Remembering that time The Offspring gave one million dollars to a random fan

Over two decades ago, it definitely seemed that bands had money to chuck around. It truly was a different time…

Remembering that time The Offspring gave one million dollars to a random fan
Simon Young

On November 14, 2000, The Offspring changed one fan’s life forever.

In the run-up to the release of their sixth studio album, Conspiracy Of One, the band launched a competition where a fan would walk away with a cool $1million, straight from their seemingly ocean-deep pockets.

To enter was simple: all you had to do was download their single Original Prankster on one of those then-new fangled MP3s. Then, on the album’s release day, a handful of finalists were randomly selected from some 500,000 entrants, and invited to appear on MTV’s Total Request Live, hosted by Carson Daly.

“It’s kind of an exciting, outrageous way to announce that our record’s coming out,” frontman Dexter Holland told ABC. “But I like the fact that it doesn’t try to soak the kid for every last dollar, and gives something back to the fans. All our money has come from our fans; we thought it would be a nice gesture to give something back. I think that’s nice for bands to do. They should realise that their fans are what got them there.”

The day finally arrived and lucky fans competed in a three-round quiz to determine who’d get their hands on that box of actual, life-changing loot.

The competition was won by a 14-year-old called Ashley Hitchcock, from Winder, Georgia, who'd made a pact with fellow contestant Christina Belmont that they'd share the prize if either of them romped to victory. That's nice.

But in an excruciating video clip documenting the moment, the pair seemed to stall as Carson Daly offered a series of clues about one particular member. Then, with all the reluctance of an elderly relative, Ashley hit the buzzer and gave the correct answer – 'Noodles' – and crowned winner.

Ashley – who was presented with the money in $100 bills – planned to buy a house and car for her father, as well as clearing his debts and told reporters: “It’s overwhelming. I can’t believe I won.”

"We weren’t even her favourite band!” remembers Noodles. “We were her second favourite band and Slipknot were her favourite!"

Harsh. But something tells us that on that day, Ashley didn't give a single shit.

Now read these

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?