One of Seattle’s longest running musical success stories has come to an end amid sexual misconduct allegations leveled at The Posies singer-guitarist Ken Stringfellow.

The Posies co-founder Jon Auer said he dissolved the band in August after hearing stories from a friend about her encounters with Stringfellow, detailed in an Oct. 25 investigative story from Seattle NPR station KUOW. Stringfellow denied the accusations of physical and mental abuse, and has since been kicked out of the influential indie rock pioneer Big Star as well.

Three women who say they were victims of sexual misconduct by Stringfellow agreed to be identified and told their stories to KUOW in an attempt to help others. All said they had been in relationships with Stringfellow.

One of the women told the outlet a drunken Stringfellow forced her to have sex in a hotel men’s room shortly after a gynecological surgical procedure. Another corroborated the first woman’s story and said she was also in an abusive relationship with Stringfellow beginning in 2015. A third woman said the musician bit her arm following a show, leaving marks and bruising, and that she awoke early one morning to find him having sex with her.

Stringfellow “categorically” denied the accusations to KUOW and said he would not speak negatively about his accusers.

“I would never want to harm anyone with whom I have a relationship — sexual or otherwise,” he told KUOW in an email. “Consent has been the foundation of every sexual relationship I’ve had, and violence has never been a part of any of those relationships. It simply is not who I am as a person who respects women.”


The outlet said it interviewed 20 people for the story. That group included seven women who had been in relationships with Stringfellow and experienced no abuse — though four of those women said they received unwelcome bites from the musician and endured controlling behavior.

Auer and drummer Frankie Siragusa, who joined the band six years ago, told KUOW they quit the band in August because they believe Stringfellow’s accusers. The story described Stringfellow’s womanizing behavior over the years as habitual and well known — though often dismissed as something akin to locker room banter.

The Posies were a true Seattle success story. Auer and Stringfellow met in high school in Bellingham, began playing as an acoustic duo in 1986 and released their first album in 1988 while living in a house in the University District. They signed a major-label deal in 1989 with the same label that signed Nirvana, but offered a sound that was an antidote to grunge.

They rose to a bit of fame in the mid-1990s, landing on soundtracks and selling out shows on the indie-rock circuit for many years. The band played to sold-out Seattle crowds as recently as January and July. Auer and Stringfellow both helped revive Big Star in the 1990s and 2000s, and Stringfellow was invited to join R.E.M.’s touring band.

There were plans to play more live shows and release an album in 2022 that have now been shelved, and the band’s legacy has become much more complicated as fans process the news.

“I had a ton of tour posters hung up and framed on my walls, and lots of Posies stuff from tours on display in my house,” Siragusa told KUOW. “I took them all down.”