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Don't get fooled again
April 4, 2007 1:50 PM   Subscribe

What are the greatest hoaxes in rock history? [MP3 links] They Might be Giants' John Flansburg tells John Schaefer what he knows, and Rolling Stone readers weigh in as well. Was it Mama Cass choking on a sandwich? Jack and Meg White as siblings? Paul dead (again)? Keith Richards getting his blood replaced? Or snorting his father's ashes? Oh, wait, that last one was true.
posted by psmealey (59 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Milli Vanili.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:58 PM on April 4, 2007


Oh, wait, that last one was true.

Or was it?
posted by puke & cry at 1:58 PM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


And by that, I mean "great" as in "quite large" rather than "quite good."
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:59 PM on April 4, 2007


One of the greatest hoaxes was tricking people into thinking Foreigner and Journey are separate bands.

ducks
posted by Burhanistan at 2:00 PM on April 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


To me, the greatest hoax was that no one realized Britney Spears was actually a 38-year-old pipe fitter from New Jersey named Russ.
posted by drezdn at 2:00 PM on April 4, 2007


Or, Joey Ramones' faked death and subsequent re-emergence as jonmc.
posted by drezdn at 2:01 PM on April 4, 2007


According this this, Keith Richards was kidding.

On preview... sigh.. beaten to it again...
posted by MythMaker at 2:01 PM on April 4, 2007


That the make up of Golden Smog was a great big secret, and that anyone would actually care when they found out who they were.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:03 PM on April 4, 2007


I don't think jonmc is a Ramone. I think he's actually Stiv Bators.
posted by psmealey at 2:04 PM on April 4, 2007


I didn't see the Rolling Stone follow-up post linked where they give the top 25 myths. Apologies if it was already linked.
posted by puke & cry at 2:05 PM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Sex Pistols.
posted by four panels at 2:07 PM on April 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I can't believe that the Rolling Stone article calls it a myth that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. I wonder how they came to that determination.
posted by dios at 2:17 PM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


That the make up of Golden Smog was a great big secret, and that anyone would actually care when they found out who they were.

That sounds perilously close to Golden Smog-disrespect. And if you diss the Smog, you fluff my hogg.

my votes for biggest hoaxes: well, Led Zep would like you to believe the shark thing's a hoax, and I suppose it probably is. Also, the myth that Billy Corgan has an ounce of talent is pure bunkum.
posted by COBRA! at 2:18 PM on April 4, 2007


The Sex Pistols.
Is a swindle the same as a hoax?
posted by Dr-Baa at 2:19 PM on April 4, 2007


I can't believe that the Rolling Stone article calls it a myth that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. I wonder how they came to that determination.

Their office is just down the hall, they just walked over and asked Satan if they could look at his receipts.
posted by COBRA! at 2:19 PM on April 4, 2007


Milli Vanilli?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:23 PM on April 4, 2007


Biggest hoax? Radiohead.

Also, Xiu Xiu is a joke Pitchfork is playing on you.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:29 PM on April 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


Your favorite band hoax sucks.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:31 PM on April 4, 2007


That whole thing where Chris Gaines convinced everybody that he was dead and being impersonated by Garth Brooks was pretty amazing.
posted by cortex at 2:33 PM on April 4, 2007


I've got one, Man... Or Astroman's Clone Project tour.
posted by drezdn at 2:44 PM on April 4, 2007


Though I'm not sure it would actually count as a hoax.
posted by drezdn at 2:44 PM on April 4, 2007


The urban myth about Bob Holness playing the sax solo on "Baker Street" is a bit tame compared to these, but I still remember it fondly.
posted by teleskiving at 2:48 PM on April 4, 2007


The one I had totally forgotten about that they debunked on the radio show was David Bowie playing saxophone on Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side (wasn't him).

I also have a distinct recollection of the Rod Stewart/gallon of semen story when I was a kid. That always struck me as gross, stupid and unbelieveable, yet the story was everywhere. Apparently the story was resurrected recently, with Lil Kim in the starring role this time.
posted by psmealey at 2:58 PM on April 4, 2007


John Sex was actually hugely popular, with his own top-rated network TV Show ("The Hustle with the Muscle Hour") and fan club. A vast right-wing conspiracy involving dark satellites and fluoride in the water allowed us to be universally affected by retrograde amnesia that has successfully reduced his influence.

That's what I heard, anyway.
posted by maxwelton at 2:59 PM on April 4, 2007


Scissor Sisters. A brilliant joke on straight society by gay society.
posted by thirteenkiller at 3:25 PM on April 4, 2007


Correction: Lil Kim had 3 gallons of semen in her gizzard.
posted by basicchannel at 3:27 PM on April 4, 2007


That's just inflation, basicchannel. 1 gal. 1978 semen = 3 gal. 2001 semen.
posted by psmealey at 3:31 PM on April 4, 2007


How did the semen remain undigested in Lil Kim for 23 years?
posted by thirteenkiller at 3:51 PM on April 4, 2007


Keith Moon never drove a car into a swimming pool, or did a lot of those other things (although he did do a lot of crazy things)

I'm not so sure about "Jack and Meg White as siblings?" How about "Meg White as a drummer?"

And then there's, "grunge as a distinct musical genre and not just poorly-executed, humorless Black Sabbath retreads?"
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:02 PM on April 4, 2007


Paul from Wonder Years is Marilyn Manson.
posted by notmydesk at 4:10 PM on April 4, 2007


Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
posted by 2sheets at 4:14 PM on April 4, 2007


Frank Sinatra, the legendary “chairman of the board”, once snorted a very dry martini. Michael Jackson, the legendary “king of pop” snorted his own nose. Elvis, “the king”, snorted a peanut butter and banana sandwich and three pairs of crotchless snortable panties.
posted by Huplescat at 4:22 PM on April 4, 2007


Contrary to popular belief, Elvis was, indeed, not.
posted by tehloki at 4:39 PM on April 4, 2007


I thought the biggest hoax was drugs and partying are cool, fun, or interesting.
posted by Listener at 4:47 PM on April 4, 2007


Listener, you're doing it wrong.
posted by tehloki at 4:50 PM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Scissor Sisters. A brilliant joke on straight society by gay society.

Some would argue that could define "culture" in its entirety that way...
posted by jokeefe at 5:05 PM on April 4, 2007


> I can't believe that the Rolling Stone article calls it a myth that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. I wonder how they came to that determination.

In the wide-ranging interview, Dick Cheney denied having ever purchased such a thing. "No. No. No. Shot a lawyer. But never cared for bluesmen."

So, there you are.
posted by deCadmus at 5:11 PM on April 4, 2007


KLAATU

Yeah, yeah, practically need to bank some kind of carbon isotope off that one.
posted by hal9k at 5:17 PM on April 4, 2007


My favorite is Bowie and Jagger being caught screwing by Bowie's (now) ex-wife Angela. (It's my favorite because I want it to be true so badly.) The story then continues into Jagger writing "Angie" about her.
posted by piratebowling at 5:20 PM on April 4, 2007


Well, it's not a hoax, but the persistent myth that Iggy Pop smashes a bottle and slashes his chest with the shards regularly as part of his stage act -- I had the opportunity to ask him about that in 1978. He said basically "Oh, god. ONE TIME, I accidentally broke a glass on a mic stand in the middle of a show, and somehow managed to cut myself." There was a heavy rolling of the eyes to accompany this. Isn't it weird how things like that get handed around the planet year after year? I guess it kinda bums me out that humanity is gullible and credulous enough to just accept as fact something "they say." Like even if we knew who They were, who's to say They weren't just making shit up?

Real hoax? Triumph.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:56 PM on April 4, 2007


Sigue Sigue Sputnik, sort of. They weren't really a band, but then they were.
posted by not_bitter at 8:21 PM on April 4, 2007


Keith Richards didn't snorthis father's ashes...
posted by spish at 8:21 PM on April 4, 2007


Once upon a time there was a mysth circulating that Alice Cooper was really Jerry Mathers (Beaver Clever).
posted by Goofyy at 10:56 PM on April 4, 2007


Well, it's not a hoax, but the persistent myth that Iggy Pop smashes a bottle and slashes his chest with the shards regularly as part of his stage act

Funnily enough, I met someone at a party last year who copied that on stage once. A bloke called Tyla who was in a band called Dogs D'Amour at the time. Almost bled to death.
posted by vbfg at 2:02 AM on April 5, 2007


I'm still waiting for the punchline on Eminem. Seriously, dude's whole career feels like I'm watching a bad Adam Sandler movie.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:24 AM on April 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Everyone knows it was Joey from the New Kids on the Block who had 15 gallons of sperm pumped from his stomach. Andy told me in 5 grade, and Andy would never lie.
posted by drezdn at 6:19 AM on April 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Everyone knows it was Joey from the New Kids on the Block who had 15 gallons of sperm pumped from his stomach. Andy told me in 5 grade, and Andy would never lie.

Ha! I remember that rumor! That's what destroyed NKotB in my elementary school as the cool band to like.


Also: Radiohead is not a hoax. Radiohead says you are the hoax, and now Thom Yorke will go write a anxiety-filled song about the whole experience.
posted by Windigo at 7:13 AM on April 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Although a long time ago, I was at the Alice Cooper concert at the old Warehouse in New Orleans for the Black Widow tour (or something like it) and I remember a stoned Uncle told me that Mr Greenjeans of Captain Kangaroo Fame was Vincent Furnier's father. Sounded plausible. Shit, when your 12 at an Alice Cooper concert in a hot assed venue where the whole place smelled like puke, warm beer and piss, anything is possible.
posted by winks007 at 7:14 AM on April 5, 2007


All about Frank Zappa and Hugh Brannum ("Mr. Greenjeans").

Re: Alice Cooper, a story I recall from when I was around that age was that Alice himself pass a bucket around the concert hall to have every spit in it, and then he drank it. This, like the various semen stories above, also seemed too stupid and wantonly gross to be believeable.
posted by psmealey at 7:27 AM on April 5, 2007


Correction: Welcome to my Nightmare, not the black widow. Must...get...more...coffee.
posted by winks007 at 7:35 AM on April 5, 2007


Damn. Now I'm going to have to stop saying 'If Mama Cass had given half her sandwich to Karen Carpenter, they'd both be alive today.'
posted by merelyglib at 8:40 AM on April 5, 2007


I can't believe that the Rolling Stone article calls it a myth that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. I wonder how they came to that determination.

I thought that Tommy Johnson originally claimed to have sold his soul, and Son House stole his story to keep Hammond interested about Robert Johnson. Maybe that's the "debunking" of the myth?

Anyway, even the devil wouldn't set foot in Mississippi, folks there are baaad.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:26 AM on April 5, 2007


What is no hoax is the folks at Disney have no sense of humor and have disinvited Richards to the opening of the new 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movie. One more reason to dislike Disney.
posted by Rashomon at 11:25 AM on April 5, 2007


speaking of Iggy Pop, I have a vague recollection of a myth floating around about "The Iggy Pop Museum" in Ann Arbor, MI. One would usually send gullible people in search of it... or offer free tickets!
posted by kuppajava at 12:11 PM on April 5, 2007


I always used to think that Aphex Twin and Axl Rose were the same person. Just look them together: Aphex, Axl
posted by tehloki at 1:05 PM on April 5, 2007


Actually, scratch that, they look like "before and after meth addiction" pictures of each other.
posted by tehloki at 1:13 PM on April 5, 2007


I always used to think that Aphex Twin and Axl Rose were the same person.

But tehloki, Axl doesn't have a chest like this.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:14 PM on April 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


You have no idea how hard it was to find a picture of Richard D. James that wasn't either garbled into unrecognizeability by Chris Cunningham, or endowed with a lovely set of breasts.
posted by tehloki at 1:57 PM on April 5, 2007


Holy crap. That picture of Keef is just awful. He had looked like the Crypt Keeper for at least a couple decades, but with that disgusting orange-ish skin tone, he now literally looks like a cadaver.
posted by psmealey at 2:33 PM on April 5, 2007


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