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Fan spends $20,000 to hang out with Josh Freese and friends

April 13, 2009 |  5:18 pm

Freese300 True to his word, alt-rock drummer extraordinaire Josh Freese is honoring the outlandish marketing campaign he cooked up to promote his new album “Since 1972.” One 19-year-old fan from Florida decided that rather than investing $20,000 in a car, he’d prefer hanging out for a week and playing miniature golf with the onetime member of Nine Inch Nails, the Vandals and A Perfect Circle and his rock star pals.

Thomas Mrzyglocki snagged one of the pricier premium packages that Freese whimsically, but seriously, offered over his website for those who buy his second solo album. The cheapest, at $7, covers a download of the album’s 11 songs. The physical CD comes out April 14.

At the top end, for $75,000, Freese says he’ll join the buyer’s band (if he or she has one) for a month and go on tour, join them on a limo ride to Tijuana, take them on a flying trapeze lesson followed by homemade pasta cooked up by NIN guitarist Robin Finck and his wife. He’ll also write and record a five-song EP about the buyer’s life and let them take home one of his drum kits.

The $20,000 package, a limited edition of one that Mrzygocki bought as a birthday present to himself, included a mini-golf outing with members of Tool and Devo, a night aboard the Queen Mary, two songs about him that Freese will record and post on iTunes and his choice of any three items out of Freese’s closet.

“I couldn’t believe this kid had spent that money, so I didn’t want to just go play golf, hand him a drum and then take him to the airport,” Freese said Monday. “I didn’t just run down the list and give him the seven or eight things on it. He ended up staying at my house and checked out of his hotel. We did a lot of fun stuff and boring stuff -- he ran some errands with me, and played video games with my son. There were a lot of extras.”

The promotion was done as much to generate attention as cash, but since it began last month, Freese has sold all 25 of the $250 premiums (lunch with Freese at PF Chang’s or the Cheesecake Factory), one of five $2,500 items (a drum lesson, a trip to the Hollywood Wax Museum with a member of Devo or the Vandals), and two of three $5,000 packages (a private tour of Disneyland, a note from Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard describing his favorite song from Freese’s album as well as a song and a video about the buyer).

“I’m eating at PF Chang’s or Cheesecake Factory every day now, sometimes twice in a day,” Freese said. “Even when it’s a pain in the butt, I pinch myself because I thought this crazy stuff up. It seemed like a cool and funny idea, and now it’s a wacky reality.”

-- Randy Lewis

Photo credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times