Unfortunately, their quest for minor-league stardom was thwarted when MP3.com retracted an offer to give the band more exposure, deciding not to link Phreeworld's latest hit to an e-mail sent out to all new MP3.com users.
MP3.com, a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal, based in San Diego, California, is a website that hosts more than one million song and audio files. MP3.com was going to be Phreeworld's ticket to fame.
Phreeworld's druggie, ambient-rock sound, popular in the '70s (officially called "progressive rock" for the past, oh, 30 years now) recently made it to MP3.com's Online Top 40 list. As of November 2, their hit single, "Bin Laden Goes To HELL," held the number 19 slot.
Any band that makes MP3.com's Top 40 gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have their "hit" air on an e-mail message that goes to newly registered MP3.com users.
Stoked, Phreeworld bid more than $900 when MP3.com auctioned off the spot to its Top 40 bands on October 30. Phreeworld was the highest bidder, but MP3.com revoked the offer two days later, promising to refund the band and saying in a November 1 e-mail, "It has been decided that the song title/comment presents too risky of an exposure for the company at this time." Bummer.
MP3.com did not return The Stranger's calls at press time.
"It's our most avant-garde song yet," says Phreeworld guitarist/vocalist Dave Wheeler. Wheeler (Shoreline High Class of '73), a father of three, lives in Snohomish and works as a technology consultant for AT&T Wireless.