A Californian metal band has come under fire after being accused of creating a fake legion of fans to land a UK tour.
The band, Threatin, and in particular the sole permanent member Jered Threatin, are accused of telling numerous lies, including coming up with a bogus booking agent and record label, hundreds of non-existent ticket sales and thousands of paid-for social media followers.
The measures, it is claimed, allowed the band to secure a series of UK headline shows to which barely anyone has turned up.
“The effort that he’s gone to to portray himself as a big star is quite phenomenal,” said Rob Moore, singer and guitarist in hardcore punk band Dogsflesh, who supported Threatin in Newcastle to an audience of four people.
“In all the years I’ve been involved in music I’ve never known anything like this,” he added.
The video promoting the Los Angeles band’s Breaking The World tour features close-up shots of the man himself, cut with footage from much bigger acts performing stadium sets in front of adoring fans.
The home-made “official video” for single Living Is Dying cuts between Jered singing through a picture frame or glaring into broken mirror shards, interspersed with shots of him playing drums, bass and guitar.
Threatin promised 291 advanced ticket sales in Camden, according to the venue support acts. One support band found that everyone who claimed they would attend on the event’s Facebook page was in Brazil.
Tom Kiggins travelled to Camden to play with Threatin as the guitarist in Brighton-based band Tales Of Autumn, and said: “We had paid for the train to commute to the gig from Brighton so promises of exposure and opportunity to network were slashed instantly and we were all left pretty annoyed and out of pocket.
“We left half way through his set to get home,” he added.
A similar story played out at other venues on the tour.
Moore, who has spent the last 35 years touring the world with Dogsflesh said: “It was bizarre, I’ve never witnessed anything like it.”
In Bristol, Threatin allegedly promised venue manager Iwan Best that 180 tickets had been sold, more than two-thirds of the venue’s capacity, but instead it was claimed the audience consisted solely of the support bands and staff.
“It doesn’t make any sense, there’s no end game. It’s a really extreme version of ‘fake it til you make it’,” said Mr Best, who claimed the singer had to go to a cash point and withdraw hundreds of pounds to pay the venue hire costs.
The Exchange venue now plans to host an event to help raise money for “everyone Threatin ripped off”.
— Rebellion (@RebellionMCR) November 11, 2018
“Threatin has done nothing but fleece several UK venues out of money and time that would be far better spent on genuine artists. People like this deserve to be outed for who they are. Or aren’t,” wrote Kamino, who supported Threatin in Bristol, on their Facebook page.
The agent StageRight and record label Superlative Music Recordings, which were used to book and promote the tour, also appear to be bogus, music website Metal Sucks reported. None of the clients listed on their sites have a visible online presence.
Jered Threatin – whose real name is not known – has not responded to requests for comment. He cancelled his last UK performance in Belfast on Sunday November 11, and references to the remaining European dates have been removed from the venues’ social media accounts.
If you purchased tickets for tonight’s Threatin show, both of you can get refunds from the point of purchase. pic.twitter.com/hR0FHHFR0L
— Belfast Empire (@belfastEmpire) November 11, 2018
“If you purchased tickets for tonight’s Threatin show, both of you can get refunds from the point of purchase,” wrote the Belfast Empire on its official Twitter account.
All of Threatin’s social media accounts have been locked or disabled and the band website has been stripped of details.