April Fool’s on a Sunday? What a bummer. Tough to pull a punk’d (half-assed or otherwise) when nobody’s watching, so instead of trying to float some bogus news story about the upcoming Smiths reunion (August 3-6 at MSG, tickets on sale next Wednesday!!!), we thought we’d examine a few of our favorite rock ‘n roll pranks from years past.
Keith Richards fakes his own death (1964)
After a show in Oslo, Mick Jagger returns to his hotel room to find an unconscious Keith Richards lying in a pool of his own vomit. It takes paramedics thirty minutes to get Keith’s heart beating again, at which point he wakes up, drinks a fifth of bourbon, and screams “You can’t kill me, I’m fucking Keith Richards!” To prove his point, he pulls out a tape recorder on which he has recorded the guitar lick to Satisfaction, two-thirds of Exile on Main Street, and a 350-line epic poem about Hulf Aardsberg, the Norse god of heroin — all while technically dead.
Robert Smith’s chapstick replaced with purple lip gloss (1980)
Laurence Tolhurst wasn’t the brightest bulb in the circuit, as evidenced by this somewhat misguided prank. Robert doesn’t realize he’s been pranked until 1993.
David Lee Roth kicks everyone out of Van Halen except himself (1985)
Van Halen gets Diamond Dave back by starting another band, also called Van Halen, and not telling him about it.
Seventy kids in a colorful trenchcoat perform as Arrested Development (1992)
Everything goes according to plan until the encore, when the trenchcoat catches on a mic stand, spilling pint-sized interpretive dancers into the unsuspecting Meadowlands crowd and bringing the concert to an embarrassing halt.
Thom Yorke implicated in “Thom Yorke Conspiracy” (2002)
While attempting to unravel a sinister connection between big oil, the defense industry, and a Hokkaido-based tuna concern, Thom Yorke discovers that, as a result of an accounting mixup, he actually owns a controlling stake in Halliburton subsidiary Kellog, Brown & Root. He replaces the upper management with former Congressional lobbyists and sells his stock for a tidy profit, which he then uses to fund a massive coverup.
K-Fed convinces Britney Spears that her tic tacs are extra-strength birth control pills (2005)
KF: “I so totally got you!”
BS: “Y’all are so crazy!”
KF: “I so totally knocked you up!”
BS: “Wait, what?”
KF: “Quiet now and finish your Fed-wich.”