When Foo Fighters "RickRolled" the Westboro Baptist Church

21 August 2020, 09:00 | Updated: 21 August 2020, 11:44

One of Dave Grohl's finest moments came when the Foos took on the controversial campaigners with some Rick Astley magic.

You can rely on Big Dave Grohl to do the right thing every time - and the Foo Fighters frontman isn't backwards in coming forwards.

A case in point - remember when Grohl and co took on the controversial Westboro Baptist Church?

The Westboro Baptist Church are known for their confrontational views on homosexuality and religion. They have frequently held protests at high profile events such as funerals of soldiers, celebrities and even victims of mass shootings.

In 2011, the self-proclaimed Church decided to picket a Foo Fighters show in Kansas City, claiming the band were a tool of the devil because of their song Keep It Clean (Hot Buns) which was used to promote the Wasting Light tour.

Foo Fighters perform Keep It Clean in Kansas City on 16 September 2011
Foo Fighters perform Keep It Clean in Kansas City on 16 September 2011. Picture: Jason Squires/WireImage/Getty Images

Church spokesman Fred Phelps claimed: "The entertainment industry is a microcosm of the people in this doomed nation: hard-hearted, hell-bound, and hedonistic".

He railed that Foo Fighters should be using their platform to "encourage obedience to God; instead they teach every person who will listen all things contrary to him: fornication, adultery, idolatry..." and, in his opinion, the LGBTQ lifestyle.

In response to this, Foo Fighters hired a flatbed truck and protested against the protest by performing the song Keep It Clean right in front of the Westboro Baptist Church. "Driving all night, got a hankering for something," went the song. "Think I'm in the mood for some hot man muffins... Mmmm, sounds so fine, yes indeed."

1-0 to the Foos.

But they went one better on 21 August 2015, when the Sonic Highways tour arrived in Kansas once again for a show at the city's Sprint Center. As before, Westboro Baptist Church picketed the show because of the band's alleged moral crimes, but they were to get another surprise.

Later on at the actual Foo Fighters show, Dave told the crowd that the group were sitting backstage when they heard that the Church were up to their usual shenanigans: "Someone said: 'Guess who's coming tonight?'"

"I said, 'Let’s go out and f**king hang out with them for a bit.’ We didn’t have enough time to put together the big old show that we put on last time. So we figured, you know what, why don’t we just f**king RickRoll their ass? Cause nothing says love like a little Rick Astley in your life?”

RickRolling was the short-lived meme of sending someone a link to something interesting, only for them to discover that you were really sharing a link to the video for Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley. So Dave, together with band members Pat Smear and Nate Mendel decided to perform a live RickRoll.

The full spectacle of Foo Fighters blasting our the classic 1987 Number 1, while waving signs that read "You Got Rickrolled (Again)" and "Keep It Clean" was a sight to behold.

The actual protest, incidentally, was a damp squib compared to the non-stop dance party that Big Dave instigated. As the man said, "You can't just sit there and do nothing - you gotta go out there and say what you wanna say".

Foo Fighters' RickRolling went on with none other then Rick Astley himself. The band trolled a crowd at Japan's Summer Sonic festval in 2017 by beginning to play what everyone thought was Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, only for.... well, you guessed it.

Rick told Radio X's Chris Moyles what happened: "Dave just clocked me at some point, but I thought he was looking at other people. He just came and gave me a big hug. And then 20 minutes later, a guy walks over and handed me a mic and I'm looking at Dave Grohl and he's now looking at me beckoning me over."

He continued: "I just had no clue what was going on. I didn't know whether he was going to say: 'Everyone, this is that dude'. But he just whispers in my ear 'We're going to do your tune, but it's going to sound a bit like Smells Like Teen Spirit."

The Newton-le-Willows legend, who had a string of hits at the end of the 80s, took to the stage with the words "COME ON YOU MOTHERF**KERS!"

He told Chris Moyles: "People think I was trying to be rock n' roll. I was just crapping myself".

READ MORE: Rick Astley would release Never Gonna Give You Up with Foo FIghters for charity