Yesterday I posted in the forums some thoughts about where my mind is after the Brand New allegations/statement/situation. I didn’t make it an official article or anything because the forum feels more casual, and right now I’m still working through everything, but writing helps me think.
I just thought I’d cross link it here for those that didn’t see it.
Like many of you this whole situation has been weighing on my mind the past few days. Last night was a rough one as I kept waking and working over this cluster-fuck in my mind. Those conversations with myself started with some variation of, “ok, how do I feel about this statement?” and “what does forgiveness for this look like?” and I realized I was looking at this completely wrong. I was looking for a way to forgive myself because I liked this band so much. I was looking to rationalize and compartmentalize so that I could continue on less affected. Less hurt. I was trying to make it about me, and employing every mental trick I knew to minimize the truth. As I sat here scrolling through my inbox, and now multiple accusations of improper conduct with a minor, and multiple emotionally abusive accounts, I felt sick to my stomach. No mental gymnastics I do could make those womens’ lives better. Letting myself off the hook feels like a cop out, and it feels, to me, like I’d be enabling a culture I vehemently disagree with. One I know I’ve been a part of for a long time and one I know is wrong and harmful. I haven’t been a perfect person, and for years I think that’s what drew me to this band. That “I’m a little fucked up too” vibe gave me something to crawl into and see I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. I’ve spent years trying to better myself and part of that is in coming to terms with reality as it is, not as I want to see it.
I’d never tell anyone what they need to do, but I know what I want to do. I don’t want this my life, I don’t want this in my music scene, and I don’t want to contribute to the normalization of acts like this. If we just go on, everything that happened fades to the back of everyone’s memory. There’s no accountability, and those that were hurt, some apparently as young as 14, can’t gleefully forget as they craft their end of the year lists or discuss the latest album ranking. I believe, for myself and myself alone, that I want to say this is not welcome in our music scene and that it won’t be tolerated or accepted. I can’t just put on a Brand New album and divorce what I am hearing come out of the speaker from what I know of the person singing. I can’t see his face on my wall and not, at my core, be shaken. Something has changed and there needs to be a record of that. Bands being formed today need to see that there are repercussions for abuses of power and that we aren’t going to sweep it under the rug any longer.
For the past 18 years we’ve revered this band. We’ve held them up as something special. Unique. Legends. Untouchable. And that status led to immeasurable pain for many people. People that would see a record release not as an amazing event, but one of unknowable anguish. That needs to be part of the band’s legacy now too, because it’s just as real. It happened. We need to remember it happened. So many of us have fantastic memories with this band and their music. We can keep those. Those happened just the same. Lives have been saved listening to songs from this band, moments forever captured to their soundtrack. Hold on to those, they’re yours. But I can’t keep walking forward like it’s all the same.
I grew up listening to Elvis Presley and various artists that I now know had inappropriate conduct with young women. I remember finding that out for the first time, years later, and being shocked. So young and so fucking naive about the world. I would listen to those classics and in the back of my mind rationalize it as being “so long ago,” and just of “another time.” I don’t want time to dull how I am feeling right now, I want to be able to return to these words and remember. Because we need to remember. This is not ok. This is not normal. And I don’t want to pretend it is. I don’t want to look at my end of the year list and see the band in there just like any other year. Because it’s not like any other year. Actions matter. Forgiveness, it may come, maybe, but that’s not something I know for sure and it’s not something that is soon. And my forgiveness will always be a distant second to the ones that actually matter. People were hurt and that’s a reality that will forever haunt this band’s legacy in my mind. It needs to hang there; a remembrance.
We’re all a little broken in our own unique ways, but music has always been what’s tied us together. That’s why we’re here together on this website. That’s bigger than one song, one album, or one band. Those moments will continue to exist. I don’t begrudge anyone that can immediately listen to this band’s music again, give them money, see them live, and move on immediately, but I know that’s not me. Any chance at rehabilitation is not immediate. So, that’s where I’m at right now. I’ll be posting very little news about the band in the foreseeable future unless it’s extremely newsworthy and relevant. I’m out on the music for quite a while. I’m holding on to my memories, the undeniable moments I’ve had with these records, but anything going forward will carry with it the weight of what we learned this weekend. The memory will be there, but for me, the songs won’t ever sound the same.Originally posted in the forums.