Keanu Reeves is a much-adored actor who we all treasure for his iconic roles such as John Wick and, of course, the Matrix lead Neo. While he is widely celebrated in most of his on-screen work, he unfortunately endured less success when he ventured into the world of music with his band Dogstar. Suffering what might be one of the most hostile reactions in the history of Glastonbury Festival, Reeves and his bandmates were ceremoniously pelted with fruit during their disastrous set in 1999.
Dogstar were gifted and ambitious slot during the event, one which saw them placed high on the line-up on The Other Stage ahead of acts like Queens Of The Stone Age which, in large, was because of Reeves’ fame rather than his musical talent. The band’s appearance came just mere months after the release of The Matrix, a film which saw Reeves become one of the most sought after names in Hollywood whose star power was incredibly high.
The band was created by a chance meeting between Robert Mailhouse and Reeves in a supermarket. Mailhouse, who would go on to become the drummer of Dogstar, was wearing a Detroit Red Wings hockey jersey and Reeves asked him if the team needed a goalkeeper. The two developed a friendship, began playing music together and, ultimately, formed the band.
“You know, we started in a garage, and then you end up starting to write songs, and then you’re like ‘Let’s go out and play them!’, and then you’re like ‘Let’s go on tour!’, and then…you’re playing,” Reeves once said in an interview with Jimmy Fallon.
Together they released their debut album in 1996 to little fanfare but they did win over David Bowie as a fan who asked the band to open for him in 1995 at The Hollywood Palladium—a turn of events which suggest that the band were a serious outfit and not just a plaything for Reeves.
However, the Glastonbury audience were less than impressed with his musicianship and grew tired of his lack of dialogue with the crowd. With the atmosphere growing tenser, soon the situation would dramatically worsen and result in Reeves being pelted with fruit during the notorious set.
A review of the 1999 bash by The Guardian’s Stuart Miller noted: “The uniqueness of the event was marked, too, by the arrival of Keanu Reeves, Hollywood’s movie star-cum rock musician. He appeared briefly backstage with fellow members of his band Dogstar to pose for press photographers. Declining to give autographs and mumbling a few incoherent words, he looked even more bewildered by Glastonbury than he does generally on screen. On stage he found little to endear him to the event – unimpressed members of the audience hurled oranges and other fruit at his bass guitar.”
Unsurprisingly, Dogstar wouldn’t be invited back to perform at Worthy Farm and they would go on to release their final album Happy Ending before they would eventually call it a day in 2002 as Reeves’ acting schedule became too hectic for him to continue in the band. Probably the right call, Keanu!