Before Brand New, he played in The Rookie Lot, featuring fellow Brand New bassist Garrett Tierney and drummer Brian Lane, as well as future Movielife member Brandon Reilly. Previous to this, he had a short spell in Taking Back Sunday where he played bass and backing vocals on old records. Two notable songs he features on are: "Go On" and "Summer Stars" from the band's self-titled EP. Jesse Lacey has close ties with fellow Long Island musician John Nolan. Lacey attended South Shore Christian School with Nolan, a current member of Taking Back Sunday (as of March '10) and founding member of his former band Straylight Run. The two had a brief falling out after Lacey's girlfriend cheated on him with Nolan.
In a later phone conversation, Lacey allegedly spoke the words "Is that what you call tact? You're as subtle as a brick in the small of my back, so let's end this call and end this conversation." This line became the opening salvo (as it later ending up in the Brand New song "Seventy Times Seven") in a series of insults delivered at each other through songs by their respective bands. After another confrontation involving Taking Back Sunday frontman Adam Lazzara, the three were eventually able to mend their friendship. As a result TBS, Brand New and Straylight Run are often known to tour together and to combine each other's songs to form a medley, and Lacey has previously appeared on stage during a Straylight Run tour. Jesse Lacey has been featured in Kevin Devine's "Cotton Crush", "After Party", and "No One Else's Problem" off the 2005 album Split the Country, Split the Street. In 2007, Lacey did a solo tour of thirteen shows with Kevin Devine and special guest Grace Read.
During the summer of 2008 Jesse Lacey toured with Kevin Devine again, also featuring Brian Bonz. Jesse has been known to play a Fender Telecaster, a Rickenbacker 360, numerous Fender Jazzmasters, and more recently, a Fender Mustang . In 2007, Lacey played bass on the song "Rocket" (featuring T.J. from Men, Women & Children) on the album This Is a Landslide by the band Intramural. He is a well-known fan of Morrissey and The Smiths. He has name dropped both of them in the song "Mix Tape" on Brand New's debut album Your Favorite Weapon. Lacey's lyrical style has been compared to Morrissey's.
Lacey had also taped the words "Hi Moz" to his guitar in a television appearance. He is also a fan of the band Neutral Milk Hotel. He has stated in various interviews that Neutral Milk Hotel's second LP, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is the most beautiful record ever written. He has also stated in recent interviews that his current friend, Kevin Devine, is his number one inspiration.
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