The planet-sized egos of rock & roll performers are legendary.
Few things symbolize this better than the outrageous requests they often make when on tour.
These requests are referred to as “riders”, and appear in the contract a tour venue receives in advance of the artist’s arrival. These contract riders specify the physical conditions that the singer/band requires to be in place before arriving to perform. Stage lighting settings, sound equipment, furnishings, etc — that kind of stuff.
And these rider requests can get pretty funky – often extremely so — when it comes to backstage perks the performers want.
For example: A wooden pond filled with koi carp (Eminem). A driver who will not speak or make eye contact (Katy Perry). 20 white kittens and 100 doves (Mariah Carey). Seven dwarves (Iggy Pop). 50,000 bees (Slayer). A sub-machine gun (Mötley Crüe). And, yes, even a great white shark (Hank III).
The practice of making these kind of outrageous demands stems from a rider Van Halen inserted into the contract for its 1982 world tour, which insisted on a bowl of M&Ms to be provided backstage, but with all of the brown M&Ms removed.
As this image below of the actual rider shows, the band was very explicit in its seriousness about this:
Once the media got whiff of this, it had a field day roasting the band’s narcissistic chutzpah. A new high-water mark of diva capriciousness had been established, which quickly became legend. A feat of prima donna pampering that subsequent performers have been trying to top ever since.
But as crazy as it sounds, Van Halen’s “no brown M&Ms” rider had nothing to do with caprice. There was a solid rationale behind it.
In fact, it was quite brilliant.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…