Scott Kelly, singer of California metal band Neurosis, has shared a statement in which he admits to abusing his wife and young children, and announces his retirement from music. His bandmates have since responded to his statement with their own.
Kelly, who has fronted Neurosis for more than 30 years and collaborated extensively with Mastodon and more, said he is now “100% permanently retired from being a professional musician”.
The statement on Facebook began: “Due to recent events, I feel that I clearly need to address some rumours and set the record straight. For the past several years I have engaged in the emotional, financial, verbal and physical abuse of my wife and younger children. When I became paranoid that people were going to find out, I found ways to keep my wife and kids from work and school and created divisions with friends and family members. I became obsessed with control and used threats, manipulation, threats of self-harm and suicide, inflicted physical damage on people and their reputations all to keep that control.
“When I knew my wife was going to leave I tried to convince her and others that I was crazy, and seeing things, and that I did not know what I was doing. She tried to help me with therapy and psychiatrists. My lies and deceptions fell apart in front of the professionals. When my wife finally tried to leave, I stalked and harassed her day and night and caused her and our youngest to live in a constant state of fear. I have lied or told half truths to so many people about so much of this that I can’t keep track of them.”
Kelly added: “I don’t want to lie about any of this anymore. I love my wife to no end. She is the best person that I know. She is intensely honest, loving and good to her core. This letter is massive simplification of the irreparable damage I have caused and the unforgivable things that I’ve done to her and our kids. To say more in this public forum would not help anyone.
“As the truth has started to leak out there have been people who have tried to blame my wife for my abuse to give me an out and people who have spread ridiculous and damaging rumours about her. This is fucked. She deserves so much better. If you are adopting this mentality or spreading these rumours you need to fucking stop. I have some serious issues that I am dealing with and I have separated myself from anyone who is connected with my public life so that I can focus on my own toxic shit.”
Due to recent events, I feel that I clearly need to address some rumors and set the record straight. For the past…
The statement went on: “When my wife has been kind enough to answer questions about my absence, she has faced crazy accusations. There was a recent situation that was so fucked up that it necessitated immediate action on my part to set the record straight. My wife absolutely speaks for me in my absence and I have already said she is intensely honest. If you don’t want the truth definitely don’t ask her questions. Additionally it is never appropriate to approach or question our children.”
Kelly went on to describe being a musician and living his life on stage as “the worst decision that I could have made given the way that I am,” adding: “I have hidden behind the attention and unfounded respect and adulation. I used my social position to directly and indirectly manipulate all of you and to hide the abuse of my family. I got satisfaction from my deception and perceived control of everyone involved. I am 100% permanently retired from being a professional musician.”
The statement concluded: “Some people can be in a scene like this where there is no accountability and maintain their integrity. I cannot. My sole focus for the rest of my life is on taking care of my family, allowing them safe space to heal and rebuilding their trust. I hope putting this out there will protect my wife from further attacks and finally allow my family some peace.”
Yesterday (August 29), Kelly’s former bandmates in Neurosis shared a statement responding to his own. In it, they say they “cannot overstate the level of disgust and disappointment we feel” towards Kelly, and reveal they parted ways with the singer at the end of 2019 after learning about “severe acts of abuse committed towards his family over the previous years”.
“For the last twenty years we have lived far apart from one another and only saw Scott when meeting up to work on music or play shows. We had no idea what the reality was for his family when we were not around. By Scott’s own admission, his abuse was intentional, targeted, and a closely guarded secret – even from those of us closest to him,” the band wrote.
“Once we learned of his abuse it was difficult to reconcile the horrible information with the person we thought we knew. It’s not surprising he hid the abuse for so long because it is a betrayal of our ethics as bandmates, partners, parents, and human beings.”
The band go on to say that since parting ways professionally with Scott in 2019, they had made “numerous attempts” to contact him to have an “honest talk about the status of the band” and “find out how he and his family were doing”. They claim Kelly refused to speak to them throughout that time, and that he made his statement without consulting any of his former bandmates ahead of time.
“To us, this decision seems like another attempt at manipulation, another opportunity for his narcissism to control the narrative,” the band add. “Don’t allow Scott to make this about himself, it’s about the abuse his family has suffered. Usually, we would view public openness and honesty about mental illness as brave and even productive. We just don’t believe that is the case here.
“There is nothing brave about systematically abusing your wife and children. There is nothing brave about confessing wrongdoing when you have not done the work to change your behavior. There is nothing brave about refusing to speak honestly, or speak at all, with one’s closest friends and bandmates, people who have supported you and stuck by you for most of your life.”
The band conclude by saying that, while “compared to the impact of Scott’s actions on his family, the impact on our band pales in significance”, they acknowledge that they “also grieve for the loss of our life’s work and a legacy that was sacred to us”.
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