Last week, we learned about Jered Threatin, the LA metalhead who scammed his way into booking a UK and European tour with thousands of fake Facebook likes and YouTube views, and without a single real fan. There were even phony self-filmed interviews and concert videos that spliced together shots of Threatin playing with crowd footage from a separate packed show. Unsurprisingly, people haven’t been attending their tour and they’ve become a laughing stock. Now, the band members who Jered recruited for the tour are helping us put together the pieces to this insane story.
Ex-Threatin Guitarist Joe Prunera told MetalSucks that he received a mysterious Facebook friend request and message from a representative at a “full service talent management agency.” The message read:
My name is Lisa Golding. I am an artist manager at Aligned Artist Management in Beverly Hills, CA. We have a signed hard rock artist on our roster that is looking for a new rhythm guitarist for their upcoming tour in Europe this November. After seeing some videos of your playing I believe you would be a good fit. If you are interested I would like to set you up with an audition/meeting with the band in Los Angeles. Let me know if you are available and I’ll send you the details.
Aligned Artist Management
Aligned Artist Management: www.alignedartist.com
Prunera said it sounded like a great opportunity, though he had never heard of the band in question. He spoke to Golding on the phone and asked for details about the band and the tour. She said she didn’t know all of the details and logistics but that they would get back to him. “We were all a little puzzled as to where and how they found us. Nothing was ever mentioned specifically. We were all guessing [they found us via] some YouTube videos,” Prunera told MetalSucks.
He later found out that Lisa Golding’s Facebook page uses a stock photo. And aside from the Aligned Artist Management website, there is no mention of Golding’s company on the internet. Golding disappeared after her initial phone call with Prunera. She passed him off to Joe Abrams, who invited Prunera to audition the following week at S.I.R. Studios in Hollywood. Jered’s wife, Kelsey, was at the audition filming, along with another woman. Golding and Abrams were not present. Prunera got the gig over the two other guitarists auditioning.
Ahead of the tour, Prunera traveled to LA for rehearsal: “Basically, I went down there to L.A. the following two weekends. The first weekend I went down, it was just him and I going over guitar parts. The weekend after was a full band practice. Essentially we rehearsed every two weeks down there. We would show up on a Friday evening, run through some songs, maybe learn a new song, spend the night, Saturday we’d rehearse for about six or seven hours and then go home Saturday night or Sunday. We had about six weekend rehearsals and the week before we flew out to London, we were there the entire week and rehearsed the set four times every single day.”
Jered kept quiet about his background and personal life, but as far as Prunera knows, Jered does not have a day job. “I’m not sure if Threatin is his real last name or not. That was something that was never talked about.” Jered’s wife Kelsey acted as their tour manager and drove them in a rented Mercedes van. Kelsey filmed all of the band’s shows, but apparently only ever shot the camera at Jered, which explains the fake concert footage. She also handled setting up the stage backdrop and band merch, which nobody bought.
“We were under the impression that all of the venues were going to be a 1,000 to 1,500 seat venues and then as soon as we showed up to the Underworld in London and walked in the back door, it was very apparent that this was not going to be the case. Jered said that these venues were going to be 1,000 to 1,500 seat venues.”
Jered and Kelsey mostly kept to themselves while the other three members hung out — but never too far from Jered’s gaze. “They wanted to keep us close by and under wraps. One morning the three of us went down to breakfast and then went next door to get groceries, and when we returned we got yelled at for not knowing where we were and straying from the group. We were expected to keep close and for them to know where we were at all times. In London, we went to the shops in Camden, and we stuck together as a group. It would’ve been nice to be treated as an adult — ‘Be back here by a certain time.’”
Threatin paid for his band members’ basic touring expenses — flights, accommodations, local transport — but left them to fend for themselves for everything else, including food. The band members were told they’d each be receiving a $300 lump sum stipend, paid in advance, for their participation in the tour (a meager sum for hired guns, but hey, free trip to Europe), but the day before their flight to London, Jered informed them that the $300 was intended to pay for all of their food while on tour.
Drummer Dane Davis was similarly duped. He told Louder Sound that he also heard from Lisa Golding about auditioning. He met Jered’s wife, too. Davis thought something was up when they got to discussing last minute details: “So after a couple of practices, I ended up asking him, ‘Is this a paid tour?’ Because that detail wasn’t given to me. He said ‘Yeah, it’s going to be $300 dollars up front, all expenses paid for the tour. You guys don’t have to worry about anything.'”
“Originally the tour was supposed to be US and Canada, and then it got changed to Europe, or that’s what we were told at least. As far as everything being faked and all that, I didn’t have any suspicion of that whatsoever. But it soon as I as I heard that, a lot of stuff started to make sense,” Davis said. Things got weirder when Jered and Kelsey shouted at Davis and Prunera for getting breakfast without them one day. The couple also enforced a strict curfew.
The news of Jered’s wild master plan broke while Prunera and Davis were staying with the band at a rented house in Belfast last Friday. “Over the next couple of hours after that, the whole thing just blew up, I mean tremendously,” Prunera said. “We just kept watching the media over the next few hours. Jered came downstairs and we were talking about everything and he basically said ‘I don’t know what to do.’ We were like, ‘We’re not going to play. We should not be playing.’”
Jered dug in further on his lies, claiming innocence, playing the victim, and blaming his imaginary empire of industry gunslingers for the tour’s problems. “I’m the guy, I’m the artist, I just show up and play. Everyone else takes care of the other stuff,” Jered told the band. Says Joe, “He was very adamantly going on and on and on about how he’s the victim, they’re making all this up, the record label exists, how could it be fake if the Scorpions are on the label?” (The Scorpions are on the label SPV, whose nebulous association with Threatin’s imaginary label, Superlative Music Recordings, appears on the latter’s website.)
Jered placed special emphasis on blaming the promoter and his manager, who he insisted had screwed up. Joe tells us, “I asked him if he’d tried calling them, and he said, ‘Well, I emailed them.’ I’m thinking, ‘Dude, this an emergency, you need to get on the phone and call them!’” By this time Davis had returned to the house and pressed Jered for the promoter’s phone number. Jered skirted around the issue by saying they had only ever been in contact by email, and he offered the promoter’s email address to his distressed bandmates.
Davis and Prunera decided to quit the band at this point. Davis plans to continue working on his music, release a solo album, and go on tour. Prunera has returned to Las Vegas to his job at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort convention area, handling A/V, lighting, sound and video. See a message from Davis and real tour footage below.