It's a year to the day since the gig that turned Jered Threatin's life around, and he's returned to the scene for an anniversary celebration.
It's been a year in which many hoped they'd never hear the name Jered Theatin ever again.
But he's back.
Let's rewind: On November 1 last year, Threatin played a show at The Underworld in London. By anyone's standards, it was badly attended.
"What happened to the 291 advanced ticket sales your agent said you’d sold?", the venue posted on Threatin's Facebook wall. “Three people turned up. Please don’t lie about ticket sales, and please don’t contact us again for a show."
It was just the beginning of the debacle. The same happened at The Exchange in Bristol, where a reported 180 advance tickets were sold, but the only people to attend were those on the guest list for the support band.
It went on. A show at Belfast’s Empire Music Hall was pulled by the venue. Guitarist Joe Prunera and drummer Dane Davis quit the band and flew home to the US, with Davis telling Classic Rock, "I don't even know what's true, what’s false. I'm in the same boat as everyone else on this."
The apparent subterfuge ran deep, with a network of websites set up to support claims of the band's popularity. But it didn't look right: the sites associated with Threatin, his manager, booking agent, press agent and record label were all registered at the same domain registrar, while the two news sites carrying favourable reviews – Top Rock Press and New York Music Review – were registered within three days of each other. Today, neither site is online.
The news travelled around the world. Stories ran in The New York Times and The Guardian, in The Daily Telegraph and on The BBC.
Threatin? He remained pretty quiet, eventually addressing the fallout with a single tweet: "What is Fake News?", he wrote. "I turned an empty room into an international headline. If you are reading this, you are part of the illusion."
And now he's back. Back at The Underworld. Back playing to an empty room.
A black sheet stretches across the front of the stage, concealing what lies behind from a small, curious group of onlookers, and a sizeable team of men with professional video equipment.
The PA crackles into life, and an audio collage is played, with samples of news broadcasts about the singer cut together in rapidfire fashion. "He has made himself more famous than anyone else in rock music right now", says one disembodied voice. "This guy's an absolute genius," asserts another. "Jered's done an outstanding job," states Donald Trump.
The music starts. It's the recorded version of Threatin's Impulse. And the curtain drops to reveal… three mannequins. With bald heads, "Fake Band" t-shirts and guitars slung over plastic shoulders, they rotate eerily from left to right and back again. As Fade Into Never kicks in they're joined by the real band, wearing "I'm Not Real" shirts.
Some of it's unintentionally comical. Jered gets his hair caught up in his bassist's tuning pegs, and then his own. At one point the backdrop begins to topple, and someone has to scurry on to provide running repairs. One of the mannequins begins to fall apart.
Some of it's plain weird. There are entire songs where Jered mimes the vocal, despite no singing being broadcast through the PA. Other times singing can be heard, but it's on tape, and Jered holds the mic up to one of the mannequin's mouths. He brings a blow-up doll onto the stage, which is wearing a BBC News t-shirt, and makes it fellate him before tossing it aside.
Some of it's good. Threatin can certainly play guitar, and his voice – when he chooses to actually sing – is distinctive.
At the end, Living Is Dying plays over the sound system. Jered brings out a picture frame – like the one in his promo shots – and puts it around his face, before throwing it to one side and proceeding to lay waste to the set. He pulls the Threatin banners down, dismantles the drum kit, then tears off a couple of dummy heads and offers them to people in the audience.
More than anything is, this is an odd experience. Bewildering, even. And that's probably what Threatin wants. If he throws enough curveballs that the audience never expects greatness, then he never has to be great. He just has to be there. Every misstep or moment of mediocrity can be absorbed into the act, where it's no more or less weird than whatever else is going on. And while it's an approach that's never going to fill rooms, it does make for an interesting night out.
It's also a sad experience. While the hired hands look like they're enjoying themselves onstage, Threatin does not. If anything, he looks lonely up there. This could, of course, be part of the Threatin mask, as if any show of enjoyment would somehow debase the art. But as his eyes flicker around the empty room and the audience slowly drifts away, you're obliged to ask yourself if this is what he really, really wants.
Jered Threatin: the ultimate interview
When Threatin hit the headlines last November, we contacted Jered for an interview, but heard nothing back. We did speak to one of the touring musicians he hired, however. In the meantime, there have been Rolling Stone features and BBC investigations seeking to uncover the truth about what happened, and find out more about the self-styled rockstar.
The week of the Underworld show, Jered emailed to suggest an interview while he was in London. We met him for a coffee to see where his head was at, one year on.
As with previous interviews, he was there with his wife, Kelsey, who has played her own part in the saga, and set a dictaphone on the table to record our conversation.
I was at your Underworld show on Friday, which was pretty insane! I don’t think I’ve seen a show like that before.
That’s what I was aiming for. I was aiming for uncomfortable, I hope that’s how it came across.
Tell me about the show.
Well, it was more conceptual than a concert, obviously. It was designed to make headlines and really walk the audience, but you fucking people would not leave. So it did what it was supposed to do, for sure.
I designed it and kind of made it like a three-act play, so I told a story. I was there for the camera, so I didn’t care what anything else was about. If there was one person with a camera, you can play to hundreds of thousands of people online. So that’s what I’m aiming at. I’m playing to the cameras, and I was creating a storyline for the cameras. Everything else was irrelevant to me.
You came on with the dummies onstage actually before you came on… so what was the idea behind that?
I don’t know how far I wanna go into explaining what the artist intent is, because I feel like that always kind of takes away from the viewer’s perception of it. I don’t want to ruin your perception of it, more than anything.
I always feel like that’s a cop-out answer when anyone says that.
You can see there’s intent there, clearly, clearly. I tried to walk you in as deep as I could into, ‘Is this guy even here? Is he showing up? Are we going to watch these fucking mannequins this whole show? Now I come out, and like I said, it was designed to walk an audience. Is this guy gonna fucking sing? Now he’s not singing? I took it as far as I could go with that. And then of course it ends up as a regular concert around acting for a little while. But yeah, it was more performance art than concept. I’m not out trying to do the normal musician thing.
What was the word you said earlier… you were aiming for it to be awkward?
I was aiming for uncomfortable.
Uncomfortable, that was the word, yeah.
I could have walked out and halfway through the first song started singing, and it would have been less, ‘How long is he going to fucking do this’, same thing. With everything that I did, I walked through it longer than an audience member would want to watch it. So that’s what I was aiming for.
So you were aiming for that feeling, and you said you thought people would leave as well.
I was hoping they would. I thought it would be funnier if I could clear the room. I’ve seen comedians do it, but I’ve never seen a musician do it. I’m not out trying to be a stereotypical musician, that’s the last fucking thing I want. I’m out to be the fucking crazy, weird guy. So nobody’s ever walked an audience at a live concert, so I was aiming at that. But nobody would fucking leave. [laughs]
If it helps, a guy next to me said, ‘I’m bored now’, and left. If that makes you feel any better.
Good, good, good, I was aiming for that.
How did the gig get arranged? Did you arrange it with the Underworld or did they contact you after last year?
They contacted me. They actually contacted me within the first week of all that blowing up last year. And I knew that this story needed an ending, and a full arc, so that’s why we did the one-year anniversary. I pitched back to him and just said, ‘I’ll come back on the one-year anniversary and do it’. And they said, ‘We think that’s a great idea, let’s do it.’
You mentioned you were performing for the cameras, and I could see you had a camera crew of four people. And they all had professional equipment, so it’s obviously something you’re taking very seriously. Tell me about this documentary – is it coming from you? Is it coming from an outside position?
See, the thing everybody doesn’t understand about the stunt last year is the point of that was the documentary. We filmed everything nine months in advance of that. So I started filming how I was doing the stunt, what I was going to do. We filmed the auditions, rehearsals, every show, the travelling, all of that got captured.
So when everybody goes, ‘Why did you do that?’ I’m doing a film project here. This is art to me. We always had the intent it was going to be a documentary. And it ended up as soon as everything got as big as it did, I started getting offers from film companies and things like that.
I’ve since done a deal with the Gotham Group, which is the producers of the Maze Runner franchise. They got in touch and said, ‘Hey, we want to do a feature film, and we hear you’re doing a documentary, can we team up with you on that?’ So I signed a two-film deal with them. So it’s not entirely my project any more but yeah, it’ll reach a wider audience.
[The feature film] is completely out of my hands. I don’t know who the actors are going to be, or what’s gonna happen, or when that’s gonna happen. Things like that are gonna take probably five years to make. It’s sensitive, a major motion picture, things like that, so I don’t know, I’ve just got to kind of sit back and wait on that one, but I know the documentary’s coming out soon.
[Note: we reached out to the Gotham Group to confirm Threatin's story, but at the time of publication have had no response].
Interesting. So the real one, and then the fake one!
Sure. Yeah I don’t know what the feature film will be like, it’ll be interesting.
How seriously do you take the music side of it?
Very. I grew up in the music scene, so I mean the music I take seriously. The music industry, I do not take seriously. Like these people who think they’re booking agents or they’re a label or anything, this is shit I created in a day and I can do the same thing. One thing that wasn’t really talked about too much was I created a label, got worldwide distribution in a fucking afternoon, you know, it’s like… I don’t take it seriously. If I can show up in an hour and recreate what you’ve spent years building… I can do it myself.
You mentioned as well that you were doing this as performance art, and it’s not the first thing you’ve done. What kind of things have you done in the past?
This is actually not the first stunt that I’ve done, it’s the first one that’s caught on, but there’s iterations of this that I have done in the past. Different things that again will probably be covered a little bit more in the documentary.
Like, I had created a journalist character. And in order for me to understand, ‘Here’s how articles get published, here’s the process of how it gets published, who you have to go through’, those kinds of things, I created that kind of character, did that, did some actual interviews and then went and tried to pitch them to places and see if I could get it published, which I did.
So this is before Threatin, interviewing bands.
Yeah, this is me kind of doing research. Everything I do I’m kind of meticulous about researching and finding how it’s going to work, and everything like that.
Did you interview real bands or fictional?
I actually interviewed a few notable people.
Where did you get them published? I want to read them.
It’s going to be in the documentary. A news site gave me access into their thing and it was just, it was very weird. They actually gave me full access into their website, gave me a login so I could log in to all this stuff, it’s so easy. But again like, what you can do with social media and the internet, I could create anything. I could create any kind of business and sell it to you in an afternoon, just manipulating the right social media numbers and giving it the right image.
Not even just music, with anything. So the bigger picture here is, everyone should be questioning everything they see in the digital world, and they really don’t. Like I could convince you that I’m some teledoctor. I could create that, where it’s just like, ‘Call here and get this diagnosis and blah blah blah, and that’s starting in the US. I could create that in an afternoon. It’s just easy. So… yeah. I think that’s the bigger picture.
What’s more important to you. Is it this exploration of image-crafting, or is it rock music?
A little bit of both. I did the straight musician thing for years, and got really disenchanted with it and really bored with it. So this is really just an amalgamation of a lot of things I’m good at: graphic design, and computer hacking, and music and everything like that.
When you embarked on the European tour, what was the outcome that you hoped for? What did you want from it?
I was aiming at getting music publications to talk about what I was doing. And it got even bigger than what I aimed for. And once I started to see it snowballing, I just kept pushing in that direction. And it’s easy, in that the media is really, relatively simple to manipulate. Because all you have to do is just create chaos or controversy and give somebody a scapegoat, and that’s all it really takes. And I’m happy to be willing to do that, because I’m playing a villain character here, you know.
How did you feel after it all happened, and you went back home and were dealing with all the onslaught of stuff?
I was fucking ecstatic. From the moment it hit and got as big as it did, I’ve been so happy, because it worked. And then aside from that, on the business end of things, I’ve had offers for anything you can imagine. Stuff that doesn’t even make sense I’ve had offers for. It’s just weird. I’ve had stuff for… obviously for film, which I’m doing, but for books which I’m doing that as well, and record labels too [coughs]. My health’s not great.
It’s a bad time of year as well.
I get out of breath a little bit sometimes, but it’s just like you know, I’ve got bad lungs. Anyway, same thing I got offers for off-Broadway plays and stuff, stuff that doesn’t really make sense. I was like, ‘I can only sell my life story rights once, I’m not doing a fucking play.’ But it was weird stuff, you know – art gallery stuff. It was really great, I was really happy about it.
Was it weird dealing with more eyes on you? Because for a normal person who’s not used to having any kind of fame…
No. I’ve always been like that. I’m kind of… I keep myself secluded anyway, I’m not a people person, I’m not out and about, so I’m kind of built for fame where it’s just like, ‘Ah, fucking stay away’. So it doesn’t bother me, I like it. But no, none of it made me feel awkward or uncomfortable, it was just like, ‘This is where I’m supposed to be.’
Do you want to be famous? Is that one of your objectives?
Yeah, that was kind of the goal [smiles].
Why do you want to be famous?
More than anything, my health has been declining for years, that’s actually the reason why I started doing all this. I mean, I don’t know how deep you’ve read into the story and things like that, but some people think it’s part of the character.
It’s not fucking part of the character. The only reason I even mention it is because when I do interviews I get out of breath and I can tell the interviewee is like, 'what the fuck’s going on?', so I kind of have to mention it.
But now, I mean I cough up blood every day. This is just something I live with. When that started, I just told her [Kelsey], ‘Are we happy with life right now?’ No. Let’s just, everything I wanna make happen, let’s just do it now. So I figured, I just gotta make my stamp while I can. So that was what it was about. That’s what the onset of all of it was, from poor health.
Can you explain what it is that affects you?
Yeah, I’ve had multiple surgeries. I have a PAVM [Pulmonary arteriovenous malformation], which is basically a malformation with one of the major arteries in my right lung, which irregularly grew into my heart and haemorrhages blood into it. It’s created a lot of complications, and it continues to get worse.
So I cough up blood just about every day. I get out of breath pretty easy. So before I go and do that show, before and after, I have to spend a half an hour, 45 minutes coughing up blood just so I can go out there and talk. It’s just part of my reality.
Is that something you were born with?
They say it could have been, and it could have got increasingly worse. But again, I’ve done multiple surgeries to try and get it fixed, and nothing helps.
That sounds really tough.
Yeah it sucks, but it is what it is.
When did you start having symptoms of it?
Before I moved to LA. That was why I moved to LA, actually. That would have been around 2012.
So the last seven years or so.
Yeah, like the first time it happened, it felt like one of those scenes in a movie. We were kind of joking around in bed laughing, and then like all of a sudden I couldn’t breathe and I ran into the bathroom, coughed up a bunch of blood. You see that in a movie, you’re like, ‘Oh that character’s fucking dead’.
That was ultimately what led to like, ‘Let’s just move to Los Angeles and get life going’. Because I grew up in the midwest and I was always bored there, always hated it.
LA was just somewhere bigger to go?
Yeah, pretty much. I mean it was just like, you wanna go to New York? You wanna go to LA? Let’s just get something going. Be somewhere else and try to get life going.
When did you seriously decide to do Threatin?
It was around that time.
Did you originally intend for it to be a serious musical proposition or did you want it to be a performance?
It’s both. The music is serious, and I’m just mixing in other things into a music career as well. But like I said, I don’t take the music industry too seriously. It’s on such a decline, it’s hard to take it seriously. But yeah… that’s always part of it, was me just trying to find something different, because I was bored doing music the way I did. It was just really boring.
Obviously there have been lots of reports about what happened, and in one of them it talked about your parents, and your dad reaching out on Facebook and commenting, ‘Does anybody know where you guys are?’
I haven’t spoken with them in like a decade. They actually didn’t even know about me being sick or anything.
Is there a reason that there’s this divide?
I was just never particularly close with them. They weren’t… I don’t know, I don’t wish them ill will or anything. I just like my life better… I’m an independent person. I like being on my own. I moved out when I was like 17, I was still in high school when I moved out. So yeah, we’ve never been particularly close by any means. I haven’t seen anything online about that, but…
Again, I don’t know what’s true and what’s not. But your brother, is he named Scott, is it? Scott your brother?
Mmm, I guess.
Obviously you know, because he’s your brother!
All I know is there’s a fat guy who’s trying to get press off of me, that’s all I know about that.
Do you or do you not have a brother?
I don’t know if we’re actually related.
Is this because you don’t want to talk about your personal life?
No, not really. I mean I really don’t care either way. You’re gonna write whatever you’re gonna write.
I'm just curious about your relationships.
I haven’t talked with any of those people in 10 years. So I mean I’m aware people are talking about me in the background, but I don’t care, I don’t read it, I don’t look at it. Like I said, I don’t feel anything for them. I haven’t seen them in 10 years, so when they claim like, ‘Oh I know him and this and that’, it’s like, you don’t fucking know me at all. I haven’t spoken with you in 10 years, I wouldn’t claim to know you. I’ve seen one picture and he got fat. That’s all I know. That’s all I know.
I guess with every entertainer there is this desire to know about somebody’s life, and to kind of understand who they are. Is that something that you understand and appreciate?
I think if social media existed back in the 70s, it would have killed the mythology of most of the artists people grew up loving. So I’m trying to maintain that more than anything.
You said the music's important to you, and there’s been a split reaction online. Some people have been like, ‘Oh I actually like some of these songs’, and some people have been like, ‘This is literally the worst thing ever.’ Is it hurtful for you to hear?
People hated The Beatles too. No, it doesn’t bother me, I actually like that quite a bit. I like the negativity. But no, it just comes with the territory. I got so over-exposed that people who don’t even listen to rock music had heard of me. So I can’t fucking walk into stores in Los Angeles. I can’t walk into a music store or a record store or a guitar store. So, yeah. I mean, when you hit that level of over-exposure, it’s people who don’t even listen to the genre are just like, ‘Yeah, fuck that guy.’ Which I like.
What do you mean when you say you can’t walk into stores? Cause they’ll recognise you?
Yeah. I just walk in there, ‘Hey, can we take a selfie’, and that kind of shit, you know.
Have you had those experiences?
Yeah, quite a bit. And I don’t mind it, but I don’t really like people too much. So I’m kind of like just wave at me from over there and then it’s okay. Like when you’re like, ‘Hey let’s take a photo’ or whatever, it’s just like, ‘I’m just walking through a fucking store, just leave me alone you know.’
That’s quite hard for me to wrap my head around, because it’s the fact that you want to be famous, but then if people are stopping you, you’re like, ‘I don’t want this’.
No, it’s not the same thing. I want to be known, but I don’t want to be bothered. It’s not the same thing, you know.
How do you have one without the other in this day and age?
I guess I don’t hate it, it’s just one of those things like I prefer you to stand over there and recognise me. But I recognise it’s just part of it, so I don’t care. But I’m not flattered by it. I don’t particularly care for it either way.
How does your self-esteem function? Does it make you feel good when people appreciate you?
No, I don’t really care either way. I’m impartial on that. To me, this is about the art. I don’t care if people love me or hate me. I’m actually out to be the bad guy. I’d prefer you not like me, so…
Why do you like bad guys?
It’s more entertaining, I’m sorry, it really is.
Who’s your favourite bad guy?
Hahaha. Do you have a role model?
No I do not. Actually a huge part of this is I fucking hate anything derivative. So I go out of my way to not be derivative. I don’t like being compared to anything.
Who do you think the average Threatin fan is? What do you think that kind of person is like?
Well, if they like me they must be pretty bright, so let’s give them a high IQ! No, I have no idea. I haven’t sat and looked at the analytics on it, so… I would say high IQ, though!
What do you do for a job to make money?
Use your imagination. Everybody wants to know that, so I’m never gonna say!
It's because it’s really hard to making a living now from doing the stuff you’re doing in 2019 when basically everyone has a side-hustle.
You think? I’m doing alright. Merch sales alone, after all this blew up, was pretty good. That has not slowed down. I waited when the story blew up for that to kind of slow down or the audience to kind of dither away, and it really hasn’t. There’s been a core audience that’s kind of stayed there, so that’s all been pretty good. Everyone seems really keen on trying to figure that out, though.
Well what are your ambitions?
Right now? To make sure these movies come out. Finish this next record, make sure that comes out. And then I’ll start the next project, whatever that’ll be, you know, so… which again I’ve already kind of launched that to some degree with the next tour I’m doing, I don’t know if you’ve heard about that or not.
No, please tell me more!
I’ve already created 10 new fake bands. The Threatin Incognito tour.
That indicates you’ve seeded 10 bands which will then be Threatin, not other bands with the names.
Kind of, maybe I won’t be there either. Maybe it’ll just be the mannequins there, who knows.
Let’s go back to the beginning. When did you start planting the band names?
I’m not doing that – I can’t tell you that! I will say that anybody who's gonna think that I’m gonna do a straight tour that’s back-to-back dates, that would be too obvious, I’m not doing that. It’ll be scattered.
At moment, are these band names on people’s gig schedules?
And do these people know that it’s you?
But if people Google the band names, or talk to people from the band, can they then find out they’re not real? Or have you done what you did last time and created-
I’ve created new band names, new back stories, new personas… it’s basically just a show that I can pretty much manipulate whatever I want online and make you believe whatever I want. So yeah, just with the right social media numbers and a little bit of Photoshop magic, that’s all it takes.
Do you expect people to come to the shows?
No. This is the way I get to play to no one. I’m very anti-social, I like it better when I’m alone.
So are you just gonna fund these all again, with your own money?
What is the point of this? For you?
You’re sitting here, aren’t you? I mean… it's entertaining is it not?
It is. What is the point for you?
For which thing. This thing, or the previous thing?
The new thing.
The new thing is just to show that it can be done. And I like that it pisses people off, that’s probably the real goal. It’s offensive. And entertaining. I’m an entertainer. Plus I’m just a storyteller – I'm creating stories. And I think the thing everyone was fascinated with, the first thing was was the layers, of how deep it went. Because I get emails still that are, ‘Man, I just heard about your story, I’ve spent days lost in this rabbit hole, trying to figure out how it ends.’ I like that.
Stories are compelling. Why do you like pissing people off?
I find it entertaining!
You mentioned doing this because of your condition. Do you have any indication of what that will be like going forwards?
It’s going to get worse. Compared to last year, it’s got increasingly worse. So I… I’m of the state of mind, I don’t know if I’ll be here in a year. Maybe I’ll find the right doctor, who’ll know what to do and help me, and maybe it’ll all be okay. But all I know is that it's gotten increasingly worse since the day it first happened, because it used to be, ‘Oh this happened’, now six months later it’ll happen again, and then now it’s three months later and it happens again, and now it’s every day. So it’s kinda not looking great.
Are you undergoing treatment?
Um not like regular treatment or anything like that. Like I said I go in, I have had a couple of surgeries. What was the last thing I did before I came here? [To Kelsey]. [Kelsey: bronchoscopy]. Bronchoscopy. Yeah they put me under, they go in, stick this down my throat and they suck out all of the… and yeah also like just I get constant pneumonia because of it and all kinds of stuff. If it’s not that that kills me, it’ll be a complication from something else. Yeah [shrugging noise] anyway.
You mentioned wanting to do it now, the urgency while you’re able. Do you have certain things you wanna fulfil while you’re in good health?
Mostly just finishing my next record. Getting the films out. Things like that. But yeah, I try not to overthink the timeline any more, just hope for the best kind of thing. But maybe it’ll get better. It’s got increasingly worse so I wouldn’t suspect so, but… you know. And this’ll end up being one of those things where everybody’s like, ‘Oh I read this article, you said you were gonna die, and you didn’t die by this time’, and then I’ll die two months after that, and it’ll be like, ‘Yeah okay’.
I mean, it is… like obviously a horrible thing to go through personally.
Oh yeah it’s not fun. But eh [makes shrugging noise] it’s part of it. It‘s weird, because if I stop coughing up blood for a couple of days, then I start to feel like, not me. Like I’m not interesting any more, what the fuck happened. You know, it’s very strange.
I was gonna ask, how much of your identity is it?
More than I’d want it to be. I’ve noticed increasingly, like I said, if it stops happening for a couple of days I start to go, ‘Maybe I’m getting better’, and it’s a strange thing to think about.
As in you feel you’re a bit less unique, or a bit less you?
It’s part of my identity now, whether I want it to be or not. But people who think it’s part of the character, no, it’s not. I wish it was, but it doesn’t particularly fit in with like the ego of the villain character to be dying. But yeah, whatever.
But it is quite dramatic at the same time. Not obviously to make it into something trivial and fun, because it’s not trivial and fun.
No, that’s how I look at it. I’ve always thought, even when I was a young kid, I used to tell my mom, it’s like ‘I’m gonna die young.’ She would say, ‘Jered don’t say things like that, that’s terrible.’ I’ve always felt like that. I don’t mind it. So… yeah, it seems like I’m drinking incessantly, but it’s actually because my lungs are shit and I also have the cough. I did some interview with some journalist one time and they were like, ‘He incessantly drank water through the whole thing’ like I was nervous, and it was just like, if I’m talking this is what I have to do, it’s so weird.
Are you happy?
Um yeah! I’m not a particularly happy person in general. I don’t know if you can tell by looking at me [knowing voice] but… yeah I’m happy. I’m happy with how this all turned out, for sure.
What would you say to people that think that you have basically lied about this, and didn’t intend it to happen, and it wasn’t premeditated.
I don’t care what people believe, obviously that was the narrative, and that’s the narrative that I wanted them to believe, and that’s fine. The thing that I find funny is like even after you see things that are glaringly obvious, like if you thought that, then why were the ticket sales manipulated, you know what I mean? It’s glaringly obvious.
If the promoter just had clicked at any point, any of those venues had clicked on the one button that shows the people who are coming, they would have known. There’s glaringly obvious things that you can point at and say, ‘Here’s how you can tell it’s obvious’, and everybody still just kind of ran with the original narrative of whatever the first article they read was. So, eh [shrug noise].
Have you told us a theory today that is not true, to plant something from a character?
There's a 'UK Citizens Against Threatin’ Facebook page. Was that something you created?
Everything people see online they just think is me now. Every positive comment they think is me, and the negative comments they think are me. I don’t have time for everything, jeez.
So if someone creates a Threatin page or Facebook page, or something, it could either be you doing something to do with the myth, or it could be somebody perpetuating it.
I imagine it could be.
But this one isn’t you.
No. Anytime there’s anything up online, they just ask me if it’s me.
Where do you think you’ll be, five years from now?
Probably dead! [laughs] Have you forgot the rest of the interview? A small part of me was hoping like I could push it as far as I could on the show, to where I’d cough up blood on stage. And I ended up doing it backstage, profusely. But I thought that would be good.
If you’re not dead in five years, which hopefully you won’t be, where would you wanna be?
In the news still. I’ll keep finding ways to be entertaining. Anything that is the normal way of doing things as an artist, you can bank on that’s not what I’m gonna be doing. So… yeah. I’ll find my own way of doing things, and that’s why it’s entertaining. I think everyone is pretty bored with the status quo right now anyway. The rock scene is pretty bland.
Are there any bands you like in the rock and metal world?
No. I don’t even listen to rock music.
But you did growing up, right?
Yeah. But I don’t listen to rock music right now though. [laughs]
This is a pretty standard question, but what does inspire your music if It's not rock?
It’s not necessarily just music, It's art in general. I draw influence from a lot of different things, whether it be a particular writer, or a comedian, or an actor, or a film, or a painting. A lot of times if I’m working on a piece of music, I’ll do a painting first and see how that painting makes me feel, and that’s what I write off of. So yeah, I do a lot of different things.
What’s on your mind at the moment in terms of artists and literature?
Um… musically there’s not a lot going on. I gravitate towards whatever is entertaining right now, and I actually listen to hip-hop quite a bit right now, as that’s what’s entertaining. Which is probably strange for most people to think, because I don’t look like that at all.
The hip-hop community was really way more receptive to what I did, because I got a lot of emails from people in the hip-hop community being like, ‘Fucking great job’ you know. Respect the hustle kind of thing.
It’s definitely interesting the way that they’ve embraced technology and embraced processes in a way that maybe rock and metal hasn’t.
Yeah. I said in a post earlier, I said something to that effect. Rock music is dead. I’m the only interesting thing happening in rock music right now.
When you say that, are you serious when you say it? Or does it have a hint of irony in it?
You tell me.
Or do you genuinely believe it?
You tell me.
I don’t know! I’m asking you!
I don’t know.
I wanna know from the horse’s mouth. Is that what you believe?
What you’re asking is, is this a persona? Are you really an asshole, or…?
No no no, you’ve totally misinterpreted it, because it’s not an asshole thing to have a belief! If you believe that you’re the most important thing, you’re entitled to believe that.
Are you asking Jered, or are you asking Threatin?
I’m asking Jered.
Jered says you should ask Threatin.
What does Threatin say?
Yes, I’m the most interesting thing happening in rock music.
I don’t mean to exhaust you, I'm just genuinely interested.
No no, you’re fine, this has been really interesting.
Because… I’m interested. Because like you said, things are changing. So it’s an interesting thing.
Like I said, touring is dying even. You’re basically just showing up and you’re a T-shirt salesman and you’re lucky to make ends meet for most of these bands who show up and play. And they call it a career, but it’s a fucking hobby. This is just a big art piece to me. And I’m looking forward to the film coming out, so that should answer a lot of questions as well.
When can we expect it?
I’m hoping, mid-to-late next year. But it’s not entirely up to me. Like I said, as soon as I got other people involved, then it turned into a big business thing that kind of took the control out of my hands on that.
So it’s like, we’re gonna probably do another couple of months of filming, following me around, making sure the record gets finished, and then they’ll have to do everything in post – the edit, the colour grading and all that stuff, and that won’t be anything to do with me.
So yeah I mean, I’m assuming that any film about me will be fantastic. But they could ruin it. Who knows?
What's striking about meeting Jered is his single-minded quest for fame. In the end, it doesn't really matter whether he's a fraud who never planned the original stunt to play out as it has, because the media are still interested.
Whether or not the public care is another matter. The attendance at shows indicates they don't, but recent documentaries such as Bros: After The Screaming Stops and Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened show there's an appetite for a compelling story about musicians and the industry, and it's largely immaterial whether you like those involved or not.
Either way, we suspect we haven't heard the last of Jered Threatin.
Interview: Eleanor Goodman | Review: Fraser Lewry