The concept is simple. Someone of interest, often famous but not always, appears online and you can ask whatever you like. The humble Reddit AMA has become one of the cornerstones of the hugely successful site, known as “the front page of the internet.” Everyone from Barack Obama to a man with two penises have put themselves under the spotlight and offered to give answers to Reddit’s most inquisitive minds. Bands and artists enjoy getting involved too. Here we round up some of the best answers musicians have given in their AMAs:
Red Hot Chili Pepper Chad Smith and Will Ferrell’s rivalry intensifies
It was during Chad Smith’s AMA earlier this year that Anchorman star Will Ferrell accepted an offer from the Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer to engage in a drum battle. Joining in with other Reddit users firing questions at their idol, Ferrell wrote:”Hi, Chad. Will Ferrell here. I saw your video and I graciously accept your invitation to a drum battle. If we can raise $300,000 for Cancer for College I will face off with you in the greatest drum vs. cowbell showdown the world has ever seen. We can do it on stage at a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert or in front of a mutually convenient public library. Your call. Also, would you rather fight a hundred duck sized ducks or one horse sized horse?” The drums vs. cowbell grudge match is yet to take place.
Dave Grohl gives an unsigned band their big break
Before Foo Fighters and Nirvana hero Dave Grohl took part in his AMA, The Winter Brave were just a struggling band from Pittsburgh, Pensylvania. After being tipped off about them by a friend of the band during the session, Grohl began listening and said he was a fan. The band subsequently picked up thousands of new fans who hang on Grohl’s every word – music tips included. The band’s song ‘Metaphors’ now has over 100,000 plays and The Winter Brave have a very cool story to tell the grandkids. Ain’t that nice.
Nile Rodgers reveals an unlikely computer game past
Nile Rodgers worked with Daft Punk, we know that. We also know he worked with David Bowie and Chic. You might also have heard about his stuff with Diana Ross – he doesn’t like to go on about it. But did you know the disco godfather was behind most of the music on Xbox shoot em-up Halo? It’s true, and one of the many interesting facts Rodgers dropped during his AMA back in November 2013.
Trent Reznor has no issue with insulting his fans
When Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor released an album with his side-project How To Destroy Angels he took part in an AMA with fans, one of whom asked him why he had signed a deal with Columbia having previously sworn off ever working with major labels again. Reznor’s response was exactly as grumpy and profane as you would expect: “Sorry, the wifi on our yacht is having issues, we can’t get your full question to load. Try sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org”
Madonna has a bong in the shape of a penis
As one of the most fascinating and enduring pop stars of her generation, a full and frank Q+A with Madonna should have been amazing. Unfortunately, Madonna’s September 2013 AMA was a little on the dull side. Well, apart from one fan who asked the seemingly innocuous question: “What’s the best thing you got for your birthday?” Madonna’s response? “I got a bong in the shape of a penis.” Well, now we know.
Against Me’s Laura Jane Grace has great advice for young trans people
When Against Me singer Laura Jane Grace came out as a trans woman fans had a lot of questions so her AMA in February 2013 was full of fascinating insight into her life as a punk rock singer making the transition from male to female. However, it was a question asking for advice for any young trans people which inspired Grace’s best answer – an answer which could be taken on board by anybody. Offering her tips on how to survive in life, she said: “Don’t take any shit from anyone. Keep your head up. Don’t feel like you have to go from Box A to Box B. Surround yourself with people love you for who you are and accept you without judgement.”
Vampire Weekend don’t really care about oxford commas
“Who gives a fuck about an Oxford Comma?” asked Vampire Weekend on their debut album. It turns out the answer is nobody, not even them. Asked if they secretly do care about the punctuation, frontman Ezra Koenig replied: “Not really.” Grammar Nazis the world over wept.
The National do not lie in their lyrics
One of The National’s best lyrics comes in the song ‘Karen’ when Matt Berninger sings, “It’s a common fetish for a doting man to ballerina on the coffee table cock in hand”. It’s a beautiful image, but has Berninger ever lived the dream painted in his music? Well it turns out her actually has. As revealed in his band’s AMA, the frontman has clambered atop a table with appendage in his grip. It wasn’t plain sailing though, as Berninger said at the time: “Attempted but failed. Table gave out.”
The Lonely Island have powerful recruitment techniques
US comedy trio The Lonely Island have made music with everyone from Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga to T-Pain and Michael Bolton. How have they managed to convince so many big name stars to get involved? The simple answer is blackmail. Nudity and blackmail. Describing the process in their AMA last year, Andy Samberg explained the four step process thusly: “1) hire a private eye to get nude pictures [of said celebrity]. 2) show nude pictures, but put one copy in safe deposit vault. 3) text them, and threaten to make them public. 4) call their publicist.”
Phoenix are still close with Daft Punk. Very close.
French band Phoenix go way back with Daft Punk and were asked what their relationship is like with the robots these days. The answer was unexpected but one of the many wryly amusing moments in one of the funniest musician AMAs yet. “We sext every day!” says Laurent Brancowitz.