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 offered 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 for you by Freese himself, which would be made available on iTunes.
Well, Freese has made good on his promise: My New Friends is a five-song EP (out today!) 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 drumming 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 explains that he's going to head in a different direction after My New Friends. "It's going to be the last 'normal-ish' record I make for awhile. I've got a lot of bizarre, instrumental, kind-of-avant-gardish things that I've been sitting on for awhile that I'm going to put out soon that show a much different side of me and things I like to listen to and to write. Less 'Replacements' and more 'Residents.'"
And now the answer to your question: Will Freese be offering more fan packages this time around?
Yep. And several sold out within hours of announcement, 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!
But don't plan on catching Freese solo any time soon--he says he's much "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.
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"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."
My New Friends and Since 1979 are available on iTunes. Visit JoshFreese.com for more info and to purchase fan packages.