Monday, December 3, 2018

Nurse the Hate: Threatin, My New Favorite Band

I would recommend dropping everything you are doing and reading what might be the most fascinating news story of 2018.  I will wait here for you while you do so we can talk about it…

I love this story so much I can’t even begin to tell you.  I am going to assume that this is not a high-minded performance art idea, like a metal version of an Andy Kaufman street piece.  The one thing that metal bands do not do is parody or irony.  It is impossible to have any sense of self awareness and sing songs about wizards, demons and violence when you are an adult living in a two-bedroom apartment in the suburbs.  And don’t try to suggest that The Darkness is a real metal band, because real metal bands don’t smirk.  There is no room for humor or clever conceptual social commentary in this type of metal.  This tour was “a plan”.  Someone thought this out and said “Yes, this is a good idea.”    

First off, I like the idea of buying Facebook followers.  Companies do it all the time to fool search engines to increase their profile.  Applying this to a band is a very popular thing to do, especially with subgenres that don’t rely on live performances like rap and pop.  I can see how this might help gain initial attention from talent buyers.  The thought being that the club booking agent would get a request for a show from a band in a sub-genre with which he/she is unfamiliar.  Not being versed in the metal world of “Threatin”, maybe the booking agent would think “well, they have 30,000 Facebook followers, so they can fill a 500 person room.”.  Of course, the problem is that all of these rooms are part of a circuit where everyone knows who is coming up to their sized venue and who is dropping back down.  Hence, any savvy booking agent would think “these guys have never been on a bill in any room with anyone I have ever heard of and no one else in the circuit is even vaguely aware of them.  Raise the red flag.”

This is the reason “Threatin” then went to the extraordinary expense of booking the rooms as rentals, a very unusual situation.  When we play tours, we have a booking agent that either uses a local promotor or goes to the club directly to work out a deal of shared risk with the show.  The club is aware of who we are and weighs out how many people can be reasonably expected to come to the club.  It should be noted, we play small rooms for the most part, yet the clubs have a basic awareness of the band.  For a band to book a 500 person room but have NO street awareness is crazy.  For example, the Parquet Courts played the 400 capacity Beachland last night and they have been on national TV shows like the Tonight Show and Conan.  The clubs had to have at least an inkling when there was ZERO buzz about the “Threatin” booking.

Still, the most curious part is the booking from the band itself.  I am of the opinion that the singer of the band figured that if he booked these clubs that there would somehow be a small yet respectable group of attendees that would wander in.  It was a metal version of “build it and they will come”.  Unfortunately, and I can tell you this from hard won experience, even when people know who you are and even like the band, they still might not come out.  To spend thousands of dollars for renting each room, the cost of airline tickets, equipment rental, transportation, etc…  It is the absolute height of either insanity or stupidity.  And I am dying to know which…

I would have given anything to have been in the dressing room with the band on that first gig.  At this point the guy from “Threatin” that made all this happen had to know a miracle was not going to happen.  Why they had told the club that they had 297 presales is mystifying.  Did he think that 297 people would magically show up, or did he think that he could somehow explain it all away?  He had to know that at a certain point, the illusion would disappear and he would have some explaining to do.

Yet, there is NO WAY you can explain 297 people that allegedly bought tickets that did not show up.  The guy from Threatin had to know that eventually he would have to face the music (as it were) when the club owners were wondering why they fully staffed a club for no reason.  Doing it once would be unbelievably uncomfortable.  To willingly create a situation where you would have to do it night after night after night is fucking amazing.  I cannot put myself in that head space to purposely do that to yourself.  I have been that guy with the terrible show (and probably will again), and it really sucks.
The conversation with the band must have been something to behold.  There is a point in the night after doors are open and the realization that the show is a bust that settles in like a heavy cloud.  The drummer and bass player, hired by the Threatin guy, must have taken the gigs on face value alone.  They must have known that the band was invisible in the United States, but fell for a “we’re huge in Belgium” line of bullshit.  They must have known very early on when doors opened and NO ONE came in that something was terribly wrong.  When showtime is 15 minutes away, you’ve been told that 297 tickets were sold via pre-sale and NO ONE is in the room, what do you talk about?  “Dude…  This is super fucked up…  Have you seen Jered?”.  There is no place on earth more lonely than an empty 500 capacity club with a loud band playing.  It makes Depression soup line photos look cheerful by comparison.  The fact that Jared Threatin also maintained what he thought a “professional touring outfit” would do by threatening fines when the band went out to eat breakfast on their own might be my favorite small detail. 

I went to the band website to look at the posted videos of the “interviews” that allegedly Jared made of interviewing himself, but sadly those were down.  I am not sure if I could have gotten through them as I would have felt so embarrassed just looking at them that it would have been a real test.  I also tried to do the loop of the fictional record company to the fictional management company back to the band, but that loop has also been taken down.  It’s actually a tremendous amount of work the guy put in to create this fiction.  In fact, it would have been easier just to book a small tour in little rooms where they could have played on multi band bills to actually try to create a real audience.  Ah well, that would have been much more boring than this. 

Threatin is my favorite band since VSquared.  I hope they do a double bill together...


At December 7, 2018 at 3:43:00 PM EST , Blogger chris price said...

Thretin rulez!!!


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