Social media has become the main space for artists to advertise, brand themselves, and cultivate a following. Musicians use these platforms to the fullest, maintaining a constantly engaged fanbase kept enthralled by photos from tours, brief video clips, live videos, and dozens of other forms of content.
As such, an artist’s social media presence has become central to booking shows and appearing legitimate to the other entities in the music industry, and it can truly be the make or break factor in musical success.
But what happens when an artist’s social media presence is so incredibly inflated and successful looking that it surpasses reality?
Today, I want to tell a story of this scenario taken to the absolute extreme, about an artist known as Threatin.
What Is Threatin?
Jered “Threatin” Eames was born in Moberly, Missouri – a dead-end town that he was dying to escape. As a teenager, Eames started a black metal band with his brother named Saetith. Eames poured his heart and soul into the band, tenaciously chasing after shows and promoting the band. Alas, Saetith never took off and fell apart eventually. Jered attributed this to his brother Scott not pulling enough weight for the band, while Scott thought Jered had fallen into a blind ego trip.
“We’d go offstage, I’d go back to being Scott, but he wouldn’t go back to being Jered,” he said to Rolling Stone. “He’d show up to family events like he was playing a show – jacket and sunglasses and the walk. It got to the point where most of us were rolling our eyes.”
Unsatisfied with falling short of stardom, Eames eventually moved to L.A. to pursue a solo music career in the more melodic vein of rock and metal. And thus, Threatin was born.
Building A Musical Mirage
Upon moving to Hesperia, California in 2012 Jered fully invested himself in his music, recording 70 songs within a year and playing every single instrument on them. According to Eames, he spent over $10,000 of his own savings on recording and mastering his record, determined to become a breakout rock star inspired by the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and David Bowie.
Jered began promoting Threatin relentlessly. Many artists promote by posting content, performing gigs, and taking tangible steps towards building a genuine and deep persona. That wasn’t Threatin’s style.
First, he created a website for a fake record label: Superlative Music Recordings. The website was populated with falsehoods from a fake origin story to a list of nonexistent artists on the label – just enough content to look believable.
It didn’t stop there. Eames created similar websites and social media profiles for his nonexistent publicists, Magnified Media PR, and a nonexistent booking agency, StageRight.
Eames went on to purchase thousands upon thousands of fake Facebook likes and comments on his profile to make it appear as if he really was an up and coming star.
With all the pieces in place, Eames released Threatin’s debut album – Break The World. The album sold a few hundred copies, but this was far from the end.
Taking The Wolrd By Storm?
Over the next year, Eames dreamed up an international tour for Threatin, practicing his stage moves at home around the clock. In the spring of 2018, Eames created yet another fake alias: Casey Marshall. Using this moniker, Eames booked shows at venues across Europe from England to Germany. With the tour organized. Eames set out to hire a backing band to perform with him, hiring Joe Prunera, Dane Davis, and Gavin Carney, under yet another fake identity, claiming to be Lisa Golding of Aligned Artist Management.
In November 2018, Eames and his band finally arrived in London for their first concert on their tour. Only there was one problem – nobody showed up.
At Threatin’s first London show at The Underground, there were approximately three attendees. The venue posted on Threatin’s public Facebook page, “What happened to the 291 advanced ticket sales your agent said you’d sold? THREE PEOPLE turned up.”
At the next show at The Exchange in Bristol, the venue had been told 180 tickets were sold. But again, nobody showed up.
As the tour progressed, Threatin’s hoax dissolved. First, his backing band ditched him after learning that everything was a hoax, except for bassist Gavin Carney who couldn’t afford a plane ticket home at the time. The tour was canceled after 6 shows, and just like that, Jered Eames’ grand charade collapsed.
On November 14, Threatin issued the following statement:
“What is Fake News? I turned an empty room into an international headline. If you are reading this, you are part of the illusion.”
With such a statement, Eames seemed to be arguing that this was his goal all along – a kind of performance art piece. However, those surrounding him were more skeptical.
Jered’s brother Scott said, “While [Jered] may try to spin all this as an elaborate hoax of sorts, I can assure you, knowing my brother, that this indeed was a failed attempt at entering the music industry.
Online, readers who became aware of this story began ripping Threatin apart. Criticism from websites such as Tone Deaf described Threatin’s music as “about as terrible as you’d expect.”
“He’s now spinning it as if this is all part of the plan, but the only illusion is the one he’s pulling on himself,” says Johnathan Minto, an employee at one of the venues short-changed by Eames, “He seems quite deluded and an extreme narcissist.”
Adam Gostick, a drummer for a band that was booked to open for Threatin in Birmingham said, “It really annoys me that someone is able to do this. As a band trying to get around and play gigs it’s difficult if promoters feel you have no pull. But then Threatin tours the UK and plays, and has no real following. It annoys me from a promoter point of view too, as I work with a small promotion company, so I know how hard it hits having nights where nobody comes.”
In May 2019, it was made public that all three musicians Eames had hired for the tour had sued Eames and his partner who helped orchestrate the tour. Neither of the two defendants attended the hearings, and the three touring musicians were awarded cash sums ranging from $3,900 to $10,250.
Jered “Threatin” Eames became a laughing stock in the metal community, yet at the same time almost seems to have achieved a Tommy Wiseau level of eccentricity and mystery. Eames has stated that he doesn’t intend to stop – I guess we’ll have to wait and see what hijinks he gets up to next.