NIN’s Josh Freese Releases EP of Songs About Fans (Who Paid Him)
Drummer Josh Freese just might be superhuman. Or a superhero. Often cited for his work with Nine Inch Nails, he recently came to Paramore‘s rescue, filling in on drums during a South American tour while they searched for a permanent replacement for their departed. Before that, but still recently enough, he toured with Weezer and Devo and reunited with his old bandmates in A Perfect Circle for a quick jaunt. Without the benefit of a single rehearsal, he performed live with Sting while Stewart Copeland (the Police) watched from the wings. He also did studio work with Social Distortion, the Offspring, Joe Cocker, Slash, Katy Perry, Cher, Megadeth — take a breath — Gavin Rossdale, Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson and, unbelievably, the list goes on and doesn’t get any less impressive. And that was just 2010.
Suffice it to say, as a drummer for hire, he’s doing well for himself. But just in case those bands never pay up or things don’t pan out, Freese gave his solo career a financial boost last year when he went directly to fans, offering them a number of custom-designed “packages” in support of his solo release, ‘Since 1972.’ For just $7. fans could buy a digital download, bundled with a few videos. But for $75,000, a fan could go on tour with Freese, have him write a five-song EP about their life, take home one of his drum sets and eat shrooms while cruising Hollywood with Tool‘s Danny Carey (in his Lamborgini, no less). The package also entitled the buyer to have Freese either join their band for a month or, during business hours, act as their personal assistant. It topped off with a limo ride to Tijuana for vague and probably ill-advised purposes — and also included a flying trapeze lesson with some of Freese’s fellow NIN bandmates. Nobody bought that package.
But he did sell a surprising number of other packages, including one $20,000 bundle which included — in addition to some crazy left-field “items” like a game of miniature golf with Maynard James Keenan — two personalized songs about the buyer, to be written once Freese got to know them a little bit. These two songs — along with three songs about three other fans who each purchased a $5,000 package — appear on Freese’s new EP, entitled ‘My New Friends.’
“I wasn’t expecting that package to sell,” Freese admits to Spinner. “I felt like not only do I have to deliver for this guy, but I’m not just going to run down the list and go, ‘Oh s—, I can be done with this by 6PM today, if we hurry. I spent all week with this guy, basically, and made sure he didn’t go home thinking it was a rip-off.” Naturally, that included a few surprise bonuses, including hanging out with Slash in the studio for a day and watching a Puscifer show while chillin’ with some of the guys from Tool. Freese also invited him to spend a few nights at his house, while he made good on the checklist.
Now that ‘My New Friends’ is officially released, Freese put up a whole new list of package deals on his website. “If you really want to pay for it, I’ll take your money and we’ll do all this stuff,” says Freese. “But I want to make sure that you have a good time.”
So if you ever wanted to gossip about ’80s hair metal and pinup girls with Freese, Tommy Lee and NIN’s Danny Lohner while a “C-list porn star” dolls you up in corpse makeup, now is the time to buy. It’ll only cost you $7,500 and comes complete with 10 hard copies of ‘My New Friends.’ Of course, for that amount of money you could also buy yourself a day at the spa with Twiggy Ramirez (NIN, Marilyn Manson), a private airplane ride piloted by the Offspring’s Dexter Holland, or an afternoon betting on horses (and then, later, “building a bear”) with Freese and Johnny Knoxville. All of these things are really on sale, they’re all really a part of the ‘My New Friends’ bundles and you can really purchase them now at Freese’s official website.
And who said the record industry was in trouble?