Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers Had a Prank War During a 1999 Tour That Involved Golf Balls and Pasta

Sometimes, tours aren’t just about the music. A lot of times, bands who tour together prank each other. That’s what happened between Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers when they toured together in 1999. It became a prank war.

Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins and Red Hot Chili Peppers' Chad Smith at Live Earth in 2007.
Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith | Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith started a prank war with Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins

In an episode of Rolling Stone’s “The First Time” video series, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith recalled the time he pranked Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.

“We used to tour with Foo Fighters a lot back in ’99 and 2000,” Smith explained. “but ’99, we played an extensive American tour with them, and I became very friendly with them. Spent most of my time in their dressing room before they would play, doing things that people do before they play. I became really friendly with Taylor Hawkins, their drummer.

“So, as you know, the drummer doesn’t move around; he has to sit in one spot. So, I decided it would be a good idea to rig up things above him.”

Smith rigged thousands of M&Ms above Hawkins and pulled the string to release them as Foo Fighters finished a song. “I thought that was funny,” Smith said. The drummer also used popcorn and other non-dangerous, soft foods. “No knives or anything,” Smith added.

However, Smith’s actions didn’t go unpunished.

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Foo Fighters got Red Hot Chili Peppers back

Hawkins and his bandmates didn’t let Smith’s actions go. They got revenge.

Smith continued, “At the end of the tour that we did with them, which was three months, I kinda knew that they were like, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to get Chad back.’ They were smart about it.

“Before the last show, and we’re playing, and it was funny because we were filming for a live DVD, so it’s on film, and I’m playing one of our songs towards the end, and down comes ping pong balls and glitter, I think it was, which was kinda weird. It was OK but kinda weird.”

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and Hawkins were on the side laughing. Then, something else rained down on Smith and Red Hot Chili Peppers; hundreds of pounds of pasta. Smith said it felt like snakes falling on him.

“I have to say, they got me really good,” Smith told Rolling Stone. After he finished the show, Smith tackled Grohl. “We had a lot of great times with those guys. They’re buddies. Taylor is the godfather to one of my kids. Poor kid.”

Hawkins told Radio X Foo Fighters played one of their worst shows during that tour. “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,” he explained.

“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.”

As for Foo Fighters winning the prank war, Hawkins said Red Hot Chili Peppers “were fine with that; it’s when the pasta landed on them… They were good sports about it. Chad is still one of my best friends.”

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Travis Barker witnessed Smith pull a nasty prank on Hawkins

Blink-182’s Travis Barker caught some of the pranking between Smith and Hawkins. During KROQ’s Weenie Roast 2016, Barker revealed the disgusting prank Smith played on Hawkins during a show that Blink-182, Foo Fighters, and Red Hot Chili Peppers attended in Australia.

“Do you remember, when we were in Australia, Chad Smith would pee in Taylor Hawkins’ fan? It’s the worst practical joke ever,” Barkers said. When Hawkins played, Smith’s pee sprayed on his face.

Clearly, there were no boundaries between Smith and Hawkins. They were still great friends after all these awful, sometimes unsanitary pranks. That’s rock ‘n’ roll.

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