Ahead of this month’s visit to Scotland, indie-folk star Conor Oberst has talked about the death of his brother and the personal impact of being falsely accused of rape.
The prolific Nebraskan, who fronts Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos and Monsters Of Folk, as well as enjoying a hugely successful solo career, was accused of sexual assault by an anonymous online commenter in 2014.
After a long period in which Oberst vehemently denied the allegations, the accuser recanted her statement, admitting it was “100% false”. Oberst accepted her apology, and dropped the libel lawsuit against her.
Now, in a new interview with Noisey, Oberst admits the allegations had a huge impact on him.
“At the time, it was like: I’ve lived 34 years on this earth, and I’m not saying I’m a great guy, but I know I’m not… I’m not violent towards anyone,” says the singer, who plays the O2 ABC Glasgow on Tuesday, 22 August. “Nothing like that would be a part of my character. And for a second, to have the whole world think that was true about me just did a number on my psyche.”
Oberst continues: “When something like that – something random and terrible – happens to you, it’s like… At this point I equate it to getting in a car crash or getting struck by lightning.
‘I don’t feel like there’s ever complete closure to something like that in the sense that you carry the psychological things with you. But everyone has some or many things like that in their life, maybe not that public or extreme. It’s one of those things where you’ve just got to go on with life.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Oberst opens up about the death of his brother.
“He basically drank himself to death,” the singer-songwriter says of the sudden death of his older brother late last year. “But everybody has so much of that stuff in their life. There’s no equivalence.
“We’re never going to understand what it’s like to be a kid in Syria, getting chemical bombed and watching their family die. That’s a level that you and I will never understand.”
Oberst released his latest solo album, Salutations, back in March.