The musician known as Jered Threatin definitely gets points for ambition and creativity. But that likely isn't endearing him, nor his heavy metal band Threatin, to venue managers in the UK, where the California group kicked off a tour promising loads of headbangers and delivering—well, in the case of one concert site, a grand total of four fans. The Telegraph reports on what appears to be an elaborate scheme on Threatin's part, involving fishy social-media likes, allegedly fake industry contacts on the band's website, accusations of doctored concert videos, and even now-deleted YouTube videos of Jered Threatin interviewing … himself. "Essentially, the entire history of Threatin is a lie," writes one band that opened for the group. The member of another band noted: "In all the years I've been involved in music, I've never known anything like this."
The UK tour, which Alternative Press reports began Nov. 1, immediately raised suspicions when, despite Threatin's promises of advance ticket sales, very few people showed; sometimes it was just the opening bands (part of a Nov. 7 concert at a Manchester location can be seen on YouTube). Still, per the BBC, one review described a Threatin performance as "energetic, despite the empty room," with "very good" session musicians. At least two of those musicians—a bassist and drummer—have since quit, and a Sunday show in Belfast was nixed. "It's a really extreme version of 'fake it till you make it,'" one venue manager tells the Telegraph. The Guardian, meanwhile, calls it "a tale of our times—a fake band belonging to this era of fake news and sinister online maneuvers." No word yet from Threatin himself. (A rocker allegedly defrauded 100,000 people.)