What the...??

Jered Threatin Also Created a Fake Record Label, Fake Press Outlet, Fake Award and Fake Web Design Company to Promote His Band

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I’ve spent the past 24 hours enraptured by the story of Threatin, the Los Angeles-based “band” (actually a vanity project for the solo artist “Jered Threatin”) who used wildly misleading YouTube live videos, paid-for Facebook likes and YouTube views, grossly exaggerated ticket counts and an imaginary booking agent to set himself up with a European tour which is now falling flat on its face with next to no one showing up to gigs. The story has dominated social media for the past day and it was all anyone wanted to talk about at the [real, and sold out] metal show I went to last night.

Welp, people, the story’s not over. It gets worse… or better? I don’t even know which anymore.

In addition to the fake booking agency Jered Threatin used to set up the European gigs — StageRight Bookings, which exists nowhere on the internet outside of its own official website and pages related to Threatin — the Los Angeleno created an entire empire of fake entities solely to foster the illusion that his band was a hot commodity.

Let’s start with the fake booking agency, which was only mentioned in passing yesterday amidst all the other mind-boggling details of this insane con. The official website for StageRight Bookings looks legit enough at first glance, with separate rosters for “worldwide,” the U.S. and Canada, and Europe. But the devil is in the details. For starters, websites for other booking agencies typically aren’t set up this way; the sites for UTA and CAA, two of the biggest agencies in the world, have a single worldwide roster (UTA also has an “agent finder” for interested parties to connect with the appropriate contact in each territory). Artery Global does have the option to split bands up by country of representation but also collects them all together on one page that lists every artist at the agency. All of these sites also have several more pages than StageRight’s one.

But even putting all that aside — maybe StageRight is a boutique agency operating outside the norm!! — the artists allegedly represented by StageRight are… you guessed it… fake. What’s more, they’re specifically designed to APPEAR real, a combination of generic names that could be anyone and monikers that are slightly altered versions of well-known artists.

Bryan Guy? Could be any fucking dude from anywhere, although Google simply turns up some fella with an enthusiasm for horse-racing. Sure sounds like it could be some country artist, though, doesn’t it? And that’s exactly the intent. Same goes for Michael Nicolas, Adam Gray, Gary Allan and on down the list of solo artists, all with plausibly music-y sounding names. Then there are the bands: Newport, Sunrise Station, Curve, Tull and Braid, to name a few. There could be bands with these names, in fact there probably even are — Google doesn’t suggest much! — but you most likely wouldn’t be able to figure that out unless you took the time to research it because they’re generic by design. Then there are acts like Michael Anthony (could be the Van Halen bass legend, could be any fucking dude from Ohio!), Fiona (but not Fiona Apple!), Third Eye (but not Third Eye Blind!) and Cars (but not The Cars!), all of which would serve to lend credibility to StageRight Bookings if you’re just quickly glancing through this thing. Wanna bet that’s how Jered convinced venues to book him? Oh, and sure enough, there’s Threatin on the European roster! Lol.

Knowing full well that any established act requires a record label for validation, Mr. Threatin (surely his real name) didn’t stop with StageRight: he established a fake label, Superlative Music Recordings, which, just like the booking agency, exists only on its own web properties and pages related to Threatin. Jered “signed” his old friends Bryan Guy, Michael Anthony, Fiona, Cars, Braid and Gary Allan to the label, because while an agency and label with the same exact roster is incredibly fishy, who would ever think to check both? Damone are actually a real band — and one that I happen to like a whole lot — although they’ve been broken up for a decade. Whoops!

Things start to get really good when you dig into the “History” section of Superlative’s website. A version of the label’s past that has since been removed, but a screen shot of which was captured by Twitter user @bob_bobbson, has a lengthy description claiming the label was founded in 1964 and stayed “true to it’s [sic] roots” despite shifting trends across the decades (everyone loves a label with integrity, right?). The corporate narrative Jered attempts to weave here runs deep, with an alleged re-branding as “SMR” in the ’80s followed by a return to the original “Superlative Music Recordings” in 2010. You can’t make this stuff up, people, except, of course, when you can: all of this is complete fiction.

The “History” section on the front page of the website was replaced at some point yesterday, November 9th, with a more concise bio (although the original one is still posted if you click on the “History” tab in the header) that sheds the true rock visionaries throughout the years narrative in favor of a more corporate-oriented one. The re-jiggered bio focuses on the company’s unmatched business acumen, pumping up the entity’s alleged “200 albums released, numerous top 40 hits, and over 10 million units sold” (lol) in addition to offices that are surely all bustling hives of creative energy in Los Angeles, New York, and London:

A quick Google search of “industry professional” John Nobal, mentioned in the first sentence, naturally turns up absolutely fucking nothing except for the very page above. And if you have to Google Ken Burns, congratulations, you’re a fucking idiot (although I do wonder whether Jered chose that name intentionally or not).

Superlative Music Recordings has a Facebook page with a whopping 1,820 likes, an oddly low number given the 200 albums released and 10 million units sold that the label’s bio boasts. The page is just a collection of stock photos of unnamed fake musicians (or stolen photos of unknown ones, perhaps) dating all the way back to 2011 and links to articles about music, most recently the deaths of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington.

There also exists a Soundcloud page for a label called Superlative Records which appears to be unaffiliated with Superlative Music Recordings / Threatin despite the similar moniker. For starters, the page features deep house, nu disco and indie dance, which would be anathema to Superlative Music Recordings’ vaunted mission of staying “true to it’s [sic] roots” in rock and roll. Second, the tracks on the Soundcloud page actually have plays: thousands of them, even. Clearly a different label!

Jered’s next move is a bold one: the bio page on Threatin’s own website references a connection between Superlative Music Recordings and SPV, a long-running and successful worldwide record label based in Germany, many of whose acts we’ve covered here on MetalSucks. To the fine folks at SPV: I’m so, so sorry you’ve been dragged into this. Same to Rockabilia, an independently-owned online music merchandise retailer name-checked in the “Partners” section of Superlative’s site alongside global behemoths Live Nation, Hot Topic and Rockstar Energy Drink. Rest assured, none of these companies are affiliated with Threatin, they’re just included here in an attempt to bring gravitas to the imaginary record label Superlative Music Recordings and, through the transitive property, to Threatin. Even the U.K. publication NME is listed, a hilarious twist given they published a scathing exposé on Threatin yesterday.

 

But why stop there? Every band needs some killer press to gain fans, and since Threatin didn’t have any press at all he created AN ENTIRE PRESS OUTLET out of thin air to tack on top of the fake interviews he conducted with himself for his own YouTube channel (which have sadly been removed since yesterday).

Threatin’s made-up press entity is called Top Rock Press. The stories on the site don’t have dates of publication listed, but the subject matter indicates the most recent ones are from late 2016: the release of Metallica’s Hardwired… To Self-Destruct album, the beginnings of Woke Axl Rose in the wake of Trump’s election, Black Sabbath’s “The End” farewell tour, etc.

The site is a mess, and clearly just another front designed to create the illusion of Threatin’s popularity. Social network icons in the footer just link back to the site’s home page, the site lists “support from” (whatever that means!) NME, Alternative Press, Hot Topic and Monster Energy, a phone number listed in the Contact section is dead (I called it), a San Francisco address shows a generic downtown office building and Universal Web Group, the company listed as having built the site, doesn’t exist (a Google search of that generic phrase turns up nothing but Threatin, once again). If you click the “Featured Artists” tab, there’s Threatin, right at the top, “leading the way for the next generation of rock music!” (the only other artist worthy of the esteemed “featured” accolade is The Pretty Reckless. Maybe Threatin has a thing for Taylor Momsen).

A supposed Top Rock Press interview with Megadeth bassist David Ellefson was straight up plagiarized from Alternative Nation, and Threatin didn’t even bother to change Charlotte Haynes’ byline. Here’s the Top Rock Press version:

And here’s the original on Alternative Nation:

The “Reviews” section of Top Rock Press doesn’t even make an attempt at plagiarism, instead just linking out to several dozen real album reviews on MetalUnderground.com.

Most bizarrely of all, the “Subscribe” page included vague language that alludes to a physical magazine subscription taking six to eight weeks to arrive. I can get the magazine by signing up with my email address for free? Or is there simply an email newsletter that takes six to eight weeks to arrive? Why on earth?

The Top Rock Press circle becomes complete when we refer back to the artist bio on Threatin’s website, which reveals that the publication gave him “Top Rock Artist of the Year Award.” Finally, SUCCESS AND VALIDATION!

***

Threatin’s next gig is scheduled for tomorrow night, November 11th, at The Empire in Belfast. The Facebook event page has served as a punching bag for internet folks angry at Threatin for his schemes with some hilarious commentary in the “Discussion” section. This story has made it all the way up to the BBC, who issued a report earlier today citing a venue spokeperson’s comment on the page as indicating the show would go on as planned: “We’re aware of the situation regarding this booking. We will update when it has been clarified.” Though that comment has since been deleted, at this point why wouldn’t the show go on as planned? The media storm surrounding this thing will no doubt attract a few curious onlookers in search of a laugh, and with the venue already having been paid for it may as well open its doors and hope to make a few quid back at the bar.

Are any MetalSucks readers planning on attending tomorrow’s gig in Belfast? Please let us know at news@metalsucks.net — we promise that’s a real address. Hopefully the crowd won’t look like it did in Manchester:

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