The creator of the COVID vaccine/Boss Metal Zone pedal hoax reveals all: “There ain’t a lot of sane people in this world”

Boss MT-2 Metal Zone
(Image credit: Anthony Devlin/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Boss)

Conspiracy theorists obsessed with the notion that COVID-19 vaccines will be used by governments across the globe to track the human race's every move recently landed on new, erm, evidence to back up their claims – a reworked schematic for the Boss MT-2 Metal Zone.

As we reported last month, the Metal Zone schematic was being shared online in the belief that it depicted the diagram for the supposed 5G chip (even though a cursory examination showed there were still labels for “MT-2 Gain” and “Footswitch,” among other guitar terms) that would be inserted into the vaccine as a tracking device.

Eventually, a senior software engineer at Redhat spotted the ruse and took to Twitter to flag it, and now Guitar World has spoken with the individual behind the hoax, who, while requesting to remain anonymous, describes himself as “part of a small group of doctors, immunologists, scientists, designers and others who came together in a Facebook educational group to produce and provide the public with credible and fact-checked content and info on vaccines, genetics and COVID-19, and “fight the rumors, anti-vaxxer bullshit, etc.”

See more

Alexander (not his real name), who hails from Croatia, goes on to explain that after producing infographics, texts and “funny explanations of complicated subjects” in an attempt to help the general public grasp the very serious issues created by the pandemic, reached a level of frustration and decided to deal with it by “ruining the anti-vaxxer gurus’ credibility among their own following”.

A keen electronics hobbyist, Alexander googled a guitar pedal schematic and landed on the Boss Metal Zone, which he deemed “maybe the least known pedal among the people who weren't into guitars and gear”.

After selecting a diagram he deemed “science-y," new labels were added to the controls, while intentionally leaving in obvious giveaways like “bass” and “treble”, before he shared the final design on social media.

“It was all ramped up to the extreme and every sane person in the world would get it’s a joke, but well, there ain't a lot of sane people in the world,” Alexander says, adding that later the same day he added a “satire warning” in an attempt to quell the rash of inbox messages he began receiving from conspiracy theorists.

Users began sharing his post – which was made on December 21 2020 and has been seen by Guitar World – and he also received messages about others “stealing the text and the schematic and presenting them as their own ‘discovery’.”

“Their followers ‘jizzed’ in the comments,” he says, “finally having the Holy Grail of proof against the evil vaccine and the ruling lizard Gates elite!”

Alexander did, however, eventually set everyone straight, waiting until comment sections filled up and then responding in the middle of the night to each one with the news that the schematic was actually for a guitar pedal.

“The ‘gurus’ didn't have time to react ’cause they were sleeping, and in the morning... well, there was a lot of deleting of posts, a lot of ‘never gonna trust you again!’ comments,” he says.

As for the endgame of Alexander’s ruse? “If one person ended up not believing some idiot’s bullshit, that makes me happy.”

Bravo, Alexander, on a first-rate hoax. Now excuse us while we go dissemble our Metal Zone pedals in search of 5G tracking chips…

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.