When Korn decide to spell their name correctly, Evanescence lose yet another guitarist, and Slayer bag Ozzfest in favor of launching their own fashion line — all in the same day — it can only mean one thing: It's April Fools' Day.
Keeping with custom, April 1 saw its fair share of pranks, hoaxes and good-natured psych-outs. And as any successful practical joker knows, the more vested the victims are in the subject matter, the better the gag — a fact that makes music fans particularly susceptible.
Thursday's best joke may have been the one Howard Stern played on his audience. Listeners awoke not to the raunchy and racy morning radio show that entertains millions daily, but to "Cross & Lopez," a family-friendly couple promising "fun without the filth." Absent were jabs at Bababooey, hilarious parodies and pleas for female guests to remove their tops; taking their place were discussions focused on Jay Leno's monologue, dating tips from wholesome crooner Clay Aiken, and an analysis of the "American Idol" finalists.
The hoax was especially believable considering that Stern had been warning his listeners that he'd either resign or be fired if demands from the Federal Communications Commission to clean up his act didn't cease (see "Hundreds Of Howard Stern Fans Protest Indecency Crackdown"). At 6 a.m., WXRK-FM General Manager Tom Chiusano informed listeners that, indeed, Stern had been given his walking papers, but Stern admitted the whole affair was a hoax approximately an hour later.
MTV also got in on the April Fools' hijinks, at the expense of some Simple Plan fans. Minutes into Thursday's episode of "TRL," MTV News' John Norris announced that Simple Plan were breaking up, and on the phone was singer Pierre Bouvier saying that reconciliation was unlikely and that he could barely stand to be around his ex-bandmates.
So convincing was the farce, it brought one audience member to tears.
Elsewhere, on the Evanescence message board, EVBoard.com, under the thread topic "Important Info about John," John LeCompt's wife, Shelly, posted that the guitarist broke his arm in multiple places and shattered two fingers while attempting to move a big drum case. His doctor said that he isn't likely to be able to play guitar for a long while. With overseas tour dates lined up in May, fans were obviously upset.
"Give him our best!" wrote 16-year-old Katya. "I'll be saying a prayer for him tonight ... and the next night ... and the night after that ..."
Some fans wondered how the accident would affect the recording of the next album, while another hoped that ex-guitarist Ben Moody, who left less than amicably in October, would return to save the day.
One hundred sixty posts on 17 Web pages later, the post was revealed to be a hoax.
Other inspired April Fools' jokes included:
- A post on Roadrunner Records' U.K. Web site stating that the label has signed Guns N' Roses, and would release the forever-looming Chinese Democracy album in time for Christmas.
- Metal Web site IAteYourMicrophone.com reported that in light of the imminent death of nü-metal, Korn are in the process of changing their moniker from "KoRN" to the properly spelled and capitalized "Corn."
- SMN News (www.smnnews.com) reported that Slayer withdrew from the Ozzfest lineup in order for Kerry King to focus on his upcoming line of apparel and accessories. A supposed post from the guitarist read in part, "The stress and heartache of putting on my own clothing line, KFK Industries, has become increasingly difficult, and has required more work than initially thought." The item also reported that singer Tom Araya had signed on as King's design manager, while Norwegian death-metal eccentric Mortiis would head up the cosmetics department, Cradle of Filth singer Dani Filth and Dark Funeral guitarist Lord Ahriman would handle Spandex and fishnet operations.
- The Metal Underground (www.metalunderground.com) truly got into the fraudulent spirit with over a dozen phony headlines and message-board threads. These included ones suggesting that Slayer had broken up, with Kerry King leaving to write songs with Avril Lavigne and the rest of the band starting a side project with Creed's Mark Tremonti; Fred Durst, following his request that his band be known as limpbizkit, had legally changed his name to fredurst; Metallica and Megadeth had repaired their relationship and would tour together next year; and details about a "Summer Sanitation" tour featuring such bands as Def Tone Loc and PullMyFinger 11.
- Web surfers attempting to visit metal news site Pimp Rock Palace at www.theprp.com were greeted with the homepage of another service that might use the P.R.P. acronym: a pink-hued page flashing "Previously Ridden Ponies."