Indie Band the Posies Break Up Amid Sexual Misconduct Claims

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The Posies, via their Facebook page. Ken Stringfellow is at center

The American power pop group the Posies is disbanding amid serious sexual misconduct allegations against co-founder Ken Stringfellow. The news follows a series of interviews by Seattle’s KUOW-FM with women who accused the musician of a sustained pattern of abusive behavior. In the October 25, 2021 story, the radio station quoted many of Stringfellow’s alleged victims. (Note: The story contains numerous depictions of sexual violence.)

Songwriters Stringfellow and Jon Auer formed the Posies in 1987 in Bellingham, Wash., first as an acoustic duo and soon as a four-piece. After signing to a major label, the band became best known for songs like “Golden Blunders,” “Dream All Day,” “Solar Sister” and “Flavor of the Month.” In 2015, tragedy struck when drummer Darius Minwalla died suddenly in his home from unknown causes, and not even a year later, bassist Joe Skyward passed away after a battle with cancer.

Stringfellow responded to the allegations in an email to KUOW. “I have never been into anything kinky, into anything rough,” he wrote. “I experienced extreme violence firsthand as a teen. I’m sensitive to aggression, and it’s not something I can be around. I am not down with violence. I don’t want to hurt anyone, ever.”

One of the 20 people that the station interviewed for the story was Stringfellow’s ex-wife, Kim Warnick. “He never put a hand on me, but at the end of the day, it was horrible – what I had to deal with because of all his infidelities,” she said. “Never ever marry a man for his voice.”

When Auer, the band’s co-founder, heard about the allegations against Stringfellow he ended their relationship. “I confronted Ken about it on a phone call on Aug 4, 2021, and cancelled our upcoming shows, and flat-out told him that I wouldn’t be working with him anymore,” Auer told KUOW.

Frankie Siragusa, the Posies’ drummer since 2015, has also left the band. He posted the KUOW article on his Facebook page, writing simply, “Gutted.”

Beginning in 1993, Stringfellow and Auer performed with Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens for an ongoing reunion of Big Star. During that time, Stringfellow also performed on numerous tours with R.E.M., and appears on several of their albums.

The Posies’ final album was 2016’s Solid States, which the band described as their most adventurous yet, a creative milestone that reaffirms the chemistry between the band’s two principal songwriters, Stringfellow and Auer.

“So many things have changed, either by choice or by circumstance, in the six years between this album and the one before it,” Stringfellow said at the time. “We’ve had two bandmates die, a divorce and remarriage, a transoceanic move… There’s been good things and difficult things, but nothing is in the same place for us. So it makes sense that this record would sound different from its predecessors.”

Stringfellow turns 53 on October 30.

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