I’ve laughed harder this week than I have in a long while. The reason for this comes down to two instances in the music world of late: Threatin & Bad Omens. One is worse than the other, so let’s start there.
Started by frontman Jered Threatin, Threatin is an L.A. based rock/metal act that is basically one big smoke screen. One big deceptive ploy that somehow worked.
Their supposed established fan base? Not real. All of, if not most of their 38K+ Facebook likes and hundreds of thousands of YouTube views? Paid for. The people hitting “going” on their event pages? Mostly bots or foreigner accounts. The promoter name that they were using, StageRight Bookings, to help secure and play shows? Lies. The PR agency behind him? Phoney. Lies. The high-selling tickets that they’d supposedly sold for their current European and U.K. tour? Complete fabrications. The decades-long history of the record label behind them (and other non-existent artists)? Fake news. The other band members? Hired guns. The more you look and uncover, the deeper down the rabbit hole you fall.
The part that really made me spit my coffee everywhere was the documenting of live Threatin gigs. In which live videos from a crowd have been grabbed from another source – where you can’t see that it’s actually Threatin performing – and then Jered (or someone behind the scenes on this team) has taken one of their recorded songs, clipped it into the red, distorted it, and then just layered it over this other live video. For real, the mono vocals are the dead giveaway.
I’d love to say that you just can’t make this up, but clearly, this Jered individual did and it actually worked. It’s faking it till you make it, except you never stop faking it. Which is fuckin’ hilarious! I’d also love to say that Jered wasn’t fooling anyone, but he did: the venues that he duped with the band’s U.K./European tour. A tour that this bold man paid thousands to follow through with (for his own dreams, I’m guessing?) And that’s a lesson for venues: always check the socials and stats of the artists coming to play within your establishments. (Some of the venues have recently spoken out about how they were tricked; saying he used an outside promoter to sell the tickets yet still paid for the venue hire upfront.) With some of the biggest names in music media like Metal Sucks and Consequence of Sound covering this Threatin story closely and putting in the legwork, any slim hope that this guy had for a music career after now just went up in flames. If you’re thinking you could get away with something like this, think again!
The former website also spoke with one of the unfortunate support acts for that U.K. run, The Unresolved, who shared this; a telling that really speaks for itself.
“So my band The Unresolved played last night at Asylum 2 in Birmingham. The day before (7th Nov) we got a message from Ghost Of Machines explaining there was nobody at their Bristol show with Threatin. They thought he’d been ripped of by band booking. We spoke with Asylum who told us they’s been told it was sell out but they checked ticket sales and were at zero. Asylum made it free entry.
“We got the gig from an email titled ‘Show Offer’ from somebody called Casey from StageRight Bookings. He offered the show and bigged up Threatin massively. I just thought they were flexing from overseas and thought nothing of it.
“From what we can tell Threatin is the guy not the band. His name is Jered Threatin and he says he’s a solo artist with a hired band. They were sound checking when we got there. Throughout the whole night Threatin didn’t approach anybody or talk to anyone but his own people. I heard him speak twice. Once when Robannas Studios showed up because Threatin hadn’t payed backline hire. And once again was a quiet ‘thanks’ cos I held a door open for him. Overall everyone involved with him are very rude and ignorant.
“There were 13 people in the room when we played. The sound engineer, bartender, 10 people we brought and 1 who actually got a ticket.”
This guy is basically the Tommy Wiseau of heavy music. As a sort of performance art, this is outright crazy. As something that’s actually genuine and good, this isn’t that; just a wild story we can all laugh at. And as rude of me as it is to say this, the only thing funnier and worse than this whole situation is the actual music that he created. This is more or less a musical catfish.
Now, to the second of these two hilariously silly evils.
Like most people, I hadn’t heard of American metalcore band, Bad Omens, before now. After this recent drama, however, everyone will know their name… but maybe not for the best of reasons. As co-headliners of the “Misery Will Find You” 2019 North American Tour, both The Amity Affliction and Senses Fail issued the same statement regarding Bad Omens pulling out of this recently announced tour the day after it went public. Why? Because as both headliners put it in a joint presser, Bad Omens‘ name was apparently too small on the tour art for their liking. (In the replies to the below tweet, someone asked if this is legitimately why they dropped out, to which Senses Fail’s official account responds, “100%“.)
MISERY WILL FIND YOU TOUR UPDATE pic.twitter.com/nlgtoVNhi7
— Senses Fail (@SensesFail) November 8, 2018
For context from the other side, here was the band’s defending statement was:
“We are always professional and respectful with the bands that we tour with. Anyone that’s toured with us can attest to that. We are not a band that creates problems or ever finds itself involved in “drama”. With that being said the last thing we wanted to do was make a big deal out of our departure from the tour with Senses Fail / Amity Affliction when announcing that we would no longer be on it. But due to both Senses Fail and The Amity Affliction’s attempts to publicly drag our name in the mud along with all of the online bullying they’ve not only welcomed but encouraged – they’ve forced our hand.
The terms of our deal to be the direct support act on this co-headline tour were negotiated prior to accepting the tour and they were not honored. Our team politely and professionally asked it to be honored before the tour was announced and they refused. Specific assets requested were neither sent or approved. After all of this and the tour still going live we did our best to remedy the situation to stay involved and we were met with total disrespect. At this point it was a matter of principle. We aren’t going to be another young band that gets pushed around by older bands. Sorry if that doesn’t work for you. This public shaming campaign the bands have created online is both ironic and symbolic to the situation, as well as confirmation we made the right choice by leaving this tour. I grew up listening to Senses Fail and I never imagined they would stimulate this kind of bullying or shaming over something so trivial – this unprofessional and ugly behavior is highly disappointing. None the less we wish the bands the best on their tour, and we apologize to anyone we’ve disappointed by dropping off the tour.
Standing up for yourself in any type of relationship, whether business or personal, is something Bad Omens believes in. Sometimes that means people get upset, hence having to write this.“
On top of this, Sumerian Records founder, Ash Avildsen, backed up his clients on Twitter, calling it all bullying:
“Older bands bullying younger bands, both privately in deal points and publicly on the internet. cool story guys. take notes from the movie business- bullying people in the industry will no longer be tolerated-no matter who your manager or agent is, or how ‘powerful’ you are.”
As you can imagine, this whole thing blew up from there. If Bad Omens had said nothing and not made it a bigger deal with their own post, probably nothing would’ve happened. People would’ve forgotten quickly enough. Hell, even if they’d just posted the link to that pathetically small print black shirt (which is $25, by the way) on their socials and left it there, it would’ve been seen as some solid shitposting. Seen as them embracing the joke with a troll. But by making their statement and using lots of words to not say anything new nor revealing the finer details of their supposedly breached contract, they dug the hole deeper. For now, whenever I hear their dollar-store brand of BMTH-esque metalcore, I will forever think back to this particular moment in time. And my god, the memes have been swift and hard. Just check the comments on that above Facebook post for more.
Elsewhere, The Amity Affliction’s bassist/clean singer, Ahren Stringer, also chimed in, saying:
“People really want to believe there’s more to this situation but I’m telling you it’s really that simple. Bad Omens pulled out of our tour because of the size of their name on the poster. This is not a conspiracy.” [Suss out his next thread].
Then, frontman Joel Birch echoed the same thing as his bandmate in two separate Tweets I’ve comped together below, writing:
“Motherfuckers wanna subtweet. Let’s go. Putting out a presser telling the truth about why you pulled out is not bullying. Subtweet subtweet subtweet. Perception is everything we were told, so perceive this how you want!”
“I think Bad Omens are a good band, by the way, but this was beyond stupid and disrespectful. Had they done it the day before we announced, it wouldn’t have mattered, and we would have just laughed behind closed doors. Why shouldn’t we tell the truth about why they pulled out?”
So, was it unprofessional from both of the headliner’s parts? Yeah, sure, maybe. But was it bullying? No, that ain’t it, Ash or anyone else saying as such. While I do love Senses Fail’s music – and have for many years now – consistent KYS readers will know that I don’t stan Amity Affliction. Other than two songs, I REALLY didn’t like ‘Misery‘. Yet I’m inclined to believe both headliners here. Whatever I feel towards Amity, they did hustle hard for a long time to get to where they are now. Just like any other popular heavy band: Parkway Drive, Architects, Bring Me The Horizon, and so forth. As for Bad Omens, they’re a newer, younger band who formed in 2015 and who don’t seem to have paid their dues yet. Especially as I’ve heard from others about how petty Bad Omens are and how they might be a label-manufactured act. I do understand wanting to back yourself and stand up for what you believe, but sometimes, that will just make you look like a hubris-riddled fool.
As for me, it’s all in the language that Bad Omens used in that above statement: “assets“. In my line of work for KYS, that word means a few things when conversing with bands, PR and labels. It usually refers to MP3/WAV files, promo shots, ticket/streaming links, Dropbox links, and, drum roll please, tour artwork! In a response to Birch, vocalist Noah Sebastian from Bad Omens replied: “We got the file we requested for weeks, 10 hours before the tour went live“. To me, this screams that said ‘file’ was the his-res tour artwork image. It wasn’t sent, for whatever reason, so the band only saw it right before the tour announce and then just spat the dummy like petulant little children, dropping off the tour. And my sides have been in orbit ever since.
In any case, this is some really good exposure for the opening act on this U.S. tour, Belmont. One of the better new blood bands in the world of pop-punk right now, so go check ’em out!
Lastly, this is my advice for bands. When addressing moments like this – from petty drama to even serious allegations – just be honest and up-front in all of the details. Don’t hold back, make it all public knowledge. It’ll be awkward, it’ll be hard, and you will piss off some of your team and higher-ups by disclosing such things, but it will nip any BS circulating about your band right in the bud. It’ll clear the air, one way or another. Because this is exactly how memes and rumours start up and stick to your name and music like mud. As the Bad Omens song, ‘Careful What You Wish For‘ states, “Don’t wait for the dust to settle“. If there’s indeed more to this story, hopefully, these guys get something out quick-smart to show people what, apparently, really went down.