As he explained his tactics, Jered was relaxed, confident - not the slightest bit embarrassed. But that’s because he had something he was eager to show me - a series of emails that he said he sent out under yet another alias, a Gmail account belonging to “E. Evieknowsit”.
“URGENT: News tip,” the subject line read.
“The musician going by the name Threatin is a total fake. He faked a record label, booking agent, facebook likes, and an online fanbase to book a European tour. ZERO people are coming to the shows and it is clear that his entire operation is fake,” he wrote, including links to all his phoney websites.
“Please don’t let this man fake his way to fame... Please Expose him.”
The first such message he showed me was dated 2 November, a day into the Breaking the World Tour, and a week before the first news reports were published. He says he sent the messages out to a database of reporters’ emails he keeps in a massive Excel spreadsheet on his laptop - to outlets like the Huffington Post, Spin, Consequence of Sound, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Pitchfork, New York Times, MetalSucks and, yes, the BBC. Although it was unclear if the tips directly resulted in coverage, some of the emails appear to have predated articles.
During the tour, when the bandmates weren’t looking or in another room, Eames claimed he was on his phone on Facebook under his various aliases, stoking the controversy.
If he is to be believed, the public shaming of Jered Threatin was nothing but a carefully orchestrated publicity stunt. He’d even had Kelsey at the ready with a video camera, in the hope that someone at one of the venues might try to fight him and create a viral video to boot.
“I manufactured my own destruction,” he said proudly. “My idea was, how am I going to fill these empty rooms? I’m going to fill them with eyes from the digital world. That was the objective from the beginning.”
Were the things I’d taken as signs of humiliation - the closing of his social media accounts, the disappearance of the obviously fake YouTube interviews - actually Jered herding eyeballs towards his music, which he left up? As of writing, Threatin’s single Living is Dying has been viewed more than 1.2 million times.
Ignoring interview requests was another form of stoking the fire.
“As soon as the questions are answered, the story’s less interesting,” he said.
Which brought us to the awkward fact of my sitting in his house, listening to his explanation.
Maybe by writing the very story you are now reading, I’ve played a part in carrying out Jered Threatin’s master plan.
Jered claims to be in meetings day after day with movie producers looking to fictionalise the saga, bookers who want him out on the road to capitalise on his notoriety, and music producers and labels who want to talk about his next album.
Kelsey has hours of footage, from the auditions at SIR Studios all the way through the tour, which they intend to use in a documentary. She even taped him sending out news tips about his own fraudulence from their hotel in New Castle.
“There is no villain character anymore in rock music, or really in all music,” he says smugly. “I’m trying to vilify myself.”
When I press him to find out if he feels bad about deceiving anyone - especially his former bandmates - he is unrepentant, and claims he offered to pay for them to fly home after the tour fell apart.
“The job is the same either way, and the only difference is the number of people standing in front of you,” he said. “When they [the band] are saying: ‘I want to be a touring musician, I want to be famous and I want this and that’ - that’s what [they] got.”
Although Eames provided emails, receipts, videos and other documentation to back up his story, ultimately it is still possible that the tale he laid out is not true. Perhaps the “E. Evieknowsit” messages were backdated. He didn’t allow me to take photos of the inside of his notebooks, because some of those accounts are still active, roving the internet, and a part of what he said are forthcoming publicity stunts.
For his part, brother Scott was utterly unconvinced when I relayed Jered’s version of events.
“He’s a master manipulator,” said Scott. “I want to be the voice of reason here. This is like every other profession and you’ve lied to everyone in your profession, so I don’t know where he’s going with this. He can be the internet sensation if he wants, but he’s not going be the musician that he wants to be.”
In our last conversation, however, Jered dismissed the idea instantly that the music might not be good enough to carry him forward.
“I came home to literally and thousands and thousands of CD sales. I have a cult following,” he said.
His only regret, he said, is that he didn’t show up to one of the cancelled shows, where his internet infamy would have generated a proper audience - perhaps the final stop in Italy. He would have liked to have gone on stage, faced the crowd, and refused to play a note.
“I just would have gotten booed off stage, or bottled, and it would have been a beautiful piece of stage art,” he said wistfully. “It’s like, I show up and I play for no-one. And then when there’s an audience, I don’t play for anyone.”