Prior to Brand New's official formation, in the late 1990s, Jesse Lacey, Garrett Tierney and Brian Lane were all members of the post-hardcore band The Rookie Lot, along with Brandon Reilly, Alex Dunne of Crime in Stereo. After the band's split and not playing together for a while, Lacey, Lane and Tierney started to rehearse again. They then recruited guitarist Vincent Accardi, who had been playing in a band called One Last Goodbye, since Reilly had joined The Movielife.
All four members had backgrounds linking into their local Long Island independent and hardcore music scenes, but with influences from an array of artists ranging from Buddy Rich to the Archers of Loaf. They eventually formed Brand New in 2000, in a basement in Merrick, New York. Their initial intention was always to "move outside of whatever notions they felt inclined to when they were making music as younger people." The band gained exposure in the local scene through playing shows with alternative rock contemporaries Midtown and post-hardcore bands like Glassjaw, while also self-releasing a four-song demo. They signed to Triple Crown Records just after their second-ever show.
Brand New's debut studio album Your Favorite Weapon was produced by friend of the band Mike Sapone. The album has been described as being "bitter about ex-girlfriends", with an excessive concentration on "post-breakup angst", receiving relatively positive reviews, with Allmusic awarding it three out of five and Popmatters also being favorable. It became a moderate success, selling over 50,000 copies. The record deal gave Brand New the opportunity to tour, playing alongside the likes of Taking Back Sunday and touring the UK in support of Finch, to a "great response" from the crowds.
The only single released from Your Favorite Weapon was "Jude Law and a Semester Abroad". The song has been described by Allmusic as a "semi-hit", after it received airplay on both MTV2 and Fuse.
Brand New's second studio album was written in "the year and-a-half or two years" that they were touring the material off Your Favorite Weapon. According to drummer Brian Lane, "Jesse [Lacey] wrote a lot of the lyrics about different things than 'I just broke up with my girlfriend' for the new record," as Lacey had written the songs on an acoustic guitar in his bedroom. Lane also explained that the band was now influenced by a range of different artists, "All of us got exposed to a lot of different music that all of us were listening to. For the first [album] we weren't in such close quarters for 24 hours a day. I think that has a lot to do with it." Unlike their first album, it was said that a lot of time and concentration went into making the album.
The band released Deja Entendu through Razor & Tie/Triple Crown Records in June 2003, with it being issued in Europe and Australia in October 2003. The album's title, Deja Entendu, is French for "already heard." It was explained as "very tongue-in-cheek," by singer Lacey. Elaborating on the title's meaning, he told MTV, "No matter who you are or what your band is about, you can't put a record out without people saying it's derivative of something else. So by saying the record's already been heard, it's kind of like saying, 'Yeah, you're right. We're doing something that's already been done before.'" Also reinforcing, "We're not trying to break new ground in music. We're just trying to make good music." The album was described as a "stylistic leap" from Your Favorite Weapon, with a "decidedly matured" sound. In an interview with Billboard, Lacey said that although Deja Entendu does offer a different sound, the album "doesn't seem like we're departing from anything, really. I think we always knew that we had a lot of potential and there's a lot of different stuff we were able to do, and a lot of different sounds we wanted to make. Not too long after we recorded the first record, we were already wondering where we were going to go from there."
Deja Entendu debuted at number 63 on the Billboard 200. After just seven weeks, the album's sales were at more than 51,000 copies, already closing in on the total figure of its predecessor, Your Favorite Weapon. In May 2007, four years after its release, it was certified gold for surpassing 500,000 sales in the United States, by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Deja Entendu's first single, "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows", impacted radio airplay in July 2003, a month after the album's release. The song was said to be about regret, or "How there can be problems in a relationship and they get ignored. And how that often ends up as a broken home or some kind of bad situation down the road. It's kind of something that if it wasn't overlooked in the first place, you can kind of get through it." The song's music video chronicles the moments after a severe car accident, where a mortally wounded Lacey cannot depart for the next world until he knows that his girlfriend, also injured in the crash, is safe in this one. He says it "is about death or losing someone and it's those moments that you kind of look back on your life and realize all the regrets that you had, and all the things you wish you could change". They also made a music video for the second single, "Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades," where Lacey acts like a human voodoo doll; discovering that when he moves a particular body part, it is mimicked by the target of his action. "Since the song is about taking advantage of someone else," he said, "there's a pretty strong correlation between the video and the song." Both music videos gave the band exposure in the mainstream where Your Favorite Weapon went "virtually unnoticed", with the videos finding "constant" airplay on MTV and the band making its live television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Furthermore, both singles entered the top 40 on the UK Singles Chart, whilst "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" peaked at number 37 on the Alternative Songs chart.
Three shows of the band's 24-date headlining US tour with Moneen, Senses Fail, and The Beautiful Mistake had sold out prior to even having released a single, with much of the buzz surrounding the band being produced by just word of mouth, touring and Internet message boards. Deja Entendu's success also earned them tours alongside New Found Glory, Good Charlotte, Dashboard Confessional, and Blink-182. The band went on to headline The Bamboozle festival with My Chemical Romance, Alkaline Trio, Thrice, The Starting Line, Fall Out Boy, The Bouncing Souls, Straylight Run and Flogging Molly. They also made their second trip to the UK in 2004, their first as the headline act, the tour completely sold out.
In the wake of Deja Entendu, Brand New was pegged as an act to watch in Rolling Stone's annual "Hot Issue." The band topped punk critics' year-end lists with the "genre-defying" Deja Entendu, and the album was described as a "landmark album of so-called 'emo-punk'." As a result of both the album's success and the band's notable underground following, Brand New found itself in the middle of a bidding war from record labels. At the time, Lane protested the label of "bidding war", but conceded, "There's a few labels that are definitely interested. We've been talking to a lot of people for a while and we're narrowing it down." The band eventually signed with DreamWorks Records, which was then taken over by Interscope Records.
Following their signing to Interscope, Brand New stopped touring to work on their third album and major label debut. In this time, little to no interviews or updates came from the band. In 2004, Jesse Lacey told Chart magazine that he had written a "few songs" for the next album, commenting that "the other guys love it already". He made mention of the pressure he felt with the "loads of anticipation building up on my shoulders," saying that he even felt depressed because of this; "I'm getting depressed with all of the anxiety about the album and they say I write my best stuff when I'm in that state. Great, I'll spend the next six months all depressed and the rest of band will be excited, so that some good (material) might come out. And then I have to contend with how it's received." Lacey also said that the album would "move into new territory for Brand New".
In late 2005, Brand New started recording their highly anticipated third album in Oxford, Mississippi with producer Dennis Herring, but later dropped him in favor of Mike Sapone with whom they had worked on their first album.
In January 2006, nine tracks recorded for the album were leaked to the Internet. In response to the leak, Garrett Tierney stated "I would say it did it in a good way 'cause so many people were curious to hear what we have been doing—and for the most part, the record tracks don't sound anything like the leaked demos." However, Lacey was not so upbeat when asked, saying, "For me it was different. It had me pretty down for a while. No one likes to show their creation in mid-process, and those songs weren't done. They were like blueprints. Just the plan, right? It put me in a state where I was under the impression that those songs had been wasted or something—that we had to go and write new things because those had been heard. Now, in retrospect, I want those songs to be on the album and many of them aren't, and I'm probably more to blame for that than anyone. This record already feels incomplete to me without those tracks and probably will forever."
In the following months, with Brand New doing their first tour dates in over 18 months, a few songs from the demos were performed with a full band, some were fleshed out and had new lyrics. New songs had their debut as well during the summer tour dates. Brand New began their first tour in years on June 20, 2006, where Lacey stated that the album had been completed the previous day.
Alternative Press published a preliminary date of October 10, 2006, as the album's release date, this was later corrected on the band's official website, when it was announced that the new album would be released on November 21, 2006 in North America, and the day before in Europe. Soon after, a track listing and cover art were revealed, as well as new information regarding the release of the first single – "Sowing Season". Having previously been leaked as a demo, the completed song began airing on radio on October 19, 2006, and appeared on their MySpace page a day later. According to Lacey in a radio interview from the UK (BBC Radio 1 with Zane Lowe), the title The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is taken from a conversation he had with his friend about the musician Daniel Johnston, who has bipolar disorder.
In late December 2006, an unusual video was released for the instrumental track "Untitled", also known as "-", which mainly consists of a man spray painting a wall with "evil and good are raging Inside me" and correcting it to give the album title. On January 16, 2007, "Jesus" was announced as being the next official single from the album. On January 19, the band performed the song on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. They performed it again on February 26 on the Late Show with David Letterman.
From January to June 2007, the band toured the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia, including a headline slot on the UK's Give It A Name festival and playing the main stage at The Bamboozle festival. Despite the band's reluctance towards the press around the time of the release of the album, they were featured in Alternative Press, a cover story for Rock Sound, Kerrang!, and NME. The band went on tour for the fall of 2007, with openers Thrice and MewithoutYou. In early 2008, Brand New toured Australia and New Zealand on the Big Day Out festival.
In October 2007, the band announced via their official website that a new song, entitled "(Fork and Knife)", would be released online on October 23, 2007. "(Fork and Knife)", a rerecorded version of the track formerly known as "Untitled 7" from the leaked demos, was released as a non-album digital download.
In March 2008, Brand New started their own record label, named Procrastinate! Music Traitors. The first act signed to the new label was longtime friend Kevin Devine. The first release from the label was a reissue of the 2006 Kevin Devine album, Put Your Ghost to Rest, in April 2008.
In October 2008, it was stated that Brand New was in the studio winding down their new record and were currently recording vocals. Then in December, an update on Brand New's website announced that they had been in and out of the studio since about March, with roughly fifteen tracks to choose from. The album was recorded over a 12-month period from March 2008, with the band announcing in April 2009 that they had commenced mixing with Dave Sardy and that they hoped to release their fourth studio album in the summer of 2009, with potentially, a summer tour to follow. The release date was then delayed to October 2009. Which was announced during a live performance at the 2009 Glastonbury Festival, where Brand New played two new songs, tentatively titled "Bride" and "Gasoline". The band played on the main stage at Reading and Leeds Festivals in August 2009, both performances at Reading Festival and Glastonbury Festival were filmed by the BBC however Brand New declined the BBC rights to broadcast either performance on television, or on the BBC website.
In June 2009, UK music magazine Rock Sound, claimed on their website that they had received a copy of the upcoming album, though it was, according to an image later posted by the editor, "incomplete". The site published a "tentative" track listing and reported the incomplete version that they had received to be roughly 30 minutes long.
In an interview with Kerrang!, Jesse Lacey commented on the upcoming album's content, "It's a pretty exhausting record. It's quite dense and I think some of the decisions we made don't always go in the most obvious direction. We were thinking a lot more about what we'd want to play when we were up onstage rather than actually what you'd want to hear on a record." He then questioned the future of the band, saying, "I think a lot of the record is about us trying to make decisions about how long the band should go on. When I listened back to it, I realized how many songs are about something coming to a close, or knowing when it's time to put something away and move on."
On July 7, it was announced that the album would be titled And One Head Can Never Die (to be typeset and one head can never die) and would be released through Interscope Records on September 22, 2009. However, on July 9 it was announced on the band's website that the album title had been changed to Daisy, still being released on the same day. The album's first single, "At the Bottom", was released through digital outlets on August 11, 2009. Daisy saw vocalist Jesse Lacey step back from songwriting and giving the role to guitarist Vincent Accardi along with the other members of the band.
Daisy debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 in the US, selling 46,000 records in what was their first top 20 entrance on the chart after The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me had reached number 31.
Brand New announced they would be bringing along Manchester Orchestra, Thrice, Glassjaw, Sybris, The Builders and the Butchers, and Crime in Stereo on selected/rotating dates of their headlining Fall North American tour.
On January 23, 2010, Brand New played their largest UK headline performance to date at London's Wembley Arena in front of 12,500 people. Support came from Glassjaw and Thrice.
When asked if rumours were true that Daisy would be the band's final release, Lacey replied "I don't think that will be true. It might be our last full-length record for a little while, but we've got a lot of things lined up that we want to record, so I think that will happen pretty soon." In early 2010, drummer Brian Lane stated that Brand New were unsure about how they plan to release music in the future with technology being a factor; "I don’t know if there’s a point to releasing records if they’re not physical releases, if we're going to release a lot of things digitally then I don’t see why we couldn’t release a song a week or a song a month or just put out what we like from whenever we record." Lane also discussed the way the band may release their records in the future, "We’re talking about recording another album but we don’t know whether it’s going to come out on a label or whether we just release songs in batches."
On April 28, 2010, at their show in Clifton Park, NY, it was announced that the band fulfilled their contract with Interscope Records, and were now unsigned.
On 21 November 2011 the band reissued their debut album Your Favorite Weapon with new artwork and bonus tracks.
Writing sessions for the band's fifth studio album first began in 2009, shortly after the band released Daisy, Lacey stated that the band had new material that they were looking to record, dismissing rumours that Daisy would be their last full-length album. Discussing the musical direction of the fifth album, Lacey stated that he believed Daisy "was like the end of a road" and that they would likely backtrack and explore an alternative direction to take their new music. The band were booked to enter a recording studio in April 2012, however the band ultimately used this time for personal musical projects as opposed to recording Brand New.
It was officially announced through the band's website on 19 June 2014 that the band had been writing and recording new material, as well as building their own studio.
In April 2015 it was reported that the band had sent out lyric booklets for their album The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me as part of an unfulfilled offer made nine years previously, whereby if fans sent $1 they would receive the lyrics. The booklet, titled Pogolith 000 was first teased in late 2014 on the band's website and by The Up Studio. The booklet also contained a poster alluding to the release of the band's previously unreleased Fight Off Your Demons 2005 demos on cassette tape, as well as a postcard with the words "rip 2018", sparking rumors of a possible breakup of the band. As part of Record Store Day 2015, the band rereleased their second album Deja Entendu as a limited vinyl, accompanied by Pogolith 00 a booklet containing the lyrics to the album. A standard edition, non-limited vinyl was made available on 5 May 2015. Both Pogolith 000 and Pogolith 00 were later made available at shows and through the band's online store.
At their show in Denver, Colorado on 8 April 2015 the band performed a new song listed on the band's setlist as "Don't Feel Anything", which was later titled "Mene". On 13 April, the track was made available as a free download through the band's website. A second new song "Sealed to Me" was premiered in Los Angeles, California on 15 April. The band allowed their performances at Lollapalooza in Berlin on 13 September 2015 and Austin City Limits in Austin, Texas on 3 October 2015 to be broadcast. This marked the first time the band have allowed their performance to be broadcast, with Lacey previously stating that the band were not comfortable recording their live sets. On October 11, 2015 while playing their last show of the 2015 tour at the Ryman Auditorium, Lacey told the audience that "this isn't going to last much longer". He spoke about his friendships with the band, the possibility of a new album, and that he would soon be a father.
On December 2, 2015, the band made their Leaked Demos 2006 available for the first time, releasing it on a limited edition red cassette tape with a digital download card included. The cassette was later released in black. On May 17, 2016, the band released a new single entitled "I Am a Nightmare" with a new album scheduled for release in 2016.
On July 13, 2016, the band released an EP called 3 Demos, Reworked. The EP contains re-recorded versions of 3 songs that appear on Leaked Demos 2006. On July 22, 2016, the band released a physical 7" single of Mene with the b-side "Out of Range," a previously unreleased song that had been leaked in 2010.
During the same summer, new shirt designs were revealed by the band through social media, two of which state "2000-2018". One of the designs was also projected onto the stage after the band's show on the same day at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver, increasing the amount of speculation regarding that the band may be implying a planned breakup in the year 2018. Frontman Lacy confirmed of the speculation in between songs during a set in Salt Lake City, Utah in June. He stated "We’re done. Oh yeah, we’re done, and it makes nights like this all the more special so thanks for being here."
On September 26, 2016, the band revealed that the latest album that had previous been promised to fans would not be released in 2016. The band felt that the songs on the album were incomplete and need more time to be deemed finalized. The band also announced that it would be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of "The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me," and would be playing it in its entirety the remainder of the tour. There also were more statements alluding to the band's demise: "What’s left should be a strange demise, but hopefully one as loud and as fun as the rest of our time together has been. All are invited. Please send flowers."
Brand New is most often described as alternative rock, indie, and emo. The band shares a strong interest in a wide variety of bands, from pop and rock such as The Beach Boys, Squeeze and The Cars, to more contemporary acts such as Weezer, Lifetime, Foo Fighters, Sunny Day Real Estate, Neutral Milk Hotel, Oasis, Kevin Devine, Radiohead, and the Buzzcocks. Frontman Jesse Lacey is also known for his fondness for Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, The Smiths and Morrissey.Current members
Jesse Lacey – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (2000–present)
Vincent Accardi – lead guitar, backing vocals (2000–present)
Brian Lane – drums, percussion (2000–present)
Garrett Tierney – bass guitar, backing vocals (2000–present)
Derrick Sherman – keyboards, guitars, backing vocals (2005–2013)
Your Favorite Weapon (2001)
Deja Entendu (2003)
The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me (2006)