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Neurosis co-founder Scott Kelly admits to abusing his wife and children, announces retirement from music

Scott Kelly of the band Neurosis
(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)

Scott Kelly, co-founder and lead vocalist of influential San Francisco avant-garde metal band Neurosis, has announced his retirement from music after admitting abusing his wife and children.

In a statement on his personal Facebook (opens in new tab) page, Kelly – who co-founded Neurosis in 1985 – said that he had “engaged in the emotional, financial, verbal and physical abuse of my wife and younger children.”

Describing his wife as “intensely honest, loving and good to her core”, Kelly wrote: “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.

Kelly added that in light of his admission of abuse, he was “100% permanently retired from being a professional musician.”

Neurosis responded with a lengthy statement expressing their “disgust and disappointment” at their former bandmate’s behaviour, revealing that Kelly left the band in 2019.

“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.”

The band continued: “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.”

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