Pranks are a staple of rock and roll. For as long as the test of time, bands have been using pranks as a foil to be prize jerks, and more often than not, these go horribly wrong – as Foo Fighters can attest to when a trick they attempted to pull on Red Hot Chilli Peppers backfired disastrously.
Throughout the late 1990s, the two behemoths of rock found themselves touring together. As the shows went on, the pranks escalated between the two group’s as they looked to entertain themselves in weird and wonderful ways across the run of dates. Apart from the last show, that Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins would later describe as their “worst” performance, the tour was largely a rousing success, yet, it couldn’t have ended in worse circumstances.
“We were opening up for the Chilli Peppers,” Hawkins told Radio X’s Gordon Smart in 2019 about the worst show of his life. “This is back in the ’90s, late 90s, maybe 2000. And we decided since it was the last show, first of all, we dropped a thousand golf balls on their heads, and then pasta like all over the band,” he added.
Hawkins continued: “But before we went on stage – this is when I got hammered all the time – we got so frigging hammered before we went on stage, we just couldn’t even play. I think that we literally played like three songs and then just laid on the stage. People were like booing us. It was really a low point,” the drummer reflected.
“They were fine with that,” the Foo Fighters man surprisingly said in regards to the reaction from the Chili’s. “It’s when the pasta landed on them,” he laughed. “They were good sports about it. [Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer] Chad [Smith] is still one of my best friends.”
For a support band to prank the headliner is a turn-up for the books, and even though the show was a disaster, the Foo’s won the respect of the Chili Peppers’ for having the courage to attempt the ballsy joke in the first place.
“Down comes ping-pong balls and glitter, which was kinda weird – it was okay, but kinda weird,” Chad Smith later recalled. “Dave [Grohl] and Taylor are at the side, and [I’m, like,] ‘Fuck you!’ Anthony [Kiedis] is laughing, missing all the words. Then the ping-pong balls and the glitter stopped.
“I was like, ‘Okay, cool.’ Then like 500 pounds of spaghetti! That was like snakes falling on you for a long time. It did not stop, it was all over the drums. They got me really good. I barely finished the end of the song, then I run off and tackle Dave.”
Karma is a dish best served cold, and Foo Fighters faced the repercussions of their actions even before the prank had come into fruition. If anybody deserved to get booed off, it was Foo Fighters after their stunt. Their set getting cut short due to the state of intoxication and an angry mob booing them is sweeter revenge than anything the Chili’s could have conjured up.