Josh Freese (drummer for A Perfect Circle, Devo, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, The Vandals, Guns'n'Roses, The Replacements and Sting amongst others) released Since 1972 in 2009, which quickly became a widely discussed release as much for its unique marketing strategy as it was for the music itself with outlets worldwide reporting on the unique, tiered pricing plan that ranged from $7 for an album download to a $75,000 package of goodies that included Freese joining the purchaser's band for a month, going to his house to pick clothes out of his closet and a flying trapeze lesson with Robin Finck from Nine Inch Nails. On Apr. 1, Freese releases My New Friends, which is both a follow-up and an extension of Since 1972.
Let us explain.
In early 2009, Freese announced the 11-tiered pricing plan For Since 1972 mentioned above. He freely shared that he had no expectations of people buying the "ridiculously priced packages" (his words) but was aware that the press attention he received for the grassroots marketing was not only fun for all but would help propel sales of the album that was a personal labor of love many years in the making and completely self-funded. Of course Freese, who has been playing professionally since he was 12, was game for any of the stunts and pranks he outlined in the various packages but did divulge his wife was fearful that he would be spending weeks eating at P.F. Chang's Restaurants with "complete strangers" (see $250 package). Other highlights from the purchasing options included original songs written for the buyer, taking possession of Freese's used Volvo station wagon (after being given a personal tour of Disneyland) and a miniature golf outing with Maynard James Keenan (Tool/A Perfect Circle) and Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh.
So did he sell any of those "ridiculously priced packages"? He sure did. While the $75,000 package is still available, Freese sold the $20,000 package (full details: http://joshfreese.com/buynow/20000/), all of the $5000 packages (full details: http://joshfreese.com/buynow/5000/) and multiple $500, $1000 and $2500 packages. Freese's wife was right; all 25 of the $250 packages that included a meal with Josh sold out within 24 hours of the packages going on sale.
"All the direct to fan stuff that I sold and wacky stuff that I participated in was a great success in my opinion. Because all I really wanted was to get people talking about my record, forwarding the website to their friends, having a laugh about it and say 'Can you believe what THIS guy's doing?' I honestly didn't expect to sell as many of those things as I did." Freese said. Between breaks in his touring and recording schedule, Freese penned songs about the people he met through the promotion and created the five-song EP, My New Friends. He once again played all of the instruments on the release and will release three videos in the weeks leading up to the Apr. 1 release.
Asked if he had any plans for new pricing strategies for My New Friends, Freese shared, "I have a few things up my sleeve but it won't be as elaborate as the last batch. It took a lot out of me that last time around. I'll probably do another set of P.F. Chang's lunch dates and some more of the 'thank you phone calls' like I did on the last album. I am going to have a few involved 'packages' that will include everything ranging from customized 'box sets' to having Dexter from The Offspring fly us in his jet up to San Luis Obispo and go see Bubble Gum Alley (I think if ya slip Dexter a C-note he'll do a few doughnuts or wheelies on the way back). I'm also trying to get Tommy Lee involved in a seance up at Danny Lohner's castle with one of the buyers too. Maybe have him DJ while we get in touch with the spirit of Divine or Buddy Rich or something." Freese plans to share the package details via his website (joshfreese.com) on Mar. 28.
Freese is also proud to announce that he just signed the first ever "720 deal" with Outerscope Records (which is comprised of Freese, his wife and their nanny when the kids are napping). "360 deals were all the talk a couple of years ago but the folks at Outerscope Records came up with a deal where we get paid twice around instead of just once." Freese continued. "That made a lot more sense to us… why only go around once? I bet Madonna, Jay-Z and all those bands that were signing 360 deals a few years ago are going to feel kind of silly when they hear about my 720 deal!"
Freese also mentioned that a portion of the profits from the sale of My New Friends will go to the 2011 Freese Family Hawaiian Vacation Fund.
"I am proud of this record and hope the same 812 people that got the last one rush out and snatch this one up too!" Freese exclaimed.