By now, you’ve heard the one about the brown M&M’s.
In the early ‘80s, Van Halen’s tour rider — a document which outlines, often in great detail, an artist’s backstage and frontof the house requirements — famously requested all brown M&M’s be banished from their dressing room. Katy Perry’s rider (which recently leaked online, as these things often do) gives her the option to scalp blocks of her own tickets and forbids, among other things, eye contact from her chauffeur, who is also not allowed to leave the vehicle, especially not to open her door (”The driver is not security. The driver does not open doors. The artists [sic] security or entourage will do so.”).
Artists will tell you that lengthy and specific tour riders serve a practical purpose: If a venue is diligent enough to fulfill obscure rider requirement #723, goes the reasoning, they probably won’t screw up the big things, like lights and sound. “When I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl…guaranteed you’re going to arrive at a technical error,” David Lee Roth wrote in his autobiography, “Crazy From the Heat.” “They didn’t read the contract.”
And also, famous people like to ask for things, because they can. Many riders mirror the personality of the artist, which is why Jennifer Lopez would like pricey Diptyque candles, Mandy Moore wants little more than non-fat yogurt, if it’s not too much trouble, and Iggy and the Stooges’ rider, perhaps the awesomest document in musical history, must be read to be believed (it starts to get good around page 12).
With help from the treasure trove of riders at TheSmokingGun.com, Click Track has compiled a list of some of the strangest, randomest and most outlandish pop star requirements .
In no particular order:
1. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (Billy Idol).
2. One late model black Mayback [sic] 57 or 62 with tinted windows (Jay-Z, who didn’t get it).
3. Hotel accomodations in a presidential suite (Katy Perry and Lil Wayne. Not together.).
4. No non-essential personnel allowed backstage, or the artist will “become extremely upset” (Don Henley).
5. All food and ice must be inspected for hair (Diddy).
(Fifteen more, after the jump)
6. Three oxygen tents and masks (AC/DC).
7. 24 pieces of shrimp and a 24 piece KFC (50 Cent).
8. Small plate of non-sweaty, non-smelly cheese on ice (Lady Gaga).
9. No “Pakistani compressed towels” (Aerosmith).
10. The lead singer is Bob Dylan’s son. Do not mention this. (the Wallflowers).
11. Incandescent lighting (Bob Dylan).
12. A sober, English-speaking monitor engineer (the Black Eyed Peas).
13. L’Occitane soap (Kanye West).
14. Beluga caviar (for Bruce Springsteen saxophonist Clarence Clemons).
15. Four off-duty cops to serve as escorts, a “sanitary hallway” and a “very secure perimeter” backstage (Lil Wayne).
16. Mandatory metal detectors at all entrances and venue inspection by a police K-9 unit (Barbra Streisand).
17. Frozen edamame (Taylor Swift).
18. Two breakfasts, made without butter and picked up by his personal assistant (Keith Urban).
19. “Smartly dressed” driver over 25 years old (Rihanna).
20. Somebody dressed as Bob Hope (from Iggy’s rider. We told you it was awesome).