No Brown M&M's: The 10 Most Over-the-Top Tour Rider Requests


Earlier this week, The Smoking Gun released the latest backstage rider from "alternative rock" titans Foo Fighters. With its mix of absurdist humor and pragmatic


No Brown M&M's: The 10 Most Over-the-Top Tour Rider Requests

  • No Brown M&M's: The 10 Most Over-the-Top Tour Rider Requests

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    Earlier this week, The Smoking Gun released the latest backstage rider from "alternative rock" titans Foo Fighters. With its mix of absurdist humor and pragmatic advice, the Foo's rider has long been considered a pinnacle of the genre. The most recent edition includes a "Field Guide to Food Coloring Book and Activity Pages," in which "drummer Taylor Hawkins explains the difference between a good and bad salad," and which starts off with "a drawing of front man Dave Grohl shredding with a fork and knife in his hand." If you read on, there's also a word hunt and a page that shows "drawings of 22 items [including comedian Richard Pryor] and asks catering personnel to circle ones that belong in a salad."

    The story of the elaborate tour rider may have started with Van Halen's legendary request that absolutely no brown M&M's make it into their candy bowl. Quoth the Smoking Gun, who uncovered the document in 2008, "While the underlined rider entry has often been described as an example of rock excess . . . the group has said the M&M provision was included to make sure that promoters had actually read its lengthy rider. If brown M&M's were in the backstage candy bowl, Van Halen surmised that more important aspects of a performance--lighting, staging, security, ticketing--may have been botched by an inattentive promoter."

    And while James Brown allegedly requested ""two girls under the age of 21 and a ladies' hair dryer" and Mötley Crüe asked for a 12-foot-long boa constrictor and the local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting schedule, some more recent backstage requests have raised eyebrows as well. But seriously, how awesome would it be to have a 50+-page document detailing your every preference from alcohol to toilet paper? If it allows your favorite artist to do what they do, let 'em have their pythons and fancy cheese. So without further ado, here are 10 of the weirdest, most over-the-top tour rider requests.

    10. Moby: 10 pairs of white cotton crew socks and 10 cotton boxer shorts

    He told The New York Times: "It's not for me. It's for everybody on my tour. When I travel, there's like 12 of us on tour, and a lot of time, you're too busy to go shopping for socks and underpants . . . I don't have an underpants fetish." You heard it here first, folks.

    9. M.I.A.: cave-aged Gruyere cheese

    M.I.A. just likes fancy cheese, chocolate, and fruit, OK? Just be glad you're not hosting Duran Duran, who ask for "3 bottles of excellent quality Italian red wine - Sassicaia, Solaia or Tignanello - vintages between 89 and 97," "2 bottles of excellent quality white wine - Corton Charlemagne preferred - vintages 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004," and "2 bottles of good quality Champagne - Veuve Clicquot or Bollinger preferred." With that level of specificity, you may need to hire a sommelier.

    8. Luciano Pavarotti: no noise or "distinct smells" backstage

    In addition to requiring that his delicate senses remain undisturbed, the great tenor also requested a golf cart or "single man cart" (no idea) for his personal use.

    7. Sheryl Crow: 100% recycled toilet paper, light bulbs in venue and offices exchanged for compact fluorescent bulbs, organic and local food and drink

    Is it possible to be too green? When your demands are frustrating promoters nationwide, the answer may be yes. Organic food and biodegradable plates are all well and good, but requiring that everything be local down to the bottled water and recommending that venues replace light bulbs in their offices is going a bit far. When you're driving across the country in two 45-foot buses towing two tractor-trailers, you better hope they're running on biodiesel.

    6. Katy Perry: no staring

    The bubblegum princess's rider includes 23 points for her chauffeur (forbidding them from attempting to "start a conversation with the client," looking at her in the rearview mirror, or asking for an autograph) and very specific instructions for floral arrangements-- "White and purple hydrangeas, pink & white roses and peonies," or, if those are unavailable, a "selection of seasonal white flowers to include white orchids." But, the rider notes, ABSOLUTELY NO CARNATIONS.

    5. Cher: wig room

    The "ageless" Goddess of Pop requires a separate room just for her wigs. Honestly, Cher is kind of terrifying at this point, but if she's brave enough at age 64 to wear the same outfit she wore in 1989's "If I Could Turn Back Time" video to last year's MTV Video Music Awards (and hug Lady Gaga in a raw-meat dress), we're willing to let the wig room slide.

    4. Barbra Streisand: peach-colored toilet paper to match her complexion, rose petals in the toilet

    According to the UK's Daily Mail, Streisand's rider includes provisions for "peach-colored toilet roll to match her complexion, and rose petals in the toilet bowl," "one hundred-and-twenty designer bathroom towels also in peach," and "ten highly specified designer floor lamps." She also once demanded that "staff at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas enter and leave her room backwards." Diva indeed.

    3. Madonna: new toilet seat at every gig

    Continuing the bathroom theme, Madonna's rep confirmed in 2006 that the singer requires a brand new, still-in-the-plastic toilet seat at every venue, which must then be thrown out after she leaves so no one can sell it on eBay. The item in the New York Daily News includes this priceless quote from her longtime spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg: "I don't know if anyone helps her wipe, but there are probably people who would volunteer."

    2. Mariah Carey: soft cuddly animals backstage

    Mariah allegedly enjoys the presence of small, cute animals like puppies, kittens, and bunnies backstage, so much so that she was once prohibited from appearing on stage with 20 white kittens in a Christmas promotion. She also supposedly drinks Cristal through bendy straws and needs an attendant to dispose of her used chewing gum, so what the hell.

    1. David Hasselhoff: life-sized cutout of David Hasselhoff

    According to a book on the subject, The Little Red Riders Book: The Backstage Requests of Rock 'n' Roll's Most Famous Artists, the Hoff requests a life-sized cutout of himself.

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