Some bands’ and artists gig rider requests have become the stuff of legend – here are some of the most unbelievable
When you’re a band or artist who is just starting to gig, the idea of any sort of rider request is pretty far removed from reality. Often, you’d be happy not to have to get changed in the pub toilets…
In a sense, they seem to signify that an artist has truly made it, and the more outrageous the demand, the bigger you have become. After all, why else would people bend over backwards to ensure that you’re happy.
Some artists same to take this to whole new level, however. Whether it’s rooms painted in particular colours, gallons of vintage wine, or bowls of M&Ms with all of the brown ones removed, it would seem that diva-dom has no limits. Some, however, have some very sound reasoning behind them.
Here are some of the most outrageous rider requests…
Van Halen – No Brown M&Ms
The most famous of all rider requests was perhaps Van Halen’s specification for M&M’s with the line ‘WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES’. Though it might seem that these are the actions of overpaid rock stars, delighting in seeing those around go to extraordinary lengths to meet their demands, there was a very good reason for this request.
The full rider list covered every aspect of the touring rig, from lights, to power, to rigging, to PA (that’s the true purpose of a rider list- to make sure everything is there to facilitate the smooth running of the show), and ran to 53 pages in length. As you might expect, with a stage set-up of this complexity this covered many aspects of safety (weights that the floor was capable of supporting, power demands etc.) and required detailed attention.
By including some seemingly minor items, but with very detailed specification (like the M&Ms), the tour manager could easily spot check how well the rider spec was met.
Morrissey – Meat Is Murder (and a sapling as company…)
That Morrissey is a devout vegan is no secret. His militant anti-meat stance has lead most recently to £10,000 court settlement with Gordon Ramsey, after he used a Smiths track for his meat laden Christmas special without permission.
He demands that the venues at which he plays do not serve meat on the days that his gigs take place. It’s no empty threat either- in the past he’s cancelled gigs because the tickets advertise, er… a well-known burger chain, and he walked off mid-performance at Coachella because he could smell ‘cooking flesh’.
But, his rider requests are not all quite so political. He once asked for a sapling, of no less than four feet but no higher than six feet, to be placed in his dressing room prior to performance.
Beyonce – The Moon On A Titanium Stick (and one for my hubby…)
Beyonce’s rider requests are rapidly becoming the stuff of legend. On her last tour, she requested titanium straws ($900 worth) to drink a special alkaline water, served at 21 degrees. Oh, and everyone on the crew can only wear cotton clothing. There will be only red toilet paper, and the walls will be off-white in all of her dressing rooms.
Oops- nearly forgot. Just in case Jay-Z is around, $6,000 of booze and imported cigars. And a hand-carved ball of ice to cool her vocal chords down after performance.
She’s such a simple girl…
Foo Fighters – Vegetable soup, and good entrees
The Foo Fighters rider requests are become renowned for their sense of humour. The last included a colouring book (included one- not requested one). Among other demands, it stated that ‘vegetable soup’ should be included, not meat soup, as it made roadies fart.
It also stated that roast beef shouldn’t be served unless ‘you have slaughtered it yourself’. Diagrams were included illustrating what constituted a good entrée (steak and baked potato) and a bad one (a sandwich). For those tender moments, The Notebook on DVD should also be available.
Presumably Dave Grohl, Chris Shifflett and Taylor Hawkins had a hand in this…
Metallica – Bacon
Apparently, Metallica request bacon: ‘BACON – VERY IMPORTANT THAT BACON BE AVAILABLE AT EVERY MEAL AND DURING DAY’
This is repeated three times on the rider request.
And that, folks, is why you never see Morrissey and Metallica on the same bill. Amongst other reasons…
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.