Scott Kelly, the vocalist/guitarist of highly influential post-metal band NEUROSIS, has admitted to enacting “emotional, financial, verbal and physical abuse” of his children and wife. He stated that he will be “100 percent permanently retired from being a professional musician.”
[UPDATE, August 29th, 15:30 CET] – Neurosis have issued their official statement, which states that they parted ways with Scott in 2019.
Scroll down to see the initial post from Scott.
“We cannot overstate the level of disgust and disappointment we feel for a man who we once called Brother.” – they open the statement.
“As a band, we parted ways with Scott Kelly at the end of 2019 after learning about severe acts of abuse he committed towards his family over the previous years. In the past, Scott had disclosed his marital difficulties and acts of verbal abuse, as well as his intention to get help and change his behaviors. The information we learned in 2019 made it clear Scott had crossed a line and there was no way back. We did not share this information out of respect for his wife’s direct request for privacy, and to honor the family’s wish not to let their experience become gossip in a music magazine. With Scott’s Facebook post of August 27, 2022 disclosing much of this information publicly, we can finally say what we believe needs to be said.
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.
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.
Since 2019, we have made numerous attempts to contact Scott. We wanted to have an honest talk about the status of the band and find out how he and his family were doing, but he has refused to speak with us for three years. And, in what we now see clearly to be a pattern, Scott refused to take responsibility for his actions. Having been through so much with someone for more than 35 years, one would expect some amount of closure, or at the very least a response.
Now, without returning any of the calls, texts, or e-mails of his bandmates and friends, Scott has made a public post about the situation. To us, this decision seems like another attempt at manipulation, another opportunity for his narcissism to control the narrative. 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.
Compared to the impact of Scott’s actions on his family, the impact on our band pales in significance. Nevertheless, with the heartbreak and horror we also grieve for the loss of our life’s work and a legacy that was sacred to us.
Again, our primary concern is for the safety and well-being of Scott’s wife and children, as well as anyone else in a similar situation. If someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or abuse, please reach out to one of the many local or national resources available. One national resource is: National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 www.thehotline.org
If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues that could make you a danger to yourself or others, please get help before you hurt yourself or the people you love. One resource for that is: www.988lifeline.org
This is the only statement we plan to make about this issue. In due course, when it’s appropriate, we will provide more information about our future musical endeavors, but that time is not now.”
Scott posted a brief explanation to Facebook, stating the following:
“Due to recent events, I feel that I clearly need to address some rumors 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. 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 rumors about her. This is fucked. She deserves so much better.
If you are adopting this mentality or spreading these rumors 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. 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.
I know now that choosing to live a public life and be onstage was the worst decision that I could have made given the way that I am. 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.
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.”
Kelly was a founding member of Neurosis in 1985. He recorded 12 studio albums with the band.
In 2017, after the deaths of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, Kelly openly spoked about his own struggles with mental illness and the impact that it had on his family.