He had the epiphany when Foo Fighters were working on a cover of “Never Gonna Give You Up” for a 2017 festival in Japan where Astley was also on the bill.
“We started kind of learning it true to the original,” Grohl told the magazine, adding:
“And then I start to realize that the arrangement is exactly the same as ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ The chord progression has an uncanny resemblance. It’s true. There’s a riff and then the drums kick in, and then there’s a verse… there’s a lot. I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’ So we start joking around playing it in that same style, and it was so funny that we did it ten times in a row.”
When the Foos took the stage, Astley was standing nearby ― and on the shortest notice possible, he agreed to join the band for their “Smells Like Teen Spirit”-flavored version of “Never Gonna Give You Up,” essentially rickrolling the entire festival:
He spoke to Rolling Stone for a cover story ahead of the release of his memoir, “The Storyteller,” which hits shelves next week.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter