Culture

Dylan Frost: “My Alcoholic Behaviour Has Made People Intimidated Or Feel Unsafe”

"I do not condone or in any way excuse violence against women."

Sticky Fingers frontman Dylan Frost has issued a lengthy statement addressing the allegations of abuse made against him, following an intense week of backlash surrounding the band’s comeback at Sydney festival Bad Friday last week.

In a video on Sticky Fingers’ Facebook this morning, Frost admitted he’s behaved badly in the past but denied that he’s ever “thought to abuse or attack someone based on their culture, or what they look like”.

“I admit that I have gotten into verbal fights, and at times fights with other lads over the years. That has upset the band and people in my community. These past indiscretions have probably led people to believe that the allegations against me are true. I accept that my past behaviour has contributed to people believing these false things about me, and that this behaviour is not acceptable.”

He is referring to two different incidents of alleged harassment and violence against Indigenous musicians. The incidents in question were widely reported in the Australian media in late 2016, and led to Sticky Fingers going on an indefinite hiatus. Dylan issued a short apology at the time, citing his problems with alcohol and mental health issues, but has not addressed the controversy since.

Today’s statement is the biggest admission from Frost yet that his behaviour hasn’t been acceptable. But he did not apologise for the most recent incident of alleged racist abuse, instead dismissing it as “false” and nothing but “rumours”.

The band’s performance at Bad Friday was their first Australian show since December 2016. Their last minute addition to the line-up was widely criticised, and a subsequent statement by organisers dismissing the allegations as “utter lies” only served to anger fans.

Listen, or read, Frost’s full statement below.

Sticky Fingers Frontman Dylan Frost’s Full Statement:

First of all, I need to start by making it clear that racism, and violence towards women are never okay. I’ve never even thought to abuse or attack someone based on their culture, or what they look like. And growing up as a proud Maori, it does not make any sense to me. I am wholeheartedly against racism — and so is the band, so that needs to be clear.

It’s also really important to state that I do not condone or in any way excuse violence against women. Straight up, I never have, or never will. I admit that I have gotten into verbal fights, and at times fights with other lads over the years. That has upset the band and people in my community. These past indiscretions have probably led people to believe that the allegations against me are true.

I accept that my past behaviour has contributed to people believing these false things about me, and that this behaviour is not acceptable. I also have to acknowledge that my alcoholic behaviour in the past has made people intimidated or feel unsafe around me — and I am truly sorry for this.

I know that out there, there are some people that won’t accept this, and think that I’m talking shit. I’ll have to respect that too. I have been privately contacting people who have been affected by my actions — and I acknowledge and respect their right to not reply. By no means am I trying to make this an excuse. But it’s become apparent to me over the last 12 months that I have to be honest about my experience dealing with mental health and alcohol issues, and how that’s impacted others around me.

It really upsets me to know that through a series of misinterpreted accounts of events, I’m now being seen as a symbol of something I detest — a racist, woman basher. I can be an arsehole sometimes but I’m not that much of an arsehole. I have to accept the fact that I’ve angered groups of people who have suffered from abuse themselves — that really burns me the most.

Although the rumours being spread about me are being spread across social media, they’re just not true. I also now see that ignoring them wasn’t good. My silence on social media has helped perpetuate them and led people to believe them to be true. It also made people think I didn’t care, which is far from the reality. So I’m sorry I didn’t speak out sooner. I believed that my position meant that anything I said online in response to those rumours could have accidentally triggered mass bullying towards some people. I didn’t want that, and neither did my band, so we decided to just shut up and cop it. Again, I see that wasn’t the best idea either.

In the several years leading up to when everything went a little Pete Tong, there were so many ways in which my life was rebellious, and my headspace was very turbulent…and was light years away from any manageability. And I know that rehabilitation is an ongoing process, not a box to tick. But I can guarantee that I’m committed to looking after others and myself. Part of looking after others involves keeping my temper under control. Again, this is an ongoing process but people should know that I am committed to doing better, and being better to those around me. Since going through rehab, and continuing my attendance of AA meetings, I now understand the importance of keeping a clear head.

Through this year off, some people have advised against me getting back into this hectic lifestyle. But making music with the people I have grown up with and those who have been there for me is what I cherish most. And as a band, we are sober. That is as important as our place within the community and our music.

So I just want to thank the band, our fans, our close friends and family, for all their support. Over the years we’ve received thousands of messages from fans who have gotten out of very tough times through our music. And that’s what keeps me going. But mostly I just want us to be able to focus on our music again — it’s good to be back in the studio doing what we do best. Although there is a long road to recovery ahead for me.

I hope that by fronting up to my failures and addressing my behaviour the Stickies can now move forward positively and healthily and focus on our music, our fans, and our community.

— Dylan Frost