Mothersbaugh, composer/artist/Devo front man, also admires his band mate: “Josh may be the first artist to go beyond talking about it and finally figure out how to sculpt the ‘new business model’ to really work—letting the Internet and technology complement and enhance his own sense of humor and expression in a truly original and honest way that is ultimately attractive to fans and converts alike, appealing to their own personal interest for interaction,” he says. “I’m seriously jealous.”

In addition to his peers, publicists and virtual strangers have approached Freese, confessing they hung their heads in shame for not thinking up a similar scheme first. “Of course, I want to make money. I’d be lying if [I said] it wasn’t about the money,” Freese says. “But it’s not only about the money. There’s plenty of easier ways to make money, but especially now, at a time when the whole record industry is kind of scratching its head and chasing its tail and is like, ‘What are we going to do? How are we going to do something different?’ Even if [the packages aren’t] great, the fact that it’s different makes it great. Everybody’s freaked out, and then I came up with this thing that was so different that made everyone behind their desks have a laugh.”

Freese says that the success of the fan packages is just getting to see the end result—what he had hoped to achieve had been done without the help of a street team or having to hire a staff. “I got the word out, and whether people bought it or not, people forwarded it to all their friends and said, ‘Hey, you have you seen this?’”

Turning the tables: Freese fields a business call as Butler threatens to give him a bald spot in the parking lot of the Long Beach Courthouse
Susan Sabo
Turning the tables: Freese fields a business call as Butler threatens to give him a bald spot in the parking lot of the Long Beach Courthouse
Turning the tables: Freese fields a business call as Butler threatens to give him a bald spot in the parking lot of the Long Beach Courthouse
Susan Sabo
Turning the tables: Freese fields a business call as Butler threatens to give him a bald spot in the parking lot of the Long Beach Courthouse

Freese is keeping busy with what remains of the fan packages—he has a couple of lunches left to do this summer, and he’s working on writing those songs for Mrzyglocki and Al-Sayed’s respective purchases. He’s got a new record, Dirty Mature, coming out, which will include “all of the weird instrumental songs” that serve as the soundtrack to Freese’s homemade YouTube videos (youtube.com/joshfreese). He is scheduled to do one-off shows with Devo, Sting and the Vandals in the coming months and will be embarking on a two-month tour with Weezer in August. He’ll also be working with Devo on their first new record in almost 20 years.

There are even whispers of a possible reality show being shopped around, centered on these fan packages and Freese nearly losing his mind trying to incorporate them into his schedule as a highly sought-after session drummer.

But don’t worry: He’s still got that same cheery attitude, remaining grateful for the opportunity, his career and the exposure.

“No, I’m definitely not taking myself very seriously, but what I do I take seriously but not too seriously,” Freese says. He pauses and tilts his head a bit. “That doesn’t make sense. I’m serious about not taking myself too seriously?”

To view a slide show of Freese's adventures with fans, click here.

vchang@ocweekly.com

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