CELEBRITY SHENANIGANS

Pranks & practical jokes keep the stars laughing - and on their toes!

The members of Lonestar discovered that Brad Paisley has talents beyond singing and guitar playing - namely, playing practical jokes.

When the hitmaking foursome joined him on the road earlier this year, Brad pulled many pranks on the group, from tying their tour manager to a wheelchair and pushing him onstage to dropping thousands of ping-pong balls on the band midway through one of their songs.

But turnabout is fair play - and Lonestar got revenge, staging an all-out prank attack on Brad. "We held nothing back," laughs keyboardist Dean Sams. Dean and lead singer Richie McDonald threw minnows at Brad in mocking tribute to Brad's love of fishing - and also slipped a few into his bottled water. "He took four big gulps without seeing the fish!" reports Dean.

But the guys in Lonestar weren't done yet. They paid a heavyset fan $400 to surprise Brad onstage wearing only a towel. It was the last straw - and Brad finally threw in his own towel. "He told us later, 'OK, you win! You win!'" Dean recalls proudly.

Country's reigning practical jokers, though, are Brooks & Dunn. The duo has hidden a half-frozen eel in Faith Hill's bed and enlisted a bikini-clad woman to surprise Aaron Tippin onstage while he was singing "Honky Tonk Superman."

"We're like a couple of little kids when we get out on the road," says Ronnie.

But on their recent Neon Circus And Wild West Show this summer, they found the tables turned when Kix's prized possession - a 6-foot, 200-lb. wooden Indian affectionately named Chief Ten Beers - disappeared from the tour bus during a Toronto tour stop. All the tour buses were searched, and eventually Kix got so worried he filed a police report.

But on the final day of the tour, while Kix and Ronnie were onstage, the culprit finally revealed himself - when keith urban's band and crew wheeled out ol' Chief Ten Beers in a specially designed keith urban T-shirt. "I will get even," vows Kix with a grin.

Onstage antics aren't just for the boys. Following the infamous "horse incident" involving Tim McGraw, Faith Hill donned a Houston police officer's uniform and "arrested" him during a show.

Lee Ann Womack and Sara Evans once disguised themselves as Alan Jackson's "go-go dancers" during his set. And more recently, Sara, Martina McBride, Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Jamie O'Neal surprised Reba McEntire during the final show of their Girls' Night Out Tour by donning red wigs in honor of the headliner.

All the lighthearted horseplay lets the stars blow off steam during exhausting days on the road - and allows them to bond. "It's an icebreaker," says Lonestar's Dean. "After that, you're buddies."

--Nick Krewen

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