By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
So the last time we checked in with Josh Freese, he'd just released a full-length, Since 1972, and was leading a self-marketing revolution by peddling experience packages to crazed fans: $20,000 got you a game of mini golf with Maynard James Keenan, Mark Mothersbaugh and Freese; $5,000 bought a private tour of Disneyland and a letter from Stone Gossard; and $500 netted an all-you-can-eat steak-and-shrimp dinner at your local Sizzler.
A feature of some of the limited-edition packages? Your own song written about you by Freese himself, which would then be made available on iTunes.
Well, Freese made good on his promise: His latest release, titled My New Friends, released on April Fool's Day, is a five-song EP about the new pals he met on his strange, strange journey through the Spearmint Rhino trips and floats in a sensory-deprivation tank somewhere on the Venice Boardwalk.
Freese—whose work you might know from A Perfect Circle, the Vandals, DEVO, Nine Inch Nails, Sting, Weezer, Paul Westerberg, Guns N' Roses, the Replacements, etc.—says the entire EP was put together over the course of two years.
"In between playing drums in 10 different bands and changing a bunch of diapers," the father of four adds.
My New Friends shares the same lighthearted, pop/punk attitude Freese's previous works radiate. (In "NY Style Eddie [For Eddie Torres]": "He made me listen to White Zombie, and I almost went insane.")
"It's the same ol' thing really!" Freese says, laughing. "It's really just an extension of Since 1972 seeing that it's straight-ahead, poppy rock & roll."
He says his upcoming projects will head in a completely different direction.
"I've got a lot of bizarre, instrumental, kind-of-avant-garde-ish things that I've been sitting on that I'm going to put out soon, which shows a much different side of me and things I like to listen to and to write. Less Replacements and more Residents."
But will Freese be offering more fan packages this time around?
Yep. And several sold out within hours of their announcements, including the $7,500 deal to evoke the spirit of your choice with Tommy Lee, Danny Lohner and Freese—this one also includes a "C-List Porn Star" applying "corpse paint to your astonished face."
The other $7,500 package that features a mani/pedi and Color Me Mine date with Twiggy Ramirez? Still available! (At the time of publishing, that is.)
But don't plan on catching Freese solo any time soon—he says he's "too chicken" to perform his own music live, despite the fact he's played in front of hundreds of thousands. For Freese, it comes down to faith in his own talents as a singer.
"If I thought I was a really great, great, God-gifted singer and I really should be doing that, then I'm gonna do it. But I don't believe that," Freese explains. "There's probably a reason why I play drums—I want to sit behind the drum set. So that gives you a kind of idea of the kind of stage fright I get beyond the drums."
This column appeared in print as "A Sizzlin' New Record."