Last year, Foo Fighters executed one of the best live trolls of an audience ever by breaking out “Smells Like Teen Spirit” only to switch out the vocals for Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”, the song behind the viral phenomenon that is RickRolling. What elevated the prank to true art, however, was the presence of Astley himself, who was sharing the bill with the band at Japan’s Summer Sonic Festival.
Appearing on Kyle Meredith With…, Astley opens up about how the performance came together, which was very, very spontaneously. A big fan of the Foos, Astley camped out backstage for the rock band’s performance, and was soon approached by Grohl himself. “It just all went nuts. Dave Grohl came over and said hello, gave me a hug, said hello, and then a half hour later he’s inviting me onto the stage,” he explains. “I never met them, I have no why idea why he’d invite me onstage. I didn’t know what it was all about. And then he just kind of whispered and said, ‘We’re doing your tune, but we’re gonna do it like Teen Spirit,’ and that was it. And off we went.”
Revisit it below:
He continues, “It wasn’t like they asked me first or our managers got in touch, there was none of that. It was just, ‘Hey, there’s that guy, I wonder if he wants to do that,’ and we did. All credit to them, because they didn’t know I wasn’t gonna go out there and fall apart and be drunk or whatever.”
“It’s been great to me,” he says of the RickRoll meme, “so I can’t really have any negative thoughts about it.” In the interview, he also geeks out over some his other favorite RickRolls, including a version that chopped up Mad Men to simulate the cast singing the song.
Elsewhere in the interview, Astley discusses his role in helping to reopen Manchester Arena last year, as well as his shock at his 2016 comeback record 50 going platinum in the U.K. Listen to it in full below.
Kyle Meredith With… is presented by Consequence of Sound and Louisville’s 91.9 WFPK.