BnrGood.gif (2906 bytes)


Shake, rattle & April Fools // Radio station dupes thousands of Austinites with phony concert
by Steve Weingarten
Austin American Statesman; Austin, Tex.; Apr 2, 1989

Rock fans braved massive traffic jams Saturday to hear Bruce Springsteen, Supertramp, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Doors and Led Zeppelin on the same Austin stage.

Some concert-goers swore they even saw Elvis standing just off-stage at the free festival, which was broadcast live on an Austin radio station.

"April Fools," said KLBJ-FM disc jockey Jody Denberg. "I think it pretty much speaks for itself."

Like the phony War of the Worlds that Orson Welles aired on Halloween Eve in 1938, the "Battle of the Bands" that sounded too good to be true was pure fiction.

No, that wasn't really the Grateful Dead that kicked off the concert at 10 a.m. And, no, the Dead didn't really refuse to yield the microphone on the mythical North-by-Northwest Austin stage for the rest of the 12-hour charade.

"We're going to close the show tonight with the Beatles reunion," laughed Don Gilmore, KLBJ-FM music director said before it ended.

After the 70-minute Beatles set, the jocks were wrapping up their post-concert remarks when former Faces guitarist Ronnie Lane took the stage and sang April Fool, the song Lane wrote about his April Fools' Day birthday.

The rendition was actually recorded during a Tremors tour date in New York in 1987.

Lane, who lives in Austin, reportedly listened to the fake concert while celebrating his birthday with friends.

Disc jockey Ed Mayberry, who masterminded much of the "team effort," said several thousand listeners had called the rock station by Saturday evening asking how to get to the phony festival.

Mayberry said some of the callers were from as far away as Killeen and Fort Hood.

A carload of Killeen residents who couldn't get through to the station on the telephone drove into Austin before contacting the studio and learning that the concert was a well-planned hoax.

"All we could do is tell them to enjoy the concert on their way back to Killeen," Mayberry said.

Picture-perfect spring weather across Central Texas combined with live concert recordings for a performance held only in Austin music fans' minds.

Throughout the concert, the disc jockeys would broadcast live from the KLBJ-FM studio, then pretend to cut to the fake concert site for music and interviews.

Other featured bands included Jackson Browne, Dire Straits, U2,the Eagles, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Sting, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Pink Floyd.

The music came from compact discs, previously broadcast concerts and some tapes from the discjockeys' private collections.

Gilmore said some callers refused to believe him when he told them it was all a hoax.

"When we tell them it's being held in April Fools' Park, they want to know where that's at. And when we tell them it's a joke, they say, `Oh, I get it. But where's the music coming from?' Some people are really slow," he said.

"After Jim Morrison and the Beatles get back together and Jimi Hendrix plays, I think just about everybody will be able to figure it out," he said Saturday afternoon.

The marathon broadcast featured Denberg interviewing Mick Jagger and Keith Richards just before the Rolling Stones took the stage, but the disc jockey actually spent Saturday jogging around Town Lake and working at home.

"We started work on this about 10 days ago, taping bits like the interview with the Stones. We had to orchestrate the whole thing to get it to flow," he said. "Supposedly, I'm still backstage with the Grateful Dead."

Don Lamb, manager of Waterloo Records, said the North Lamar Boulevard store received dozens of calls about the sham festival.

"It seems like an obvious April Fools' joke to me, but even my brother called to ask me if it was for real," Lamb said. "It has definitely been a good joke. It worked."

Austin police operators answered more than 60 calls concerning the ruse by midafternoon. Police Department Communications Supervisor Kelley Cook said some callers were disappointed and others outraged when told the show was a hoax.

"But most laughed when they realized they were completely tricked and had actually called the police about it," Cook said.



Go Home Now

10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
What's Up?!
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)

10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)Lost now Found
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Kenney Thump
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
 Ronnie Lane
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Mac Mick Lag Un
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Pre-Petrified Wood
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Tetsu, CALL ME!
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
All Sorts of Photos
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Hear Faces talk about Phases of Faces
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Learn the Real Words
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Learn to Play with Yourself
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Links (and other odd sausages)10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Sign It Now


Kenney     Plonk     Mac     Rod      Woody     Tetsu
Home     What's New     Sitemap      Discography     Sounds     Lyrics    Chords
Links     Forum     Guest Book

contact us

(c) 1999-2004  
Dave McNarie.  All Rights Reserved.