur Pile-Up on stage, performing their track "Nature Nurture".
Lacey and his wife Andrea released a cover of "In Spite of Ourselves", originally by John Prine in February 2015. 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.
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. 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.
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". Film, television and literature have also influenced his songwriting.
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.
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. 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.
Lacey has been described by the media as being both enigmatic and reserved. 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".
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. His father is a nurse.
Prior to forming Brand New, Lacey attended Nassau Community College on Long Island for three years, studying Child Psychology and Elementary Education. Attending school with fellow musician John Nolan, the two friends had a brief, highly publicized falling out.
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. Lacey has described fellow musician Kevin Devine as one of his best friends, as well as citing him as a musical influence.
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. 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.
With Brand New
- Your Favorite Weapon (2001)
- Deja Entendu (2003)
- The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me (2006)
- Daisy (2009)
- Science Fiction (2017)
With The Rookie Lot
- Five track demo tape (1998)
- The Rookie Lot/Yearly split 7" (1999)
|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|
|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|
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