Page 6 of 7
They finally reach the inside of the Haunted Mansion and are ushered into the room with the "stretching walls."
Freese grins and asks, "You want to know something scary?" Freese says he can recite "every single word" of what they're about to hear. He's not kidding.
"Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Mansion. I am your host — your Ghost Host," he says, while the same speech plays overhead. "Your cadaverous pallor betrays an aura of foreboding, almost as though you sense a disquieting metamorphosis. Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it your imagination, hmm?"
People around him are staring.
"And consider this dismaying observation: This chamber has NO windows and NO doors. Which offers you this chilling challenge: To find a way out!"
Freese lets out a maniacal laugh.
"Of course, there's always my way," he finishes.
The two hop into their Doom Buggy and ride off into the dark. Afterward, Freese brags that from 1985 through 1987, he probably made out with more 13- and 14-year-old girls than anyone else in the world while in the Haunted Mansion.
"Let's put it this way: My first groupie experience was in the Haunted Mansion. I'll go on the record with that."
But the rumor that he got a blow job in '87 on the monorail? Not true, Josh says.
Freese's flippant marketing tactic has fans, non-fans, marketing execs and other professional musicians talking.
"Josh is irreverent and perceptive and punk in his music and his marketing," Gossard says. "His creative energies are so vast, he's having fun with all aspects of his music and how people get interested in it." (Gossard later tries to retract this quote, thinking it way too serious. He e-mails a possible alternate: "That little punk-ass bitch is cracking me up. Shit, I love Josh Freese.")
Mothersbaugh also admires his bandmate. "Josh may be the first artist to go beyond talking about it and finally figure out how to sculpt the 'new business model' to really work — letting the Internet and technology complement and enhance his own sense of humor and expression in a truly original and honest way that is ultimately attractive to fans and converts alike, appealing to their own personal interest for interaction," he says. "I'm seriously jealous."
Publicists and virtual strangers have approached Freese, confessing that they hung their heads in shame for not thinking up a similar scheme first.
"Of course, I want to make money," Freese says. "But it's not only about the money. There's plenty of easier ways to make money, but especially now, at a time when the whole record industry is kind of scratching its head and chasing its tail and is like, 'What are we going to do? How are we going to do something different?' ... Everybody's freaked out, and then I came up with this thing that was so different that made everyone behind their desks have a laugh."
Freese is keeping busy with what remains of the fan packages — he has a couple of lunches left to do this summer, and he's working on writing those songs for Mrzyglocki and Al-Sayed's respective purchases. He's got a new record, Dirty Mature, coming out, which will include "all of the weird instrumental songs" that serve as the soundtrack to Freese's homemade YouTube videos (youtube.com/joshfreese). He's scheduled to do one-off shows with Devo, Sting and the Vandals, and will embark on a two-month tour with Weezer in August. He'll also be working with Devo on its first new record in almost 20 years.